By Libby Rothschild, CEO of Dietitian Boss; follow on LinkedIn.
At first, setting goals can be daunting. Do you picture a colossal to-do list or a marathon that will take months to complete when you think of goals? Goal setting is a practical step to improving the growth and success of your private dietetic practice. Here are five benefits you could see when you start to set goals, as well as advice on how to go about doing exactly that.
1. You are more accountable to yourself and your business.
Goal setting is a critical element of business success, and a big part of that is being accountable to yourself and your business. Without accountability, it is easy for dietitians in private practices to let things fall through the cracks.
A quarterly goal-setting method makes it easier for you to stay on track with your goals because it requires you to write down what you want to achieve, when you want things done and how much time (and money) you will spend doing so.
When working toward quarterly goals, you can also set up monthly check-ins from now until the end date of the goal. This way, you can know where you stand throughout the year, rather than waiting until midyear when most people tend to be less motivated.
2. Accomplishing goals is easier when you break them up.
Shifting your focus from the bigger picture to smaller, more manageable goals can help you stay motivated and achieve your dreams. For example, instead of envisioning yourself as a dietitian with a thriving private practice in five years, you might choose to break up this goal into smaller chunks.
Maybe your first goal is to get 20 new clients within six months. Then next year’s goal can be to get 100 new clients by the end of the year. After that, it can grow to 500 new clients by year three, and so on.
Taking small steps and not thinking too far ahead of yourself can make it easier to stay focused on what needs doing right now instead of getting overwhelmed by how far away “success” seems (and how long it will take). In addition to being more manageable than annual goals, quarterly goals also allow you time for reflection on progress made thus far.
3. You can plan better.
If a goal is already set in stone, it is easier to prioritize your tasks, schedule time for them, and see the progress you make along the way. Visualizing your goals is especially important if your practice needs a task completed to run smoothly (e.g., training new staff members).
By setting quarterly goals, you can gain an idea of what needs to be done so that when something comes up unexpectedly (as it often does), there are no surprises or setbacks that might derail your plans for success.
4. You become proactive instead of reactive.
In my opinion, being proactive is the best way to be, in general. You are ahead of the game, so you can handle things before they happen or prevent them from getting out of hand.
Hence, instead of reacting to everything that comes up as it happens, use your quarterly goals to plan for everything you want or need to do in your practice. Think of something on your mind that needs solving right now (like billing issues or patient scheduling).
Write down how much work time it would take for one person in your office who has expertise in this area (even if it is just yourself) and add that into your workload projections each quarter. Then factor those hours into the rest of what needs doing during those weeks until they are done with their task, so nothing else gets pushed.
5. You start to focus on the bigger picture.
One of the essential benefits of quarterly goals for dietitians in private practices is gaining a big-picture overview. Quarterly goals are an excellent tool for helping you let go of what is not working or moving you toward your more prominent, important goals.
It is common to lose yourself in the daily minutiae, but do not let those small things take too much time or energy. Instead, focus on what can help you achieve the bigger picture. By focusing on the things that are important to you and moving you forward, you can have a clearer vision of who you want to be and what you hope to achieve.
Setting quarterly goals can help you stay on track and reach your long-term vision of where you want your business and life to go. It can also help you focus on what is essential and stay motivated when some days are not going so well.
There are many benefits of setting quarterly goals for dietitians in private practice. Remember, your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely), and do not forget to celebrate your wins!