”I know what I have to do now, I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” Chuck Noland (Tom Hank’s character in Castaway)

 

I have become very attached to the above quote. This year has certainly been different on so many levels. It was easy to become overwhelmed so often and I believe many, like myself, are happy to see 2020 come to an end.

Usually, as the year comes to a close, we look back to evaluate the year as we plan for the upcoming one. But what type of goals can we set for ourselves in 2021? Setting goals is hard enough when there is not a global pandemic going on. But despite wearing our masks and continuing to practice social distancing, we still need to be positive looking forward. We should never forget to consider the ways in which we can do more to improve ourselves or our lives. We have, despite all the challenges of 2020, been given the gift of extra time.

At the best of times, it is never wise to put too much pressure on yourself when setting goals, so why start now when we are living through an unprecedented pandemic? There is still opportunity to consider tackling one or two new goals. Another thought could also be to revisit the goals originally set for 2020. It is likely they were put aside as the world changed earlier in the year. There is nothing wrong in re-evaluating your plan and updating it to use now.

As owners of a small business, because after all a practice is one, owners are in a fortunate position that people will continue to require healthcare. The pandemic has shown that healthcare offices are recession and pandemic resilient. However, as a business owner, the stress levels of owning and operating during a pandemic could never have been imagined let alone planned for.

Perhaps the goals for 2021 need to be more along the lines of small operational ones that will not only help in the immediate period of time but serve you well in the long run. There is always a tendency to make an ambitious plan. But the bigger the plan, the bigger the demands and unfortunately, the constraints of a pandemic can make it hard to keep up. Therefore, perhaps the first goal of 2021 should be to make smaller but more meaningful goals. It is so important to remember that little successes will add up to something big.

Examples of smaller goals could be to improve communication with patients, schedule more comprehensive exams, embark on social media or improve your online presence overall. The opportunity to educate patients via Zoom calls is definitely a possibility we would not have considered pre-pandemic. There is absolutely no downside in making a greater effort to reach and engage your patients. In fact, you will be creating loyal patients and increasing the value of your goodwill.

Most people know how to set goals. There is a plethora of information available. My intention is to encourage you look forward positively. Do not set goals that are beyond reach, as this is likely to cause discouragement and demotivation. Basically, you are setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. Ideally, you want to choose goals which test you and require commitment but are reachable in practice.

It is so important to remember to be patient. Begin by determining not only what the goal is but why you want it. Challenge yourself about the emotion behind the goal. Why do you want it and what will you receive when you achieve it?

I believe what will be critical in 2021 is to think about the journey in achieving the goals you set. Remember to create achievable steppingstones so that you find happiness in the now. We must find ways to still find joy and enjoy the present. Perhaps another goal for 2021 should be to accept that we do not know what the future holds but rather be curious about what it could hold. If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we must learn to adapt as we have had to face an enormous amount of uncertainty. This will help put you in a positive mindset as you undertake goal setting.

The best any of us can do going into 2021 is to simply keep going one day at a time. Accomplishing big goals is a marathon, not a sprint. If you do not achieve some of your smaller tasks or expectations, do not be discouraged, you may occasionally get derailed from your goals. Be sure to maintain a well-rounded schedule by practicing habits that will energize and sustain you. Take time to consider and strengthen your physical and mental health and keep connected with others. Staying healthy and balanced will prove invaluable in having the stamina and drive to push to achieve your goals.

Before you know it, 2021 will be here. We must all step back a moment and be grateful for the blessings we have. 2020 certainly challenged us but it also gave us the ability to bring out the best in ourselves. For the upcoming new year, let us turn our current circumstances into a strategic opportunity to position ourselves for success. Until now, goal setting was always about the future. So instead of worrying about creating the perfect five-year plan or tackling the list of things you want to accomplish by a certain age, perhaps a good place to start is to figure out what you need to create a more comfortable and enjoyable life for yourself right now.

 

Jackie Joachim

Jackie Joachim

is Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation, Canada’s national professional practice and brokerage firm. Please contact her at jackie.joachim@roicorp.com or 1-888-764-4145.