As you can imagine, setting measurable goals and writing them out is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success in your private practice. Given that many of us are wrapping up the year and looking toward 2023, I thought a blog post to help you with your goal-setting would be helpful to ensure that you hit the ground running in the new year. I’ll also provide examples of measurable goals for health professionals and tips for tracking progress and measuring results.
“A year from now, you may wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb
Studies show that only about 3% of the population takes the time to write down their goals. Worse yet, only 1% achieve what they set out to do. As you can probably guess, you are much more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down – a whopping 42% more likely!
So read on to learn more!
The Importance of Goal Setting
At this point, it may seem pretty apparent that setting and writing down your goals (especially realistic goals) is essential when growing your private practice, whether your business is primarily online or in person. Why? Lots of reasons, but for starters, “goals” give you a clear sense of direction and help you focus on the required tasks to succeed.
Equally as important, clarifying your goals for yourself helps you to say “no” to strategies and tactics that are out of alignment with your overarching goals. It’s also easier to avoid the “shiny gold object syndrome,” which means you do a little of this and a little of that without ever seeing a strategy through fruition. (Sound familiar?!?). Finally, the goal-setting process helps keep you motivated by giving you a benchmark to which to strive.
Interestingly, research shows setting measurable and realistic goals and writing them down can lead to significantly more success than setting “intentions.” You may wonder – what’s s the difference between the two? How does a goal differ from setting an intention (after all, they sound pretty similar)? I’m glad you asked;-).
A goal is an external accomplishment and is something you can tick off your to-do list (i.e., take the dog for a 45-minute walk). At the same time, an intention is internal and reflects how you show up or how you want to “be” (i.e., “I will be fully present to the sights and smells on my walk today”).
Goals are a destination or specific task or achievement, while intentions are experiential; it’s the “juice” that helps you show up in such a way to succeed at achieving your goals.
Goals are external achievements. Intentions are about your relationship with yourself and others and how you want to show up in the world.
The critical takeaway is that achieving a goal without intention can leave one feeling “empty” inside. On the other hand, setting goals with a corresponding intention creates an overarching sense of purpose and alignment. Suffice it to say that setting intentions with your goals is the ideal planning scenario! We could go into much more detail about “intention-setting,” but for this article, we’ll resume our focus on the goal-setting process.
A significant benefit of having measurable goals is that doing so provides you with a clear path to reaching your desired outcomes. The goal-setting process requires that you decide on corresponding tactics to ensure success. It also helps you to stay organized and gives you a mechanism to track your progress, which is a significant bonus!
Hopefully, at this point, you’re seeing the clear benefits of goal setting and might even be thinking about the kind of goals you’d like to set for yourself. I recommend you look at the various facets of your life and business and set goals within each category. That might include personal (i.e., health and family), marketing, revenue goals, and any other aspect of your life that needs an upgrade!
Regarding your business goals, we get so much education on the clinical side of health care. Unfortunately, treating patients and helping clients with their illnesses is only one part of a successful practice. To be successful, setting measurable goals is necessary to help you reach the next level and grow your business.
Why Setting Measurable Goals Are Important
Having measurable goals is crucial because it allows you to track progress, measure results, and adjust as needed. As you may know, measurable goals comprise the “M” in the smart goals framework (which I use in my own business and highly recommend in yours!).
Measuring your progress will give you tangible evidence of how far you’ve come and provide data so you can “course correct” appropriately to ensure your success.
Another benefit of setting measurable goals is that it helps keeps not only you but also your team motivated! Having a concrete timeline for when you want to complete tasks and seeing tangible progress toward those goals can be encouraging and help keep everyone involved on track.
Let’s now focus on the connection between setting measurable goals and motivation. As we all know, staying motivated is key to reaching your goals, and setting quantifiable goals will dramatically contribute to your success at goal attainment.
Locke’s Goal Setting Theory
According to research and Locke’s Goal Setting Theory, setting measurable goals makes it much more likely that you will accomplish them. This theory states that setting and writing down specific and challenging goals can lead to higher achievements than setting general goals. Additionally, setting clear and measurable goals can help you stay focused on the task and prevent you from becoming distracted by irrelevant tasks or activities (remember that “shiny gold object syndrome” we discussed earlier?).
Enter the SMART goals framework! Did you know that this common goal-setting framework is derived from Locke’s theory (and is a great way to set measurable goals)? Here’s a quick review of how it works.
SMART goal format:
While we are focused on the “measurable” aspect of the SMART goal framework, be sure to consider all five elements of setting SMART goals when setting measurable goals as a health professional for your private practice.
How to Set Measurable Goals (that you can achieve) in Your Private Practice
Now that we’ve established why setting measurable goals is essential and how they are a vital part of your journey as a health pro, it’s time to put this into practice. Here are some guidelines and tips on setting measurable goals for your private practice (or your personal goals):
✔️ Start by developing simple, achievable goals (ideally, make them a bit of a “stretch” so they’re not too boring!) that you can realistically reach.
