How many people set a New Year’s resolution only to fail within the first few weeks of January. There are multiple reasons why people do not accomplish their resolutions. Many people do not actually achieve the goals.
For example, our goals may be too big or nonspecific. Lose 50 pounds. Save money. Travel more. Spend more time with family and friends. Get organized. Maybe we do not have a way to track our progress. Or maybe we have failed so many times, we do not truly believe we can accomplish the resolution.
Why do I encourage nurse practitioners to set goals? I believe working towards any goal gives you purpose. It gives you motivation to work towards the goal and gives you pride when accomplished.
Think about our patient’s that set goals and achieve the goals for themselves. Think about the patient who was in a MVA and told they could never walk again. That patient set the goal to walk down the aisle on their wedding day. They work their butt off in order to accomplish the goal. And they defy all odds.
This is the power of goal setting. No goal is unattainable. No matter how big. No matter how many obstacles are in the way. No matter people or society telling you its impossible. If you set goals and 110% believe you can achieve the goals, you will!
Tips to actually achieve the goals
Before we get to the tips, I encourage each nurse practitioner to reflect on their overall vision. What would you like to achieve? What do you want life to look like in 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 years? Where do you want to be working? What do you want to be doing? What kind of people do you want in (or out) of your life? There is no holding back, this exercise is specific to you! There is no vision or small or too big! After you have the overall outlook, narrow down the focus by following the tips below.
1. Set more specific goals.
In order to actually achieve the goals, our goals should be specific. A goal to “lose weight” or “travel more” are not specific enough. It is difficult to work towards a goal that is not specific. If you want to lose weight, how much do you want to lose? Is there an emotion or goal that truly fuels the weight loss goal? Maybe the real reason you want to lose weight is to bring your A1C down to 6.5% to avoid chronic kidney disease. Or improve your blood pressure so you can stop taking three different antihypertensives.
You are more likely to achieve the goals that are specific, such as “I will lose 30 pounds so that I can fit into a size 8 dress for my daughter’s wedding.”
2. Set a time limit.
Setting a time limit can help to stay on track to achieve the goals. I believe in setting goals that can be accomplished in 1-3 months. I don’t even like New Year’s Resolutions because it implies you should only set the goal around New Year’s. It also does not hold you accountable because a lot can happen in 12 months. Short term goals such as daily or weekly work well for smaller goals. I personally set monthly goals, this helps me shorten the window for time I have to achieve the goals. It helps me stay on track because I can see the deadline in sight.
3. Create small action steps to get you there.
We need milestones to keep us on track. Remember going through nurse practitioner school. There were certain classes we had to complete. There were so many clinical hours to do. There were tests to study for and papers to write. These are the action steps and milestones nurse practitioner students have to accomplish before receiving our Master of Science in Nursing or Doctorate of Nursing Practice.
How easy was it to follow this path that was already specifically laid out in front of us. Break your goals up into bite size action steps and it will be easier to achieve the goals. This helps us to know what we should be doing in order to accomplish the goal.
4. Track your progress.
Keeping track of our success will ensure we are on path to achieve the goals. It is difficult to make sure you are heading towards achieving the goal if we don’t know where we are along the way. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I personally keep track of my fitness goals on a good ole fashioned calendar. I keep track of my financial goals on an app on my phone. There are many ways to track your progress, choose what works best for you!
5. Gather a support system.
It is tough to achieve a goal on your own. Have you ever played sports (or been a spectator)? Think of all the fans cheering on the players. Think of the energy and momentum it can create. No matter what goal you set, there will be roadblocks. There will be tough times. There will be moments you want to give up.
Having a support system can make or break the moments you give up or get going. Tell the people closest to you the goal you have set and ask for their support. Don’t have a good support system? Write your goal out in The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner Facebook Group . Hit reply and email me what you would like to accomplish!
6. Believe you can do it!
Most importantly, you have to set your mind to achieve the goal. We have to trick our minds into already achieving something. Think about what it will feel like to have your toes in the sand while you sip pina colada on your beach vacation? What would it feel like to save enough money and give your boss your 60 day notice? What will it feel like to go to your high school reunion 60 pounds lighter in that brand new dress? Use this vision and emotions behind it to fuel your motivation! 99% of actually achieving the goal is believing you can!
Book recommendations for goal setting and to actually achieve the goal.
The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
Atomic Habits by James Clear
For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com
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