The 12 Week Year provides a framework that enables you to focus on your most important objectives and strategies while still providing room for iteration. The 12 Week Year concept/system is build on 8 success ingredients—3 principles and 5 disciplines—that are crucial for success in any area.
The 3 Core Principles are:
1. Accountability (the willingness to take full ownership for your actions and results regardless of your circumstances),
2. Commitment (doing whatever it takes to keep the promises you’ve made to yourself and to others) and
3. Greatness in the moment (making the countless decisions to do what’s needed even if you don’t feel like it, and immersing yourself fully in the present).
According to the author there are eight elements that are fundamental to high performance in any endeavor:
1. Vision: A compelling vision creates a clear picture of the future.
2. Planning: An effective plan prioritizes actions needed to achieve the goal.
3. Process control: A set of tools that are required to align your daily actions with the critical ones.
4. Measurement: Lead and lag indicators that provide comprehensive feedback necessary for informed decision-making.
5. Time use: Using your time with clear intention is a must.
6. Accountability: Accountability is ultimately ownership.
7. Commitment: Keeping your promises to others build strong relationships, and keeping promises to yourself builds character, esteem, and success.
8. Greatness in the moment
Create a compelling vision
The secret to living your life to its potential is to value the important stuff above your own comfort.
Your vision will motivate you to push through the inevitable discomfort that arises while trying to achieve meaningful goals.
The authors encourage readers to write two visions: aspiration and three-year. Your aspiration vision describes how you want to live your life and what you ultimately want to achieve. This could include achieving financial independence, starting a healthy family, or living to the age of 125. This could also include growing your business to $5 million in revenue, getting promoted to partner, or winning a weightlifting competition.
You have the ability to strengthen and develop your brain by thinking about a compelling future for yourself, by regularly and repeatedly thinking about an inspiring vision where you emotionally connect with the life you desire. Print out your vision. Review it at the beginning and end of each day, during your weekly review and planning sessions, and anytime you need a boost of motivation.
Set 12-week goals
12-week goals are not based on stacks of assumptions or dependent on predicting an unpredictable future. 12-week plans also give you a better picture of what you should do on a day-to-day basis. After 12 weeks, ask yourself how your situation is changed and what new opportunities have presented themselves, and create new 12-week goals.
Here are some examples of 12-week goals:
-Grow your email list to 5,000 subscribers
-Dead lift 225 pounds
-Grow your business to $5,000 per month in revenue
-Write 6 articles
When writing your goals, ask yourself “How will your life be different if you accomplish those goals?” This will keep you motivated when times get tough.
Break your goals into action plans
12-week goals are the bridge between your vision and your action plan. Your action plans prioritize your work on a daily and weekly basis. Weekly and daily plans have the added benefit of helping you determine what not to spend time on.
If you want to know what your future holds, look at your actions; they are the best predictor of your future. There will always be more opportunities than you can effectively pursue.
Write down the critical few actions that you need to complete to achieve your goals. Assign due dates. This pre-emptive plan will make it easier for you to overcome obstacles as they arise.
Schedule regular reviews
Planning and review sessions can help you stay focused on what really matters.
The following trick can be used for your weekly reviews:
1. Quantify the results you’ve achieved so far towards your 12-week goals
2. Measure your execution so far done.
3. Set intentions for the coming week
4. Reconnect with your vision
The four keys to successful commitments
1. Strong desire: A compelling vision and reason for execution can help with this.
2. Keystone actions: Make it easier to get started.
3. Count the costs: “Identifying the costs before you commit allows you to consciously choose whether you are willing to pay the price of your commitment.”
4. Act on commitments, not feelings: Make a commitment to yourself and be willing to tolerate the discomfort that comes from following through on it.
Carve out time for strategic work
Once you’ve created a vision, 12-week goals, and an action plan, it should be pretty clear what actions are most important for you to achieve results. Perhaps more importantly, you will be able to identify all the actions that you could do that won’t actually contribute to achieving results.
Here are some examples of actions that may be high leverage for you, depending on your business and goals:
-Customer interviews or product experiments
Plan by setting a 12-week goals which will prove to be the most significant strategic activities.
Take note of your most productive time of day– and dedicate it to important work. No meetings, phone calls, emails, or social media!
Action Steps from the 12 Week Year
1. Create a compelling vision for your life.
2. Set 12-week goals.
3. Break your 12-week goals into weekly and daily action plans.
4. Schedule weekly review and planning sessions to measure results and stay focused on achieving your vision.