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Ever heard of the 12-week year?
If you’re still looking for that perfect system to help you reach your goals, then you might want to check this idea out.
You may have already tried several productivity and goal-setting strategies, and yet still find yourself behind on your personal or professional targets. Perhaps doubt has set in, and you’ve begun to think that:
The good news is that you are actually on the right track by adopting a system for goal-setting. You’re already well on your way to success.
We’ve discovered that the 12-week year (12WY) system debunks the belief that reaching your goals requires toil, sacrifice, and an indefinite amount of time.
What Is the 12WY?
Are you still working to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions? If you have given up on them, don’t worry—you are not alone. Many people give up working on their New Year’s goals halfway through the year.
The reason, according to Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington (authors of the book The 12-Week Year), is that 12 months is way too long to do something. Here’s the authors’ explanation from the book:
“The farther you plan into the future, the less predictability you have. With long-term plans, assumptions are stacked upon earlier assumptions, which are stacked upon even earlier assumptions. The reality is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine what your daily actions should be 11 or 12 months into the future.”
Moran and Lennington’s system changes your concept about timeframes. Instead of measuring goals from an annual viewpoint, you track them in 12-week periods.
Since three months isn’t too far in the future, you can work to determine the course of your daily actions. Doing so makes it possible to achieve more in less time and with less effort.
How Do I Get Started?
The following steps help you get started on the 12WY system:
Step 1: Set your vision. What do you want to achieve in the next three years? What is the ideal life for you? Focus on one to three goals to achieve better results.
Step 2: Make a plan. Determine the actions and strategies you need to make in order to move closer to accomplishing your goals.
Step 3: Develop habits that help you execute your strategies on a regular basis.
Step 4: Track your progress. If you have a way of measuring your progress, you can better stay on track and get things done.
Step 5: Take ownership. On the 12-week year system, you are accountable for reaching your objectives.
In this post, you’ll find seven downloadable templates that you need in order to use the 12 WY system as your goal-setting tool. These different templates show you how others are using the 12-week year system in actual goal-setting.
1. Weekly Scorecard
In the 12-week year system, the weekly scorecard is a way of monitoring if you’re still on track, or if you’ve fallen behind in working toward your goals.
Unlike other goal-monitoring systems that require at least an hour of weekly check-in time to track your progress, in the 12 WY, you need to commit just 30 minutes each week to review whether you’ve managed to hit your targets or need to do better moving forward.
Having this type of scoring system allows you to tweak your plan for the coming week. This allows you to be consistently on top of stuff you need to do, troubleshooting for potential pitfalls in your goal-setting.
2. 12-Week Minimalist Q1 Planner
This printable minimalist template is ideal for those looking for a straightforward tool to help them plan out the next 12 weeks. There are three columns assigned for every month of the first quarter.
For every column, there are enough spaces available for writing your goals for the next three months (or 12 weeks in the 12WY system).
You can find the download link for this template right at the end of the post on SaturdayGift’s website.
This template is intended for use in the first quarter of the year. Templates for Q2, Q3, and Q4 are also available for download.
3. Weekly Road Map
Here is another example of how to set up weekly goals in the 12 WY system. This template incorporates the overall score into the weekly plan, making it easy to get an overview of how you did that week.
In addition to “lead,” another term you will encounter when working with this goal-setting tool is “lag.” A lag is an indicator that you’re on the right track. These are the results of the actions you take towards your objective.
In the above example, with weight loss as the main objective, one lag indicator could be fitting into a pair of old jeans again.
4. Ultimate 12-Week Planning Essential
A 12-week plan helps establish structure and a sense of purpose for your daily routines.
This template lets you list up to three major goals that you want to work on for the next 12 weeks. There are spaces allocated for writing these major goals and the tasks that need to be done to accomplish each one.
Next to the goals column are tracking columns for the next 12 weeks. Not only does this template let you keep track of your progress, but it also allows you to take note of what parts of your strategies for achieving your goals work and which ones need improvement.
After signing up for the newsletter, you are given access to the site’s Free Resource Library. You can then access this template through the Planning and Productivity section of the resource library.
5. Goal Tracking
This template was created in Airtable, and its creator used it to get a summary of how well he achieved his objectives every week.
By entering his data through an Airtable spreadsheet, he was able to create graphs of his progress and see where he was on track and where he needed to step up his efforts to reach his goals.
With the 12 WY system, you can use any habit-tracking app to prompt you into doing your leads. If you need some advice on the best habit-tracking app to suit your needs, check out this post that features 15 of the best habit-tracking apps to help you stick to your goals.
6. Planning Your 12-Week Year
If you love pink, you might want to try this template. It not only features a color scheme that’s calming and pleasing to the eyes, but also several useful features to help achieve your goals in the 12-week year system.
This template provides space for your specific visions for the next 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, and 15 years, as well as for the next 12 weeks.
Space is allocated for each of your major goals within the 12-week period. The space is sufficient for writing every detail for accomplishing this goal, including a due date.
In addition to the planners, this template features a page for a weekly review, allowing you to reflect and evaluate the actions you’ve taken to bring you closer to your goals.
7. Achieve! Routine
Perhaps you’ve heard of the saying “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This applies to the accountability aspect of 12 WY.
The 12-week year utilizes an element that’s critical to your success. Known as the Weekly Accountability Meeting, or WAM, this element enlists the help of other individuals to keep tabs on how you’re doing in meeting your goals.
Working with an accountability partner provides benefits that you miss out on when merely using an app. According to the 12 WY guide, a WAM is composed of individuals who commit to “support, challenge, and encourage one another.”
This template helps you identify individuals to include in your WAM, provides the Agenda for a WAM, and shows you how to measure your most effective lead indicator for the week.
8. 12WY Template in 2 Formats
If you’re savvy with spreadsheet applications or if you prefer setting goals and making plans using a notebook and paper, this resource is the ideal guide for knowing what you need to create your own 12WY template.
The components of the template are explained in depth and samples are provided to give you a clear idea of how to lay out your template, whether in digital or handwritten format.
9. 12-Week Year Tracking System
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for an entire system for tracking your goals and resolutions in a 12-week year, this set of digital templates is a great option.
These templates are all accessible through Excel or other similar spreadsheet apps.
In addition to helping you create a systematic way to plan SMART goals for the next 12 weeks, this planner template ensures you’re on track in your efforts to achieve the goals and resolutions you’ve set for yourself.
Are You Ready?
If you’re planning to implement the 12-week year, here are some things you need to keep in mind:
If you’re interested in learning more about goal-setting, you might want to check out this post on using a vision board to achieve your important goals.
Meanwhile, this post features encouraging quotes about goal-setting to motivate and inspire you as you work hard to achieve all that you dream of.
Finally, if you want to level up your productivity and time management skills, then watch this free video about the 9 productivity habits you can build at work.