What does it take to have your best year ever even when the market continues to be tough? Here are two simple strategies you can implement now to make 2012 your most profitable year ever.

1. Reset your mindset

The No. 1 influence on your success is your mindset. Daniel Amen in his book, "Making a Good Brain Great," identifies what he calls "ANTs," which stands for automatic negative thoughts. Everyone has these thoughts that can keep us stuck rather than moving forward.

What’s fascinating about Amen’s research is that when he did brain scans on optimistic people who were thinking negative thoughts, their brain scans resembled those of people suffering from schizophrenia. Amen likened this effect to having an "ANT" invasion in your brain.

What can you do to limit the damage from ANTs? Amen suggests that you write them down as a way of looking at them objectively. Many ANTs are silly or irrational. By writing them down, you can sort out what merits your attention and what does not.

A second component of mindset comes from Buckminster Fuller who said, "Environment is stronger than will." A great example is a person who is dieting. He or she does well until someone orders pizza for the office or brings in doughnuts for a meeting.

In order to maintain a positive mindset, it’s important to control your environment. If there are negative or toxic people in your office, try working from home. If you have negative clients, ask yourself whether working with this client is worth the damage to your mindset or would you be better off referring that person to another agent. In case you are wavering, remember how damaging negative thoughts are to your brain. When an agent says, "That client makes me crazy," there’s more truth in that statement than they may realize.

2. Take the best and discard the rest

To increase the odds of your success in 2012, an important step is to identify what is working in your business and to expand on that. As Joeann Fossland says, no one ever got to the top by developing their weaknesses.

The one thing that virtually all top producers have in common is that they have one or two niches where they are the dominant player in the area or where they have a strong skill set such as cold calling. Their success relates specifically to a having a laser-like focus on these one or two strengths.

To determine your strengths, identify what aspects of the business that you enjoy doing. It’s much easier to succeed when you do what you enjoy instead of forcing yourself to do something some expert says you should do to succeed.

The second step is to look at your production for 2011. If available, ask your manager for a printout of all of your closed transactions for 2011 or create your own list. Note the amount of commission you earned as well as where the lead originated. Also note the price range and the geographical location.

The third step is to note any patterns. For example, were most of your listings in a narrow price range or a specific geographical area? If so, devote more time to doing more of those activities that generated those leads. These numbers tell you where your business strengths are.

You can also use these numbers to determine what is not working. For example, if you used newspaper advertising in 2011, how may closed sales did it generate? If you are marketing to a 500-person geographical farm and it generated only one or two closed transactions, would your time and money be better spent on an activity that generated more closed transactions? The smart move is to move your marketing budget from those items that don’t produce leads to those activities that currently generate the most closed transactions.

To illustrate this point, if your geographical farm is not generating leads, shift your money from marketing to strangers to staying in touch with past clients and people who are in your current sphere of influence. Along the same lines, if certain price ranges are much more active than others, focus your efforts where the activity is the greatest. Track this data regularly so that if the market shifts, you can put your resources where they will have the greatest impact.

By focusing on your personal strengths and by eliminating nonproductive activities from your business, you greatly increase the odds of having a great year in 2012.

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