Back in the 1980s New York City Mayor Ed Koch would walk around his city asking people “how am I doing?” He was seeking feedback from his constituents and this made him enormously popular. It was his way of assessing whether or not he was achieving his goals.
Do you ever ask yourself how you are doing?
It is quite common for real estate investors, like a lot of people, to set goals at the beginning of a year. It may be the number of properties or rental units acquired, wholesale deals done, rehabs completed, or houses flipped. It almost certainly involves a dollar amount made. Unfortunately, like the number of pounds lost or the resolve to get in shape, those real estate goals are all too often forgotten about before the first robin of spring warms up its voice.
How to Face Failure
Why are goals so quickly forgotten? With things like weight loss or getting in shape it’s usually because old habits die hard and it’s easy to fall back into your comfortable routine. With business goals this is true to a degree too, but it could also be because you are not hitting the targets you set and it’s easier to ignore them than admit failure. Perhaps the goals were too lofty to be considered realistic. It’s a good idea to stretch a bit, but if there was never any hope of achieving them they weren’t good goals.
If you don’t reach your goals you shouldn’t pretend they didn’t exist. Take another look. What went wrong? Did you make a mistake when setting them or were some there extenuating circumstances? Maybe you lost your focus and were distracted by other opportunities or spent too much time putting out fires. That shouldn’t be an excuse to “wait till next year” like some diehard Chicago Cubs fan.
Setting Checkpoints for Attaining Your Goals
When you set goals it is important to keep them in the front of your mind. You should write them down and keep them where you see them every day. An effective technique is to create a picture board with your goals represented visually. Hanging that picture where you see it all the time will help imprint your goals in your mind. By using either or both of these techniques your goals will become part of your daily thoughts.
Now that we are in December it’s time to pull out those goals from last January and take a good look at them. How did you really do? If you hit them all, that means you didn’t set them high enough. If you didn’t hit any you need to determine what went wrong and do a better job of goal setting and executing your game plan. As you move into 2013 you should set checkpoints at various intervals to do a review. At these points you should make adjustments to your plan. Your goals and business plan are not etched in stone, they are road maps to guide you toward you target. Just as if you were flying a plane, you need to make adjustments to your course until you reach your destination. If you veer off course just adjust your flight plan, don’t bail out of the plane!
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. – Confucius
Photo: Johan GAssessing Your Real Estate Investment Year by Richard Warren