✔️ Make sure your goals are specific and measurable.
✔️ Instead of setting a goal to “get more clients,” set a goal to “book five new clients in the next month or, better yet, “book ten discovery calls next month” with the goal of closing at least five.
✔️ Develop the tactics for completing this goal (I suggest you pick at least six tactics for every goal).
✔️ Set realistic deadlines for each task or milestone (that includes the tactics you set for each goal).
✔️ Track your progress and make adjustments as needed (this should be a living document, meaning you make “course corrections” as you go!
The first time you sit down to do goal-setting can be daunting and overwhelming, but setting measurable and smaller goals and having an objective action plan can make it easier (and boost your motivation!). With these tips, setting realistic and achievable goals for your private practice should become much more straightforward.
Examples of Setting Measurable Goals in a Private Practice
Ok, Lesli, can you give me some examples of what business goals for my practice might be? Let’s take a look at some examples of powerful, measurable goals you may want to adapt for your practice:
👉🏼 Increase website traffic by 10% in the next three months
👉🏼 Generate five new leads per week for breakthrough sessions
👉🏼 Grow email list by 50 subscribers in one month
👉🏼 Set up a blog by “x” date and post keyword-researched blogs twice a week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays)
👉🏼 Launch my signature group program this February of the new year
As you can see, each of these goals is specific and measurable. Take some time to write down some goals for yourself. Let any ideas come to you, no matter how big or small. In this brainstorming session, you can write down as many or as few as you’d like.
Once you have written out your goals and given yourself some time to brainstorm, write down your top 3 goals for the next 90 days. Then you’ll be ready to create your action plan.
How to Create an Action Plan And Complete Your Goals
Woohoo! Congratulations on writing out your goals and being specific about the three goals you’ll accomplish in the next 90 days. Doing so takes more effort than 90% of your “competition” is willing to put in, so you are well ahead of the game!
The next step is to create your action plan, which is critical. Most health pros (even those that take time to write out their goals)rarely take this necessary step! The action plan is crucial to your success because it will help ensure your success.
Set milestones or measurable tactics for each goal: Break down each goal into achievable tasks or milestones, making them easier to track and measure. Doing so will help keep your expectations in check and helps you stay focused on your goals. Set a deadline for each task or milestone so you can stay accountable and motivated to complete them.
Track your progress: Once you have set up your action plan, track your progress throughout the next 90 days. Take note of any obstacles that come up and brainstorm solutions.
Tips for Tracking Progress and Measuring Results
Now that you have your goals in place, it’s essential to track your progress and measure the results of your efforts.
Here are a few tips on how to do this:
❇️ Create a tracking system or dashboard to monitor progress.
❇️ Use analytics to measure results.
❇️ Set up a system to review your progress regularly.
❇️ Make adjustments as needed to reach success faster and more efficiently.
The old saying goes, “Well begun is only half done.” You won’t get very far if you spend all your effort and energy creating goals but no time achieving them. Create an action plan, track your progress, and measure results to ensure you reach success with setting goals in your private practice!
How to Adjust Goals When Necessary
Often, setting goals isn’t enough. You might need to make adjustments and tweak your objectives to succeed. Here are a few tips on how to adjust your goals when necessary:
✔️ Break down the goal into smaller, manageable tasks
✔️ Determine what resources you need or additional skills you may need to acquire
✔️ Analyze your progress and make changes as needed
✔️ Seek help or advice from a mentor or coach
✔️ Re-evaluate the goal and adjust accordingly
Don’t feel discouraged if you need to adjust your goals. Making changes doesn’t mean you failed. You’ve heard me refer to this recalibration process as merely a “course correction” – a necessary part of the goal-setting experience.
The Benefits of Setting Goals in Your Private Practice
Can you see all the excellent benefits of setting measurable goals for your private practice? Remember, you’ll be more organized and more intentional with your time. You’ll also be more motivated and excited to work ON the business (versus IN the business) when you have pre-set goals and specific benchmarks to achieve. You’ll wake up in the morning with clarity and motivation about what you need to accomplish that day, and you can set realistic timelines.
What Happens After You Achieve Your Goals?
It’s time to do a happy dance! When you achieve the goals that you’ve outlined, I want to encourage you to take a moment to celebrate.
Be sure to acknowledge yourself for a job well done, and reward yourself with a special outing or some downtime to relax! Whether it’s setting up a system for tracking progress, taking an extra client, or launching an online course – give yourself the credit you deserve!
Setting goals and achieving them is one of the best ways to stay motivated and focused in your private practice and personal life. Setting measurable goals will help you set realistic timelines and track
Bottom line? Setting measurable goals is essential to the success of yourself, your business, and your team. As a healthcare practitioner, having clear, achievable objectives gives you a roadmap and keeps you motivated throughout the process. It also helps you track progress, measure results, make necessary adjustments, and say “no” to tasks that won’t contribute to your goal achievement.