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With New Year’s just around the corner, many people are brainstorming their New Year’s resolutions. While it may seem like just a fun way to ring in the new year, goal-setting can be highly effective, especially for real estate agents.

This past summer, Real Estate Express, along with RISMedia and McKissock Learning, sent out a survey to thousands of real estate professionals across the country to understand what successful agents do to attain those six-figure incomes. One of the key findings was that successful agents have the ability to set goals for themselves.

In fact, those agents who set goals for themselves and followed through reported earning over $50,000 more than those who didn’t set goals. Whether it’s determining how many sales you want to close in a year or how many leads you want to acquire each week, giving yourself an ambitious yet attainable goal can help keep you motivated and productive all year long.

Here are some tips for how to set goals for yourself:

1. Make Goals Specific
A vague goal will never result in real progress; therefore, the goals you make should be as specific as possible. For example, “I’m going to improve my lead gen efforts this year” is not a specific goal. What does “improve” mean in this context? What lead gen efforts in particular? Instead, reframe it as “I’m going to meet with at least three connectors from my sphere of influence each week for coffee.” This type of goal involves a specific action with specific parameters for success.

2. Make Goals Time-Sensitive
Take the mushiness out of your goal-setting with time-oriented goals. By adding a time element, you create a sense of urgency and a deadline that will keep you on track for completion.

3. Make Goals Measurable
In order to know when you’ve reached your goal, you have to be able to measure it. Whether you’re looking for more clients, more listings or more expertise, finding a way to measure the outcome helps you ensure that you’re on track and identify the tasks you’ll need to complete in order to succeed.

4. Make Goals Meaningful
You’ll never be motivated to meet your goals if you don’t identify a purpose and meaning in their achievement. Know why you’re setting those goals in order to stay enthusiastic and on-task.

Did you set these goals to…

  • Have more money to buy a larger home for your family?
  • Save more for your children’s college educations?
  • Start your own independent brokerage?

There is no right answer, but there should be some reason for achieving your goals. Identify the “why” and you’ll be more likely to keep moving forward.

5. Make Goals Buildable
Set small goals that build up to bigger goals in order to create a pathway to success. For example, if you’re a new agent, you might set the following goals:

  • Within one month: Create marketing materials, website and social media platforms for your business.
  • Within six months: Identify a neighborhood and initiate a geographic farming plan.
  • Within one year: Complete 12 closings and qualify for a new certification or designation.

These shorter-term goals build on themselves over time, helping you achieve your long-term goals.

Goal-setting should be more than wishful thinking. Give yourself a leg up on success when you set goals that are effective, measurable and meaningful. Then toast to the new year, and the new you.

Yazir Phelps is the chief marketing officer at Real Estate Express, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. Phelps has over 18 years of experience in marketing at Fortune 500 organizations, and over five years of experience working directly with real estate professionals. Learn more at