Agents of Change – Sunday Surgical Scrub – 1 Jan 2017

“Allow yourself to change.

Allow yourself to change your mind.

At the dawn of a new year, you don’t have to be the same, so allow yourself to change.”


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about agents of change. Specifically, how you can be your own agent of change. Today, New Year’s Day 2017, many will awaken with resolutions and recipes to improve during the year ahead. However, from the best available evidence, only about 8% of people are successful at achieving their new year’s resolution and implementing some sort of meaningful change in their life. That is less than 1 in 10.

I find this failure rate surprising because we have an incredible ability to process and understand information. The bottleneck is in its implementation and persistent application. So, here are three quick tips to facilitate your ability to be an agent of change.

1. Start Small. Don’t attempt to change a multitude of behaviors overnight. Don’t set a plan that is beyond your reach. I see this commonly done. It is a predictable form of self-sabotage. This causes you to start with unrealistic plans, quickly fail, and then you are back to old stagnant ways. Instead, start small, set mini-goals, achieve, and build momentum.

2. Be Persistent. Stick to that which you want to change. In this regard, persistence and perseverance are congruent to progress and the powers of invention. Aim for a minimum of 80% adherence to the change you want to see. Let’s take learning a new language as an arbitrary example. Practice 4 days a week (80% of a 5-day work week) and go from there.

3. Be Kind. Be kind and allow yourself to change. This is the whole barrier. This is the singular obstacle in our puzzle. When I allow myself to change, I am forced to adapt in a new manner to the circumstances that exist. When you are kind to yourself, you accept that behaviors are not a binary process of pass/fail or yes/no but rather processes of evolution.


“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

-Charles Darwin


So, as you step into the hours of a new year, as the days click by on the 2017 odometer, allow yourself to change constantly. In the months that lie ahead, procure problems and opportunities in some new manner so that, when you look back this time next year, you see yourself as an agent of change.


MEDICINE & MACULA: Let’s start off the year with a wonderful image of a hemispheric retinal arteriovenous anastomoses from a patient with Wyburn-Mason Syndrome.

We published this image back in November 2015 entitled, Hemispheric Retinal Arteriovenous Anastomoses (Eric K Chin, D Brice Critser &  David RP Almeida) in JAMA Ophthalmology (2015;133(11):e151687. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.1687).

You can find the study here.


GRATIS: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” -Oprah Winfrey


Happy New Year!

David Almeida

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