Setting Yourself Up for Success with Goal Planning

In the first quarter of the year, goal setting is an activity top of mind for professionals across industries. While ‘goal setting’ can sometimes be an over-used phrase, research has proven that writing down goals leads to more success in accomplishing them.

People who set goals have higher levels of motivation and confidence and they also achieve greater personal and professional success. Goal setting creates a roadmap to help us gain clarity on what we want in the future.

At Heartland Dental, goals are an important component to our growth and development strategy, both at the company and individual levels. Our culture and core values support the thoughtful approach we take to goal setting and goal achievement throughout the year.

Company Goals

In many organizations, company goals are set at the executive level and disseminated to managers and team members for execution. Heartland Dental’s approach to goal setting is thoughtful and collaborative – working across all levels of the organization and in collaboration with our supported offices to ensure all supported doctors, hygienists, and team members are part of the process. Our approach to company goal setting provides a stronger sense of ownership and therefore, commitment to the outcome.

Our collaborative process does not stop with goal setting. Every quarter, our leadership team has an all day virtual meeting where goal owners present on the process and ask for insights and feedback from colleagues across the enterprise. Continuing to engage in two-way communication about our goals provides our team transparency and continuous engagement with the success of our goals.

At Heartland Dental, everyone plays a key role in our success. From executives to supported doctors and team members, we work together to support company goals and strive to help each other be the best we can be.

Individual Goals

In addition to company goals, everyone at Heartland Dental and in our supported offices from our supported doctors to team members and the executive team captures 10 individual goals each year.

Setting and writing goals can be overwhelming, so we work with supported doctors and their team members to assist them in developing goals for themselves and their businesses. We focus on defining SMART goals, and there are a few simple steps you can take to define your goals and be successful. Keep reading for a few tips!

Your goals should be specific, so it is clear to know what you are trying to accomplish and why. You have a better chance of accomplishing a specific goal than you do a general one. To define a specific goal, ask yourself the following questions to focus in on what you want to accomplish:

  • Overall, what are the things I wish to accomplish in this upcoming year?
  • What are the opportunities I want to capture?
  • What are the obstacles I want to overcome?
  • What skills or knowledge do I need to develop – technical, commitment, and leadership?

Goals should also be measurable – measuring both the end result and the milestones along the way. Milestone metrics help track your progress and help to ensure you are on the right track to achieving your goal. To plan measurement of your goal, ask yourself:

  • What tools will you use to measure how successful or unsuccessful your goal is?
  • Are there dates I can set to make sure I am progressing towards my goal?
  • How will you know when your goal is accomplished? 

You should ensure that the goals you set are attainable and that you have the resources needed. If you set goals that are unbelievable even to yourself, it is very unlikely you will achieve them. When defining your goals, ensure you are thinking about the time commitment and the resources needed to accomplish your goals.

Personal goals should be relevant – and aligned to your organizational and personal vision, mission, and purpose. For example, at Heartland Dental our mission is to “help doctors and their teams deliver the highest quality dental care and experiences to the communities they serve.” And every personal goal that I define, ultimately supports this mission.

It’s also important to challenge yourself when goal setting. Sometimes we can be tempted to do something simply because it is easy and sounds great, only to discover later that it has no long-term importance to what you want to achieve as an individual. 

Finally, it is critical to clearly establish a timeline to complete your goal. Try to be as specific as possible. For example, when should your goal be completed and when should you start to see outcomes?


When you have achieved a goal milestone or fully accomplished a goal – take the time to celebrate. Absorb the feeling of accomplishment when you achieve your goal because, first of all, you deserve it. And secondly, this will give you the motivation to set other goals and work to achieve them.

2023 is in full swing, but if you don’t have goals set, it’s not too late to start! Decide on your goals now, write them down, and find the tools you will need to be successful!  Remember to encourage others and help them see how beneficial goal setting can be.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.