Brighter Smiles: What’s on Your List?

Monday January 02, 2023

We’re already a week into the New Year. Wow, does time fly! Do you have your list of New Year’s resolutions to make 2023 the best year ever? Throughout the year I’m always adding things to my list of things to do. As with many to-do lists, some of the items on it keep getting pushed down in the ranking of priorities because of the constraints of time. So, just like last year, my first New Year’s resolution is to take that list and purify it.
Many driven people pride themselves on how many tasks and commitments they are able to take on. This is difficult to sustain. Eventually, this philosophy of always doing more becomes counterproductive, as you inevitably have to approach your growing list of commitments from a different perspective.
The reality of it is that getting more done is not a matter of doing more things; it is a matter of doing the right things with your time. In that sense, the answer is often found in identifying and relieving yourself from the low-value time wasters that hold you back from giving your full attention to the things that truly matter to drive you forward.
You can’t buy more hours in a day, but you can reclaim time for yourself. You can choose to delegate and/or choose to streamline and purge yourself of recurring nuisances that eat away at your productivity. You can choose to say “no”. If there is something that doesn’t fit your criteria for being worthwhile, don’t do it. However, eliminating things from your life does not mean burdening someone else with daily personal responsibilities.
By purifying your time priorities in this way, you amplify the value of your time. So, as you put together your list of things you want to do over the coming year, be sure to work on another list at the same time: a list of things you don’t want to do anymore.
Be persistent with it, keeping in mind that this is your most precious resource we are talking about. Examine each recurring demand on your time and ask yourself if it’s adding value to your life in an intangible way? Is it enhancing your productivity and improving your life? If the answer is no to both of those questions, the next question becomes obvious: Then why are you doing this?
Challenge yourself right now to sit down and create your own list of things to not do in 2023. Try to come up with at least five items. This is a great way to start the year with a feeling of liberation. This allows you to clear your mind of clutter and award yourself more time and energy to embrace the really important possibilities.
You can create specific lists for different aspects of your life, like your health. Changing your habits takes effort and the awareness that you want the change in your life. Quality sleep is probably one of the most important things to make sure is in check. Many people have sleep hygiene issues that greatly affect their life and how they feel. I’ll have more on that this year!
If you have been neglecting your dental health, make this a priority to get in order this year. It doesn’t matter if you “think” everything is okay. As with every single thing on your list, there needs to be accountability. Change is good for you!
Dr. St. Clair maintains a private dental practice in Rowley and Newburyport dedicated to health-centered family dentistry. If there are certain topics you would like to see written about or questions you have please email them to him at You can view all previously written columns at

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