3 Steps to Set 2018 Goals You’ll Actually Want to Tackle

by | BiggerPockets.com

As Stephen Covey said, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

January heralds in the beginning of a new year—with new possibilities, opportunities, and challenges. I don’t believe new year’s resolutions are inherently bad, but I feel they often lead to a “right now” kind of mentality instead of a long-term plan. A diet, for instance, is not about the next four weeks; it’s about the decisions you make consistently over time. Strategic planning around clear goals, accountability for the outcome, and congruent goals make for success.

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3 Steps to Set 2018 Goals You’ll Actually Want to Tackle

1. Set a goal you can get fired up about.

A diet or nutrition plan has to be created around your lifestyle, your health needs, and something you actually like to eat. If you plan your entire success around something you don’t like, there is not a good likelihood you will stick with it. No matter how much you might tell me lima beans are nutritious, I still think they are disgusting. There is zero chance I’ll them, no matter their benefits. On the other hand, if you tell me I should eat steak and vegetables, drink my morning coffee, ingest lots of water, and treat myself to a tasty glass of red wine with dinner, then I’m in! (This is not far from my actual diet, in case you were wondering.)

The same could not be more true for your business goals. I have learned the hard way that if you have a great goal but it’s not something you like or want to do, then you won’t do it.  For example, my skills and abilities (and interests) don’t line up well with something that is repetitive. I like to find big problems, create and ruminate on big ideas, and talk—which is why I love my role as CEO.

Related: 7 Questions to Help Make Your Financial or Real Estate Investing Goals Reality

Let’s say I set a goal that had me completing a task over and over. The likelihood of me having great success would be very low.  On the other hand, if I set a goal of coming up with a new idea every few weeks—specifically focusing on how it would impact our business and who would be responsible for that new initiative—then I could really sink my teeth into that problem.

To be clear, I am not saying that you can’t sit in a seat doing a job you don’t like. But from a long-term standpoint, you are not setting yourself up for success. You will be a lot more likely to give 100 percent to something you are really excited about.


2. Make sure your goal is ridiculously simple to understand.

If I have learned one thing over the past few years in business, it’s to have one clear objective and be relentless with it. If you have 50 initiatives to go after, track, understand, and influence, you are going to have nightmares (or sleepless nights). No one can keep that much together.

Success comes down to how clear and simple the goal is—and how clear you are on laying it out for yourself and your team to execute.

Goal examples:

  • This year we will sell 10 houses.
  • Our team will add one new active buyer to the wholesale list every week.
  • I’ll add two new rentals to my passive income portfolio every year for 10 years.
  • Our team will net $20k in profit this month—and every month for 12 months.
  • We will hire a new acquisitions person, with this specific job description and these specific metrics.

With a clear and simple goal also come simplicity and ease in explaining and quantifying it. With 50 different metrics, you would spend an unreal amount of time just trying to gather all that data—then trying to decipher all the numbers and understanding what the information is telling you.


3. Be careful that your short-term goal works with the long-term plan.

Yep, that means you need a long-term plan. Let’s say your long-term goal is to retire from your corporate job. Then what do you need to clear a month in passive income? Then how many houses do you need to buy to achieve that? Where do you buy your houses from, and who is managing them if it isn’t you?

Related: How My Journal Transformed My Productivity and Goals for 2018

I love how the book Traction lays out goals by quarter, year, 3-year, and 5 or 10-year time periods. Doing this will help you think in terms of both the short-term and tactical problems, as well as the 5 or 10-year “big, hairy” goals that you set down the road.

Final Thoughts

Don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t allow others to influence your ideas negatively. Work through your ideas, have a clear plan, believe in it and in yourself, and execute. Have a plan that you are excited about. Work on it, refine it, and consistently review your plan. You will gain clarity on what is working in the day-to-day and where you need to tweak or change to end up where you want. It’s simple.

The time is now. Review the goals and plans you have. Work through them confidently and to completion. Review the end game you are looking for long-term. And go get after it.

What are your 2018 goals? How did you set a plan to get there?

Comment below!

About Author

Nathan Brooks

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey properties per year. With over a decade of experience in real estate, Nathan is a seasoned investor with a large personal portfolio and a growing business portfolio. Just last year, through Bridge Turnkey Investments, he helped investors add over $12 million in value to their real estate portfolios. Nathan regularly produces educational content to fuel his passion for helping other people learn about and find success in real estate investing. He has been featured regularly on industry podcasts such as the BiggerPockets Podcast, Active Duty Passive Income Podcast, Freedom Real Estate Investing Podcast, Fearless Pursuit of Freedom Podcast, Titanium Vault, The Real Estate Investing Podcast, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, the Good Success Podcast, FlipNerd, Wholesaling Inc., The Real Estate Investing Profits Master Series, Flipping Junkie Podcast, Flip Empire podcast, Think Realty Radio, and more. He is a sought-after speaker and writer and can be found on stage regularly at events across the country.


  1. eric upchurch

    Man, I 100% agree. Simplify, find a focus, set a goal, execute. My wife’s a pro at that and reminds me it’s not an inherent strength of mine. The goals MUST be something you like. If you want abs, but hate sit ups, planks and hanging leg raises, but love swimming – swim more! Join a triathlon team for fun – or just a swim club. What I got out of this is you are WIRED how you are so don’t fight it. Hone in on your strengths to achieve goals, right? You will be successful in achieving goals if you can find a way to make getting there enjoyable to you.

    Thanks for the motivation! I’ll get ‘er started for 2018, Nathan. My goals (short and long):
    – Help 40 (yes FORTY) Active Duty/Vets/Spouses close on turnkey real estate deals this year through the Active Duty Passive Income group.
    – Two multi-family turnkey deals personally this year
    – $20,000/month net passive income (long term-ish, but I’m doing it!)

    • Nathan Brooks

      Eric – this comment is such a great reminder of several things. Surround yourself with people who both love, encourage, and hold you accountable. And second, have the now goals and the big huge awesome goals down the line. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • Nathan Brooks

      Thanks Markian! I do really think it is that simple. The simplicity is what makes the goal so scary, and so real. There is no where to hide “I’m going to get rich” or “my business is going to be huge” … those have no meaning. Define it, pursue it, and get after it!

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