How To Achieve Success By Setting Goals: Interview with Pat Hiban

Do you want to grow your business? Make more money? Build an amazing team? Foster better relationships? Whatever your ambitions are, setting goals and creating an action plan is how to make those dreams a reality.

 “The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run. It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.”

Seth Godin

Success is not achieved by accident. People that achieve wild success do not end up there by mistake or just by chance, they get there by setting goals, tracking those goals, and learning from their failures.

Pat Hiban has earned the ranking of #1 RE/MAX agent in the world and #1 agent in the world with Keller Williams. He’s the author of best-selling book 6 Steps to 7 Figures, A Real Estate Professional’s Guide to Building Wealth and Creating Your Own Destiny. Pat is also the host of Real Estate Rockstar Radio, a top ranked real estate podcast where Hiban interviews the world’s top agents and millionaires in the real estate industry.

Through Pat Hiban’s career, goal setting has always played a key role in his success. We interviewed Pat to learn about the impact goal setting has had on his personal and professional life, and how he tracks his success.

Why is it so important to set goals?

Pat Hiban: If you don’t set goals, they just become thoughts or wishes. Until it’s written down and repeated, it’s not a goal. Let’s use the example of losing weight. If you want to lose 10 lbs and you just say you want to lose 10lbs that’s just a wish or a statement. But if you write it down, you repeat it and see it every morning, you have a much better chance of losing the weight.

When did you start writing and tracking your goals?

Pat: I started writing goals when I took Floyd Wickman’s SweatHogs course when I was around 22 years old. They taught us to write down how many houses we wanted to list and how many people we wanted to call. It started to expand over time. There are two guys in my life that I then started doing adventure travelling with. We created a goal setting sheet where we have speicif goals in all areas of our life – health, relationships, money – all types.

Then we started talking every week about where we are on our goals and we call each other Accountability Partners. Overtime we decided to release the idea to other people and now we have a company called GoBundance, a group of business men who set goals and hold each other accountable to these goals. We have 130 members currently.

I set my goals and read them in an affirmative statement in my phone and record it and so it’s a way for me to check in on them everyday. I listen to it before I listen to any podcast or radio. My goals are pretty detailed, I have 50 goals at all times.

What’s important to remember when setting goals?

Pat: Any goal has to have a deadline and a way to measure it. If you just say you want to be a millionaire, you’re not going to get there unless you track your first $10,000 then your first $30,000, your first $100,000  and so on. You have to take it to a micro level. For example, you saved $10 today. Then you put a checkmark everyday you save $10. The person that does that is going to be a millionaire a lot faster than the person that doesn’t.

Why is it so important to track your goals?

Pat: That which is measured expands. I believe in measuring everything. I’ll use losing weight as an example again because it’s universal. The reason WeightWatchers works so well is because they force you to stand on the scale and write down everything you eat so you’re tracking everything. If you track, you succeed. If you stop writing it down and stop stepping on the scale, what do you think will happen? It’s clear that tracking equals success. You have to look at that goal, you have to talk about it, and you have to track it to reach it.

Where do you write down your goals and how do you track them?

Pat: We have a sheet that we developed at GoBundance and it’s a simple thing that outlines categories in your life and maybe 5 boxes for each category. For example, health may be a category and you’d have 5 boxes that you can fill in:

The next category would be wealth or money. So the boxes for that category may be:

Another category could be bucket list items. What do you want to do that’s epic this year? And you write 5 of them down.

So you have these different categories and you plug them in. Even spiritual could be a category. How many books do you want to read that are spiritual natured? How many times do you want to meditate or go to church this year? You just plug them in.

Family is another category. For example, I plan a one-on-one trip with my daughter every year. I also have a niece that I do a one-on-one trip with her every year. Every year I have a goal for where I want to take my niece. So every year I map them out and then check them off. For some goals you have to set daily goals and others you just need to pull the trigger on.

How do you approach goal setting to make sure it’s achievable and realistic?

