Why Setting Goals Will Make You More Successful in Life and Real Estate

Setting goals has helped me become more successful in life and especially in real estate. I run a real estate team of 10, have 16 rental properties, fix and flip 10-15 homes a year and I created this blog. There is no way I could have accomplished all of this without setting big goals and using those goals to take action.

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Goals are great, but setting goals alone will not make you successful. There are many things you must do in life to realize your dreams including taking charge of your life, living in the present and having a positive attitude. That is why I created this series about what I have learned and applied to become successful in life. This is the fourth article in the series and there will be many more to come.

Why do you need to set goals to become successful?

I think we all want to be successful, many of us don’t know exactly what successful means to us. Does how much money you have equal success to you or how much free time or how much security you have.  If you don’t know the exact answers to these questions, it will be very hard to become successful. If you say you just want to be happy; what is happy? Is happy being able to quit your job and travel the world or is it being able to take the occasional camping trip? You have to figure out what you want in life and you have to define it in writing. Once you know exactly what you want in life, you have started to create goals.

Why do goals need to be written to be effective?

Some people believe thinking about their goals is good enough, but it is not. The problem is people forget things and forget things often, because we are all so busy. If you have 20 different things going on in your life with work and your family, how will you remember to think about your goals? You may not even remember what your goals are!

Writing your goals helps you remember what they are and reminds you of them. If I don’t have my goals written down, I lose track of them and I don’t think about them. Writing your goals down also solidifies them in your mind. The actual act of writing a goal down helps you visualize it and helps imprint it in your brain. The more you think about your goals, the more you write them down, the more you see them or listen to them, the better chance you have of reaching those goals.

Here is a great program to help motivate you to set goals and stick with them.

How do you remember to look at your goals?

Humans are creatures of habit and the more we do something, the better chance we have of continuing to do it. After you write your goals down, it does not do you any good to put those goals away and never look at them again. Set aside a time you will review your goals and schedule that time like you would an appointment. It is best to review your most important goals daily, but you should be reviewing all of your goals on a weekly basis.

I also record my most important goals on my iPhone and listen to them everyday. On my way to work I play my goals and my dream story. I like to record my goals with a long break in between the goals so that I can visualize and think about the goals while I am driving. I also cut out a big goal and plaster it in plain site on my fridge or garage door. I try to review all my goals as often as possible.

To learn how to use mindset and attitude to make yourself more successful, check out: How to Change Your Mindset to Achieve Huge Success: Why your attitude and daily habits have more to do with making more money and having more freedom than anything else. A 200 page book available as an eBook or paperback on Amazon.

What are important factors to consider when making goals?

Any written goal is a great start, but there are ways to make your goals as effective as possible. Goals need to tell you what you want, when you want it and should hold you accountable. A weak goal would be:

I want to own a Porsche

The problem with this goal is it is way too vague and it does not have any accountability. The goal says you want to own a Porsche, it doesn’t say you will have one or you will buy one. There is no date that you will buy the Porsche for and what kind of Porsche? If you want a 911 Turbo, but end up with a Cayenne SUV you may not be very happy. A good goal would be:

I will own a black 1999-2001 Porsche 911 Turbo by January 2016 or sooner

This goal is very specific for what you want; it allows you to visualize the goal which is very important. It also has a date for when you will buy it to hold you accountable. Notice I used the words or sooner. You don’t want to limit yourself to buying that car in 2016 if you are able to comfortably do so sooner.

If you are not dead set on a Porsche 911 turbo you could also say:

I will own a black Porsche 911 turbo or something better by January of 2016 or sooner.

What should your goals consist of?

A car may be a bad example for a great goal, because in today’s society your can buy a car when you may not really be able to afford it. I happen to love cars and many of my goals involve cars. Your goals should include anything that is important to you or that you want to do. You should not limit yourself to a few goals; you should have many goals. I took Jack Canfield coaching and I was instructed to come up with 101 goals. It was not easy to come up with that many goals as I believe the average person only came up with 56. I came up with about 80 my first try.

Goals should include anything you want in life from big to small.

  • Money made in one year
  • Net worth by a certain date
  • Vacations-where, when
  • Special events you want to attend-Superbowl, concerts, Kentucky Derby, etc
  • People you want to meet
  • When you want to retire
  • Where you want to live
  • What your house will be like
  • What cars you want
  • How much you will give to charity
  • What charities you will volunteer for
  • What is your perfect job
  • Businesses you want to start
  • Relationships you want to create or make better
  • Small things that you need to do but keep forgetting about

How realistic should your goals be?

