Like the well-intentioned New Year’s “resolution”, if you were really truthful, have you forgotten the feelings and situations that you found yourself in a few weeks ago, and are now back to doing what you did prior to March of 2020? Have the pressing changes that you had to make fallen away as you deal with the mundane activities of the new normal? Say, it isn’t so.
To understand the why and how you find yourself fall short of where you resolved to be just weeks ago, we need to understand what it means to make a resolution. To resolve means to find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or situation) and to decide firmly on a course of action. In other words, resolutions are driven by the determination to do something. From February through July, we have presented articles followed by action steps bolstered by materials and protocols to help you not just get back to status quo, but to move far past the mediocrity that defines most of our practices. COVID-19 has given each of you the clarity to see where you fall short, what’s important, and where to find the momentum and time to make the changes you should have embraced years ago. Yet, 90% of the doctors I have spoken to in the last few weeks find themselves mired in the old habits that held them back in 2019: high staff concerns, faltering culture, and a lot of overhead creep.
How is it that things as simple as New Year’s resolutions for losing weight or getting fit don’t even last till the end of January? A mere 30 days and our dreams and resolve dissolve back to settling for what we had the previous year. Shouldn’t the effects of a pandemic and a two-month (or longer) shut down be enough for us to actually follow through on making those important practice changes that held us back pre-COVID? Apparently not. I am afraid that we are just now approaching another level of uncertainty. Schools are starting back, and with any increase of infection rates you will see every school shut down and go back to remote learning. Sports are making a resurgence, yet team after team is finding it almost impossible to compete without the shadow of this pandemic quickly making any semblance of normalcy only a dream. The experts, while being reserved about their optimism for a cure or vaccine, are warning that a resurgence is almost guaranteed by late October with the probable rise of another flu on the horizon. We are entering a financial recession that is overdue by years and has nothing to do with the pandemic. Add to it a presidential election year with candidates on both sides of the aisle coming from the shallow end of the integrity, truthfulness, and intelligence pool. Are these the best America has to offer?
Life isn’t fair. You get what you deserve rather than what you want. This is not the time to go back and do what you were doing in 2019. This is still the best opportunity you will have over the next decade to reset the clock, fix the culture, refine the protocols, and assemble the best team available. It is not too late unless you have already lost your resolve to do “whatever it takes”.
While reading a science article recently, I came across an interesting condition that is at the crux of why you find yourself slipping back into the life and practice you had before the pandemic turned your life upside down. It is called “decision fatigue”. It is a state of low willpower that results from having invested effort into making choices. This in turn leads to putting less effort into making further choices, so now you find that choices are avoided or they are made in a very superficial way. There is still time, and there is still a need for making the decisions that can literally change the future of your practice.
Take the time to review the articles we have been placing before you since March 1, 2020. They will give you a fool proof blue print to the best you. They will redefine your future and guarantee your success. Willpower diminishes and decision fatigue increases over the course of the day, so if you have important decisions to make, make them in the morning after a full night’s sleep and a good breakfast. Plan out tomorrow’s goals and schedule the day before. I even lay out my clothes that I plan to wear the night before so as to not complicate my day by waking up with a head start. If you begin to fade during the day, take a short break. Prioritize your decisions, and try to focus on one at a time. Please give me a call and let’s take a hard look at where you are and where you can be. That is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS. “There are only two options regarding commitment. You are either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” Pat Riley