If you want to live your life by design, the only way is to set goals — and realize them. If you don’t, you’ll be living by default, and someone or something else will dictate your life for you.
Setting goals creates a foundation. I am not exceptional or extremely smart but I have had some notable achievements in my life. I developed a top-producing real estate team after only five years in the business, have a family, and recently lost 40 pounds in six months.
It’s simplistic to say that all it took was setting a goal for each of those things. After all, everyone knows how to set goals. You also have to stick to them.
There are four principles that will ensure you achieve your goals: affirmation, accountability, tracking and action.
That always makes me laugh. But it’s important to do the same thing, even though it might seem silly. Creating and saying affirmations feels strange at first for some people, but the power of affirmation becomes clear very quickly.
My business partner and I wanted to sell 45 homes in one year. The average real estate agency sells about seven annually (if they are lucky). We created affirmations around this goal and by the end of 2010, we’d sold 49 homes.
Affirmations clarified our goals and kept us focused on the activities that would take us there. Without those affirmations, we surely would have fallen off course. Affirmations need to be simple and believable — and, yes, they need to be said aloud at least twice a day. Some of mine were “I will sell 85 homes in 2011” or “I am the top real estate agent in Chester County.”
They can also be aimed at limiting beliefs you may have. One of mine is: “What I think or say to myself is or will become reality, therefore I pay very close attention to what I think and say.”
If the only person you tell your goals to is yourself, the chances of success are limited. Seek out people in your life who you can share goals with, and help each other achieve them. Before we were business partners, Caleb Knecht and I would meet every Friday to review our goals and how we did. Just knowing he would ask me was very motivational.
Coaches and mentors are also great for accountability. I’ve had a personal coach since August 2010. That’s one of the reasons I lost so much weight and am in the best shape of my life. While they aren’t cheap, the results that can be achieved with a good coach are well worth the cost.
Navigating successfully toward your goals is no different than navigating somewhere geographically with a map or GPS. If you don’t track how you’re doing, you will have no idea where you are. You will miss celebrating your successes as well as being motivated to kick it up a few notches because you’re trailing. When you track, you also tend not to get very far behind.
Every week, I track the following numbers: days working, hours working, hours with my family, time spent calling/prospecting, number of contacts I’ve made, number of referrals, number of appointments made, appointments gone on, clients under contract for the week, and number of closings. I have been doing this for several years and the clarity it gives me is incredible. I set goals every week around these numbers and it helps me to stay on track.
You must move from conception to action as quickly as possible. This is the hardest for me. I love to think and analyze things to death. “Analysis paralysis” is something I have to constantly guard against. The ability to quickly turn ideas into action is what separates those who are comfortable from those who earn incredible wealth.
Living life by design is not easy, especially when almost everyone and everything else around us are living by default — not really thinking, just going through the motions.
Life is too precious to let it slip away like that. Get up tomorrow, set three goals that are achievable in a week, and write down several affirmations that confirm those goals. Say them aloud. (Yes, aloud.) Get accountable and hire a coach and track your progress. The results you’ll achieve will be amazing.
By Chris LaGarde