Happy New Year! This is the traditional time when most people set goals for the new year. For better goal setting, why not set your goals with a shorter time frame? Like 12 weeks, as the authors of The 12-Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months recommend. Now that’s better goal setting!

This book suggests that you create achievable goals that can be completed in under 3 months. The authors say that it’s not the lack of knowledge that’s holding you back but rather the lack of execution. With a 12-week time frame, you’re more likely to take action because you only have 12 weeks to complete your goal. Plus, if you’re deadline-driven, having a deadline that’s 52 weeks away is not very motivating and easy to procrastinate taking action on.

Better Goal Setting Tips

The keys to better goal setting and achieving your goals in 12 weeks:

  • First, identify what you want to achieve. This can be anything from losing weight to launching a podcast or learning a new skill. Be sure to use the “SMART” goal-setting technique, which is one of the better goal-setting methods out there. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Narrow your focus. Just as it’s smart to have a not-to-do list, try not to pick too many things to work on as doing so dilutes your focus. Remember, this is a 12-week plan, so you have four goal-setting blocks in the year. Rather than trying to do all four simultaneously, focus on one in the first quarter, the next one in the second quarter, and so on.
  • Prepare to get uncomfortable. You’ll probably need to step out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals. You might need to learn a new skill or invest in new resources in order to accomplish them, or maybe it requires effort.
  • Create an action plan. List specific steps that need to be taken in order for you to reach your goal. Break the goal down into manageable tasks that can be completed in 12 weeks. Try to set the smallest possible tasks that you can set as doing so enables you to make incremental progress. While it may look like a lot of steps, when you break the work down like this, each task becomes more doable. Be sure to schedule your tasks in your calendar.
  • Take action every day and track your progress. Even if it’s just a small step forward, take action every day. It’s helpful to create a daily reminder in your task manager so that your goal always pops up, every single day. It’s also helpful to print out your goal and post it prominently so you see it every day. Track your progress to keep yourself accountable and motivated.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize. Celebrate your wins along the way, but don’t lose sight of what you’re working toward. Having a goal that’s aligned with your values will help you stay motivated, especially when your goal requires you to step out of your comfort zone. 
  • Don’t give up! If you don’t achieve all of the goals in your 12-week plan right away but have made significant progress that can be seen, then celebrate what you’ve accomplished so far. Don’t get discouraged; just stick with it and try again the next quarter.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your 12-week plan today! And be sure to check out The 12-Week Year if you want more detailed information on how to achieve your goals. It’s a great read whether you’re just starting out or have been setting goals for years. Happy New Year and good luck.

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