Dr. Paget reviews his larger goals either every six months or once a year. “You have to reassess what your goals are, how many of them you have already achieved and how to attain those necessary for the next phase of your career, because sometimes life and reality get in the way and necessitate a change in course,” he says. “Each area of focus has its own demands, and you have to be sure, all the way, that you are up to the task by obtaining new knowledge, participating in research or administrative activities, publishing, joining committees and networking.”
Set a Deadline
Deadlines are a necessity. “You will not get serious about your goal, behavior or progress until you set a deadline,” Ms. Wright says. “When you set a goal, you become serious about the results and give yourself an urgency to commit to it. If you wait until it’s convenient, easy or you have nothing else to do, it will never happen. There are seven days in a week, and ‘someday’ isn’t one of them. Set a deadline, and hold yourself accountable to make your dreams a reality.”
Make sure timelines are realistic, advises Mr. Casemore. Unrealistic timelines can lead to feelings of inadequacy or a belief that the entire process is useless. “This is why most people who set a New Year’s goal to lose weight by an unrealistic timeline give up early,” he says. For example, a rheumatologist may want to double the size of their practice and set a goal to do so in six months’ time when, in reality, two years may be a more realistic timeframe. In order to set realistic timelines, seek outside validation: What have others who have achieved this goal done, and what was their timeframe to do so?
Ready, Set, Go
Although taking “Easy Street” may seem appealing, you will ultimately miss out on opportunities and won’t reach your full potential if you don’t set professional goals. You can reach your goals by making realistic goals and striving for smaller milestones along the way. Set deadlines and hold yourself accountable. Have a mentor help guide you, and assess and re-evaluate your goals on a regular basis to ensure success.
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Pennsylvania.