Set goals, work towards them and reach your destination

One of the most impactful practices I’ve put in place is that of reflection. The act of thinking about past experiences and evaluating their influence on my current situation. I highly recommend setting aside some time to simply think. Think about last year and all of the various events and how they unfolded. Think about last month and how it was different from the month before. I find it very helpful to keep a notebook or journal and write down my reflections. Writing thoughts down somehow makes them more real, at least for me.

I start this column with my experience on reflection because I think it is critical to success in the topic I would like to put forth; setting goals for 2017.

This is one of those topics that I could write about all day every day. Goal setting, goal achieving, goals, goals, goals! It’s very appropriate that we talk about them this time each year.

We all have goals; each and every one of us. Some of us think we gave up on them a long time ago and don’t have any new ones but we do. Every day we wake up with the goal to live another day. Ok, maybe that is a stretch but don’t we all have goals to some extent? And why is it so important to have goals? Why is so important that you take time right now to clearly set goals for 2017?

Moving through life without a roadmap and expecting to reach certain destinations haphazardly is certainly one way to go. But it's not the best way.

The most successful doctors in our industry didn’t wake up one day with an idea and a few minutes later became successful… No way. They had an idea. They developed a plan. In that plan there were goals — some big, some small — some attainable, some way out there. 

And each day, they worked at it; chipping away, having triumphs and failures along the way but they tweaked and re-evaluated and kept working toward their goals. Goals!

We have all had goals from the day we were born. Sit up. Crawl. Walk. Talk. Feed ourselves. Dress ourselves. Express ourselves. Make friends. Learn. Communicate. Develop relationships. Graduate college. Complete optometry school. Get a job. Get married. Have a family. Start a practice. Buy a car. Buy a house. Take a vacation…. Many of these things are milestones that we can only achieve with a plan of action and goal setting. After all of this, isn’t it odd that once we many of us become established in our practice, we don’t continue to set goals and work towards achievement? We get comfortable, sometimes thinking that we’ve accomplished more than we ever really imagined.

I want to challenge you to start this year differently. Goals are objectives that you intend to achieve. Regardless of whether you’re new or established in practice, new or tenured in a job, take an afternoon and reflect on where you are in your personal and professional life and set goals for this new year. They don’t have to be monumental, they just have to be defined and something that motivates you to work towards making them a reality.

Moving through life without a roadmap and expecting to reach certain destinations haphazardly is certainly one way to go but if you want to get somewhere quickly and with less energy and time, then set goals, work towards them and you will find yourself exactly where you wanted to be.


With more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry, John D. Marvin writes about marketing, management and education at the practiceprinciples.net blog. He is president of Texas State Optical. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of INVISION.



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