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7 Key Takeaways From The 12 Week Yea

Moran and Lennington

I just finished reading The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 W

than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lenn
The title sounded gimmicky, but since my friend, Brendan Barca
recommended it, and because I want to have a big 2018, I gave
It turned out to be a great book. Moran and Lennington provide
but effective framework for setting goals and actionable tactics
executing on those goals.

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I’ve been skeptical of robust goal-setting and planning processe

because it’s hard to predict the future and it’s important to itera
measure your results and learn. However, by shortening time ho
The 12 Week Year provides a framework that enables you to foc
your most important objectives and strategies while still providin
for iteration. Here’s how Moran and Lennington said it in the boo

“ The farther you plan into the future, the less predictability yo
have. With long-term plans, assumptions are stacked upon e
assumptions, which are stacked upon even earlier assumptio
The reality is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to
determine what your daily actions should be 11 or 12 month
the future.”

This article covers 7 lessons I learned from The 12 Week Year

you can use them to set goals that stick.

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1. The eight elements of high performance

Moran and Lennington say there are eight elements that are fun
to high performance in any endeavor:

“Vision: A compelling vision creates a clear picture of the futur

Planning: An effective plan clarifies and focuses on the top prio
initiatives and actions needed to achieve the vision.
Process control: A set of tools and events that align your daily
with the critical actions in your plan.
Measurement: Lead and lag indicators that provide comprehen
feedback necessary for informed decision-making.
Time use: Using your time with clear intention is a must.
Accountability: Accountability is ultimately ownership. It is a ch
trait, a life stance, a willingness to own actions and results, reg
of the circumstances.
Commitment: Keeping your promises to others build strong
relationships, and keeping promises to yourself builds characte
esteem, and success.
Greatness in the moment: The results are not the attainment o
greatness, but simply confirmation of it.”

I particularly appreciated the idea of commitment as a virtue an

importance of creating a vision to stay motivated and focused o
highest leverage work.

2. Create a compelling vision

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“The secret to living your life to its potential is to value the impo
stuff above your own comfort,” Moran and Lennington write. You
will motivate you to push through the inevitable discomfort that
while trying to achieve meaningful goals.

“ To help you stay on track, you will need a powerful reason wh

and that’s your vision.”

The authors of The 12 Week Year encourage readers to write two

aspirational and three-year. Your aspirational vision describes ho
want to live your life and what you ultimately want to achieve. T
include achieving financial independence, starting a healthy fam
living to the age of 125. Your three-year vision describes they ke
objectives you want to achieve within the next three years. This
include growing your business to $5M in revenue, getting promo
partner, or winning a weightlifting competition.

Moran and Lennington recommend leveraging the power of repe

keep yourself motivated to realize your visions:

“ You have the ability to strengthen and develop your brain by

thinking about a compelling future for yourself, by regularly
repeatedly thinking about an inspiring vision where you
emotionally connect with the life you desire.”

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Print out your vision. Review it at the beginning and end of each
during your weekly review and planning sessions, and anytime y
a boost of motivation.

3. Set 12-week goals

I don’t like long-term plans because things change. After you set
term plan, you may find that it wasn’t the best plan, or that a ne
better opportunity has presented itself that would require a sign
change in plans in order to seize. Why stick to a plan if it’s not t
plan? As Peter Drucker said, “there is nothing quite so useless a
with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.”

12-week goals are not based on stacks of assumptions or depen

predicting an unpredictable future. They’re not an exercise in fo
telling like 10-year plans. 12-week plans also give you a better p
what you should do on a day-to-day basis. A goal such as “start
company and sell it” won’t help you prioritize your work this wee

After 12 weeks, ask yourself how your situation is changed and w

opportunities have presented themselves, and create new 12-we

Here are some examples of 12-week goals:

Grow your email list to 5,000 subscribers

Deadlift 225 pounds

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Grow your business to $5k/mo in revenue

Write 6 articles

When writing your goals, ask yourself “How will your life be diffe
you accomplish those goals?” This will keep you motivated when
get tough.

4. Break your goals into action plans

12-week goals are the bridge between your vision and your actio
Your action plans prioritize your work on a daily and weekly basi

“Identify and implement the critical few actions that you need to
reach your goal,” Moran and Lennington write. What you do toda
creates your future.

“ If you want to know what your future holds, look at your actio
they are the best predictor of your future.”

Weekly and daily plans have the added benefit of helping you de

what not to spend time on.

“ There will always be more opportunities than you can effecti


Write down the critical few actions that you need to complete to

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your goals. Assign due dates. Then, ask yourself “what actions w

struggle with?” and “what will you do to overcome those struggl
pre-emptive plan will make it easier for you to overcome obstac
they arise.

5. Schedule regular reviews

Life is full of distractions. Meeting requests. News. Emails. Socia

Planning and review sessions can help you stay focused on what

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“ Spend the first 15 or 20 minutes at the beginning of each we

review your progress from the past week and plan the upcom

Here’s an agenda you can use for your weekly reviews:

Measure the results you’ve achieved towards your 12-week go

Measure your execution to date and any leading success metr
Set intentions for the coming week
Reconnect with your vision

6. The four keys to successful commitments

Moran and Lennington share four keys to following through on

Strong desire: A compelling vision and reason for execution ca

with this.
Keystone actions: Make it easier to get started. Remove “think
what to do” as a barrier to execution.
Count the costs: “Identifying the costs before you commit allo
consciously choose whether you are willing to pay the price of
Act on commitments, not feelings: Make a commitment to you
be willing to tolerate the discomfort that comes from following
on it.

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I particularly appreciated the ideas that following through on the

commitments you make with yourself builds esteem and that
acknowledging what you will struggle with will help you push thr
when you need to.

7. Carve out time for strategic work

Once you’ve created a vision, 12-week goals, and an action plan
should be pretty clear what actions are most important for you t
achieve results. Perhaps more importantly, you will be able to id
the actions that you  could do that won’t actually contribute to a

Here are some examples of actions that may be high leverage fo

depending on your business and goals:

Sales calls
Customer interviews or product experiments

Planning – such as setting your 12-week goals – may be one of t

important strategic activities. Execution is easier than figuring o
best opportunities to execute.

Take note of your most productive time of day – mine is the mor
and dedicate it to important work. No meetings, phone calls, em

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social media!

I’d also recommend under-scheduling yourself so that you have

pursue new strategic initiatives that may present themselves. I
grateful to have had time to learn more about cryptocurrencies
Having that slack in my schedule has lead to some great investm

Action Steps From The 12 Week Year

Create a compelling vision for your life.
Set 12-week goals.
Break your 12-week goals into weekly and daily action plans.
Schedule weekly review and planning sessions to measure res
stay focused on achieving your vision.
Buy The 12-Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lenningt
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