The Detailed, 3-Step Exercise You Need to Set Your 2015 Goals – and Stick to Them!

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Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” — Pablo Picasso

Hi, all! Liz back this week to share a powerful exercise with you. I think you would agree that most real estate investors already believe goal setting is important and necessary. However, most investors do not actually know how to effectively set and achieve their intentions. Most people just write down a bunch of goals and do not go any further to actually ask the questions on “how.” Most people focus on the external, when goal setting instead of focusing on themselves. I have not only created the following exercise, but have completed it many times. I invite you to complete this exercise and then share it with at least one person.

Intentions and goals do not become “real” until we share them with others!

Creating the Right Environment

One last note before you begin this exercise: I would highly recommend you schedule some time to do this in a quiet and inspiring location. It is really important to engage in this exercise when you have no distractions. That means shutting off your cell phone and not checking email or anything during this reflective time. Life is so busy. Take this time for yourself to unplug and focus on you and your intentions.

The HAVE-DO-BE Exercise

1. Preparation Questions

Before you begin the actual exercise below, I would highly recommend you answer a few reflective questions about yourself and how the past year went for you. Before we can set intentions for the future, it is helpful to evaluate the past and present. I am not suggesting that you beat yourself up for what you did not accomplish. That is a waste of time and energy. However, it is helpful to evaluate what is working and not working BEFORE you set any intentions for the future.

1. What successes did you have this year in your real estate business?

2. What did not work for you this year in your real estate business?

3. What habits served you in achieving your goals? What ineffective habits do you need to stop doing as you plan for 2015?

2. The “HAVE” Section

As you begin this process, I would invite you to really think about what you want. Not what you “should” want, but what YOU REALLY want. There is a lot of societal and family pressure that sometimes forces us to want what everyone else wants. I would invite you to watch yourself that you don’t get sucked into this. Focus on YOU, your path, and don’t make any excuses!

Related: Goals Without Limits: How to Make Big Dreams for 2015 into Achievable Plans

It is December 31, 2015. What has to happen for you to feel happy and successful in your real estate business?

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Now think about potential obstacles that are in your way of achieving what you just wrote earlier. On the left side of the page, write down the obstacle and the right side of the page; write down ideas on how to turn this obstacle around!

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3. The “DO” Section

Action. Action. Action

What actions are needed to achieve what you wrote as a response in the first question, “What has to happen….”?


1. Make them measurable and specific.
2. What skills & educational resources will you need along the way?
3. Success leaves clues. Who can you surround yourself with and learn from?
4. Some actions should be short term; others should be long term.

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4. The “BE” Section

This is by far the most overlooked part of goal setting. This is overlooked because it is the hardest area. It is hard to look at ourselves. It is even more difficult to be aware and honest with ourselves.

Who will you need to *be* in order to achieve what you want? Dig deep here!


1. Who would you HAVE TO BE in order to “squash” your obstacles?
2. Who would you BE if you already achieved the results you wanted?
3. Think of people you know (famous or not) that have WAYS OF BEING that inspire you?
4. What habit can you form to keep this WAY OF BEING active in your daily life?

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Three Final Thoughts

As you complete this exercise, I want to share a few tips and reminders:

Related: You’ll Reach Goals Faster by Rewarding Yourself: Here’s Why

1. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for what you did not do in 2014, and don’t second guess what you can achieve in 2015. Bottom line : goals and dreams are not achieved with negative thinking.

2. Be bold, but set yourself up for success by starting small. Small successes lead to bigger successes. Therefore, if you have never purchased a property, I would not set an intention to buy 100 units next year. I think that is setting yourself up for failure.

3. Get support. No one achieves anything by themselves. Get an accountability partner that you can “check in” with monthly and share how you are doing in achieving your goals.

In closing, good luck as you embark on this reflective time. I would love to hear how this process worked for you. Please share your thoughts and your greatest “aha” below in the comments if you take on completing this worksheet!!

Will you use this method of achieving your goals? What’s your best exercise for productivity?

Leave me a comment below, and let’s chat!

About Author

Matt Faircloth

Matt Faircloth, Co-founder & President of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, is a developer and owner of commercial and residential property with a mission to “transform lives through real estate." Matt, along with his wife Liz, started investing in real estate in 2004 with the purchase of a duplex outside of Philadelphia with a $30,000 private loan. They founded DeRosa Group in 2005 and have since grown the company to owning and managing over 370 units of residential and commercial assets throughout the east coast. DeRosa has completed over $30 million in real estate transactions involving private capital including fix and flips, single family home rentals, mixed use buildings, apartment buildings, office buildings, and tax lien investments. Matt Faircloth is the author of Raising Private Capital, has been featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast, and regularly contributes to BiggerPockets’s Facebook Live sessions and educational webinars.


  1. A GREAT book on Goal setting is Succeed: How we can reach our goals by “Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D.” I think it was mentioned in a Podcast. She is one of the first to look at goal setting in a psychological area. Parts of the book described me to a T.

  2. Lissa,

    Thanks for reading and your comment! One thing I left out by mistake is the reminder to review progress made on your goals on a weekly basis. It is so important to constantly regroup and review what is working and not working.

    Good luck to you in 2015!


    • Richard G.

      Interesting point you bring up Liz and I am glad you remembered and shared it with us. It seems that the weekly review process is almost like my quarterly review process for my stock portfolio. See what is profitable and find out what is lagging and adjust accordingly. It is amazing to note how any type of investment class and style will always require checks and balances thru out the year to make sure you, the investor, are on course to success. Awesome!

  3. Richard G.

    Greetings and Happy Holidays to all –
    Another amazing article Liz, thank you for sharing! I think the key is right from the beginning when you stated find a quite place. This can be important when it comes to developing plans of action and in some cases thinking outside of the box when needed. As far as #3 the DO section – what has helped me is having a notepad in my car, writing notes on my phone, or even talking to my phone to jot down ideas or actions to take place in order to achieve success and setting goals for 2015. You just never know when an idea will come across in your thoughts, write them down before you forget. Thanks –

  4. Thanks Richard for your comment and ideas! Love the idea of “talking into the phone” with a recorder when an idea pops into my head. I need to do a better job at that in 2014. I have so many ideas swarming around in my head sometimes and I need to do a better job of putting them in one place – one notebook! Thanks for the reminder! All the best to you as you put your 2015 goals together!!!
    Thanks for reading!

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for the great article. the three things that stuck out the most for me….were the three things at the very end. Be gentle with yourself, be bold, but set yourself up for success by starting small, get support. In the past these 3 things were challenges for me in every area of my life. I would beat myself up if I didn’t do as good as I set my own bar, set out with intentions of doing grand things to which I didn’t have all the necessary tools and lastly, not asking for help when clearly I could have used it.

    I love all the rest of the article as well….you put things in a very good perspective and it was an over-bearing mesh-up. Thanks for putting it in layman terms.


    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      Thanks so much for your comment, Cynthia! I am glad that the article spoke to you and will help you as you plan for 2015. I am also still working on being “gentle” with myself. This is a tough one for me! I think this is a tough one for a lot of folks who are looking to achieve a lot in their life – especially women! I am glad the article came across in layman terms. I love tools and worksheets myself, so I hope this becomes a tool you use! All the best to you, Cynthia. Thanks again for taking the time to share!

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      You are so welcome!! Glad to help and support BP members as you put your 2015 goals into an organized format. Most people spend time on the “HAVE” section and even the “DO” section. But most people do not spend enough or any time on the “BE” section. And that is a shame. I think that is the most important section!
      Would love to hear how you are making out!
      Thanks again!

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