Now that we\\\’re firmly immensed in 2013, and the stress of the new year has begun to settle, it\\\’s time to take a realistic snapshot of where your business is today, and where you want it to be when when you\\\’re sipping bubbly on New Years, a short 11 months from now.

Yes, there\\\’s still a lot of questions to be answered: \”How will the Social Security tax increases affect discretionary spending?\” \”How much will the reduced FLEX spending limits affect our practice volume?\” \”How will the Medical Reform tax increases affect our bottom line?\” Yes, these are realistic concerns, but more importantly, they are out of your control. Stressing about these factors won\\\’t accomplish anything. Instead, it\\\’s better to focus your energies on the things you CAN accomplish in 2013, and see them through to realization. How do you achieve this? Two words: Goals and Prioritization.

How you set your goals will determine how successful you are in accomplishing them. If you fail to set your goals properly from the onset, you\\\’re already settting yourself up for failure.

The first step is to take a snapshot of where your practice is today. Be honest about your performance over the last 12 months: What worked and what needs improvement? Write down your results, your accomplishments and struggles.

Next, focus on realistic accomplishments you would like to achieve by the end of the year, and write them down. Make sure they are specific, actionable items. It is more effective to set a top goal of getting \”5 new patients a month\” instead of getting \”more new patients than last year.\” Also, be realistic. It is okay to aim high, just keep it within reach. It helps to have everything laid out in writing, so you can more effectively gauge each goal\\\’s importance through the process.

Now that you have your goals defined, write down all the steps you forsee necessary to achieve said goal. For example, 5 new patients aren\\\’t going to just walk in your doors. But could a revamped website that converts better help you achieve that goal? If so, then one of the \\\’action items\\\’ could become a web redesign. Be as detailed as possible. You want to be armed with all the specific steps you need to take, because now it\\\’s time to prioritize!

Prioritize your goals by profitability and what excites you. The idea is to look objectively at your list of goals, and begin to eliminate ones that don\’t fit with your motivation of what you want to create and achieve. This will help you define what you really want to take on as a challenge of accomplishment in 2013.

Get familiar with your calendar. Choose the things that are the highest priority for you and your practice and slot them into your calendar. Schedule each of the projects and items that you want to achieve, month by month. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given month and what steps it involves. It\’s easy to say that you can accomplish 15 different things in February, but when you\’re actually looking at the number of days in a month and the number of months in a year, you need to be more realistic – a key theme in this entire process, in case you haven\\\’t noticed yet…

Day by day. The last step towards moving your goals forward is to take the first three \\\’action items\\\’ and write them down somewhere you can see them everyday, such as a post-it on your computer. When you accomplish the first step, cross it off and replace it with the next step. Check back with your master list once a month and watch your progress. Before you know it you will be well on your way to accomplishing your goals for 2013.

Last note of importance: This doesn\\\’t have to be an exercise reserved for the beginning of the year. It can be revisited at any time to help you recalibrate and refocus your energy on what is really important as you continue your climb towards goal achievement.

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