Those With Goals Are 10x More Likely to Succeed: Here Are 15 Tips to Set Yours for 2016

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I am sure many of you are saying to yourself, “Goal setting for 2016? Isn’t this a little early?”

It is the beginning of November, and it is actually a perfect time to begin goal setting and preparing for 2016. Typically, my husband and I wait until the middle of December to begin this process.

Not this year!

We have decided to make a change and begin our goal setting process much earlier. We have our first meeting scheduled in a couple of weeks! Our goal is to be done with our planning by December 1st.

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb

I am certainly not an expert in goal setting. However, I have been goal setting for over 15 years and have found by a ton of trial and error what has worked and what has not worked. So here are 15 tips and suggestions to get the most out of your 2016 goal setting.

1. Put together a “year in review” brainstorming session.

Before you move ahead with any goal setting for 2016, it is incredibly helpful to do some soul searching and review of this past year. What worked? What did not work? What were your successes this year? What can you celebrate this year? If you had to do it over again, what would you change? During this process of evaluation, it is imperative that you do not blame anyone or anything else for your successes or failures.

Successful people take full responsibility for their failures. Don’t look outside of yourself. If something is not working, then get HONEST with yourself and be accountable. You can’t set goals for next year if you don’t get complete on the current year.

Before you set your goals, you want to brainstorm ideas and get yourself into a positive, motivating state of mind.

Ask yourself: What would need to happen at the end of 2016 for me to feel happy and successful? What is it that I want more of in my life? These questions will help you brainstorm what it is that you REALLY want and lead you to setting the right goals for yourself.

2. Write down your goals.

We all have heard this one before. However, do you know how powerful writing your goals down really is? A Harvard Business study revealed amazing statistics relating to goal setting and success.

  • 83% of the population does not have goals
  • 14% have a plan in mind, but are unwritten goals
  • 3% have goals written down

The study went on to find that the 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. The 3% with written goals are 3 times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals. I was very surprised when first read these statistics. However, the more you think about it, it makes complete sense. Most people are not getting what they want in their life because they are not writing down what it is they actually want.


3. Put the goals in “I AM” instead of “I WILL.”

Whenever I see people’s goals, I often see it phrased, “I want to own 100 apartment units.” Change how you phrase your goals to putting your goals in the present tense. I would change this goal to “I OWN 100 apartment units.” There is something powerful when you put goals in the present versus “someday.”

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the false story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” — Jordan Belfort

Related: Stop Dreaming & Start Doing: How to Turn Big Real Estate Goals Into Actionable Steps

4. Make your goals specific.

We have all heard of SMART goals. I would say one of the most helpful sections of SMART goals is to make your goals specific, but don’t limit yourself. In other words, back to our example above, you could say, “I own 100 apartment units or something better.” You want to be specific, but you don’t ever want to limit yourself.

5. Write down your goals every day — morning and evening.

You have to keep your goals in front of you daily. Writing them down continuously will help you move towards them faster.

6. Visualize your goals on a daily basis.

Writing them down is a great practice. Visualizing your goals happening is even better. For example, here are three superstars who harnessed the power of visualization.

  • Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was always stressing the importance of seeing himself victorious long before the actual fight.
  • As a struggling young actor, Jim Carrey used to picture himself being the greatest actor in the world. He even wrote a check out to himself for 10 million dollars when he was not popular and dated it for many years in the future. Memo line: for acting services. During an interview many years later, he shared how it actually came true!
  • Michael Jordan always took the last shot in his mind before he ever took one in real life.

There is a ton of research on the power of visualization. For instance, in his study on everyday people, Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, compared “people who went to the gym with people who carried out virtual workouts in their heads.” He found a 30% muscle increase in the group who went to the gym. However, the group of participants who conducted mental exercises of the weight training increased muscle strength by almost half as much (13.5%). This average remained for 3 months following the mental training.

Bottom line: Visualize your goals happening in great detail. It will help you achieve your goals with more ease and quickness.


7. Create an action plan to achieve your goals.

Goals are imperative, but you must also have an action plan on how you are going to achieve the goal. This is imperative, especially if you have an enormous goal. This would include all the small action steps to help you move towards your goal.

8. Be flexible and stay open to the process.

This one is critical to having peace in your life. Life changes, our goals change, and everything in between changes constantly. So, for those achievement-oriented folks out there, you have to remain flexible, nimble and adaptable, even when it is hard to do so!

9. Choose goals that motivate you and that you’re passionate about.

This one goes without saying, but no goal has ever been achieved when a person lacks motivation. Make sure you have a passion for what you are setting out to do!

10. Be able to answer the “why” behind your goals.

I have talked a lot about the power of “why.” Knowing WHY you want your various goals will be helpful to achieving them because it will fuel your motivation.

11. Review your goals on a weekly and monthly basis for course correction.

This is a very simple habit that gets missed during the goal setting process. In order to achieve something, you must review and make changes along the way. I like to call this “course correction.” It really helps to do this both on a weekly and monthly basis.

