It’s that time of year again. Yes friends, it’s time to make a New Year’s resolution. Woo Hoo! Some people in real estate are about as fond of writing down their New Year’s resolutions as they are of having a New Year’s Day hangover. In fact a friend of mine claims that his New Year’s resolution is to NOT make any New Year’s resolutions! If this sounds like you someone you know, then read on for tips on creating one meaningful, life-changing New Year’s resolution.

Tip #1: Focus on one resolution and break it down into five smaller things

Author Zig Ziglar once wrote that people don’t wander around and then suddenly find themselves at the top of Mount Everest. Similarly, most successful achievers will create one main New Year’s resolution with several smaller sub-goals. This is critical because these bite-sized goals help to create a step-by-step process for achievement.

Let’s suppose, for example, that your one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Someone who is less focused will put in writing, “My resolution is to lose weight”. A more successful achiever will pen, “My New Year’s resolution is to lose 20 pounds by April 1, 2013, and I will take daily walks, dance in a Zumba class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, limit my alcohol intake and weigh myself every two weeks to stay on track.”

Let’s suppose that your goal is to find a new job. A less successful person might state, “My goal is to find a job.” A more successful person might inscribe, “I will brush off my resume by January 12, and check once a week. I will apply for one new job every two weeks until June 30th.” Do you see how a more concise written plan might be more powerful — especially when the subgoals are measurable, concrete and time-based? People who are less successful often only note things in vague terms so it’s better to create reasonable sub-goals.

Tip #2: Share your New Year’s resolution with others in your life.

Researchers have discovered that sharing a goal with others often works magic. Keeping your promises to yourself on the other hand, almost guarantees that you will NOT be changing your life. People are more likely to stick to a view if they go public with it. They don’t want to be seen as being wishy-washy or inconsistent.

In an experiment regarding making public commitments, students were asked to write down on a sheet of paper their estimate of the length of a line. Then they could do one of two things. They could either: (a) sign the document and hand it back to the Experimenter who would seal it in an envelope, or (b) not sign it and pocket it. When asked later about the length of the line, those that kept the estimate to themselves were far more likely to change their minds as to the size of the line than those who had signed the paper and made a commitment. Likewise, researchers have discovered that when a person publicly declares his goals, it causes the person to stick to that goal.

However many people argue that they don’t state their goals publicly for fear that others might ridicule them for not achieving their goal, but this was put to the test in an experiment in Pennsylvania. There, students were supposed to look at a steep hill and estimate how hard it would be to climb the hill.

Interestingly, a student’s estimate was approximately 15% lower when he or she was accompanied by a friend, than when he or she assessed the task by themselves. Even thinking about a friend accompanying them reduced the student’s estimation of difficulty. So the takeaway from this experiment might be to not only share your resolution with another person, but to get a partner in crime involved with you! Even if you only declare your New Year’s resolution to others, they may want to help you — even if that help simply means moral support when the going gets tough — which it often does.

Tip #3: When the going gets tough, focus on benefits and rewards – not the current reality

When participants involved in a weight loss study continually reminded themselves how good they would feel about themselves AFTER losing a dress size, they accentuated the positive benefits and lost more weight than those participants who focused on their current appearance.

In my new book, Selling Outside the Square: Creative Ideas to Help YOU Make More Sales, I mention the importance of setting up rewards for reaching a particular subgoal. Usually this is something small, like getting your nails done for having avoided extra calories during that week. Another incentive might be to reward yourself with a sushi lunch for prospecting or giving listing presentations. (That is, if you like sushi!)

The reason why you give yourself a small prize is because it provides a sense of accomplishment and gives you something to look forward to. Once one sub-goal is met, a new incentive will take its place: perhaps a one-hour pampering massage or a visit to the local museum.

When it comes to making a serious New Year’s resolution, ask yourself these questions: What will I give myself for achieving my New Year’s resolution? What’s in it for me? Why do I want to do it? What benefits can I associate with the future I desire? Whom can I tell about my sub-goals and main goal? Can I make a screen-saver about my resolution that I can add to my home or office computer to constantly remind myself? Can I break my New Year’s resolution into smaller-sized chunks and keep track via Google docs, or a journal?

Successful people tend to make New Years Resolutions that are measurable, concrete and time-based. By doing so, these resolutions tend to be life-changers that can resonate into other facets of the person’s life.

As the most interesting man in the world might say, “I don’t always make a New Years resolution, but when I do, I use Bob’s three tips to help me truly make an important change in my life.”

For a limited time, subscribers of this newsletter can freely download Bob’s new book:

Selling Outside the Square: Creative Ideas to help YOU make more sales!

FREE Kindle edition – you can read on any computer or cell phone

Hurry! Offer good only for a limited time: December  29 – 30th

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