Calendar thoughts

Dec. 1, 2006
Numbers are magical. They can conjure up happy thoughts, birthdays, anniversaries, countdowns, scores, and measurements.

Numbers are magical. They can conjure up happy thoughts, birthdays, anniversaries, countdowns, scores, and measurements. Numbers can be descriptive, help us set goals or limits, or generate a sense of well-being or create a sense of urgency.

Twelve is a pivotal number in everyone’s life. There are 12 months in the calendar year. Clocks are based on two 12-hour increments - a.m. and p.m. Even hours and minutes are increments of twelve, since 60 is a multiple of a dozen.

Items are frequently sold in dozen lots. Take a dozen red roses or a dozen chocolate chip cookies. Religious references to the number 12 include the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 apostles.

The holiday season at the end of every calendar year reminds me of the number twelve. At this time of year folks from all over the world slow down, take a breath, and reflect on what has happened over the last 12 months. Some even look forward with anticipation to the next dozen.

Monthly calendars often display beautiful, thought-provoking, or humorous images designed to create a response in the viewer on a monthly basis.

Since 2007 is just around the corner, I’d like to suggest a calendar of professional thoughts for your use in the coming year. Since these are suggestions, please feel free to toss out any ideas that are not appropriate for you and substitute any thoughts or actions that will enrich your life further.

  1. Cherish your positive professional relationships. They will give you strength and clarity and support you in challenging times. Identify and distance yourself from relationships that create grief in your life.
  2. Take time to say thank you to those that you work with. It’s easy to overlook folks that make your clinical day go smoothly. A sincere and well placed thank you is priceless.
  3. Invest in your professional career by purchasing your own equipment or taking an extra continuing education course. You will feel better and the knowledge you gain makes you a more valuable dental professional.
  4. Learn something new through a journal article, a quality continuing education course, or via an online Internet group of like-minded professionals. Incorporating new ideas into daily practice keeps clinical practice alive and interesting.
  5. Share your time, talent, or money to make one little spot on the planet a better place to live. Just pick a place and determine how you can help make someone’s life better.
  6. Protect your future and recommit to your profession. Renew your ADHA membership, or take the plunge and join. This is the only official professional voice recognized by the public and other health professions.
  7. Make an effort to see the good in someone who annoys you. Be fair. What annoys you may really be a reflection of your own shortcomings.
  8. Reflect on how lucky you are to live at a time and in a country where you have the freedom to change your life, if it needs changing.
  9. Be more tolerant of diversity or people who are different. Remember you could be the different one in someone else’s eyes.
  10. Live in the moment but keep an eye on your professional and personal future. You are in charge of directing the course of every moment of your life.
  11. Discard scarcity thinking that increases your anxiety and robs you of energy. Abundance thinking will keep you moving forward.
  12. Take a deep breath and give yourself an unexpected gift. Pick something you have always wanted or something outlandish. It doesn’t have to be something practical, but it must be for you.

Think about what you will do with the next 12 months. Time is a precious commodity that can’t be banked or bartered. Some say they don’t have enough time. Others have too much time on their hands. There are activities that take up too much time and activities that are time dependent. The trite phrase “use it or lose it” speaks volumes.

Time is a gift, and it is up to each one of us to use our time in an appropriate fashion. Think about what you did with your last 12 months. Then think about how you are going to make the next 12 even better. Consider your options, formulate some strategic plans, write them down on your calendar, and review and refine as needed.

If you stick with this exercise and really consider what you are doing with your time, by this time next year you’ll be amazed at how much you have accomplished and how much better your personal and professional comfort zone feels every day. The math is simple. It’s based on 12. Give yourself the gift of time in units of 12. Happy holidays! RDH

Anne Nugent Guignon, RDH, MPH, is the senior consulting editor for RDH magazine. She is an international speaker who has published numerous articles and authored several textbook chapters. Her popular programs include ergonomics, patient comfort, burnout, and advanced diagnostics and therapeutics. Recipient of the 2004 Mentor of the Year Award, Anne is an ADHA member and has practiced clinical dental hygiene in Houston, Texas, since 1971. You can reach her at [email protected] or (713) 974-4540, and her Web site is