Think about a goal you once had that never came to fruition.
What happened? Did you simply decide it wasn’t the right path for you...or did procrastination, distraction, and a loss of motivation cause the fierce pursuit to fizzle out?
It happens to us all. In our personal lives, we fail to follow through on New Year resolutions, diets, and budgets. And it happens in the workplace, too.
As a real estate agent, you know you have to hold yourself accountable. Not only do you have to set your own yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals, but you also have to complete the daily tasks that are required to accomplish these goals.
It requires self-discipline and self-motivation. And a little insight on the inner-workings of your mind...that doesn’t hurt, either.
Understanding how the human mind ticks can help you in a lot of areas in life. In the fascinating book The small BIG, the authors share 52 research-backed insights on ethical ways to persuade people and influence behavior. (I’ve written two other blogs based on this book; check them out here and here.)
The chapters of The small BIG provide a lot of insight into how to influence other people, but there’s also a wealth of information on how to influence yourself. By gaining a deeper understanding of how the human mind works (and what contributes to our motivation, perseverance, focus, etc.), you can become better at pursuing and accomplishing your real estate goals.
Read on for 6 research-backed mind hacks that will help keep you moving forward toward your goals!
1) Imagine your future self.
Researchers have found that people have a “sense of moral responsibility to the future version of themselves.”
In one study, university staff members were sent a message encouraging them to contribute more to their retirement plans. Half of the staff received a message that simply stated the importance of saving for retirement; the other half received a message that asked them to consider their future self: “Your decisions now will determine how much financial security your future self can count on.” The future self group ended up making more increases to their contributions than the other group.
If you find yourself wanting to stray from your daily habits, imagine your future self. If you slack off today, how will that impact your future self? What can you do today to ensure that this future version of yourself is happy and successful? Don’t let your future self down!
2) Focus on the smaller number
To stay motivated as you work toward a goal, keep your focus on the smaller number, whether it's the progress you've made so far or what still remains to be done.
Researchers coined the phrase “small-area hypothesis” to describe the concept that we are more motivated to complete tasks when our focus is on the small number. If you are in the early stages of working toward your goal, celebrate what you’ve accomplished so far. And if you are just days away from reaching your goal, focus on that short distance between yourself and the finish line.
3) Set rigid steps
Three behavioral scientists conducted a study in which customers at a yogurt shop were offered a reward card. After purchasing six different flavors, the customer would receive a free yogurt. Half of the customers were told they could purchase the flavors in any order; the other half were told they must buy them in a specific order: banana, apple, strawberry, orange, mango, grape.
Even though the customers with the “flexible order” card were more likely to activate their card, the customers with the more rigid instructions (purchasing in a specific order) were more likely to actually make all six purchases and receive their free yogurt.
Why? One possible reason is that rigid instructions greatly reduce the number of decisions someone must make, making the pursuit of a goal feel less complicated and less overwhelming.
When pursuing a goal, setting a rigid step-by-step plan will make you more likely to follow through and accomplish your goal.
4) Make a verbal and written commitment
One doctor’s office was able to reduce their no-show rate by 3% simply by asking people to repeat back their appointment information after it was provided to them. In another study, a health center asked patients to write down their appointment information on a card (rather than the receptionist writing it down for them). This led to an 18% reduction in no-shows.
Say your goals out loud at the end of a staff meeting. Or tell them to someone, whether it's your spouse, your partner, a friend, a colleague, or your dog.
And write those suckers down.
5) Keep an “inanities list”
The small BIG shares the story of Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s business partner) and his “list of inanities.” This is a list of other business leaders’ failures and mistakes, which Munger refers to whenever he has a big decision to make.
So, why does he choose to pay more attention to others’ mistakes than their successes?
Research has shown that negative information is more memorable. Compared to positive information, we pay more attention to the negative, learn more from it, and give it more weight during decision making.
To apply this to the pursuit of your goals, study the mistakes of those who have been on this journey before you. Create your own “list of inanities” and refer to it when you have an important decision to make.
6) Give yourself shorter timeframes
Don’t give yourself too much time to complete a task. An excess of time will only fuel your urge to procrastinate.
In a study where participants were given a gift card for coffee and cake, those who received a gift card with an earlier expiration date were more likely to redeem it.
For each step toward your goal, do yourself a favor and set an early deadline.
Here's the thing about goals:
You won't accomplish them overnight. (And if you do, you're not aiming high enough.)
Those really important goals—the ones that are going to bring about big changes for you, or your business, or the world—those take time. And discipline. And motivation. The only way to reach them is to put in work day after day, step by step.
I hope this list of "mind hacks" has given you some insight into how your brain works and how you can tweak your process to be better at pursuing your goals.
Realvolve: a CRM to help you accomplish your real estate goals
To reach the goals of your real estate business, you probably have a process in place—daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that are extremely effective...and time-consuming.
Realvolve CRM takes care of the busywork for you by providing three powerful tools: workflows, templates, and a robust calendar system. By automating everything from email follow-ups and SMS messages to lead imports and staff task assignments, you’ll spend less time in front of a computer and more time in front of clients—with zero fear of a task left undone.