So you want to be a success real estate investor? Well, you need to have your goal setting in line. In order to have the greatest chance of achieving your goals you need to be setting SMART goals. Now, not the Webster definition of smart, but rather SMART as an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I want you to write these five words on a piece of paper because all your goals should be evaluated to ensure they meet the smart standard.
So let’s first look at the S in smart, which stands for specific. Your goals need to be precise and say exactly what you want to happen. Being specific helps you apply your efforts effectively and clearly define what you are going to do. The specifics of your goals are the what, why, and how. Ask yourself this question, what are you going to do? Answer this question with action words such as learn, buy, create, and so on. The why is why do you want to accomplish this goal and why do you want to accomplish it now rather than later, and finally, the how. How are you going to do it? You must ensure each goal you set is specific. Rather than setting a vague goal such as I want to invest in real estate, set a specific goal such as I want to own 2 rental properties each cash flowing $250/mo after all expenses. See how being more specific allows your planning to be much more focused.
Okay, now on to the M in smart, this stands for measurable. Goals that are too large are hard to manage and if you cannot manage your goals you will not achieve them it is that simple. The measurable aspects of goal setting focuses mostly on short-term goals that when built upon allow you to achieve your larger long-term goals. Let’s take for example our previous specific goal of owning 2 rental properties each cash flowing $250/mo after all expense. To achieve this goal you need to set more measurable short-term goals such as obtaining financing, locating properties, rehabbing them if they are distressed, heck you may even need to learn how to analyze a rental property to even know if it cash flows. See how even though our goal was specific there is still more specific short term goals needed to increase your chances of achieving the goal. The last item I want to touch on about measurable goals is that you must have a gauge to measure them against. Set concrete criteria for measuring progress. Not only will this keep you on track but as you reach these short-term goals there is excitement in knowing you are one step closer to your overall goal.
Now the A in smart, this stands for attainable. If you set goals that are too large or too far out of your reach, you won’t truly commit to trying to achieve them. For example, setting a goal of buying 100 rental properties in the next 12 months, or generating $250,000 in rental income in the next 12 months for most of us is not attainable. Setting goals such as this you may start out excited and be ready to go get them, but before long your subconscious will remind you that this goal is just too much to achieve and you will become less and less focused on achieving your goal and before long you will quit trying at all. The goal needs to be hard enough that you have to work for it but not so hard you have no shot of achieving it. When you achieve a property of turkey goal it is exciting and has your pumped to achieve the next one. This is the attitude you need to have, not a continued list of unaccomplished goals. Building momentum with attainable goals is a sure fire way of achieving more difficult long-term goals.
The next to last letter which is R stands for realistic. Now, realistic does not mean easy but does mean doable. If you have $500 dollars to your name and your goal is to buy 30 properties next week this is probably not a very realistic goal. Could this goal be achieved, possibly but is it more unrealistic than realistic, yes. Set goals that will require effort, but if they are too difficult you are just setting the stage for failure. On the other hand setting goals that are too easy is just showing yourself you have no confidence and that you are not very capable. Set the bar high enough that achieving it feels like an accomplishment.
Finally, we have reached the T which stands for timely. This one is pretty self-explanatory. When setting goals they must have an end point or target date. Is it next week, next month, two days from now, no matter what the case there must be a timeframe associated with the goal. When you do not set a timeframe you are not truly committing to accomplishing your goal. Without a timeframe there is no urgency to start taking action now.