Business Toolbox: Setting and Reaching Your Goals, Part I

Do you have trouble sticking to a set of goals? Read the first part of this series to get tips on how to focus on your objectives.

February 1, 2011

We’re now a couple of months into the new year, and if you’re like most people, you set some good goals at the end of 2010. The question to ask yourself now is: Have you lost sight or focus of the vision you set at the beginning of the year? Are your goals still as relevant and meaningful today as they were on Jan. 1?

If you answered yes, good for you! On the other hand, if you said no, there’s good news for you too: There’s still time reinvigorate yourself to reach your goals and vision for this year. To do that, you need have the same mind-set as author Diana Scharf Hunt, who says, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.”

To me, goal setting is similar to a favorite meal or dish. Some ingredients might seem interesting or add a unique flavor, but if it does not help encourage or push you toward reaching your goals, try another ingredient that will.

My advice for reaching goals may be the perfect recipe for some people to fulfill their vision, while others may need just a little tweaking or something else to reach their dreams. Read and study what others have to say about reaching your goals. In any circumstance, the important point to remember is that you have a set of goals and remain focused on reaching them throughout the year

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Set reachable goals.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals.
  • Break some of your goals up into smaller bite-size objectives.
  • Set deadlines for achieving your goals.
  • Make sure your goals are clearly measurable.
  • Put your goals into writing.
  • Read your goals daily.

I’ll be addressing these points in this Business Toolbox column and the next.

Set Reachable Goals

Let’s face it: If you set goals that you can never come close to achieving, it will become discouraging over time. It also will begin to have a negative effect on your subconscious thinking. Consequently, when you set new goals, you would believe you were defeated before you ever started. Don’t misunderstand my point — I do believe goals should have a degree of challenge, and I think everyone should aim high.

However, it’s important to set goals that will help build your confidence and encourage you, not tear you down. If you’re having a tough time with your business — for instance, you haven’t had a closing in a month or two and have a low inventory of listings — then you should make your goals attainable. Set a goal to get one or two new listings over the next 30 or 60 days and one new written sale contract accepted.

Another good goal would be to contact a certain number of potential customers in a farm area or your sphere of influence. Remember, contacts will lead to future business. By accomplishing this objective, you will gain confidence that will help you move forward on your bigger goals.

Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Short-term and long-term goals in combination help provide you with a vision for your future. Recently, I was in Europe and took a train ride from Brussels to Ghent. (Both cities are in Belgium.) Unfortunately, I got on the wrong train to Ghent. There were two trains for my intended destination, one with only a couple of stops (a 50-minute train ride), and the other with multiple stops (a two-hour train ride). I ended up on the longer train ride, and every time the train would begin to get up to full speed, we would slow down and stop at the next station. It seemed like it took forever.

Going back to Brussels, I made certain I got on the right train, the one with fewer stops. You can think about short- and long-term goals in the same way as this train ride. Short-term goals help boost the train out of the depot to move down the train tracks, and long-term goals keep the momentum of the train moving toward the destination. Without long-term goals, you’ll be constantly starting and stopping. Having a long view will help keep your vision and momentum in place to fuel your passion throughout the year.

Read Part II of this column.

John D. Mayfield, ABR, CRB, e-PRO, GRI, is a sales coach, author, and broker/owner of Mayfield Real Estate in Farmington, Mo. You can contact Mayfield through his Web site,