Resolutions: What do you really want?

By Don Deems, DDS, FAGD

August 31, 2009 -- Editor's note: The Coaches Corner column appears regularly on the advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

Resolutions -- we all make them, and too often break them. But do you know what a resolution really is? It's a resolve against doing something. Yes, you read that right. Are you sure that's what you intended when you made that resolution?

I don't know about you, but I've never seen anyone make permanent changes in their life by making resolutions. They may start out by not doing some action, but invariably they return to the same old behavior pattern.

One very important element of a resolution is the universal law of resistance: The harder you push, the harder you'll be pushed back. Try it; you won't like it. Really, try it. It's a good lesson.

I'll give you a silly example. You make a resolution not to eat sweets. Great. The first week goes by and you've almost survived the trauma your body has suffered from eliminating sweets. You're miserable, grouchy, and hard to be around, but by gosh -- no sweets! Then you begin to wonder: Should you just give up and go back to eating sweets because now you've proved you can do it?

Eventually, almost everyone falls back into the behavior they made a resolution not to do because the universal law of resistance is more powerful than we are.

Let's get to something closer to home. Make a list of resolutions you've made for your office -- all of them. How many did you achieve and still maintain today?

I'm going to suggest doing something entirely different. Using the sweets example, why not set a goal of eating more healthfully instead? I have no doubt your resolutions for your practice were well-intended; you might have even considered them goals. But how you may have gone about achieving them is a totally different matter.

Looking at your resolutions, I challenge you to rephrase those resolutions into actions that will move you toward what you really want. Make them goals, intentions, or directions ... anything but resolutions!

What do you really want? Now that's something worth pondering!

Don Deems, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., known as the Dentist's Coach, is a co-founder of the Dental Coaches Association, an organization of dentists who are professional coaches committed to bringing professional coaching to the dental profession. Learn more about professional coaching by visiting

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2009


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