I am sure this has happened to you. You set a brand new goal, you are excited and you start working on that goal or project. Things go great in the first few weeks, you start working on your new goal with newly found enthusiasm – but as time progresses your enthusiasm fades. Sooner or later, the goal starts to lose its appeal – your motivation starts to dwindle, and before you know you have quit.
There are couple of reasons for this.
1. You are working on too many things at the same time. It is difficult for our brains to focus on multiple things at once. (Yes you have been lied to – multitasking isn’t that great of a quality to have & Elon Musk is an exception). We all know from our personal experiences it is extremely difficult to focus on too many things at the same time. And strategic coaches & consultants make a fortune helping us to get clear on our priorities, and choosing what is important to work on.
2. The enthusiasm dwindles with time – You know how hard it is to get access to any machine in the gym in the first week of January. Then when you go back in February you can literally use the gym as your playground :). This happens year over year. And we are all guilty of this. The problem with long-term goals is that you will lose your motivation over time. We are all human, and it is hard to stay disciplined in sticking with the program. We lose the sense of urgency.
So what is the solution Nissar you ask!!
The solution is the 12 Week Year by Brian P Moran & Michael Lennington.
You can finish this book in a few hours in one sitting.
This book & the ideas in the book is a true game-changer. It will change your perception on setting goals. You will no longer set 1 million goals and projects to achieve, you will set few important goals and stick with them until completion. You will also get a renewed sense of enthusiasm towards both your short-term and long-range goals. You will have a framework or system to track your progress every week.
I strongly recommend you read the book, and in this article I will highlight the key points on the 12 Week Year.
1. SENSE OF URGENCY
Instead of setting long-term (12 month goals), you are encouraged to set goals within the 12 week Time-frame. The purpose of the shortened time-frame is that it creates a sense of urgency. This is important, as it keeps you focused on your goals. We tend to be more productive when we attach a deadline that is closer rather than many months out. For example, we have heard few of our co-workers who tell us they want to slim down just in time for a wedding event they are attending this summer. And surprisingly, they do get it done, they get in shape just in time for the event.
Do you remember the assignment in school that you were supposed to submit it on Wednesday morning to get your credits?
You procrastinate till Tuesday night, and somehow magically your mind focuses & with few hours left before the deadline, you somehow get the project completed. There is tremendous power when we are working on a tight deadline.
That is why, programs such as P90X or Insanity have been very popular in the last few years. These programs offer the participants intense exercise programs they can complete in a short period of time (1 or 2 months). The short time-frame definitely increases their motivation to get the program completed in time.
The 12 Week year works on the same principle. You will work hard & smart to ensure that you will get your goals accomplished in the next 12 weeks.
2. ACCOUNTABILITY & MEASUREMENT
Another pillar in the 12 Week program is the Accountability factor. I don’t need to sell you on the idea of Accountability. We are more prone to complete a task or project when we have someone to report our progress. Although, it helps to have someone to share your progress with (and is recommended), it is not necessary.
One of the components of the 12 Week Year is the weekly planning and tracking. Every Sunday evening or Monday morning you are encouraged to review your progress for the past week, and also write down your plan for the next week. Also , you get an opportunity to reconnect with your long-term vision- we all need a reminder once in a while on what we are working towards.
I have used other goal-setting programs, and this weekly review/planning is unique to the 12 week year.
Sunday Nights and Monday Mornings are not the favourite moments of the week for most people. Use that time to rejuvenate yourself and get motivated for the coming week.
Peter Drucker has famously said “What gets measured, gets managed”. When you have a measurement system in place, you become more focused on your projects.
Once again, this weekly review will put a fire under your butt, in another word sense of urgency.
We love to do many things, I think it is because we realize that time is finite, and we are bombarded (thanks to the internet) with so many ideas, so many places to visit, so many books to read, and so on. Yet we know that we cannot do everything at the same time.
According to Productivity guru David Allen “You can do anything, but not everything.”
And perhaps this is why we get frustrated as the year progresses, we start off the year with multiple goals and then as time flies , our motivation fades, we look back at the year and realize we haven’t done much.
It is key to focus on few things (maximum 3 or 4) and do them very well.
I started using the 12 Week Year since June 2015 and have seen tremendous benefits. Anytime I come across a new goal or new project I move it to my future goals list. Sometimes, I realize that some of the future goals are not worth the investment and energy. Without a proper system in place, I would have started on multiple goals dissipating my energy and focus.
By focusing on the few goals (3 to 4) I am able to maximize my time and resources. I also get a stronger sense of accomplishment.
You will also get more done over the long-term.
Trust me – this program works.
I encourage you to pick up the book, and adopt the 12 Week Year. I guarantee you will feel an increased zest for life, and also a renewed focus in working towards your goal.