It’s Not Always New Year’s That Will Make Or Break You

Last month, the calendar turned and 2018 wound down. 2019 arrived in all its grandeur, and with all of its promise. If you are like most of us, you looked back at the year just passed to review your successes and failures and, hopefully, to count your blessings (I hope there were many). I personally also tried to bid farewell to 2018’s disappointments so that I could focus on the new: 2019. 

I asked my students what they asked themselves last month, and here are a few of the things that they shared:

  • Will this be the year of business growth? 

  • Will this be the year that things fall into place personally? 

  • Will this be the year that we will always look back at and remember as the time when our dreams and goals were realized?

You can see, we all have pretty lofty expectations for 2019. Now ask yourself: 

How is 2019 going?

If you are like a distressing number of investors, you may have to admit to yourself that you are losing or even have wholly lost your New Year’s momentum. Well, it’s time to get it back. 

Make New Year’s Day Last All Year Long

Many of us seek to make huge, positive changes when the clock strikes midnight on December 31. We celebrate the beginning of the New Year, and often we make resolutions to change things in our lives. Some of us resolve to lose weight, scale our businesses, make more time for our families. We all make our resolutions in an effort to be the person that we want to be. 

I’m sure everyone makes these resolutions with every intention of keeping them, yet they often go unrealized. Why? Could the issue be as simple as failing to plan properly and neglecting to focus on the plans we do make? If you feel like you are losing your New Year’s momentum, take a deep breath and remind yourself: We’re only one month in. You still have time. 

I truly believe that February, far more so than January, can be a “difference-making” month for investors and business owners seeking to make big changes in their operations, lifestyles, and habitual behaviors. Imagine looking back next year at this time and remembering 2018 as the year that made a difference in your career, your personal development, and your family’s future. 

2019 is (Still) a Brand-New Year!

This can be the best year you have ever had in your working life.

  • It can be the most fun.

  • It can be the most personally fulfilling.

  • It can be the year of your greatest professional and personal growth.

  • It can be the year that you look at twelve months from now and say, “This was the year that I made a huge difference in my life.”

Take a look at the professional goals that you set last month. Evaluate them ruthlessly. Are they the right goals for your success? Here are a few things to ask yourself about those goals:

  • Do they involve things that you can influence or control?
    Setting goals entirely outside your ability to meet them is a good way to lose faith fast. Make sure your stated goals are under your control. The best way to do that is make them at least partially about yourself, which leads us to the next question…

  • Are you working on yourself?
    You need to work first and hardest on yourself. Your personal and work objectives should play a primary role in your goal setting. I always suggest making one of your resolutions to never lose focus on the goals that you have set for yourself. Make it now! Don’t wait until December 2018.

  • Can you be held accountable?
    Goals like “be nicer” sound good, but they are hard to quantify. If you want to be nicer, then define what will indicate success or failure in that pursuit. Starting today, review your progress and your goals regularly and hold yourself accountable to meeting the parameters you have set around your personal success. 

Pullout: If you set realizable goals that can be achieved by actions that are under your direct control – then you are the only one that can stop yourself from achieving them. 

All of these goal-setting processes can and should be applied to your real estate investing business and your entrepreneurial goals as well. However, because you will probably be working with more people than just yourself to meet these goals, the preparation process is a little longer and will involve a few more people. Here are a few common business goals that people set this past January and say they are already falling down in meeting (or have even given up completely):

  • Scaling up their business

  • Improving customer service

  • Getting more repeat business and referrals

  • Helping others in the community

  • Optimizing business operations

Whatever it is that you want to accomplish in 2019, don’t let the “February Blues” tell you that you already missed your chance if you didn’t get the ball rolling January 1, 2019, or if you didn’t keep it rolling the first 31 days of the year. Whatever it is that you want to make of this year, you still have plenty of time in which to do it. Make 2019 exactly what you want it to be, and become the person you want to be in the process. 

Sidebar: Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

SMART goals meet a set of criteria that are best remembered using the mnemonic device or acronym, “SMART.” SMART goals are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable 

  • Realistic

  • Timed (have a deadline)

For example, a goal to lose weight stated this way, “I want to be thinner in 2019,” is not a SMART goal because it is not specific, cannot be measured, and does not have a deadline. On the other hand, “I want to lose five pounds each month for the next four months” is closer. It is specific (you want to lose five pounds a month), measurable (all you must do is weigh yourself), achievable (this falls within most healthy norms for weight loss), and has a deadline. Of course, whether this is realistic must be determined on a case-by-case basis, but it seems likely that in the majority of cases this type of goal would be realistic as well.  

Gary Harper