The 12 Week Year : Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months
Most of us never really reach our potential and we don’t live the life we could live. According to Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington, the authors of the book “The 12 Week Year”, most people can double or triple their income just by consistently applying what they already know. They already know what they need to do to achieve their goals but they do not consistently execute these actions. Take weight loss, for example. Everyone knows what they need to do to lose weight, yet many people are still overweight. We know we have to eat less and exercise more, yet we do not do that consistently.
The authors of the 12 week year book, claim that in order to reach your potential, all you need to do is to consistently execute your plans. Effective execution is the best way to accomplish all your goals. The idea is not to work harder, but to focus on the activities that matter most and get them done. The 12 Week Year has the power to increase your income two, three, or four times. It also has the power to help you reach similar goals in all areas of your life!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if you purchase the 12 week year book from the link below I earn a commission on your purchase but it doesn’t cost you anything. I have bought and read the book and highly recommend it.
I am a procrastinator and I will put anything and everything off until I reach the deadline. When I reach the deadline I will get it done, but until then I waste time. When I have yearly goals, I tend to do less all year and then make a bigger effort close to the end of the year. Whereas, when I have 12-week goals the deadline is always near enough that I never lose sight of it. Therefore, I start working sooner and put things off less. When you have a goal and a deadline you will achieve a lot more.
The goal is to perform at your best and achieve the goals you are capable of. The 12 Week Year method shows you how to perform at your best and achieve the things in life that matter most to you through effective execution. The idea is to consistently take action on the things that will help you reach your goals and shape your success. You will also lower your stress, build your confidence, and feel better about yourself.
The concepts described in the book apply equally well for individuals as well as groups, both personally and professionally.
Whereas you can read and implement this 12 week year summary, you really should read the book since it provides so much more detail and examples that will help you create your own goals and implementation plan.
Your Vision and Long-Term Goals
Before you start, you will need to create a vision to know where you want to get to. Without a vision, you will have no emotional connection to your tasks, and your chances of success will not be as great. There are 3 time horizons you’ll want to focus your vision on:
How would you like to see your life in the long term?
What would you like to achieve 3 years from today? Relate to personal and professional goals.
12 Week Goals
These are your goals for the next 12 weeks. This is your vision and where you want to be 12 weeks from now.
It is important to write clear and precise goals. This will increase your chances of getting to where you want to be. When you set goals for the next 3 months, they will be more predictable than goals you set for the next year. Also, when you set goals four times a year, you will focus on fewer goals. That means you are more focused and less distracted. In 12 week planning, you identify the top one to three things that will have the greatest impact, and then work to accomplish each of these things.
These are the actions you will take to reach your 12-week goals.
Your goals must be:
- Specific and measurable. See SMART goals for a detailed explanation.
- Stated positively. Focus on something positive that you want to happen.
- Realistic but require effort to achieve. You don’t want your goals to be too easy to achieve, but you also don’t want them to be too difficult to achieve. Try to find goals that challenge you but are achievable with reasonable effort.
- Find ways to hold yourself accountable. Accountability keeps you working hard to make consistent, steady progress, and to achieve your goals. The ultimate aim of accountability is to continually ask yourself what you can do to reach your goals.
- Time-bound. You need a deadline to get yourself moving.
Step 1 – Set your goals
Set 1 to 3 specific and measurable goals for the upcoming 12 week year. Print the 12 week year PDF below and write down each of your goals. You might need more than one goal but you don’t want too many goals. You need to stay focused.
How do you decide which goals to focus on? Start with your vision and then rate yourself in the seven areas of life balance (i.e., spiritual, spouse/partner, family, community, physical, personal, and business). The authors suggest using a scale from 1 to 10 to rate your level of satisfaction. A score of 10 is the best that you can be in an area and a score of 1 would be the worst.
Step 2 – Develop a plan to achieve your goals
Keep your plan simple yet effective. List a few actions that you will need to complete to achieve your plan. Your plan must contain the top priorities that will add the most value and have the greatest impact. The 12-week plan contains all the tactics or actions you need to execute in order to achieve your 12-week goals. Each tactic has a due date.
Print the 12 week year templates PDF, Word, or Image version. Write one to three goals. Add the tasks that are most likely to help you reach these goals.
Step 3 – Create a Weekly Plan
The weekly plan takes your 12-week plan and divides it into weekly and daily actions. The weekly plan organizes your week and keeps you focused. This is not a weekly to-do-list but rather the critical strategic tasks that you need to complete in order for you to achieve your goals.
To create your weekly plan, you will need to refer to your 12-week plan from the previous step. The weekly plan is pretty much one-twelfth of the 12-week plan above.
Here is a sample weekly plan template to add your daily actions for each week. In the left column, give each action a score. Use this score to measure what percentage of your tasks you completed each week.
Spend the first 15 or 20 minutes at the beginning of each week to review your progress from the past week and plan the upcoming one.
The first five minutes of each day should be spent reviewing your weekly plan to plan that day’s activities.
Step 4 – Complete each action the week it is due
With the 12 Week Year, a year is equivalent to 12 weeks, a month is now a week, and a week is now a day. To do this, you need to focus on the actions that will have the most impact. You cannot get sidetracked. You have to stick to the plan. If you have decided to do something one day, then don’t stop until you get it done. Ensure that your critical tasks are completed each week.
Step 5 – Measure your progress with the Weekly Scorecard
The best way to measure your execution is to work from a weekly plan and evaluate the percentage of tactics completed.
You are not taking your success into account, but rather the percentage of things you completed out of those that you planned to complete.
At the end of each week, spend some time evaluating your performance. Block out time each week to score and plan your week. How did you score? What were your successes? How could you have been more effective?
If you do not reach your goals, try to think about what you can do to be more effective and get more done.
According to the authors of the twelve week year, if you successfully complete 85% of the activities in your weekly plan, then you will most likely reach your goals. Even if you don’t reach 85%, keep applying the system and trying to improve your scores. You don’t have to be perfect but try to be consistent and give it your best.
Planning and Reflection
When you have completed your 12-week period you take a break, celebrate, reflect, and re-energize just like you would do at the end of the year. Celebrate your progress and accomplishments. If you didn’t achieve all your goals, then the next “year” is right around the corner and you have another opportunity to reach your goals. You will have a clean start four times a year instead of once a year. You have four times to reflect and make the changes you need to reach your goals instead of one time each year.