There are many opinions about how big and outrageous goals should be. Some feel you should not have goals that are too big, because it may not be realistic and therefore less effective. Others feel you must have big goals to challenge yourself to do better than you ever thought you could.

I have a goal to buy 100 rental houses, which is a big goal. I like big goals because I believe they make us perform better than if we had small realistic goals. The trick is you do have to have belief in your goal. It will be very hard for me to buy 100 rental properties, but I also thought it would be very hard to buy a Lamborghini and I did that this summer.

Lamborghini Diablo and Real estate

How can you believe in goals that seem to big to happen?

If you make big goals, you need to convince yourself they are possible. How do you make yourself believe in something that seems impossible? It’s simple; you never know what the future holds for you. How can you think something is impossible when you don’t know what will happen. Now if you make a goal that you want to fly like a bird with just your arms that may be impossible. But if you set goals that are physically possible like triple your income, that is not impossible. There is opportunity all around, you have to recognize it and go out and get it.

If you think you aren’t lucky enough to be rich or weren’t born into money, you have to change your attitude immediately. The truth is most millionaires and billionaires were not born into money, they made it themselves. If you don’t think you have the skills to make it big, think about this. The person who makes the most money usually does not invent something or create an incredible technology. The rich figure out how to do existing things better or more efficient. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make it big.

In fact most inventors don’t make that much money, because they don’t know how to bring their product to the market. Andrew Carnegie was a steel magnate and the richest person in the world at one time. He was a Scottish immigrant with no money to his name when he came to the US. He had no idea how to make steel, but he started working in a steel mill and learned the business. He hired great people who knew about steel and he let them grow the business for him. He was known working few hours and taking the entire summer off to go back to Scotland. You don’t have to be a genius or sacrifice your life to make it big.

If you don’t want to start with huge goals, at least make sure your goals challenge you and will make you work hard to reach them.

What if you don’t reach your goals, are you a failure?

People like to claim they can’t make big goals because they might fail and then feel bad. I don’t believe in failure.  You only fail if you give up and stop trying.

Goals also change; there is no rule that says you can’t change a goal after you write it down.  You may find a new goal much more fulfilling and exciting than your current goals.  That doesn’t mean you can change a goal every time you’re frustrated or run into a roadblock.

I had a goal to build a loft in my old house. I worked for months to figure out a way to build that loft and nothing would work, because the house had engineered trusses and it didn’t make sense to rebuild the entire roof. Then my wife happened to find a better house, with a bigger garage and a loft! The solution was not building a loft, but buying a new house. I found a better goal to replace the old goal.

If you have a big goal that you don’t reach, you did not fail. The goal is meant to help you succeed and do better in life. Even if you set a big goal and don’t reach it, you more than likely got much further in your pursuit of that goal than if you had set a smaller more manageable goal. The problem with small goals is they can be accomplished easily. If you have a yearly income goal, when that goal is accomplished you will relax and stop working hard. A big goal will keep you working hard throughout the year and push you to find new ways to do things.

Accomplishing a small goal may be worse for you, than not reaching a big goal.

Once you have written your goals and started to review them, what is the next step?

Writing your goals is the first step to making your goals become a reality. Once they are written you have to start taking action. If you have 100 goals, you can’t write a detailed plan for each goal. But you can take your top three or top five goals and make a detailed plan for them. A detailed plan involves writing down what you have to do to accomplish the goal including:

  • Who you need help from
  • How you will get their help
  • What education you need
  • What resources will you need
  • How will you get those resources
  • What tasks will you do every month, every week and every day to accomplish your goal

Once you have a plan for your goal and actions you can take to reach your goal, those big goals won’t seem so big anymore. You may find yourself revising your big goals, because you are accomplishing them faster than you ever imagined. I have accomplished over 30 of the 101 goals I wrote down about a year and a half ago. Some of those are small goals and some are very big goals. Some of the goals I accomplished ahead of schedule and some took me a little more time than I hoped. I know one thing for sure; I would not have accomplished half of what I did, without written goals and a plan to accomplish them.

For more information on how changing your attitude can change your life, check out the original article in this series; how to be more successful at life.


  1. Carol Billslinger February 2, 2016
    • Mark Ferguson February 2, 2016
  2. Aina Nashongo April 30, 2015
  3. Colin September 8, 2014
    • Mark Ferguson September 8, 2014

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