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Setting SMART goals will help you advance in your dental hygiene career.

Mastering mindset: Cultivating habits for success in dental hygiene practice

May 7, 2024
If you feel stuck in the op, there are ways to change up your career. A growth mindset is a good start, followed by setting SMART goals.

Our mission is to empower 100,000 hygienists to beat burnout and grow in their careers. It's common for hygienists to feel stuck or confined to the four walls of their op. They often believe there’s no more for them in their careers, and they allow these limiting beliefs to hold them back.

We were once those hygienists sitting in the office, wondering what other opportunities there were for us and how we could grow in our careers. We want to shed light on how mindset and changing your habits can elevate your career. There are some mindset techniques you can implement now to help start your career growth trajectory. 

Adopt a growth mindset

What does a growth mindset even mean? A growth mindset is a belief that you’re capable of change and that through hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals. We challenge you to believe that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work.

You will have to work on this new practice, which can be difficult. Embrace challenges, learn from your mistakes, and see failures as opportunities for growth rather than setbacks. This is something we work on with our clients, and it’s part of the foundation of our coaching. It’s a good idea to have an accountability buddy to hold you accountable for the new mindset you're adopting. 

Set SMART goals

Have you heard of a SMART goal? When we work one on two with clients, it’s part of the journey to have them create SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. You can use these goals for your career growth. It's good to break them down into small milestones and regularly check in, assess your progress, and adjust as needed. This will help you maintain focus and stay accountable and motivated while tracking your progress.

Remember that it's essential while tracking your progress to celebrate your small wins along the way. These small wins equal significant gains over time. Here’s a guide to help you create actionable steps to create your own SMART goals.

Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve. For instance, "I want to increase my patient retention rate by 15% within the next six months."

Measurable: Establish criteria for tracking progress. In the example here, you can measure patient retention rate through monthly reviews of appointment data.

Achievable: Ensure your goal is feasible with the resources and time available. Consider factors such as workload and existing commitments.

Realistic: Set goals that align with your skills, abilities, and career trajectory. Aim for growth that is challenging yet within reach.

Time-bound: Assign a deadline for achieving your goal. This adds urgency and helps prioritize tasks. In the example, the deadline is six months.

By following these steps, you can create SMART goals that propel you toward career advancement and personal fulfillment.

Cultivate habits

We support habits that support you and your career growth, such as self-care and continuous learning. When you take better care of yourself, you can take better care of your loved ones and patients. Making continuous learning a priority in your career will propel your dental hygiene career forward. Seek new skills, knowledge, and experiences through CE courses, books, mentors, or networking. Stay curious and open-minded to adapt to evolving industry trends. 

Implementing these three steps today will be the first stage of propelling your career forward. Following these steps has allowed us to fill our cups personally and professionally, both in and out of the op. Stay tuned for out next article where we’ll discuss innovations and technologies that have elevated our careers. 

Danielle Avila, BSDH, RDH, and Laura Bettencourt, BSDH, RDH, have more than 15 years of clinical experience in the New England area. They are the cofounders of L’Diamante Dental Coaching. Their expertise lies in fostering human connections, building relationships, advancing careers, and leading teams. As mindset hygiene career coaches, they take great joy in guiding and empowering their clients to attain the confidence and clarity they desire. Danielle and Laura are deeply committed to education, mentorship, and promoting a positive attitude in all aspects of life. For guidance, support, and to learn more visit ldiamantecoaching.com or email [email protected].