12. Celebrate your wins on a weekly basis.

During your weekly review of your goals, don’t forget to celebrate your wins for the week — even if they are small. Celebrate every single one of them. This will help you build momentum towards achieving your goal. Feeling good about your progress will allow you to carry this positive feeling into the next week.

Related: 5 Daily Habits to Help You Steadily Reach Your Entrepreneurial Goals

13. Be able to answer the question, “Who do I need to BE in order to achieve my goals?”

We all have these huge goals; however, we don’t stop long enough to answer the question above. In order to achieve what you want to achieve, who do you need to be? For me personally, I have answered this: “I need to be flexible, gentle with myself, persistent, positive, and spiritual.” Your answer might be different. The key is to figure out who you need to BE at your core to achieve your goals.

take risks

14. Turn your goal into an inspiring mantra.

Have some fun with goal setting. If it is boring, you won’t want to do anything. Back to our example above, if your goal is “I own 100 apartment units,” you can make this more of a mantra by changing it to “I am the owner of a thriving 100 apartment complex.” This mantra can be something you can write on an index card and read throughout the day.

15. Get support.

This is the last item on the list, but quite honestly, this is the most important one. Every single successful real estate investor gets support from someone or something. Find an accountability group, even if you have to start one. Find like minded entrepreneurs or other real estate investors to form a mastermind group. Find a mentor or pay for a coach. Find some way to get support; that way you won’t give up.

I hope these goals and strategies help you. I would love to hear from you! What am I missing? What do you do to achieve the most success with your goals?

Thank you for reading and can’t wait to get some discussion going!

About Author

Elizabeth Faircloth

Liz Faircloth has been managing and investing in real estate since 2004, along with her husband, Matt. We have built our business from scratch and now own over five million dollars in residential and commercial assets. We love to help and educate investors. Our YouTube Channel, The Landlord’s Chronicles, offers short, yet educational videos that covers topics such as flipping houses, rentals, rehabs, property management, and lessons learned along the way.


    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      Thanks Mike for responding and commenting! Yes,I actually was not aware that the Harvard/Yale study was an urban legend!!! I just did some research on the internet, and you are correct!! Well, I guess I can only speak about my experience then. And by far when I write goals down and review them daily – they are more likely to happen! Good luck to you!

  1. Jerry W.

    Nice article. I recently set a few goals to meet by the end of the year, I didn’t consider setting any goals for next year yet. Two years ago I set a goal to acquire 10 additional rental houses, then decided to up my goal to buying 50 houses. I ended up buying 7 that year. I have decided to slow way down on buying as I believe my local economy will continue to get worse over the next 2 or 3 years. I probably pushed the envelope and did not do as thorough of a job as I think I should have in acquiring the properties. I need to make my criteria more selective to match the realities of the local economy. While I would love to add another 7 houses next year it won’t help if I cannot rent them. Time to do more planning. Thanks again for the article I really enjoyed it.

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      Thanks Jerry for commenting!! Glad the article was helpful to you! After the BP folks interviewed Grant Cardone, I read his book – “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure.” I found it incredibly helpful to read this summer. As a result, my husband and I have a goal of purchasing much bigger apartment buildings than we have in the past. The book really helped remind me to expand my thinking. Just a thought if you have not read it yet as you prepare for 2016. And yes, I totally hear what you are saying too. Aligning your goals with the market is key. Have you thought of looking elsewhere if your local market does not align with your goals? That is what we will be doing in 2016…. 🙂

        • Elizabeth Faircloth

          Hi Jon,
          Actually, yes we are. We currently have a number of projects we are working on in the Trenton NJ area. However, we are actively looking for larger multi-families and are looking in the Philly market, Lehigh Valley market, and the Harrisburg market.
          What areas are you focused in on?
          Thanks for commenting!

        • Jon Lafferty

          Hey Liz,
          late response here 🙂
          I am investing in Vineland, Millville, Penns Grove and Carneys Point areas with just SFR’s for now. Essentially deep southern NJ.
          I am actively analyzing new markets but will lose my ability to hustle and self manage AKA my competitive advantage as a smaller player.

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      Thanks for commenting and sharing with others. I tried to give my “best stuff” when it comes to goal setting. Believe me – I make plenty of mistakes, but I love to goal set and share best practices with others!
      Hope you take some action as a result of reading this post!

  2. Joshua D.

    Thanks Elizabeth, I picked up some helpful things from this article. I really like the number 7. Its important to make goals specific. I have always had goals for my life that I wrote down even before I started into REI. But it is SO important to write out the HOW you are gong to get there… and then take action every day.

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      Hi Joshua,

      So great to hear you found the post to be helpful. I have found that whey I get specific with my goals they are more likely to happen! I think the key with goal setting is being flexible to new possibilities too. It is important to stay focused on that goal but to also not have your blinders on. Something that I need to continually work on!!

      Good luck goal setting for 2016 and beyond!

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