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Making Life Intentional in 5 Steps

Real-World Insights from AADOM Authors

As the new year is off to a start, we set goals for the coming year and reflect on what we accomplished last year. Sometimes they are related to the dental practice; they may be personal goals or goals related to your family. (Not to mention, the proverbial “be healthier” goal.) We can learn from our reflection, but the part that is most exciting to me is the future. We get to determine what we spend our time doing!

One of my favorite books, Dream It. List It. Do It!… This text opens a new tab to find the book on Amazon…, provides an array of ideas that you may have never thought of doing. But those ideas just stay dreams unless we plan for them. This is where being intentional comes in. At the office, we talk about goals, plans, morning huddles, and progress. But in our personal lives, we often put ourselves last. I challenge you… Make 2020 the year of YOU!

Great thought, but where to even start?

5 steps toward making life intentional

1. Categorize your priorities.

Make a list of no more than 10 areas of your life that are important to you. Some of these priorities may be related to:

  • Family
  • Personal Growth & Development
  • Health & Wellness
  • Finances
  • Professional Growth & Development
  • Spirituality & Religion
  • Community Involvement
  • Career
  • Friends

2. Define what you want from each category.

From each category, define what your goals are. Make sure they are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound. Examples may be:

  • Spend 6 weekends “unplugged” with the family
  • Go on 1 memorable, 1 week-long vacation to Disney
  • Go on 20 dates with your significant other
  • Read 10 books on how to be a stronger leader
  • Read 5 articles on being a parent
  • Eat healthy 4 days a week
  • Go to the gym (and work out) 3 days a week
  • Get a physical exam
  • Save $1,000 in a savings account
  • Donate $100 to a charity
  • Start a 401(K) and invest 2% of your pay
  • Attend an AADOM Conference… This text opens a new tab to the AADOM Conference website…
  • Start an AADOM Chapter… This text opens a new tab to the AADOM Chapters website… or go to Chapter events in your area
  • Watch 12 webcasts… This text opens to the AADOM webcast library… about topics that pertain to your position
  • Apply for your Fellowship or Mastership through AADOM
  • Attend a religious service 48 times a year
  • Experience a spiritual journey that you haven’t taken before
  • Volunteer 100 hours a year
  • Hold the door open for someone each time you pass through a door
  • Increase your practice production by 2%
  • Learn about a topic in dentistry that you are not familiar with
  • Update your resume
  • Spend 4 weekends a year with just friends
  • Go out with friends once a month

3. Put it on the calendar.

Once you have these items created, put it on the calendar now! If these are truly your priorities, get a big calendar that shows the entire year and write all of this down. You will see how quickly the calendar fills up! Once it’s on the calendar, don’t change it.

4. Book your trips, courses, and education.

Put investment in your priorities. This will determine if they truly are priorities.

5. Tell your friends and family.

Let the world know you have priorities and you are going to achieve them. It’s no different than support groups. When you publicly proclaim you are doing something, the likelihood of doing it increases also. Some people even list it on websites and social media. You’ll never know who can help you fulfill your dream if you keep it to yourself.

How to determine your intentions

These 5 steps are straightforward. The hard part is determining what you want. If you have always wanted to go to the beach or to see snow, make it happen. There will always be obstacles that come in the way, but plan for the success of your goals rather than the excuses. If you really want something bad enough, you will take the steps to accomplish it.

At the end of the year, you can look back and see all the things you have accomplished that in previous years you only talked about.  Dreaming is delightful but doing is REMARKABLE.

On a personal note, it took many years of going through the day-to-day activities, just trying to survive until the next day. There was always some kind of catastrophe that would come up and I didn’t accomplish the things I wanted to. One year, after a significant medical condition, I was determined. I promised myself that for as long as I was on the face of this beautiful earth, I would experience life. I let go of the things that didn’t matter and just took up time and embraced the things I longed for. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have experienced the things that I have experienced and continue to grow each year!

Meet the Author

Kelli Carter, FAADOMKelli Carter is the Practice Administrator for Advanced Dentistry South Florida in Delray Beach, Florida. With more than 23 years of experience in the dental industry, Kelli has seen the many challenges that office managers face on a daily basis. She is passionate about giving back to the community, helping others, and protecting our environment. While the patient experience is extremely important, Kelli believes that it all starts with having an engaged team. Kelli is the Chapter President for the Southeast Florida Chapter of AADOM and a Fellow.


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