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From Plan to Reality: Making Goals and Sticking to Them

May 09 2021

delta plan to reality making goals 1Real estate is one of the most popular second careers in the United States.

Agents come from all sorts of backgrounds and from all over the country. From homemakers to retirees, tradespeople to executives, each person brings a fresh perspective to the industry. Along with a growing number of college students graduating from real estate business programs, all of these various viewpoints and personalities help shape the future of buying and selling homes.

What one thing unites them all, more than anything else? They want to succeed – and no matter when they begin their career, they're in it for the long haul.

Many people spend their first two years in real estate getting their footing and discovering the ins and outs of the trade:

  • Learning fundamental real estate skills and discovering what appeals to them
  • Seeking out warm leads among their family, friends, and business associates
  • Executing on those crucial first transactions and cultivating a referral network

There are few things more satisfying than reaching closing day on your first home. It is a truly transformative experience for many newcomers: The day they can see that they have truly made a difference in a client's life.

But how you get started isn't always how you should continue.

It's easy to fall into the trap of doing what's worked before for as long as you can. Unfortunately, it's impossible to grow or scale your business without stretching to try new things. If you stay in "referral mode," your profit will always be limited by the hours in the day. And if you push yourself to work too much, you could crash.

Instead, real estate agents who have cleared those first few hurdles should take time to plant seeds and find that perfect balance.

The Goals You Pursue Today Are Your Seeds for a More Prosperous Tomorrow

The most precious resource is time. Few things make that more obvious than a handful of weeks spent working 10-hour days!

When you set and commit to goals, you are designing your future in important ways:

  • You determine the highest-value ways to use your skills, money, and time in the long run
  • You go from having a job to owning a business that can help you live the life you desire
  • By growing on the way to your goals, you are more resilient when circumstances change

Even goals we don't reach can teach us things we will use in the future — because the purpose of setting a goal is to clarify where you're headed and move in the right direction consistently. It's that second part – consistency – that brings so much challenge, even for high-performing people who accomplish much in many areas of life.

Big goals can seem very far away. In many cases, your progress toward them is opaque. So, how does anyone – in real estate or otherwise – stay the course on those big goals? Odds are good you set a few goals of your own in January.

delta plan to reality making goals 2

Here's how to stick to them and excel:

Recognize the Limits of Your "Goal Bandwidth"

Goals are critical to being proactive and intentional. But whether you're working solo or you have a team of ten, time and attention set hard limits on goals. From individuals to agencies, most people have room for two or three goals at a time. The more goals you have, the more divided your focus and the less time you can devote to each one.

Make Your Goals Impossible to Ignore

Goals need to be externalized into the present world to have any effect. Even something as simple as having to open a specific file to review your goals is already too complicated. Just like fundraisers have those iconic "donation thermometers," you need physical reminders of your plans, so your thoughts return to them regularly.

Break Goals into Smaller, More Attainable Pieces

The bigger a goal is, the easier it is to feel out of reach. Anyone who has ever tried to lose 30 pounds or more knows this feeling. The solution? Break goals down into individual steps, then look at that immediate next step and dice it down even further until you understand precisely what you need to do next.

Document Those Small Pieces Wherever Possible

Say you discover that one goal has four major steps, and the first of those steps has six little pieces. The odds of you remembering all of them at any given time are nil – they exceed working memory all on their own. Once you figure out your steps, write them down. This will also help you uncover gaps where more research or planning is needed.

Make Time to Review Your Goals

As you take those small steps, you are making progress. But that progress is often hard to see, let alone be excited by. Goal reviews should happen at least monthly, for two reasons. One, they ensure you are still doing the things you need to do. Two, they put your progress since the last check-in into context, boosting morale.

Find Ways to Leverage Accountability

Research shows people are much more likely to complete a fitness program if they enter it with a friend and stick together. So, too, with real estate goals. Peer accountability works and avoids the de-motivation traps that top-down accountability to a boss can cause. Accountability to a mentor can also be highly effective.

Implement the Tools You Need to Reach Your Goals

As you center your goals, you will find more opportunities to update and upgrade your workflows. You might find, for example, that you can save half an hour a day by using a Customer Relationship Management suite to stay aware of what your contacts are doing. Look at the long-term cost-benefit of tools as you decide.

Eliminate Distractions from Your Day

The bird's-eye view keeps you on the right track, but goals aren't attained at 30,000 feet: They involve daily effort down in the trenches. One of the best ways to rack up those hours is to cut distractions. Start with your mobile device; it should be on mute and notification-free for defined periods of the day while you do deep work.

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to Guide Daily Priorities

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of the Allied invasion of Normandy, used a single tool to optimize his limited time and attention. This four-quadrant matrix immediately clarifies the relevance of any work task:

  • Urgent and Important: These tasks are top priority and should be done right away
  • Urgent, Not Important: These tasks should be delegated if they cannot be eliminated
  • Important, Not Urgent: Time must be set aside for these long-term growth tasks
  • Not Important, Not Urgent: These tasks can be cut out of one's work-time schedule

Dedicate Your First Hour to Your Highest Priority

Invest the first hour of work (after your morning routine) to the most vital task that will bring your goals closer. This hour should be ruthlessly distraction-free, which is why it helps to do it early: FOMO is often high among real estate agents, who know they must respond to leads in minutes, but always put first things first.

Goals become goals because they won't materialize in the normal course of doing business – or if they do, it will take ten times longer than with focused, intentional effort. Using these techniques, you can drive toward your goals more consistently, honor the value of your time and energy, and still get the rest you need.

To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.