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This article was published on: 11/01/2007



Action plan
Stop Dreaming, Start Doing

Sure, daydreaming is fun. But it’s not very effective. It’s time to start turning those big career aspirations into reality.

BY KELLE SPARTA

Some people do so well at achieving their goals, while others never seem to turn their career aspirations into reality. Why? Because “doers” put their plans into action, while “dreamers” set lofty goals that — consciously or not — they don’t believe they can ever actually fulfill.

After all, daydreaming about fame and fortune will only take you so far. To get yourself on the “doer” track, you’ll need to give yourself a reality check on goal setting.

Good Intentions

The major difference between a dreamer and a doer: Intention. Dreamers look at what they want in life and then wish for it. Doers look at what they want and make a plan to get there; they fully intend to do it. Where dreamers see obstacles, doers see challenges to be overcome.

But having the right intentions isn’t enough for you to reach your goals. Here are some goal-setting tips that will help you gain the right perspective:

1. Make each goal a “have to,” not a “nice to.” To be effective, a goal needs to be more than just a sentence written on a piece of paper that you occasionally look at. It needs to be thought of as “I have to do this and nothing less will do.” Approaching it from this perspective will change the way you look at your life and your business because you’ll be completely focused on achieving that goal, instead of viewing it as optional.

2. Be really, really specific. One of the biggest issues I see when I coach clients who are having difficulties achieving their goals is that they haven’t placed their goals in an achievable format. They’ve set a goal to spend “more” time with their families or make “more” money this year. But their goals lack definition. How will you know when you’ve achieved it? If you can answer that question and be specific, you’re off to a good start.

3. Get real. It’s important to be realistic when setting your goals. If you’ve never made more than $50,000 in your entire life, then you probably don’t want to shoot for $250,000 your first year because it’s likely that you won’t believe it can happen. Try instead for $75,000 and then start planning for what you’ll do with the extra cash.

4. Get in problem-solver mode. Setting a goal is like solving a puzzle. You need to figure out the pieces and where they all fit to finish it. Anyone can set a goal but devising a way to reach it can be a little trickier. If I told you that you had to make $30,000 more this year than last year, how would you go about ensuring that happened? See, it changes the way you think about it. So once you have set your goals, plot out how to solve it.

5. Track your results. You won’t know if you’re doing more deals and making more money if you don’t track this year’s numbers against last year’s. Therefore, you need to know your base point — the numbers that represent where you’re at now. Then, keep track of your progress on at least a weekly basis.

6. Set a deadline and stick to it. Create a timeframe so you can pinpoint when you’ll have accomplished your goal. Otherwise, it’s easy to get busy and forget to do the things to bring you closer to your goals. If you have a timeframe, it gives you a deadline — something to give you an extra kick to get moving!

7. Find fun ways to motivate yourself. Who doesn’t need that extra incentive to get motivated? If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, your goal itself is not likely what will inspire you to get up at 6 a.m. on a dreary, cold winter morning to walk a couple of miles. Instead, it’ll be that gorgeous dress you bought yourself as a reminder of how much better you’ll feel when you’re thinner or the fear of having to go on insulin shots for diabetes if you don’t get your weight under control. These are motivators. The same is true for money. The money itself isn’t the goal. It’s what you can do with that money that will motivate you. So know your motivators and use them to keep you on track.

8. Believe. If you can’t see yourself actually achieving the goal you set, then you’ve already doomed yourself to fail. Visualize yourself reaching your goal — and spending that extra commission you’ve set out to make.

So What are You Waiting For?

No more daydreaming of the better life. Write down what you want to make your “have to” goal for this year. Be specific and believable. Now, give it a deadline, decide how you’ll track your success, and identify what will motivate you to achieve it. Jump into problem-solving mode and figure out how to turn that dream into real world success. Then, go do it!


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Kelle Sparta is the author of The Consultative Real Estate Agent: Building Relationships that Create Loyal Clients, Get More Referrals, and Increase Your Sales (AMACOM, 2005). She is also the founder of Sparta Success Systems, a real estate training company.

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