Did you even goal plan? Without goals, you simply end up coasting through life and as the last several years of my life have shown me, you need to know when to coast and when to push.

When I look back at my most successful years, it all started with goals, plans and a destination. When I look back at my least successful years they all involved no goals, haphazard plans and zero destinations. Think it’s a coincidence?  I don’t.

I’m getting up there (in my mind anyway). I’m not as energetic as I used to be, I’m not as athletic as I used to be, I’m not as aggressive as I used to be and the list of not’s can now go on far longer than I’d like. But one thing I’m not is dumber – that’s why I want to do what’s worked for me before and why I’m going to make it work again.

The Problem(s) With Goal Planning

The problems that pop up when people start goal planning could end up being a list as long as my arm, but I’ve taken so many seminars, courses and read so many books that talk about goal planning I’ve got some helpful tactics I want to share with you.

The big problems I see people running into with goal planning are making their goals realistic, making them achievable and staying on track with them. So let’s talk about those.

Realistic Goals

I want make a billion dollars! Realistic or just wishful thinking? For the majority of us not just unrealistic, but also not very specific which can be another problem. By making goals specific they also become easier to accomplish, so a better example would be as follows. I will increase my monthly income by $2,500 by December 31st, 2016. Now it’s become not only realistic, but specific as I’ve listed an amount and a timeline to achieve it.

Keeping Goals on Track

So now that it’s realistic, I need to keep it on track, so as a Real Estate investor, how would you be able to achieve this goal? First thing that pops into my mind would be to increase my portfolio, but then what?  Well, I see several options now. If I plan on increasing income by $2,500 per month that means I need at least one, but realistically several more properties to achieve this.

If I have determined that I make $1,250 cash flow from a single rental property I own I would need to replicate it twice to achieve over the next 12 months to achieve that goal. If I only make $500, I would have to do it five times to achieve my goal.

If you’re like me though, it suddenly creates new problems. I don’t have enough money lying around to buy five more properties, so if that is the situation I’m in, maybe that goal wasn’t realistic and it needs to be redefined, or I have to get more specific!

Specific Goals

With Real Estate there are so many ways to skin the proverbial cat we could easily create a new list as long as my arm of how to make money in Real Estate. Maybe that original realistic goal morphs into the following.

  • I will increase my monthly income by $2,500 by December 31st, 2016 by partnering with two or more investors who will help with financing
  • I will increase my monthly income by $2,500 by December 31st, 2016 by increasing the income from my current properties by $500 each and adding another property that generates $1,500 income per month
  • I will increase my monthly income by $2,500 by December 31st, 2016 by learning how lease to own properties work and adding two properties that generate $1,250 each to my portfolio

Notice how each iteration becomes its own specific goal – a goal that could be achievable by just about anyone reading this article? The sky is the limit when it comes to setting goals, as long as you also include some specifics and a plan as to how to get there. But that plan also needs to be trackable and accountable!

Tracking Your Goals

The tracking part is where goals often fall apart and they are also what separate the people who achieve them from the ones who let them fall to the wayside.

With goals like our $2,500 increase we’ve already set the deadline to achieve it of December 31st, 2016, but our next step would be to set timelines as well.

Looking at the first goal which involves adding two or more money partners, you need to donate time to find them before you can even start. Suddenly, your goal morphs even more and might look like this.

I will increase my monthly income by $2,500 by December 31st, 2016 by partnering with two or more investors who will help with financing. I will acquire the first investor by ________, 2016 and the second by _________, 2016 with two additional properties purchased by _________.

Using the second goal and morphing it, you may find something like this. I will increase my monthly income by $2,500 by December 31st, 2016 by increasing the rents on my current properties by $500 each by ___________, 2016 and adding another property that generates $1,500 income per month by __________, 2016. And since we’re morphing, let’s look at the third goal.

I will increase my monthly income by $2,500 by December 31st, 2016 by studying lease to own properties for the next three months and adding my first lease to own by __________ and my second by __________ adding $1,250 each to my portfolio.

Now these are all achievable, trackable and you should be accountable to at least yourself to reach these goals. Of course, these are all generic goals and I’m not saying any of you should specifically use them, they are just examples. Yet they are examples I hope you can learn from.

My Wife’s Take on Goals

Everyone should have their own little tactics and strategies for achieving their goals; but my wife has put together a pretty helpful walk-through for folks and she’s been kind enough to let me borrow it and post it here.

As an entrepreneur herself she has had to coach people along the way and has created  steps on goal planning that she shared with her fellow artists and entrepreneurs, so here you go. It was from January a couple of years ago, but since this is coming out now, that means maybe you can start early!

I hope between the two of us you’ll get something out of this and it helps to make 2016 your best year yet! The great thing about goal planning is that you get to start fresh….a time to re-evaluate what worked for you last year and what didn’t.  This time is a chance to tweak things, or just to start fresh.  Any successful business person must be able to plan for their business.  I want you to really focus on your business in regards to this goal setting.  Yes, you can apply it to your personal life, and that’s a good thing to do, but for today’s benefit it’s all about your Business.

Any time is a good time to start your goals.  My husband and I have created an annual event on New Year’s Eve where we sit down with a nice glass of wine and talk about the past year, and set our goals for the new year.  We’ve done this for many years, and now our girls join us.

1.  Take a look at last year.  Take a sheet of paper and divide it in half.  On one side write down what worked. What got you excited, what your customers liked, what were your successes.  What made you the most money.  And what do you enjoy doing the most. On the other side write down what didn’t work, things that didn’t make you money, wasted your time, or you just plain didn’t like.  Think about what you need to stop doing…..perhaps it’s saying yes to everything that bogs down your life.

2.  Start planning your goals.  First think about the things that were a success, they are already working, what can you do to improve them or stream-line them?  Do this before you start adding new goals to your list. The thing about goals is that they should be reasonable, and measurable.  Sure I would like to earn $10,000 a month….but is that reasonable based on how much work I’m prepared to do.   Whether you intend to go hard with your business or not, being clear on your intention and what you can achieve is really important.

3.  Setting goals can also create a great mountain that seems impossible to conquer.  So you need to make sure that your goals are broken down into mini-goals.  When you are able to check off little tasks that will eventually take you to your goal, you will be motivated to continue, and feeling good about your progress.  If you feel good about what you are accomplishing you will continue forward with a positive frame of mind.

Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com  has a great phrase. Write it down…get your goals out of your head where all the other stuff is rattling around and write it on paper or a white board.  Once you do this, then the goal is real, and not just a thought. Break it down…Task it out into little mini-goals.  The only way to get the big goals completed is by giving yourself achievement along the way. Take it down… this is where you start chipping away at those little tasks, checking them off to   get you closer to your goal.

4.  Review your goals!  This is so important for you to succeed.  Put all those mini-goals into months so that you can focus on them individually.  If you try to focus on all the mini-goals, you will not be giving the appropriate attention that you need to get that goal completed.  The reason I want you to review your goals monthly is to help you keep on track.  If you fall off, it’s only a month that you need to make up for.  If you review quarterly, you will either forget it’s the quarter, or if you missed the goal, you are now three months behind.

Bill Biko has become “the Educated Landlord” through both training and the school of life. With almost a decades experience of land lording Bill’s been mentoring and assisting landlords for the last five years and you can find more of his tips and articles to make your life as a landlord easier, more profitable and less stressful at www.TheEducatedLandlord.com