So it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions again. Gosh, after 2005 (when my New Year’s resolution was “Get married and start a new career”) and 2006 (when my New Year’s resolution was “Stay married and don’t starve to death”) it seems tough to go back to the old standby of “Lose 10 pounds and go to the dentist twice.”
But honestly — after a year where I did my first deals and wrote a marathon 100,000 words — I’m ready for a tad less adventure. Maybe I’ll make a bunch of little ones, so that I’ll feel a sense of achievement even if I keep only some of them. (My friend Joyce summed it up perfectly in a birthday card she sent me: it’s a Mike Twohy cartoon of two cats standing next to a scratched-up chair, and one is saying to the other: “I have a couple of other projects I’m excited about.”)
So let’s see, what would be nice, bite-sized New Year’s resolutions?
1. Stay married. Possibly the only resolution I have to revisit every day, but definitely the most fun, though it involves occasional pain like “teamwork” and “house cleaning.”
2. Give blood more. I’m a universal donor (O positive) and giving blood usually means eating cookies, so I don’t know why this is so hard for me. Partly because it involves knowing what I’m going to be doing two or three days ahead of time, which I’m still not good about, and partly because it involves eating decently so I have a high enough iron level to give (which means waiting to eat the cookies until after I donate).
3. Be nice to five senior agents. I haven’t been pursuing this because I’m deathly afraid I might learn something, but now that I’m starting to get the basics down I can use the veterans’ knowledge of advanced customer handling, market cycles, etc.
4. Develop a savings plan. Finances involved with starting this business have been so reactive: I pay the bills that say “Disconnect Notice” on the front. But I think I’ll actually earn my keep in 2007, and that means thinking about things like emergency funds and retirement. Since this will be the first time I really have to make these decisions as part of a couple, this will feed directly back into Resolution #1.
5. Learn one graphics program. I love the computer and spend waaaay too much time on chat boards: what if I took some of that time and made pretty flyers with it? Might be time to hold my nose and take a quick community-college course in Photoshop or InDesign. I want to be a little bit more of a glamazon, too, and I’ve found that nothing makes me pay attention to my clothing faster than hanging out with art people.
6. Spend one day every two weeks taking stock. When I first started, I was so broke I would measure my cash flow every Friday because I was fascinated by the gushing blood and I was struggling to get on top of things as quickly as possible. Now, when things are going well, I don’t do it at all: who wants to take time away from a client for bookkeeping? But I miss knowing exactly what’s going on, and I know that knowing the big picture helps. I never deal with my mail, so this will let me hold a gun to my own head every couple of weeks. Besides, if I’m going to get any money for #4, I have to do this.
7. Go to the movies more. I mean, who says New Year’s resolutions all have to be hard? I once attended continuing education with a Montclair, N.J., Realtor who urged us all to read widely so we could talk with our clients. Well, I already read all the time because I write so much. Plus, some of my clients are Hollywood people, and some of them are just rich people, but they all go to the movies. It’s easy to talk about movies. In addition, I run an Oscars humor site (www.thefelixes.com) and there’s lots of small talk that can come from that.
8. Implement one idea that I get from Real Estate Connect. (I know what you’re thinking: she’s moderating at Connect NY, how great can it be?) But I’ve been to three of these conferences now (starting from before I even worked with Inman) and I always learn something outrageously useful. Also, it’s fun to tease Brad about what an early tech adopter he is.
9. Learn two neighborhoods I don’t know. Will that be useful for business? I can’t tell. But being able to recommend restaurants and outings, even in an area where I don’t sell, will be useful for my clients. Besides, I can just imagine the fun I’ll have learning new restaurants.
That’s nine. How about one more, to hit a nice round number? Let’s see, I don’t smoke, I don’t want to face the challenge of getting organized … alright, I’ll go with the oldie-but-goodie:
10. Lose 10 pounds.