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Revisiting the 12 Week Year and Avoiding These 5 Mistakes

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Goal Plan Action

The end of the year is usually the time when people like you and I think about the goals we want to achieve the upcoming year. However, for some, one year could be too long and they end up not accomplishing anything.

Over the years, we’ve heard this same issue from our customers… “I had my year planned out but I wasn’t even able to reach one goal! I thought I had it all figured out.” The truth is, you can plan out your year down to the last day but translating those plans to accomplishments might not be as easy. We’ve helped over 13,000 of our customers accomplish their goals and have more time for themselves and their loved ones.

One thing we teach our customers and readers is the 12 week year framework which is based on the book of the same name which was written by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. We’ve covered this topic in the blog and podcast and we also have an exclusive video course for this inside the Dojo, our online productivity community. It’s a popular topic because it will help you achieve your goals in a shorter time that’s why we decided to revisit the 12-week year framework and help you overcome common mistakes.

If this is something new for you, don’t worry. The 12 Week Year concept is simple–focus on a quarter or 12 weeks and limit yourself to 2-3 objectives or goals. You can also check out our podcast about the 12-week year here.

This topic will help you if you’ve tried other systems but it didn’t work out, if you’re not hitting your goals, if you encounter roadblocks, and if you are having a hard time implementing the 12 week year framework.

What is the 12-week year?

The idea behind this framework is straightforward:

  • Plan for 12 weeks or 1 quarter
  • Have a clear vision of what you want to happen within the 12-week period
  • Limit your goals to 2-3 items
  • Know that things can change and you have to adjust accordingly
  • Personal accountability

Although it is straightforward, a lot of people still make mistakes in implementing the 12 week year.

5 common mistakes people make and how to overcome them.

1. Focusing on a lot of goals

You might think that 2 or 3 goals per quarter are too little and you can do much more. Hold that thought… Hold it… And let it go. Focus on 2 or 3 goals because the purpose of the 12 week year framework is for you to focus on those goals and make incredible progress–not just mediocre work for the sake of finishing it.

In Asian Efficiency, we learned the hard way when we decided on working on more than 3 goals per quarter–we ended up not reaching any of those goals because our focus was all over the place. These days, we focus on just two goals per quarter and so far, we’ve been consistent in reaching those goals.

2. Not having a strong WHY

Part of the 12-week year framework is having a vision. This is your WHY. This must be strong and compelling because this will push you to accomplish what you set out to achieve in 12 weeks. Your WHY will be your motivation for you to take action even during those days when you feel like not doing anything.

You might think that this is all fluff and you won’t get a lot from this. That’s fine because a lot of our customers used to feel the same way–until they got stuck and had nothing to return to or to look back on why they were on that path. Having your why will help you get back on track and make sure you are heading in the right direction.

The 12 Week Year course in the Dojo has a list of “Vision Prompts” to help you get started. For example: “What legacy would you like to leave behind? What is your end game?”

3. Not paying attention to progress

Ask yourself, “How do I know if I’m making progress on my goals if I am not tracking it?”. The easy answer is you can’t. Or the best thing you can do is make a wild guess. Whether you are using the 12 week year or some other framework, tracking your progress is important. There are tracking apps you can use like Productive or you can use the mighty pen and paper. What’s important is you track your actions to track your progress. Within the Dojo, we have the 12 Week Year Execution Score Reporting that you can use to measure your progress.

When you measure, it enhances your focus. As Peter Drucker has said: “What gets measured gets managed.”

4. Focusing more on the outcome and not on the behavior

When you think of goals, you would often say:
“I want to lose 20 lbs”
“I want to read 20 non-fiction books this year”
“I want to grow my mailing list by 100%”
“I want to write 2 blog posts every month”
“I want to get promoted before the year ends”

Let’s change those phrases and focus on the behavior that will help you reach your goals:
“I will work out 3 times a week and track what I eat”
“I will read 30 minutes a day”
“I will create FB content every Monday-Wednesday-Friday”
“I will write 60 minutes a day”
“I will work on improving my metrics every month”

Do you see the difference? By doing this, your energy goes into taking action on lead measures.

5. Doing it on your own

Don’t be a recluse. Do you have a goal? Tell other people AND surround yourself with people who can support you in reaching your goals. Their support and encouragement will help motivate you in acting on your goals.

In the Dojo, our members have their own accountability threads and everyone supports everyone. When someone fails (that happens), you can be sure that all other members will help the Dojo member right back up. The entire community is built upon mutual respect and the desire to see each other succeed.

Next Steps

The 12 week year framework is short. You think the year just flies by (it’s already February and wasn’t it just New Year’s Eve yesterday???), the quarter just zooms by.

It’s time to start your 12 week year journey by:

  • creating a strong vision for your life
  • think of the 2 things you want to accomplish for the next 12 weeks
  • schedule your planning and review sessions to measure your results
  • track your progress

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1 Comment

Posted by annie d  | March 3, 2020 at 9:09AM | Reply

I have been looking for ways to help me plan and stick to a productive routine. Thank you for this!

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