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Why Wait for Personal Growth? THE STARTING LINE
“What are your New Year’s resolutions?”
Who among us hasn’t heard this question a dozen times in the last fewweeks? Every January, we’re told we need to find something in our lives we need to improve. But, if there is something worth improving, why haven’t we been taking steps to better ourselves before Jan. 1?
I used to make New Year’s resolutions. Like so many other people, I would make a resolution to exercise more, eat healthier, or spend more quality time with my family. However, over time, I began to shy away from using the new year as an artificial starting date for change. While I do tend to promise myself I will eat healthier after the holiday season, for the
IF YOU FEEL SOMETHING IN YOUR LIFE IS IN NEED OF IMPROVEMENT, THERE’S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT TO TAKE ACTION.
for myself, I assess whether it’s realistic to improve that facet of my life. Then, I create a plan of action that gives me the best possible chance to get there, including a time frame for myself. This strategy is called “SMART” goalkeeping, and it has proven successful. A study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University in California, confirmed the importance of striving for attainable goals. Her research examined the “SMART” practice of goalkeeping, in which a person identifies the Specific who, what, when, and where of their Measurable goal, ensuring the goal is Attainable and Realistic to achieve within a specific Time frame. Dr. Matthews found 76 percent of participants who practiced SMART goalkeeping achieved their goal. This was a 33 percent higher rate of achievement than participants who did not follow this method of goalkeeping. There are many avenues to personal growth, and setting realistic goals is a great way to set yourself up for success. When you have your goal, the most important thing is to act now. If you believe something is worth changing, there is no reason to wait a single day.
most part, I don’t want to wait to get started on personal growth. If you feel something in your life is in need of improvement, there’s no time like the present to take action. One of the greatest professional goals I’ve ever achieved was getting into dental school and residency. Learning my trade and using those skills to help people on a daily basis in our practice continues to give be a deep source of daily pride. However, though I have achieved this goal, it does not mark the end of my personal improvements. I believe one should always aspire to do more and better. Can we be better family members or friends? Can we better serve our community? Can we become more knowledgeable or experienced people and share that wisdom with others? When we identify something we want to change, the challenge comes lies in creating a plan to achieve that change. If I’m creating a goal
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