A new beginning
According to FOCUS Editorial Director Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, a New Year’s resolution is a commitment that we make to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. Whatever resolutions you might have for 2013, she suggests that you take small steps, become committed, and persevere.
As the New Year commences, we often take the opportunity to begin new habits or break old ones. It is a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, looking forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.
Popular New Year’s resolutions include: spend more time with family and friends; get fit; quit smoking; stop and smell the roses; get out of debt; save money; learn something new; help others; and get organized.
A New Year's resolution is a commitment that we make to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. “A key element to a New Year's resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings.”(1)
In this age of technology, we have apps to help us with everything! “7 Apps That Will Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Alive”.(2) Fitocracy is a fitness app(3), and Lose It! is a great app for tracking calorie intake and diet.(4) Snapguide is an iOS app that brings “How To” to the digital world(5), and My Last Cigarette helps users quit smoking by mapping out the changes in their health as they quit.(6) These and others can be found online.(2)
In The science of New Year’s resolutions: Why 88% fail and how to make them work, the author discusses how our brains can’t handle New Year’s resolutions.(7) He also discusses the difference between resolutions and habits. The problem, he states, is that any abstract or conceptual goal one has, that is not tied to a specific behavior, makes it very difficult for the brain to implement. The key is to make any goal a habit.(7)
Ms. Evans, in How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions, argues that while common knowledge dictates that goal setting should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited), Murphy says the key factor in sticking with resolutions isn't that the goals aren't clear or measurable, it's that people don't care enough about them.(8,9)
Instead, Murphy says goals need to be HARD (heartfelt, animated, required and difficult) to be successful. Murphy explains the keys to making this year's resolutions stick. Build an emotional attachment to your goal; create a visual representation of your resolutions; set a shorter timeline; and make your goals challenging.(8)
So, what are your New Year’s Resolutions?
Are they to attend more courses, read an article, write an article, or be more critical of the evidence when using treatments and products, and recommending them? Whatever you choose as your goal(s), take baby steps, become committed, and persevere.
Think about where you are now and where you might like to go in 2013 and beyond. How would you like to be different in 2013? Don't just focus on the superficial things but think about things that are more meaningful and in the end, maybe more satisfying. Try being more giving, grateful, compassionate, or ethical.
As we celebrate 100 years of dental hygiene in 2013, plan to attend the ADHA Annual Session in Boston in June, and the International Symposium on Dental Hygiene in August! Best of luck, and let us know your resolutions!
9. Mark Murphy, author of Hard Goals: The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (McGraw Hill, 2010). http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Goals-Secret-Getting-Where/dp/007175346X.