Well, it’s the beginning of October, which means we only have 3 more months to hit our goals before New Year! I know, can you believe it?! If you have a tightening in your gut from reading that, you aren’t alone. But let’s take a moment and dig a little deeper here.
What does that flip-flop in your stomach tell you?
Maybe it’s telling you that you’ve been procrastinating a bit, thinking you had plenty of time left in the year to reach your annual goals and now you realize it’s crunch time. Maybe you’re realizing you haven’t been executing on some of those important goals. Regardless, it’s OK. You are not alone! And guess what?
I have a solution for you.
You need better systems. And one way to do that is reading the book, The Twelve Week Year.* It’s incredible. It’s one of those books that I would put on my must read to succeed list. I’ll give you a brief rundown, but I highly urge you to read this or listen to the audiobook. And then read it annually, maybe on that flight home after Christmas during the holiday downtime. It’s on my annual book rotation for sure.
*Disclosure: If you purchase the book using the links provided, I may get a nominal commission. It does not impact the pricing on your end. You don’t have to use the link, and I truly hope you find this useful and read the book any way you can. But if you like this content, I’d sure appreciate you using it! 🙂
Here’s the gist:
The book says “The barrier standing between you and the life you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution.” Can I get an “Amen”? Yes! If you just execute a little on your big goal every day, can you even imagine what you can accomplish? People procrastinate less during the last few months of the year. Often times, you get a huge spike in results at this time.
The #1 thing you have to sacrifice if you want to do great things is your comfort but that’s what it takes to get there.
This means it’s hugely important to have a compelling future goal that you want more than the comfort of not executing on your vision. Please do not underestimate this. I know having a “big Why” is a being thrown around a lot lately, but it’s essential.
Let’s face it. Life happens, you’ll have various interruptions and demands on your time and it is so easy to let other people dictate where you direct your focus. If you have a compelling enough Why though, it will get you through these times so you focus on what is important but not necessarily urgent rather than what other people think are urgent (but potentially less important).
Once you have a compelling vision/big Why, you set your goals. Your goals come from this vision and you need to remind yourself of this goal daily. This means making a plan.
This book proposes a 12 Week Plan, but it’s different from simple quarterly goals. Every 12 weeks stand alone and are a “new year” with new goals that allow you to start fresh and achieve. This allows you to hyper-focus on a few important goals without getting overwhelmed by all the things you’d throw in there if it were an annual plan. Once you’re overwhelmed, you’re pretty much doomed!
A Brief Explanation on How to Plan Your 12 Week Year
When you plan your 12 Week Year, you start by figuring out what you want your end result to be after 12 weeks of execution. Then, you break it down, week by week, keeping your focus on the most important tasks (tactics). Your tactics are your daily to-dos that are focused on your goals. Each week has a tactic and these drive your daily actions. You also need to be able to quantify and track your progress. Vague goals are not enough. You need to keep score, which keeps you accountable.
Lead and Lag Indicators
- Lag Indicators: These are the things that you typically think of to keep track of like sales goals, income, email list numbers, pounds lost, etc.
- Lead Indicators: This is one of the things that makes the system unique. These are the actions needed to produce your desired results. For instance, prospects contacted, workouts completed, social media posts scheduled, etc.
- The most important lead indicator is a measure of how well you executed. We have more control over this than our results AND we can track this and correct problems before you’d see it in the lag indicators.
- When we miss our goals, it’s often due to a lack of execution and not a problem with the plan. However, if you don’t track this, it’s very easy to convince yourself the problem is the plan and not your execution of the plan.
By objectively tracking your weekly execution of our tactics, you can correct a deficiency in your execution or your plan. (It’s rarely the plan, though, let’s be honest!).
The suggested way of tracking your lead indicators is to score yourself on the % of the tactics completed for the week.
If you are consistently scoring 85% or above, you are golden. (Do you hear that recovering perfectionists?! 85% of above = success, you are not a failure if you aren’t 100% every week! Just so we’re clear…) This can be tough to stomach. When you are tracking your execution, there’s no room for excuses. If you only executed on 50% of your tasks, it’s incredibly noticeable. I like to make it visual by using a Trello board.
The key is to focus on progress and to own up to it when you aren’t living up to your potential.
Shit happens and you probably aren’t always going to get 85% or above, but the trick is to acknowledge it, own it, and get back on the horse. Also, keep in mind that executing on 65-70% of your tactics will still probably result in good things, you just might not achieve your big goal. Revisit your Big Why and decide if that’s acceptable to you. If not, step it up!
Did You Find This Useful? Leave Me A Comment!
Well, I hope you found that useful. I love this book (<= affiliate link) and there’s more to it than my brief summary. The authors really break it down on how to design and execute your plan as well as addressing potential pitfalls you’ll encounter along the way. Read this book and if you want even more from them, visit their website! And do it soon if you can.
If you start now, your 12 weeks will end before the year does.
Want More Posts Like This (or a Good Kick in the Pants?)
Check out this post here. Let me know if you’ve read any good books or listened to good podcasts about productivity that you think are required reading!
Also, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, I can help! Head over to my Work With Me page and see what I can do for you.