I’m ditching my 2021 goals. Sort of.

I recently joined a mastermind being led by my friend and fellow writer Carrie Rollwagen. And in this mastermind, we’ll all be working together through The 12-Week Year by Brian P Moran and Michael Lennington. The premise is simple: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months. It’s all about setting and slaying goals, so when Carrie emailed me about it, of course, I was like, “Sign me up!”

In The 12-Week Year you’re encouraged to get rid of “annualized thinking” and focus on setting 12-week goals instead of 12-month, or annual, goals.

To be honest, hardly anything in the book is new to me. Most of the concepts are the same as the ones I teach in the See Jane Write Collective, but with different names. What they call tactics, I call Momentum Moves. What they call lag indicators and lead indicators (the results you want and the steps you take to achieve them), I call aspirational goals and action-oriented goals. The 12-Week Year and I both stress the following:

  • writing a life vision and setting goals that are based on that vision
  • the importance of creating a list of action steps that will help you accomplish your goals
  • why you should meticulously plann your week and your day – including your downtime
  • the importance of community

The book even discusses the importance of being committed to your success and not just “interested” in it, just as I did three years ago in this blog post.

But the 12-Week Year method of goal setting and goal getting differs from mine in one very important way – mindset. The 12-Week Year requires you to completely shift your mindset regarding your goals as it challenges you to tackle goals that, if accomplished, would significantly change an area of your life and you’re challenged to achieve this goal in just 12 weeks – not 12 months.

So, there’s no time to waste. If I spend a day watching reruns of Criminal Minds instead of working on my goals, that’s like squandering an entire week. If I skip a week of workouts, that’s like not exercising for a month!

It’s this sense of urgency that won me over. After going through cancer the phrase “life is short” doesn’t feel like a cliché. It’s a reminder, or better yet, a warning.  

So, I decided to ditch my 2021 goals and start from scratch. I revisited my life vision and set 3 big, hairy audacious goals for the next 12 weeks:

  • Relaunch See Jane Freelance and the See Jane Write Collective.
  • Deep clean my entire house.
  • Reach a healthy BMI.

Keep reading if you want to plan your own 12-Week Year.

How to Plan Your 12-Week Year

If you’re really interested in trying the 12-Week Year program, buy the book. But here’s a brief overview to get you started.

Step 1 – Write your vision. Getting clear on your life vision is so important because this vision is your “why” and staying focused on this vision is what will keep you doing the work even when you don’t feel like it.

If you’re not sure how to start with writing your vision here are two exercises you can try:

Pick a year (you could, for example, pick 2026 which is five years from now) and write… It is 2026 and I am so proud of the life I have created. Then describe how you want your life to look but write it as if it’s already true. Be sure to consider every area of your life — spiritual, relationships & family, community, health & wellness, financial, career, creative life, home & possessions, travel & fun. 

If this overwhelms you, try simply describing your ideal day or ideal week. 

Step 2 – Set your 12-Week Year goals. Set one to three goals that if accomplished would significantly change an area of your life and move you closer to your vision. Be sure the goals are specific and measurable. So instead of setting a goal to “Write more” you need to set a goal such as “Complete the first draft of my manuscript.”

Step 3 – Develop your plan. Make a list of the weekly and daily actions you’ll need to take to accomplish your goals. For example, to complete your manuscript, perhaps you will challenge yourself to write 500 or 1,000 words a day. I call these action steps “Momentum Moves.” The 12-Week Year dudes call them tactics. (My name is cooler.)

Part of developing your plan is scheduling when you’re going to do your tactics or Momentum Moves. Moran and Lennington recommend taking time out each Monday to plan your week. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I do my planning for the week on Sunday evenings and I call it the Sunday Slay because it helps me slay my week. (See, my names are so much more fun!)

One thing the 12-Week Year emphasizes that I haven’t done in the past is the idea of measuring your progress by actually keeping a scorecard. So, if your plan is to write 500 words a day 6 days a week, but you only write three days, you’d get a score of 50 percent. Ugh! But this process is about progress, not perfection. According to the book, if you score an average of 85 percent or higher, you’re on track to hit your goal.

And of course, community is crucial. The book sites research that found people are 7 times more likely to achieve a goal if they have the support of a community. So, come join the free See Jane Write Network Facebook group and let’s have the best year (a.k.a. 12 weeks) yet!