Okay so I’ve been chatting all week about setting 12 week/quarterly goals, and how I’m adopting that strategy into my goal setting for 2020. So, today I wanted to share a little bit that I learned from the book, The 12 Week Year and how it changed the way I look at goals and productivity. While this book is written for business people and managers to motivate their teams and employees, I loved the concept so much and felt like it really applied to my life.
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The 12 Week Year
To sum up the book in one sentence, the only way to reach your goals is to take action and execute on them every single day. By measuring your success towards your goals every 12 weeks, you can get hyper focused on what you are trying to achieve and actually get there. He also talks a lot in the book about our brains and how they’re wired to work against us when it comes to fear, uncertainty, and risk taking, which I found really fascinating and felt was so true when I applied what he was talking about to myself.
Setting 12 week goals makes it easier to overcome those challenges. You can actually retrain your brain to act and execute.
Why yearly goals don’t work
Yearly goals work, in the sense that you can set a goal to reach by the end of the year, but from the aspect of breaking your goals down and planning, they don’t work. Yearly goals tend to be too abstract. Plus, who knows what you will want 6 or 9 months from now. One thing I’ve noticed every year is that some of my goals tend to change and evolve as the year goes on. Sometimes the things I found important at the beginning of the year aren’t as important because I’ve gotten new information and learned new things. That’s why having a fresh start every 12 weeks can be life changing. Also worth noting, often when we set goals for the year, we have this fake notion of “plenty of time” left to reach them. How many times have you gotten to Summer and realized you slacked off and didn’t reach your health and fitness goals, or gotten to the end of the year and just realized you forgot all about the goals or resolutions you set in January. It happens to literally all of us, so I am really excited to try a new way.
Consistency and execution
The whole theme of The 12 Week Year is that consistency and execution are key, and those are both really hard to focus on sometimes when our goals aren’t as specific or as measurable as we need them to be. We have all heard of SMART goals- goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. However, even SMART goals that are based on an entire year of time aren’t that SMART. We can break our goals down into smaller bite size goals, and essentially that is the basis behind The 12 Week Year. We are breaking our goals down to each quarter, and then each week. By doing this, each week (there are only 12 here to reach your goal) and each day becomes more important. The truth is, I can set a goal to “lose 60 lbs,” but I honestly have no control over outside factors, like how my body responds to what I’m doing, or the exact amount of weight I lose. All I can do is focus on the actions every single day that I know will get me there.
Fresh start each quarter
By setting quarterly 12 week goals, you get a fresh start every 3 months. So, if anything changes or you need to change your goals or your methods of reaching them, you can do that at this time. You can find objective ways to measure your success and take an honest look at your efforts. If you put in effort, but didn’t see results, it is time to change your methods, or if you didn’t put in the effort you should have, you can reevaluate yourself and what you can do differently. You also get the chance to refocus and treat each 12 week time frame as if it is a brand new year. This is key to creating consistency for yourself throughout the year and not wasting time that could be spent changing your life and reaching your goals.
I highly recommend reading The 12 Week Year and adopting this strategy for yourself, too. To get you started on your 2020 goal setting I’ve got my “Big Plans” for 2020 sheet which you get free when you sign up for my email list, then you can get my full set of goal setting worksheets for 2020, here.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments- what goals are you working towards this year? Have you ever tried breaking them down quarterly?