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Your Dental Sleep Goals Are Unrealistic

Your Dental Sleep Goals Are Unrealistic

By Jason Tierney,
Connector – Wordsmith – Runner 

It’s happened to nearly all of us. We want a transformative experience and we set out with the best of intentions. I want to rock the 6 pack abs and the perfectly toned biceps at the beach in June so I sign up for a gym membership today.

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It’s Sunday. I’m going to eat healthily at each meal so I go to the grocery store and avoid the center aisles which contain all the bad stuff. I load up the cart with kale, cucumbers, & quinoa. And I’ll start tomorrow.

It’s the big day. Apparently no one told my colleagues and one of the saboteurs brings bubble tea to the office along with chocolate croissants. I guess I’ll actually start Tuesday.

I don’t get enough sleep Monday night & didn’t make it to the gym before work. Ghrelin and leptin be damned. Tomorrow is a new day and then I shall rise anew….but for now, I might as well Netflix and chill….with pizza.

Doggone it. Wednesday is here. This fresh produce isn’t so fresh anymore. A lot of habit experts recommend starting a new habit on Mondays. I’ll have a last hurrah & start next Monday.

Next Monday. The interest waned. I’m actually worse off now. I ate like Jabba the Hutt, committed to a one year gym membership I’m on the hook for, the cucumbers look like pickles in the fridge drawer, and I feel like a failure. Fast food drive-thrus are the only beneficiary of my well-intentioned, poorly mapped, unexecuted plans. The goal was too big sans micro-goals and without action.

Something similar happens in dental practices each day. Dentists attend their first Dental Sleep Medicine (DSM) course & decide they’re going to sell their practices and transition to DSM exclusively. They purchase new equipment, learn more about all of the appliances that even the manufacturers don’t know, and *crickets*…..

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Too often the end result is 100 hours of DSM CE with multitudinous starts and stops, a closet full of unused equipment, a shelf full of demo models, and a bad taste in your mouth that sorta tastes like that rotting kale (there’s a piece between 10 & 11, WHO’S YOUR FRIEND?!?).

Sure, a long-range goal to practice DSM only is attainable. I’ve seen dozens of dentists successfully make that leap. You must have achievable micro-goals on the way though. If you’ve never run, a marathon isn’t in your cards next week. Instead, lace up & run around the block. Tomorrow, do it twice. Wednesday, go for 4 laps. Next month, register for a 5k. It’s a process. Set reasonable goals on your way to the audacious goal. Stretch goals are good but an unattainable goal is demotivating.

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Get educated. Include your team. Screen patients. Talk with physicians. Treat team members and their spouses. You’ll get there. Slow and steady wins the race.

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