Do you wish you were one of those super-hydrated people who drink a gallon of water a day?
Are you painfully aware of your social media obsession—but can’t quite break the habit of mindless Facebook scrolling?
Have you set a goal of cold-calling 50 people each week—but feel completely overwhelmed to the point that you never even pick up the phone?
Here’s a little secret: You can do all of these things. You can break bad habits and create new ones and reach your goals.
You just need a better approach. And by better, I mean smaller.
Tiny Habits for Big Change
Meet BJ Fogg, PhD. He’s the founder of Stanford University’s Behavior Design Lab, where he has been studying the science of habits since 1998. He recently wrote the book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.
In his book, he teaches that the way to make new habits stick is to start small.
Actually, not just small. Tiny.
According to Fogg, a common reason why we fail to stick with a new habit is because we begin with the bar set too high. Instead of deciding, "I will drink a gallon of water a day," we should start with a smaller goal: "I will drink a few sips of water every morning while my coffee brews."
Then, once that small habit becomes a regular, easy part of our routine, we can scale it up: "I will drink an entire glass of water every morning while my coffee brews."
In an interview with NPR, Fogg explained that there are three key components to his "Tiny Habits" method:
- First, choose a new habit you want to adopt and scale it back until it's tiny. “Make it so simple that it’s almost like you have no excuse not to do it,” said Fogg.
- Next, figure out where it can fit within your daily routine. Choose something that you do every day, without thought, like brushing your teeth or getting dressed. Use that already-ingrained habit as a trigger for your new habit: "After I brush my teeth, I will drink a sip of water."
- Finally, Fogg says it's important to celebrate each time you complete the habit. By associating that action of drinking a glass of water with a positive emotion, it will help train your brain to stick with that habit. To celebrate, you can tell yourself, "I rock!"; do a little happy dance; or visualize a check mark on your mental to-do list—whatever helps you feel successful. (It might feel ridiculous, but the science says it works!)
Each tiny success boosts your confidence, proving to yourself that you can create positive change for yourself. It builds the momentum you need to achieve those big goals.
"As you make these changes and feel successful, the way you think about yourself starts to change, your identity starts to change. So you begin to think, 'Oh, I'm the kind of person who tidies up' or 'I'm the kind of person who meditates' or 'I'm the kind of person who reads.' Even if it's just super tiny, as you start thinking of yourself in those ways, you find other opportunities to tidy up or meditate or read. So the habit naturally propagates to other parts of your life.
When you learn how to feel good about your successes, no matter how tiny, then that changes how you think about yourself and your opportunities. That's what leads to transformation."
- BJ Fogg, PhD, in an interview with NPR
Now that you understand the fascinating nature of tiny habits, let's look at some tiny steps real estate agents can take to lead to big change.
12 Micro Habits for Real Estate Agents
To improve focus and productivity:
- "As soon as I sit down at my desk, I will put my phone on Do Not Disturb."
- "Any time I find myself mindlessly scrolling social media, I will log out immediately."
- "Before I begin my daily social media time block, I will set a 30-minute timer."
To continue learning:
- "After I get into bed, I will read one page of a book."
- "Every time I wash the dishes, I will put in my earbuds and listen to a few minutes of a podcast while I wash."
To improve your scripts:
- "As soon as I pick up the phone to make a call, I will press Record (so I can go back and listen later)."
- "While I shampoo my hair, I will have an imaginary conversation with a client and practice a script."
To improve your prospecting/referral efforts:
- "After I've sat down with my mid-morning coffee, I will call one recent client (who bought/sold a home in the last 12 months) and ask them how they're settling into their home."
- "After hanging up the phone, I will immediately send a follow-up text message: "Oh, forgot to ask! Would you mind leaving me a review on Google? [insert link] Thanks, and it was great catching up with you!"
To improve communication with clients:
- "After saying hello to a client, I will begin the conversation by asking them a question." ("How is your day going so far?" or "How can I be most helpful to you right now?" or "How are you feeling about your home search so far?")
- "Every time I stop to take a sip of my drink, I will ask the client if they have any questions about anything I've said so far."
- "As soon as I get into my car after a client meeting, I will put all of my notes into my CRM."
Use Realvolve To Trigger Your Micro Habits
Not every habit can be scheduled in right after you brush your teeth or while your coffee is brewing. But, as Fogg pointed out, it's important to have some part of your routine act as a trigger for your new micro habit. For all of the micro habits you want to add into your workday, Realvolve can help.
Realvolve is a CRM and workflow automation platform. Within Realvolve, you can schedule reminders to pop up on your Realvolve dashboard or notify you via email or text message. These reminders can be scheduled for a specific date or time of day, or they can be set up to notify you after another event occurs (such as after you use Realvolve to send a particular email). And because your whole team can be on the same system, you can get your entire real estate business on board with those micro habits.
So many tasks need to happen during a real estate agent's day. On top of managing your transactions with current clients, you also have to remember to reach out to past clients, practice your scripts, check in on your team members—oh, and breathe. Seriously. Make that your first new micro habit. Create a Realvolve reminder to notify you at 2 p.m. every day: "Take 3 deep breaths." Soon, that micro habit will have propagated into massive change for your business.