5 steps to make your EMS resolutions STICK

Every year starts with good intentions. Make this one filled with real world positive change


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Emergency responders are great at quickly spotting problems and finding immediate solutions, but when it comes to long-term changes, some of us have a harder time.

As this year winds to a close, we look forward to making changes in the coming year to improve ourselves and our organizations. The challenge is to make these resolutions stick so that their positive change is still around after the excitement has worn down.

As this year winds to a close, we look forward to making changes in the coming year to improve ourselves and our organizations. (Photo/Flickr)
As this year winds to a close, we look forward to making changes in the coming year to improve ourselves and our organizations. (Photo/Flickr)

Follow these five steps to make your EMS resolutions STICK.

1. Specific goals

Rather than setting general goals, get specific. For example, instead of “improving at ECG interpretation” or “getting healthier” consider, “understanding Sgarbossa ECG criteria well enough to run a continuing education class in March” or “being able to run 3 miles in under 30 minutes by the end of the month.”

The more specific your goals, the harder it is to fool yourself that you’re making headway when you really aren’t. Specific goals also make it easier to see when you are making real progress which will keep up the energy and enthusiasm required to get you where you want to be.

2. Team work

When it comes to making a difficult change, working with teammates is better than attempting to go it alone. Even for solo resolutions, working with others who share your goal and giving honest reports of each other’s progress will help keep you motivated. For larger resolutions, having the support of other team-members can give you the outside perspective that can be crucial for long-term success.

3. Incremental improvements

The Japanese word kaizen means continuous improvement. It is usually thought of in terms of improving something 1 percent per day. While it may not seem like much, imagine how much you can improve in a year if your goal each and every day is to be better at something by just 1 percent.

While some days may be more of a challenge, when you continually aim for small, but consistent movement towards your goals, you are more likely to keep up your effort and achieve success.

4. Chart your progress

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. When you pick a specific goal and shoot for small, incremental, but consistent progress, you should reward yourself with the reminders of how close you are getting. Whether you use a notebook, an app, a chart or a paper calendar, making your mark each day can help you (and your teammates) stay committed to achieving that big win.

5. Keep it up

Making a resolution is easy. Working on it when it isn’t fun anymore is tough. When you know exactly where you want to go, you have others joining you on the journey or cheering you on your way, when you strive for little wins and chart them as you go, you are much more likely to achieve any goal you set for yourself.

Specific goals, team work, incremental improvements, and charting your progress to keep it up are the steps to success for making your EMS resolutions STICK this year.

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