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Have you read The 12 Week Year, by Brian P. Moran?
This is a book I come back to over and over again to get my goals and priorities back on track.
Moran’s basic premise is that businesses tend to do much, much better in the last quarter of the year because they are focused on getting results up in the last 12 weeks of the year.
When it’s January and you have your entire year ahead of you, it’s easy to move at a slower pace, both professionally and personally. You’ve got all year, why stress?
But when you are nearing the end of the year and company bonuses and next year’s strategies are on the line, you hustle to get some ambitious goals completed before the next year rolls around!
Goals are the foundation of success.
No matter what you’re trying to achieve, if you don’t set goals and the tasks you’ll need to accomplish them, you’re doomed to fail.
One way to help you create a list of goals and tasks is with the help of a bullet-list and a journal.
Setting up 12 week goals with a bullet journal motivates you to complete them in time. It’s not about stress, but rather putting a time limit to make sure you don’t procrastinate in achieving what you want to.
Note: Bullet Journal® (also know as BuJo®) is a trademarked name owned by Lightcage, LLC. Although the name and system is used widely, it’s important to acknowledge that it is, in fact, an intellectual property protected by federal and international law. As a writer, the rights of the designer of the system, Ryder Carroll, are as important to me as are my own. For more on the Bullet Journal® system, check out Bullet Journal.
Making 12-week goals with a bullet journal makes your goals more realistic and attainable.
Be sure to pick up Brian Moran’s book to get all the details of how the 12 week year concept works. I will cover the broad strokes but there is so much more to it that you’ll get from the book.
Why 12 Week Goals Works
One thing that’s important to understand about 12 week goals is that not all of your goals can, or should, be accomplished in 12 weeks.
If one of your goals is to lose 60 pounds, it would be unrealistic – and very unhealthy – to try to accomplish that in 12 weeks. But you could make your 12 week goal be to lose 20 pounds in that time. You would then set up smaller goals and tasks to accomplish that. Setting up a diet and workout plan would be typical tasks to accomplish that and your success would be measured by the weight loss at the end of the 12 weeks.
You’re far more likely to succeed at a realistic goal with realistic tasks that can be completed in a specific timeframe.
And with weight loss in particular, it’s psychologically easier to have a goal of losing 20 lbs rather than 60.
If your goal is to save $9,000 for a big family vacation in 9 months, you can break this down to $3000 for each of three 12-week goals. So what would you have to do to save $3000 in the next 12 weeks? If you discover that you can only save about $2,000 from your salaries over that time, where will the extra $1,000 come from? Setting these goals will give you clarity to brainstorm outside-the-box ideas.
A 12 week goal brings you focus and determination to reach your goal. It’s not some hazy dream in the distance. It’s only 12 weeks away!
How To Set 12 Week Goals With A Bullet Journal
First, do your best to choose no more than 3 goals. More than 3 can be overwhelming and you want to set yourself up to succeed, not fail.
Once you’ve mentally set your goal (remember to make it realistic), write it down at the top of your journal page and start by making a few bullet lists.
Let’s go with the $9,000 vacation example.
Start breaking it down so that you can create 90-day goals.
- $9,000 in 9 months
- $6,000 in 6 months
- $3,000 in 3 months
- $1,000 each month
- $250 per week
- $8.33 per day
Do you see what I see?
$9,000 is a big number, but when you start looking at $1,000 a month it doesn’t seem so bad, right? Some of that can be set aside from your paycheck.
What about $250 a week? Can you think of some painless ways you could shave a little off your grocery bill? Maybe by doing more cooking from scratch and not buying as many expensive processed meals? You could save quite a bit by working out a carpool schedule with someone. Halve your gas bill!
What about $8.33 per day!
Break Your 12 Week Goals Down Into Tasks
That number really puts things in perspective. $8.33 a day sounds so much more achievable than those bigger numbers.
Your mind will start calculating … What if you had to find $8.33 today? And tomorrow?
Do you usually grab a latte on the way to work? Pour yourself a cup of coffee in the break room instead and save around $5.
Do you go out to lunch with co-workers? Bring soup or a sandwich and leaf through travel brochures instead.
Picking up fast food on the way home because otherwise dinner would be too late? Time to dust off your crockpot!
This breakdown will help you figure out cost-saving strategies, side hustles and various ways you can eke out a little savings every day. Once you have that financial goal breakdown and you’re worked out your solutions, you can start creating tasks and trackers to actually achieve each of your tasks and see the results.
Use your journal to break down your bullet list into 12-week goals.
When your goal is broken down into smaller goals, it’s far easier to achieve because you’ll have a clear plan and understanding about what has to happen every day to get there.
Write it down, cross it off the list every day, and do it.
And if you have a setback, journal it and figure out what you need to do to get back on track.
How Journaling Helps with 12 Week Goals
Journaling helps you clear your mind when you write what you’re feeling.
If you’re feeling down, you write. If you’re feeling happy, you write.
Then you review what you’ve written and assess what you might need to change.
You might learn something about how you think on certain days that can help you succeed more. Do you notice that you get brilliant ideas at work, or when talking to a successful friend, that in turn has you seeing your 12-week goal differently? Do you feel deprived and unmotivated on days when you stayed up too late?
That’s normal and by noting these things in your journal, you’ll keep yourself on track towards a goal that’s important to you.
If lack of sleep is not making you feel motivated (and who is when we’re tired?), then tell yourself that your goal is more important than watching a late movie or finishing your book.
If your friend suggested a new reduced fare website or a great price at a new Airbnb, write it down in your journal and check it out when you have time. Maybe it will save you a few hundred dollars off your budget.
Use that and everything else you’re learning from your journal to help you improve yourself, your actions, and your life to crush your goals.
Your life is all you get. There are no do overs.
You have to make it count every single day.
You can sit back and wonder what would have happened if you’d started journaling and created 12-week goals months ago, or you could just do it.
Time passes, but it’s how you spend that time that really counts.
You have a choice to make, and this is an easy one.
The more you work on your goals, the easier it becomes to achieve them.