Updated: Jul 12
Ask any coach, guru or industry leader, and they will tell you that your habits are a massive influence on the outcomes you see in your life. Every January the local gyms are overrun with new members, and people start going to bed early and quit booze or chocolate, but by April the landscape is back to normal. Why?
Why do so many people fall off from their commitments? Why are habits so hard to change? What could you do to make it easier next time?
One of my favourite concepts for changing habits or creating new ones comes from an unlikely source:
So what does a comedian have to do with changing your habits? Well, Jerry attributes a lot of his success in telling jokes to a very simple strategy he used to make sure that he was always growing his skills early in his career.
What he realized was that the only way to get great at writing jokes was to practice, so he set a standard for himself that he would write jokes every, single, day.
Jerry referred to his process as “Don’t break the chain”.
Every time that Jerry wrote jokes, he would cross a day off on his calendar. As he described it, the jokes weren’t always good; often they were bad! He didn’t need to write for hours either; he just needed to write SOMETHING every day. Sometimes they were great, sometimes they weren’t, but he was steadily growing his habit and through that, he became one of the best comedians to ever live.
We talk about habits and their power all the time in coaching, and our clients often struggle to find a way to hold themselves accountable. The amazing thing is that the longer you build a chain, the more you are incentivized to keep it going… imagine missing a day after you ran a chain for over a month!
So if you are going to change your habits, where do you start?
Which habit do you invest your focus on first?
One of the main challenge people have is that they try to change everything at once OR they try to change one thing completely overnight. This is one of the most common reasons people fall off. If you never ran before, deciding you will run a marathon every day likely won’t work out. Similarly, if you decide you are going to change the way you exercise, eat, work, live, play and everything else all at once, chances are that you're going to find it hard to keep up with!
Tony Robbins says if you are going to change just one thing, start by changing your body.
Why would we put this at the top on a real estate success blog?
Simple...your personal energy and health are the one thing in your world that influences everything else in your life. Simply put: If you don’t take care of your body, you really have nowhere to live!
Creating new habits which benefit your health and energy will help you have the perseverance you need to continue improving and shaping the rest of your life:
Eating healthy can be challenging, especially with how much time many of us spend on the road. Finding ways to pack healthy snacks, batch-cook healthy meals or prioritize time to make dinner with the family might seem like a frivolous self indulgence, but the energy you show up with at work will more than repay the time away from your responsibilities.
This doesn't need to be huge. Walking quickly can often be enough to get your heart into an aerobic heartbeat range which burns fat and keeps you healthy. I take walks while on brainstorming sessions on the phone as a way of multitasking. Block out an hour in your day and pack a towel so you can hit the gym. Unless you make it a priority, it’ll always be the bottom of your list.
What. The. Heck. Is. This?!
It’s your sleep. Make it a priority. Try going to bed and waking at the same time for 2 weeks, while maintaining 7-8hrs of sleep and you won’t believe how much energy you have. I didn’t realize this until a few years ago and I wish someone had told me to try it earlier.
Ok, So What About My Business?
Habits are just as important in your business.
Creating habits which reinforce productivity on your most important responsibilities is an obvious and often completely overlooked part of getting where you are going.
Where to start? Look at the 4 drivers of excellence in real estate.
1: Skill Building
How does this produce revenue? Well, (*cracks knuckles) the work you do produces the results you get. But the SKILL you apply when working will influence the results you get. So by raising your skills, you either get more results, or you can do less work and get the same results. Either way, it’s a huge win to get better and enjoy the benefits of being a pro!
2: Lead Generation
The more opportunities you have, the better opportunities you will have to choose from. Creating habits around generating new business every day is a great way to safeguard yourself from constantly wondering where your next deal will come from and ensuring you never have to work with clients you aren’t in alignment with.
3: Database Follow Up
Agents forget to call people back. We are notorious for it. So don’t forget that you need to prioritize both the lead generation AND follow-up aspects. Otherwise, your hard work goes to waste.
4: Business Mastery
Agents need to master two things to be successful: Sales… and business. Most of us don’t realize the second one is important for a few years, a decade, or maybe ever. Understanding that you need to run your business like a business, no matter what size it is, is what will help you keep the money you worked so hard for and also help you eliminate wasted effort. Systems, financial efficiency, financial management and support staff are things we hope will sort themselves out, but they don’t. You need to build habits in place to grow your knowledge and monitor these.
Where Do I Start?
So, here you are, overwhelmed or worse, you’ve set yourself up to fail just like the January 1st gym members!
What’s key to remember here is that anyone would feel overwhelmed if they tried to overhaul their entire life at one time. Once you see that the small and consistent changes are the way to win, you’ll start to feel better and by feeling better, your confidence will build. When your confidence builds, you stay the course!
Here’s how you get started:
1: Choose Just ONE Thing.
I suggest something which will create energy in other areas of your life: You could start with your health, self-care, or even lead generation, it all depends on where you see the biggest gap with the biggest impact on your life.
2: Start SMALL.
Make a small commitment, like putting on your running shoes and getting out the front door before you relax after work, as opposed to running a 5k every night. You’ll build up once you get going.
3: Don’t break the chain!
Just make sure you keep doing it! If you miss a day, don’t penalize yourself, just get back at it and keep moving. The goal isn’t to have a perfect chain; the goal is to get a little bit better every day, that’s how you win here.
I’d love to hear what you choose to change in your daily rhythm, your priorities and your life. I’ve slowly made small changes in my life which have created a massive impact and it’s been fun to do it because it’s a constantly evolving experience.
Enjoy the process, don’t rush and don’t chase the results. They will come when you’re doing the right thing.