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The New Year is a time when many people set resolutions or goals for the coming year. Why is it that people break 25% of resolutions within one week, and over 80% break within three months? I don’t think it’s because the goals are too big or that people are too weak-willed. Instead, I believe it is due to gaps in the goal setting process. The good news is, with some tweaks to the goal setting process, you could see a dramatic difference in following through with what it is you want to accomplish. I would like to share a few things that I have seen people use, and I have used personally to follow through with a resolution.

There are three important questions that I always start off with:

  1. What exactly am I trying to accomplish? This statement needs to be as specific as losing 30 lbs, wake up 1 hour earlier, or spend 1 hour every night with my children. It can’t be a blanket statement such as: lose weight, wake up earlier, or spend more time with my children. A goal has to be specific for it to be measurable.
  2. Why am I trying to accomplish this? Why do you want to lose 30 lbs, wake up one hour earlier, etc…? It is important to think about what will happen or be the result if you can accomplish this goal.
  3. What will happen if I do not follow through with this and how will it ultimately affect me? Let’s say for example that you want to come up with a plan to fix your teeth in a way that lasts your lifetime. What will happen if you don’t follow through with your goal? Will you lose another tooth? If you do, would it lead to self-conscious feelings, or result in costing more money in the long run? And the big picture, could this hinder your capability to chew later in life? What would that mean to you? Conclusively, if you didn’t stick to your goal, it could cost you your ability to nourish yourself properly as you age.

These three questions are a great way to get you started. They help you put into perspective WHY you want to accomplish something. The next step is to figure out HOW you will get to the goal. One strategy that I have found useful for myself and my patients is to use an action plan worksheet. This worksheet has the goal/vision, steps to achieve the goal and most importantly the current reality.

Comparing your current reality and final goal sets up structural tension in your mind, which helps you achieve the goal or resolution(developed by Robert Fritz and Dr. Michael Schuster). You can then put the action steps into the chart to help you reach the goal.

The final topic I would like to touch on is the psychology of setting and achieving and goals/resolutions. The subconscious role of indecision, doubt and fear have a larger role than we think. Many time our lack of decision leads to self-doubt and ultimately to fear. The fear of not succeeding, being criticized, or not believing you deserve to reach the goal. I often see people who don’t believe they deserve a mouth that looks good, functions comfortably, or is free of issues. Self-worth is an important thing.   I think it is also important to have a friend, family member, or coach who can support you, keep you accountable, and pick you up when you stumble (WHEN not IF).

Our whole team strives every day to be dental health coaches to our patients. When our patients want to set goals we help them create a plan, then strive to help them achieve the goal. By doing this, we can help our patients reach a life with minimal dental problems, less money spent, and more self-confidence. If you would like us to help you achieve your goals, we would love to sit down and talk. Remember, you are worth the investment, and it’s never too late to set a plan for health. Good luck in 2017!

Talk to you soon,


Will Yoder, DMD