New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be limited to the first of the year
The making — and breaking — of New Year’s resolutions is a time-honored tradition. At the start of the New Year, we’re filled with optimism and a desire for positive change, personally and professionally. We resolve to do many things: exercise more, start a new job, improve our finances or learn something new. The problem, however, is soon after the calendar turns to the New Year, most of us let our resolutions slip. So much so, there’s even a “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions” Day (January 17, 2017). This day indicates how quickly our resolutions can fall by the wayside.1 According to one study, only about 40 percent of people are able to stick to their resolutions through July.2 To avoid this pitfall, ask yourself: What habits have you formed to help you accomplish your goals this year? My suggestion is to treat each new month like it’s New Year’s Day and begin again with a refreshed focus and purpose. This strategy is good personally and professionally, and can be especially important for real estate agents, who need flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing market.
If growing your business is one of your resolutions, the following “First-of-the Month Strategies” will help keep you on track, focus your energy in efforts to grow your business, and meet your resolution to have a successful year.
- Take a look back before you look forward. It’s important for real estate agents to review their results regularly. At the start of each month, examine what you’ve done year-to-date. This review should cover everything from units sold to marketing and social media efforts. This will help you discover what you’re doing well and the areas where there are opportunities for improvement.
- Establish your priorities: What is most important to focus on this month? Things change, and you may also need to shift your priorities. Take time at the beginning of each month to determine what most needs your attention during the next 30 days. In January, you might want to concentrate on a new marketing initiative; but in May, your focus may be to have more open houses. It’s important to establish these priorities monthly to focus and allocate your time appropriately – and productively.
- It never ends. Prospect, prospect, prospect. New networks and clients are critical to becoming and staying a successful real estate agent. Prospecting — through past clients, referral partners, online leads, social media accounts — should always be at the top of your priorities’ list. Ask yourself: Am I prospecting daily? What are my goals? How much time am I dedicating? What are my results? Where should my focus be?
- Learn something new. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dale Carnegie called it “sharpening the saw.” Real estate agents who don’t keep learning can suffer the fate of sharks that don’t keep swimming. Your business will be dead in the water if you don’t follow what’s happening in the industry and the world. Learn about new technologies that can help you follow up on leads more quickly and efficiently. Learn your market. Are there upcoming neighborhoods that are ripe with opportunity? Be a sponge. It will keep you current and help you engage with clients, prospects and the community.
- Take some time off. All work and no play is detrimental personally and professionally. It’s vital to make time every month to assess your work-life balance. As real estate agents, you can easily feel as if you’re constantly on-call and must be ready to respond to clients at a moment’s notice. This can lead to burn out. As you’re disciplined professionally, so too must you be personally. You must take time for yourself — spend time with your family, friends, personal interests – the activities that help you relax, refocus and recharge. Establishing personal priorities is just as important as establishing professional ones.
Resolving to do these five things every month can help you stop the breaking-resolutions cycle. And if you slip, don’t worry. You can start over again next month.