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A new year is upon us, and with a new year comes new goals.

Late last year, I joined an online community of mortgage professionals that stretch across the country. Together, we pool ideas and make suggestions on how we can create strategies and products to help better serve our clients. We all agree that 2012 will be a challenging year and that consumers are becoming resistant to our 'old-age' marketing approaches. I will have more to come on our products that are being launched to the public later. They save you thousands on your mortgage and knock years off your amortization – I would recommend you keep an eye out!

Part of this community offers some personal coaching from a caged vet in the industry who has a lot of ground-breaking ideas and enthusiasm to share with us. It's very refreshing and motivating! One of the things he had us do as part of our goal planning for 2012 was to think of three words that will define and shape the way we practice and play in both business and in life. Here are my three words for 2012:

FOCUS

I found in 2011 that I had a lot of really neat ideas that would come to my mind (usually while lying in bed). These ideas would make it to the 'Notes' section in my Blackberry and do nothing more than create a cluster of frustration and stress in my day-to-day goings-on. I would look at them from time to time, however the problem was I was not taking any action on them, and my list of ideas just kept growing! I found this began to affect my personal life as well, as I was constantly taking this 'baggage' home with me and nothing but work would be on my mind. In 2012, the idea is to focus on the good ideas and actually make something happen with them. Another large part of focus comes while I'm actually at the office. Out of the 8-10 hours that I spend at the office each day, how many of those are actually productive hours? This would result in me returning home some days with a frustration wondering what I accomplished all day. I plan to focus on being more productive with my time while at work.

INNOVATION

Innovation is going to be big for me in 2012. As I mentioned above, it is imperative that I shift the way I market and do business with both potential, and current clients. Things are changing and 2012 will be challenging. Bringing innovative ideas and strategies to my customers on paying off their mortgage faster and cutting years off their amortization is my pledge. Continuing to create and innovate is my promise.

VALUE

As a mortgage professional, I must always be bringing value to my clients and referral sources. In 2012, I want every one of my clients to leave our transaction thinking, "wow, that guy is valuable to have on my team!" If I leave my clients with this feeling, I know that I am referrable and can be confident that they will introduce me to their friends and families. To me, value will also mean receiving value from everyone I meet. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that I learn of him." I truly believe everyone has something special to offer, and I plan to see the value and learn from all of the people I meet in 2012.

Those are my three words that I plan to live by this year. I hope that by posting this to the public, I am held more accountable both in business and my personal life.

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