As we approach the new year, I’ve come to realize that in my own life, there have been several things throughout my past that have been extremely toxic to my health and well-being—and to the health of my business. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free It’s in my heart to share some of these because I know a lot of the readers here on BiggerPockets are new, and I want you to be able to spot these things a mile away! It’s my desire to help you avoid the many mistakes that I’ve made because I want you to be far more successful than I have been. What good is life experience if I can’t share it with those who need it most? 4 Toxic Habits That Sabotage Even the Most Promising New Investors The following are 4 toxic things that you want to avoid at all costs. These things will choke the life right out of you and your business, so please pay close attention! 1. Comparing Yourself to Others Have any of you seen the new Rocky movie called Creed? Last week as a Christmas present, I took my whole team out to see it. It was awesome! Now, I’m not going to be a spoiler, but there is a part of the movie that really stood out to me that will help me make my point here. When Rocky was coaching the main character inside the ring for the last fight, he said something pretty profound. He said, “Listen! When you’re in the ring, you’re not fighting the guy in front of you. You just need to get him out of the way. Who you’re fighting is the guy right here.” (And he points to his forehead.) Think about that for a moment. When you’re fighting, you’re not fighting the person in front of you, you’re fighting the person inside your mind—you are fighting you! This is a great analogy for people in real estate! In your business, and in your life in general, success is won not by beating your competition or by comparing yourself to others, but by finding what it takes to overcome the limitations within yourself. If you get caught up in the comparison game, thinking that this investor or that investor is far more superior to you because of their level of success, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. The truth is most people put up a front in this business, making it seem as though they are bigger than they truly are. And with the rise and use of social media, it’s very easy to create the perspective that you are a bigger deal than you really are. Most people like to use or at least think that famous phrase in the movie Anchorman, when Ron Burgundy says, “I’m kind of a big deal.” But even if you know of other investors that are truly more successful than you, who cares? It’s not about them. This is your life, and your business—what do they have to do with anything? The only thing that matters is beating yourself. Related: 10 Seemingly Harmless Habits That Sabotage Ambitious Millennials What did you accomplish last year, and how can you accomplish more this year? What are the things you’re going to do to beat your all-time best score? If you think this way, and you gamify your business and your life as a race against your past scores, this is how you’ll find true success. It’s not about your opponent in the ring; it’s about what’s happening right between your ears. 2. Being Around Too Many Naysayers Okay, so it’s the holidays, and everyone has that negative relative who seems to find the downside to everything! Even if you were to tell them, “Oh wow, you look great!” They would reply in some somber fashion, “Oh no, you’re just saying that because it’s socially unacceptable to tell me I’ve gained weight and look like I’ve been run over by a truck.” It’s hard for me to stand people like that, and more importantly, it’s unhealthy! As an investor, a lot of what you do every day is take risks in the face of conventional wisdom. There are going to be people who don’t believe in you, but it doesn’t mean you have to be around them! The truth is a lot of this business is built on pure faith, and the worst thing you can do is hang around a bunch of naysayers who will fill you with doubt and have you question everything. You need to be secure in your decisions and continue moving forward despite the circumstances or the outcome. Don’t surround yourself with people who don’t believe in what you’re doing because they will kill your passion and vision faster than anything else! 3. Not Creating Goals the Right Way Now, when I say “creating goals, the right way,” I mean doing something completely different than what 99% of aspiring real estate investors do. The right way is to set a goal and then develop a systematic plan on how to achieve that goal. You have to have a plan! There is a great saying that goes, “If you’re going to eat an elephant, you need to do it one bite at a time.” Let’s use the example about losing weight. The first step is to have a very approachable and clear goal in mind. If you just say, “Yeah, I’d like to lose weight,” that won’t get you very far because you can’t measure your success towards it. You might be talking about one pound or a hundred, and if you start on that kind of goal, you’ll soon give up because you lack direction. However, if you were to say, “I’d like to lose 15 pounds in three months,” now you’re dealing with a real, attainable goal. You have a timeline and a measurable amount. The next step is where you actually make it happen. How are you going to lose those 15 pounds in 3 months? What do you need to change in order to make it happen? What research do you need to do in order to prepare and make that goal a reality? Everyone knows, “Eat less and do more,” but that honestly won’t be enough. How much less? How many times a week do you practically need to workout in order for you to drop the weight? Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a plan of action to help you achieve your goal. So in real estate, if you have a certain amount of properties you want to wholesale, flip or own, you can’t just approach it halfway. Get a plan and take action! 4. Not Deciphering Between What’s Urgent and What’s Important For our last toxic item, I want to talk about the importance of having the ability to determine when something is important versus when something is urgent. Important things are the things that align and serve your core values. Urgent things are things that take away your attention and your time. Both need to be dealt with accordingly, but I believe they have an order of significance. Taking the example from above, if I have a goal to lose weight and to get in shape and I’ve made up my mind that it’s important to me over my business, then I need to put that as a priority over, let’s say, a lead that came in for a new property. The lead is very urgent and time-sensitive, but it’s not important when compared to my weight loss goal. So even if I’m late getting back to the lead, or in the worst case I lose the deal, I need to be ok with putting my workouts first. Now, obviously, the ideal situation would be to accomplish both, but sometimes things happen and you’ll be pressed to have to choose one or the other, and you’ll need to put what’s important to you over anything and everything else! Related: 5 Habits of the Wealthy That Helped Them Get Rich Urgent things will always be there, but it’s doing the things that are important to you that make up the fabric of your life. I really hope this post helps you avoid a lot of the pitfalls that I’ve had in my life! [We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.] What toxic habits do you want to kick this year? Let me know with a comment!