Setting SMART goals for 2010

Like most people, you probably realized sometime during the first week of January that you forgot to change your calendar to the new 2010 version you purchased last month. It makes sense that you may not have set goals for what you would like to achieve this year for your practice. Here are some key guidelines on how to develop goals that create focus and a successful outcome for 2010.

What is the SMART goal?

Setting goals for each practice is a powerful tool that creates synergy and focus for the team to achieve great results. People respond better to knowing what they’re trying to achieve, which makes it easier to reward exceptional performance with less redirection than stellar efforts. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based goals are the foundation for setting SMART goals.


Perhaps the most important step in goal setting is to eliminate any confusion about what the outcome should be. Saying the goal is to “get more new patients” is more vague than “developing a program to increase the number of new patients to 20 per month.” Being specific will help keep the team focused on what they have to work towards and avoid distractions.


If you do not measure the progress you are making towards the goal, you will miss the opportunity to know if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. Measuring your results also allows you to celebrate victories or adjust your efforts to make more progress. Visually track your progress as a reminder to employees of the results you’re working towards.

can be achieved

It feels admirable to dream big, but reality sets in quickly. Goals that are too far away can lower motivation rather than raise it. If you feel you have the resources and the team in place to achieve the goals you want to set, make sure you can reach them with a reasonable amount of extra effort.


In the current environment in which we operate, the objective must be aligned with the realities of the market. If your practice is in an area with many other competing doctors and your primary employer has reduced or eliminated some benefits, you need to consider these factors when setting goals. It would be unrealistic to set a goal of increasing your production by 50% after considering what ails your patient base.

based on time

People often work better when there is a deadline to deal with. Having a specific time to achieve the goal creates accountability as well as the need to assess progress toward the goal. With a deadline, it becomes easy to put a gal on the back burner and forget.

Goal setting is a powerful tool that any practitioner can use to achieve superior results. It’s still early enough to set the stage for a successful 2010. Taking the time to develop SMART goals will increase the chance that the next twelve months will be exciting and rewarding for you and your team.

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