It doesn’t have to be the start of a new year for you to sit down and reflect on everything you have achieved so far. You can look at the past week, the past month, the past quarter, or even the past year to assess your progress. In September, as we begin a new academic year, it’s a perfect opportunity for us to look back on what has happened in the previous year and set some goals for the upcoming year as well. What are your hopes and dreams? Have they changed, evolved, or grown at all?
Knowing how to set smart goals for nurse practitioners (NPs) can go a long way. In this article, we share with you how you can set a SMART goal and obtain everything you have set out to achieve!
What is A SMART Goal?
You may be thinking of “smart” as in “intelligent” or something that makes sense for your career goals. While you definitely do want to set intelligent goals, SMART is also an acronym that can help you stay focused and hold you accountable. It can be all too easy to slip away from your goal when it’s too far out of reach.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound. Read on to find out how each one should direct the goals you set!
When you are talking about your goal, you want to be extremely focused. This applies to both your personal goals as well as your professional goals as a NP. Instead of saying “I want to get healthier and lose weight” which is very vague, it would be better to say “I want my blood pressure to come down ten points which I can achieve by losing 20 pounds”. The latter would be very specific and also touches on our next point as you want the goal to be measurable.
Sure, it’s great to have a goal of growing your medical practice. However, what does “growth” actually mean? It can be hard to see any actionable results when you don’t have a way of measuring this growth.
So, if you are starting a new primary care practice, you may say “I want to see 100 new patients within the first three months of opening my doors”. This gives you something measurable to work with as you can track the number of patients who come to you. By doing so, you can tell how close you are to achieving your goal.
If your goal does not get any more specific than “growing your practice”, it can be hard to quantify. Let’s say that you find yourself putting in more hours than usual, but the number of new patients has not actually increased. A measurable goal is so important because it keeps you on track by giving you something objective to gauge your performance against.
The next point to remember is that your goal should be attainable. If you have never jogged around the block once in the past year, you probably don’t want to commit to running a marathon in three months. Not only are you bound to be disappointed, but you may also end up experiencing burnout by trying to reach an unrealistic goal. So, you will want to pick something relevant and realistic, which brings us to our next point.
What is a relevant goal? Think about it as something that makes actual sense for your situation. You need your goal to be meaningful in your real life and your real circumstances. Staying relevant is all about being focused and not getting sidetracked along the way. Of course, it’s possible for your goals to change over time. You may discover that you actually prefer the direction in which you have veered; however, most of the time, that’s just not the case. You have to be prepared to put in a lot of extra work.
If you are starting a med spa, maybe your goal is to see at least 200 patients in your first three months. If you are thinking of starting a telemedicine practice, your goal is going to be very focused on how you are going to build up this virtual platform to see patients. You do not want to get distracted by thinking that you may want to do Botox on the side, as it’s not relevant to your telemedicine practice and will distract your attention from your main goal.
Lastly, you want any goals you set to be time bound instead of never-ending. It’s important to have that factor of time involved to instill a sense of urgency. Otherwise, you may find yourself putting off until tomorrow what can be done today. Instead of “I want to start my own telemedicine practice”, it should be “I want to start my own telemedicine practice in the next year or by the time I turn 35”.
This will provide you with a limited timeframe in which to put your plans into action which can be necessary to spur you on!
Setting Both Personal and Professional Goals
When you are thinking of your goals, keep in mind that they need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and bound by time. That way, you can never go wrong!
Take some time now to reflect and set one big goal for your career and one for your personal life. After you have decided on what they are, make sure you can be constantly reminded of them by sticking post-it notes around your office. If you would like to get a little more hands-on, you can also consider making a dream board!
Need A Collaborating Physician to Help You Reach Your Goals?
As part of your nurse practitioner business plan, you may need to engage a collaborating physician to work with you. No matter what your niche may be, we can match you with a collaborating physician within 14 days when you engage our services at Collaborating Docs. Get in touch with us today to request a free quote and feel free to take a look through our client testimonials and find out why you should entrust us to match you today!