12 Week Year

At some point over the last couple of years, I came across a book titled The 12 Week Year. I haven’t actually read the entire book unfortunately but I did learn a valuable lesson.

Instead of 12 month goals, like New Year’s Resolutions, set yourself 12 week goals.

How long term are your plans?

12 Week Goals vs New Year’s Resolutions

With one year goals, getting off track can be frighteningly easy. At the beginning of the year, we have so much time left that slipping doesn’t seem like a big deal. At the end of the year, there is so little time left compared to when you set your goals, it seems almost pointless to continue aiming for them.

This is where 12 week (or quarterly) goals really shine.

Imagine what you can accomplish in 3 months. Many small things and at least one large thing. And if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of our New Year’s resolutions are things we could knock off our list in a couple of months. So instead of one big goal each year, you can have four medium-large goals which are likely to add up to more than that one big goal on its own.


Another benefit of 12 week goals is that it is easier to keep in mind.

If you don’t have to review your goal for 12 months, it can easily slip your mind. Other things come up and as the deadline for achieving your goal is so far away, it feels less important.

As the time to review comes sooner, not only have you lost less opportunity for progress when you forget about your 12 week goals, but you can also make changes sooner to help yourself stay on track for the next 3 months.


My final point about 12 week goals is probably the one that has helped me the most.

With 12 week goals, if you write them up on a board somewhere, they don’t stay there for long. Normally we get used to our environments, and things that don’t change often are easy to ignore.

With your goals being updated every 3 months, your goals board will be frequently changing. This makes it less likely to blend into the background, and therefore more visible.

As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. By keeping your goals in sight and not getting used to seeing them, they remain on your mind.

I look at my goals board every day and each time I sit down at my computer they are on my mind.

I’ve reintroduced 12 week goals into my life recently because I have a lot I want to accomplish:

  • Business Statistics course
  • Predictive Analytics Nanodegree
  • PowerQuery and PowerPivot books to read

As the Nanodegree is a three month course on its own, in my current set of 12 week goals I only need to be halfway through it. In my next set of goals, one of them will be to complete the Nanodegree.

At this point, I think the Business Statistics goal might move into the next set, but that’s okay. With goals changing every 12 weeks, it’s not a big deal when you end up pushing one back by a period!

Tell me what you think

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