Are Your Real Estate Goals, Actually Goals?

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I think the first time I learned about goals was sometime in elementary school. We’ve all heard of them. We all know what they are. We all know how to set them… but do we really?

I found in myself that as I grew older and got into the ‘real world’, my goal setting practices never grew with me. Instead, they stayed back in the pleasant little “I have no worry” land of elementary/middle school. The way we are taught originally (well, at least the way I was) is to make a goal of what you want to accomplish. The problem with this though is it was always the END goal.

“I want to play in the NFL.”

“I want to be president of the United States.”

“I want to be like my Dad/Mom.”

I’m sure we’ve all heard of goals such as these. I have nothing against these sort of goals (especially if they’re just for kids), but at some point, we should realize these are absolute garbage goals. Whether you are in real estate investing or just starting out college, goals should never be as broad as the examples above.

If you’re at point A (meaning you are setting a goal in the 1st place), and you throw out an END goal of point Z, there is a major issue with this. We all know the alphabet – there are quite a few letters (goals) you need to get past before you can get to point Z. These are what I call AZ Goals.

I just encountered a perfect example of an AZ Goal recently  that was way too broad, and was luckily able to help the young man structure his goal a bit better.

AZ Goal

I was talking with a youth at the church I attend, and he told me he wants to be a professional wake-border. I’m a big believer in dreaming large, so I’m all about the “shoot-for-the-star” goals. I asked him, “so how are you going to get there?”. He tells me he plans on “practicing as much as he can”. To me, that is a good goal, but it is not specific enough. From where he is now (point A) to becoming a professional wake-boarder (point Z), there are quite a few goals (letters) in between.

The goals we all need as adults are Alphabet Goals. There is no such thing as an exact science when it comes to Alphabet Goals, but these are the goals that contain the goals (letters) between the start (point A) and the END goal (point Z).

Alphabet Goal

With the young man, I helped him add some letters to his alphabet.

Point A: Goal has been set. Point Z: Become professional wake-boarder.

Goal #1 (point B): Save up money to purchase a good quality wake-board. (He had already done this, so this helped him build confidence. From his perspective it was “Oh wow! I’ve already accomplished a goal!)

Goal #2 (point C): Be able to consistently “get up” out of the water when the boat begins pulling. (He told me he had this technique done to a science and could “get up” essentially every time. Again, his confidence rose as he realized he had accomplished yet another goal.)

I then asked him what is a cool trick. He told me something I didn’t understand (I know nothing about wake-boarding), but it was enough for the next goal. He knew ‘how’ to do it, but couldn’t do it on a consistent basis. BINGO!

Goal #3 (point D): Be able to consistently accomplish the trick.

From there I told him that after Goal #3 was done, he should then start working on another trick (new letter) and so on and so forth. He was now seeing a road-map of how to make his “I want to be a professional wake-boarder goal.

Alphabet Goal = Confidence/Motivation Driver

As I alluded to in the previous section, by having multiple goals on your path to you point Z goal, you can monitor the progress being made. When progress is being made, not only does it help with your confidence that your point Z goal ‘is’ possible, but it also keeps you motivated and focused to keep on pushing. With each and every goal that is completed, your attitude and self-esteem about your abilities rises more and more. This has nothing to do with real estate, but everything to do with psychology. The good news is, an investor with a good psychology surrounding them is going to be successful!

Do You Have AZ Real Estate Goals?

Hopefully you already have goals. Take a second look at them. Are they AZ Goals?

“I want to wholesale five homes my first year.”

“I want to flip a home every 4 months.”

“I want $2,500 positive cash flow per month.”

All these are great goals, no doubt. But to me, they’re all AZ Goals. Let’s take the wholesale goal as an example and convert it into more of an Alphabet Goal.

Wholesale Alphabet Goal

Point A: Goal has been set. Point Z: Wholesale five homes in first year.

Goal #1 (point B): Research five forms of marketing for distressed homeowners.

Goal #2 (point C): Choose two of these forms and implement them.

Goal #3 (point D): Get your phone to ring.

Goal #4 (point E): Get your phone to ring five times in one business day.

Goal #5 (point F): Set-up one walk-through per week minimum.

And you just keep on adding letters.


This is definitely subjective as everyone is different, so the level of detail you use is up to you; however, the more goals you have, the better and better you will be feeling about yourself in general. Along with this, it provides discipline. If you begin to slack off, your Alphabet Goal is going to expose you. Although no one likes to be exposed when they might be relaxing a bit too much, as far as your business is concerned, it will thank you.

All in all, we all need to remember to “grow up” from the way goals were taught to us back in the day and start to realize that a true plan of action is the only way our point Z goals can be accomplished!

Photo: reenoSX

About Author

Clay Huber

Clay (G+) is a licensed real estate agent and the owner of Huber Property Group, LLC, a real estate investment company located in Grand Rapids, MI. His company purchases distressed properties with the main exit strategy of fixing them up and reselling with owner financing, particularly, land contracts.


  1. Great advice. I’d say as recently as a few months ago I had AZ goals that were so broad, I had no direction. Slowly but surely I am adding in the real interim goals that will help me get there. One additional piece of advice I’ve heard on this is setting all your goals, and then scheduling time every 3 months, 6 months, etc. to review your progress. Having the goal is one thing, tracking progress and “checking them off” is another.


    Nick J.

  2. Hi Clay,
    It’s super-useful how you divided goals into two categories: A-Z and Alphabet goals. Or end goals and actionable goals. I want to add that anybody, who tries to achieve any goal has to be aware of DFORC.
    D istraction
    F ailure
    O bstacle
    R ejection
    C ritics
    You absolutely have to know how to handle DFORC if you ever wish to arrive at point Z.

    • Or worse than realizing its “hard” is not even knowing how to get to the end goal because it is too broad.

      By creating an alphabet goal, it can sometimes make you rethink whether or not you want to pursue a certain avenue. I’d rather realize that upfront rather than realize it half way through when I’ve already burnt time and/or money.

  3. Stephen Chatto on

    Starting at “A” and having those next step goals in place are essential. I would only add that I would recommend not getting to far down the alphabet prematurely, and be sure to re-evaluate your next step goals regularly. An overall path is essential, but don’t get caught up on the how of each goal will be accomplished, as that will blind you to other options that you may not currently realize exist.

    It is my experience that written goals have a way of manifesting in my life. And I have no idea how the will show up in my life, and am often surprised how they do. So when I get too detailed and have too many steps laid out in front of me I find it hard to adjust and see other options. There are many ways to reach my goal that I may have no idea existed, and I want to be open to them.

    • Stephen – couldn’t agree more! You certainly can’t map out the ENTIRE road map, due to the fact like you said, things “pop up”.

      Goals are like anything in the real world. You must be flexible and able to adapt to whatever is thrown your way.

  4. Clay,

    This is a great article. I often find myself setting goals that are really just steps/mechanics of the process towards goal achievement.

    Your article defines a great way to bring some structure to goal setting, and more importantly, accomplishment. I’m going back to the drawing board and will reevaluate my goals using this criteria.

    Thanks for the advice!


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