Pat: I never want to tell someone they’re manic or unrealistic. Sometimes you hear goals and you think “Woah, that’s pretty lofty!” I never want to crush someone’s goal, but what I will tell them is to talk about how long they want it to take. If it’s a 10 year goal, then you have to figure out what needs to happen today and everyday leading up to that in order for that to happen. How are you going to get there and how are you going to get there incrementally?

Let’s say you’re a real estate agent and you want to list 5 houses a month. You have to work it out backwards – how many people do you have to meet with a month in order to do this? You probably have to meet with 3 people to list 1 house so that means you have to meet with 15 people a month. That means you have to meet with somebody every 2 days.

So then you can track whether you’re meeting with people every 2 days, and if you’re not, then you’re not going to hit that goal. And if you’re not, then you have to figure out how you can. It probably means you have to call more people. So instead of calling people for an hour a day, maybe you need to spend 2 hours a day calling people. Otherwise you’ll get to the end of the month and you won’t have listed those 5 houses. You have to break it down to what you do everyday to get to that goal.

What do you do to motivate yourself when you’re not hitting your goals?

Pat: You have to reset what you’re doing on a daily basis. I’ll use the weight example again. If you want to lose 20 lbs in a month, that means you have to lose almost a pound a day. And if you’re not losing it then you have to cut your calories even more or up your exercise even more. And if you can’t do that, then it’s okay to push back the timeline to a few more months. It doesn’t mean the game is over if you’re not making that incremental daily goal.

My Accountability Partners and I go over our goals on a regular basis and we allow each other to remove goals or to push back the timeline on goals and that’s fine. But you have to be mindful about it. You can’t wait until the end of the month and change your goal when you realized you didn’t hit it. You have to track it and halfway there when you realize you’re not going to hit it, you then adjust what you’re doing daily or if you can’t, extend the timeline.

How often do you set new goals?

Pat: Usually I do them in November for the year and as time goes on I’ll add to them. Since I’ve set my goals in November, I’ve added 3 new goals that I didn’t even think about at the time. That way there’s time to talk about goals and plan them before the start of the year.

What does your goal-setting & tracking process look like?

Pat: Last year’s goals help you a lot. You can bounce of last year’s goals and expand on them. The only prep work really is going over them and talking to them with people. When you talk to people about your goals and they go over their goals with you, it gives you other ideas for goals.

I have two different groups with people that I go over my goals on a regular basis with. I go over my goals in detail with my two Accountability Partners. As part of GoBundance, we have what’s called Go Pods which are five people. Those five people get on a Zoom call once a month and give an update on their business and personal goals. The business goal may be how much money you want to achieve and the personal goal may be wanting to go on two dates with your wife. Thirty days later we get back together and check in how it went with that goal.

How do you choose an Accountability Partner?

Pat: You need to find someone who’s into goal setting. You need to find someone who’s willing to be authentic and share their goals with you and someone who wants to hear about your goals. Some goals are private information but it’s important that you have somebody to share it with. You have to find someone who you’re comfortable sharing goals with and they’re comfortable sharing with you. That’s really the only criteria. You don’t have to be the same age or in the same industry because your goals are going to be vastly different from theirs anyway.

How have your goals and process changed over the years?

Pat: Luckily they got bigger and better. I started accumulating more money, more wealth and more relationships. I’m not saying every goal I ever set came true – that’s not true. When the market tanked in 2008 I had all kinds of goals that didn’t happen. And when the stock market crashed I had a lot of goals that weren’t reached. Eventually they come true but it’s all over time.

What are some of your most aggressive goals you’ve reached?

Pat: I’ve built my team up pretty well in the real estate game. I had a goal to make over a million dollars in a year. I had a goal to do over 2M in business and when we hit both of those I had a goal to sell my team and I did that. I had a goal to write a book and get on the best seller list and achieved those – those have been some pretty big ones.

What advice would you give to people about goal setting?

Pat: It’s very easy once you just sit down and do it. I highly recommend writing them down. There was a study done about people who wrote goals vs people who just set them. People who wrote them down were so much more likely to meet them because they were written out. You should write them down, read them, say them out loud, talk to people about it, and it will happen. The only way it won’t happen is if you give up on it, stop reading it, stop looking at it.