The 12 Week Year

The 12 Week Year

by Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington

The 12 Week Year is a guide to becoming more organized, results-driven, and accomplished in shorter, 12-week cycles. It discards annualized thinking and replaces it with shorter time frames, during which professionals can be more focused, productive, and goal-oriented. The book offers easy-to-follow guidelines on formulating goals, measuring success, and improving execution. 

Summary Notes

Redefining the Year

“Annualized thinking and planning more often than not leads to less than optimal performance. Stop thinking in terms of a year; instead, focus on shorter time frames.”

Professionals believe that annual planning is vital for their companies’ performance. In reality, the opposite is true. Annual planning has proven to be a roadblock to success. 

Such planning includes developing plans with goals that may be broken down into smaller elements. However, since success evaluation takes place annually, it is counterproductive and hinders optimal performance. 

The best way to ensure stable success and top performance is to focus on shorter periods of time. Every goal you set has to have a deadline because it creates a sense of urgency and sharpens your focus. 

To be able to abandon the annualized thinking, start viewing the year as a period of 12 weeks instead of 12 months. There will be a new deadline every three months, after which a new 12-week year will come. 

With 12-week planning, you’ll be able to make more concise and definitive plans, with more precise steps to achieve your set goals. If you incorporate weekly and even daily planning, you’ll manage to accomplish your 12-week goals more efficiently. Your daily to-do list should include tactics that are specific, actionable, and with precise deadlines.

Actions to take

The Emotional Connection

“In order to tap the incredible power of your vision, you need a future that is bigger than the present. A compelling personal vision creates passion.”

Having a compelling vision of your future will inspire you to strive to achieve a much higher level of performance. Progress stems from your strength to choose and take uncomfortable actions because being constantly comfortable in your professional life breeds mediocrity. 

To truly succeed in life and create a legacy, you must be emotionally invested in your future. A strong emotional connection to your dreams and goals will fuel your passion and determination to accomplish anything your heart desires. 

Think about what you want out of life in terms of achievements, income, personal and professional relationships, spirituality, and growth. Try to be as precise as possible when thinking about your passions and dreams. This clarity of mind and heart will give you the right motivation to develop a plan and a deadline for achieving your goals.

Actions to take

Develop Your 12 Week Plan

“One of the benefits that comes from applying the 12 Week Year is learning to act in the moment because that’s where the future that you will experience is being created.”

After listing down everything you wish to accomplish in your life, divide them into three groups: long-term goals and aspirations, mid-term goals, and short-term goals. To achieve your long-term goals, you must first focus on accomplishing your short-term goals – which can be completed within 12-week periods.

Planning for your future is crucial because it forces you to set clear, concise, measurable, and realistic goals. Moreover, meticulous planning saves time and resources, which is immensely important if you wish to attain professional success. 

When you set your goals, make sure there is a way to measure the degree of success toward accomplishing them. Numbers help us measure it objectively and accurately. Measurement will always give you a reality check because it “drives the execution process.” 

Reserve Monday mornings for reflection, plan future weekly tactics, and score your execution. For instance, if you plan to lose 15 pounds during the 12-week period, you should plan for weekly tactics that include cardio, weightlifting, limiting calorie intake, and planning healthy meals full of nutrients. Your aim should be to execute a minimum of 85% of your weekly plans. If your score is lower, reassess your goals and strive to improve your score every week. 

How you formulate your goals can largely affect the level of success in achieving them. Formulating your goals with positive outcomes in mind will increase your level of motivation to succeed. 

Make your goal realistic, but leave room for stretching them. If your goals can be easily achieved, you should challenge yourself to think bigger. 

Assigning accountability for reaching success is important, especially if you are a part of a team. Every team member should be held accountable for the results they are expected to deliver within the present timeline. Setting deadlines every step of the way will keep you more grounded, present, and focused.

Actions to take

Take Back Control of Your Day

“Learn to isolate yourself from those distractions when there is important work to be done.”

Growth and success do not come from within your comfort zone but from outside of it. If you are invested in your self-development, you have to accept the uncertainty, the discomfort, and the fear that comes with it.

Creating new habits that make us more productive is a painstaking process – but it yields great results if we are persistent. One bad habit that you should make an effort to break is multitasking. Although some view it as a habit that fosters productivity, it does the exact opposite. The best way to break it is to focus on finishing one task before moving on to the next. This way, you won’t have to spend as much time during the day completing the same number of tasks. 

Constantly checking our social media is another habit constantly interfering with our productivity. If you want to succeed, you should avoid major distractions, such as social media. When you have to do important work, limit the time you idly spend on the internet.

Prioritize your activities, especially those that will bring you closer to achieving your weekly goals. Make a written plan of your weekly goals so that you can allocate enough time and resources to them.

Actions to take

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