Setting New Year’s resolutions often leads to dreading an otherwise positive start (or end) of a habit. Instead of making a list for 2019, focus on doing these five things.

Much like everyone else, I love a good New Year’s resolution. It’s a great first step in either developing a good habit or perhaps being done with a bad one. Where the wheels fall off for me is tying this resolution to Jan. 1.

My observation is that with that date in mind, people max out on whatever they are trying to stop doing up until that date and typically do nothing to set their minds toward what they do hope to accomplish. All that does is put tremendous pressure on the person making the resolution and cause them to dread what would otherwise be a positive thing.

Here are five things agents should do instead of setting resolutions this new year.

1. Find a mentor

Perhaps an alternative way of thinking about what you want to crush in 2019 starts less with New Year’s Day and more with identifying someone who is already doing what you want to do.

Mentorship comes in all forms, and though a formally set accountability schedule works best for most, there are certainly less regimented ways to improve.

The surprising thing here is that when asked, most people are flattered and will gladly share their experience in developing — or curbing — their habits. This person is not your competitor, but rather your inspiration.

And if you’re past the point of needing a mentor, you should think about becoming one. It can make you an even better agent.

2. Set goals (and expectations)

Once you have gathered these ideas and suggestions, set daily goals (as in today) with the idea that the habits will be in place by the time the New Year rolls around.

As much as we all love overnight transformations, habits are more likely to develop — and stick — if they are introduced gradually. You also have to accept the reality that you are going to have some off days and that the feeling of failure and disappointment happens to everyone.

Instead of beating yourself up over it, channel it into getting back on track the next day. Write down the way you feel about your failures — and your subsequent successes — so you can remind yourself of how you would rather spend your time feeling.

3. Keep a gratitude journal

While we are on the subject of writing things down, a simple way to remain in a more positive mindset is to keep a gratitude journal.

Write down at least one thing each day that makes you happy. It’s really surprising how this can change your mood.

4. Compete against yourself

If you are a competitive person, which most successful people are, focus on competing against yourself and your past accomplishments instead of against your friends and colleagues.

It’s too easy to get distracted by what everyone else is doing. Keep in mind that every single person you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so making parallels with all of those unknowns is just not productive.

5. Keep your perspective

Lastly, try to keep perspective. There are always people overcoming challenges, and not one CEO, professional athlete, brain surgeon or anyone else at the top of their game has gotten there by giving up.

They are constantly improving themselves to be perpetually prepared. When that preparedness intersects with an opportunity, that is “luck,” and you can line it all up to happen.

That said, some people do have certain advantages in life. Rather than focusing on how you don’t have what they have, figure out your own superpower. You have at least one, if not several.

So now that you have a good read under your belt for the day, start crushing it! Getting ahead in 2019 is all about finishing strong in 2018.

Emily Lundell is a licensed associate real estate broker with Compass in New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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