The beginning of the year is a common time for people to set new goals and try to start new habits. We reflect on our past successes and failures so we can look towards the future with hope and anticipation of the greatness that lies ahead. The New Year gives us the chance to reset and start again. In sales, this is even more apparent as all our numbers from last year reset to 0. Starting Jan 1 at 12:01 AM, all real estate agents, no matter how big or small are at 0 closings and $0 GCI for the year. It’s a scary thought! We often question if we will do it again. And perhaps a relief for those who didn’t hit their goals for last year. It’s your chance to start again.
Assuming you’re looking to grow in 2019 and are planning on different results, the questions become “What am I going to do differently?” and “How will I make those changes stick?”
Habits are the foundation of how we function every day without having to think about every little step to get there. It’s the brain doing what you’ve trained it to do, over and over again. Any time you’ve driven home from work but don’t remember the details of the drive or brushed your teeth without thinking about it, those are habits that you’ve built into your routine. The way you think is a habit. The way you walk or sit is a habit. Are you sitting up straight or slouching right now? That’s a habit as well. Good or bad, these habits allow us to function throughout the day without needing to expel cognitive brain power on everyday tasks leaving our minds open to thinking about higher level questions and activities. They also help us to react in a consistent manner without the need to reevaluate how we should react. In the most basic way, our brain doesn’t think of a habit as good or bad. It just does what it’s been told. We then might determine that a habit isn’t producing the results we want and decide that it’s a “bad” habit. So, how do we change one of these “bad” habits into a better habit so we get different results—hopefully, the results we want? Well, we have to replace the old habit with a new one. If you just decide to stop biting your nails, you’re never going to quit. But if every time you go to bite your nails you instead eat a peanut, then you will soon be on your way to no longer biting your nails! So, if we’re changing the time we’re waking up, choosing to work out more, starting a new follow-up system, or improving our team communication, it’s important to both identify the change and what it will be replaced with.
But all that’s the easy part! Once you’ve identified the habit you want to change that will give you the results you’re looking for and figured out what you’re replacing the old habit with, it’s time to implement the new habit and stick to it long enough to overwrite the old habit. How do we do ensure we stick to the new habit? Here are a few methods that will help
Accountability – Find someone to hold you accountable to your new goal and habit. This could be a spouse, your kids, a boss, an empowered employee, a friend, or even a stranger you respect! The one person it can’t be is YOU. It’s too easy to break a promise to yourself. We justify doing it all the time! You intended to finish that work at home, but the moment you sat down, you decided you’d put it off until later. You weren’t going to have that 1st donut, but you worked out so hard last night! We justify our actions to ourselves all the time. By finding someone to hold you accountable, you’re making it harder to break that promise.
Focus on the end goal – If you’re creating a new habit just for the sake of a new habit or for someone else, you’re going to fail. You need to know why you’re doing this and what the results will mean to you. Is it to avoid a pain? Is it to provide a joy? Once you understand the why, then set up reminders all around you so when you’re tempted to cheat or fall back into old habits, you’re reminded to stay strong.
Set yourself up for success – Our environment will make or break our success. If you’re working on losing weight but surround yourself with fatty foods, cakes, candies, donuts and the like, you’re going to trip up and fail. Remove the temptations from your life. If you’re forming a new workout habit, set out your workout clothes the night before so they’re ready to go. If you’re setting a new bedtime habit, set an alarm for heading to bed or set your evening distraction to automatically turn off at a certain time. If you’re implementing a new system at the office, make it impossible to use the old one. The more small things you do to set yourself up for success, the more likely you are to succeed.
And remember, it’s not about being perfect or never failing; it’s about making sure the number of times you fail is less than the number of attempts. This is especially true when forming new habits. The old habits will draw you away. They’ll feel more comfortable and be way less stressful in the moment. But, with the right accountability anchoring you to your goals while creating an environment conducive to your new habits, you will have no choice but to succeed!
What are the habits you’re working on changing? What steps are you taking? What have you found to be successful? What do you struggle with?
Let’s work together to hold each other accountable for our success so 2019 will be our best year yet!
Your Real Estate Consultant
REALTOR®, BOLD, EcoBroker, CNE, CHRE, ILHM, KW Luxury
Professional Denver Real Estate for the Urban at Heart