If you’re looking for a game-changing book, this is IT! This book’s strategy single-handedly made me more productive in 3 months than the previous 6 months. I was able to put things on that list that had been dragging or seemed like pipe-dreams and knock them out! It was, and continues to be, amazing! I learned about it from a date, actually. (Bonus lesson: dating is productive 😉 On a second date with a suitor 😉 , he mentioned the book and was so clearly taken by it that I took to it and read it and started my personal “12-week year” in mid-January. Sure enough, by mid-April – just about now – all of those goals have sustained massive progress. I wanted to wait until my first “12-week-year” was over, however, before making any reports, announcements, or blogs about it. But here we stand, in the clear for making it public, and I’m so excited to share this tool that you can get started on right away! THE INSPIRATION: You should definitely go borrow or buy the book, but I’ll give you the gist of it so that you’ll even understand what a “12-week year” is. SO! Are you ready?! This is exciting stuff! Sit up straight and put your listening caps on! Ok, so the problem the “12-week year” is solving (because all great ideas are solving a problem first) is that most people lose steam on their “new year’s resolutions.” Most people pen a list of lofty new year’s resolutions in January and then fall off within a few months or even weeks and then revisit that goal at the end of the year, “right before the deadline!” So, Brian Moran, the author of “the 12-week year,” took that starting energy and ending energy, if you will, and just cut out all of the messy middle in between. The authors of this book (Brian Moran and Michael Lennington) discovered that humans generally can remain highly motivated for 3 months on a particular goal. After that, they want to see results, celebrate, recalibrate, and set another goal. And so they transferred this information into a system for goal-accomplishing that complements our natural tendencies – genius! (in my humble opinion 😉 ) THE APPLICATION: So, how does this translate? Ok, are you ready?! Again, this is exciting stuff and now that you’re on board, you’re about to really get blown away by the application. So, you start to think in quarters, not unlike a Fortune 500 company – you are now your own successful business and your gameplan begins with designing your first quarter. You lay out about 3 goals for the quarter. This is not set in stone, but they recommend setting up a small number of goals across any areas of your life. So i.e.: you could have 3 goals that cover: losing 10 pounds, getting debt free, and having an awesome marriage. Next, lay out these goals very specifically so that you KNOW when they’re accomplished, list milestones and their prospective dates, and list weekly, daily, or semi-regular actions that have to be taken towards that goal. Now, you are SET! You are looking at the next 12-weeks as ridiculously productive and powerful weeks on the way to your goal and you are super excited because you’re about to “get it done!” THE EXECUTION: Now, every day when you wake up, you’re knocking out the relevant actions toward your goals. Every week, at the end of the week, or beginning of the week (you set your routine), you will look at the list of actions that you intended and then grade yourself on how much of that list you accomplished. If you had 10 actions toward your goal (using previous example) that included working out 5 times, spending in the form of cash only, having a date night with your spouse, you would grade yourself based on the percentage of the intended actions. So, if you accomplished 8 out of the 10 goals, you would give yourself an 80% for that week. THE EFFECT: In doing this, you will start to really use your time wisely and more intentionally. You will feel urgency and motivation throughout the process. The weekly reviews also begin to tick off the weeks so you see that you have one less week every week to accomplish your goals and act almost as a barometer for whether or not you’re on track. You will also find it easier to say “no” to anything that does not contribute to your goals. You will have a very distinct filter for what should take up your time and what should not. And THAT is good. Having uber-focused goals lets you say no to things, at least, for now, until you decide they’ll be a focus, perhaps next quarter, that’s all! It’s ridiculously freeing. MY EXPERIENCE: I had 3ish goals: To create an app, to lose 10 pounds/ to do a handstand, and to get out of debt. Did I accomplish all of them? Nope. BUT, I made SO much progress that I now have new habits and a different lifestyle because of last quarter’s focus and I call that a success! I found myself using new strategies as some fell short and I saw that I had only x number of weeks left to accomplish my goals. Once I had my strategy, I saw myself really hunkering down and doing it consistently because I wanted to celebrate by the end of March. And when I saw that I was not actually going to accomplish the goal, I saw that because I had learned and done all the intense work I had done, it would eventually happen. And so, at this point, I have accomplished major milestones in my business goal; I have lost 8 pounds and am very happy with my figure; I can do a handstand for a few seconds and a forearmstand for longer; and I have crossed off a couple of thousand in debt and am living in control of my money. I would not have had a daily, weekly, and quarterly mindset without this strategy and that made all the difference for me. I wasn’t working in an endless space. I had 3/31/16 on my calendar and that galvanized me to create the progress that I did. And I lived life too! I did everything else that I wanted to do: socialized, enjoyed life, and had “me time,” but I also saw clearly where I had to say “no” to things because they were going to take away from my goals. WHAT NEXT? After you accomplish and celebrate your first quarter, you start all over again! Make new goals that are either the next step for some of your first quarter goals, or make new goals altogether! It’s a chance to shake things up again and get excited all over again. I am in the process of setting my next quarter up now and I’m loving it. It really does make sense to me and human behavior does reflect this for me and I believe companies use quarterly reviews for this very reason – so why not us?! So, if you’re a go-getter and/or are looking for a structure to guarantee your goals, go get this book and read it. I finished it in 1 or 2 days because I wanted to get started asap. Now, go and get em!
This New Year’s, I heard about the “morning routine” on three different levels, a one-two-three punch, if you will, that helped me to re-engineer it in a way that today, 14 days, two weeks, into the new year of 2016, I’m feeling like if I did this for 351 more days, I’d be pretty damn unstoppable! Firstly, I read “the School of Greatness” which I blogged about in my last post – please feel free to read. In it, Howes emphasizes the importance of setting up a routine, no matter what it is, and advises that it include certain key components. I chose from his list of recommended components and came up with the following commitment to my morning routine: journaling/free-writing/ setting up day, prayer/ visualization, yoga/forearm work. Let me further break these down: journaling/ free-writing/ setting up day: This is simply opening up a journal, old school or new school (I personally use the DayOne free e-journal) and writing what’s on your mind for a few minutes. I find it cathartic to write my thoughts and emotions out and find that it gets my head cleared out and my shoulders unweighted. After I do that for anywhere for 5-20 minutes, I write out my day’s main to-do’s and plug them in on my calendar. yoga/forearm work: Many people build their workout right into their morning, but since I teach classes, I enjoy pairing another workout with my classes later on in the day. However, I do have a goal to be able to do a forearm stand and I heard that I should do a few minutes of practice every day, so I decided to guarantee it gets done by building it in to the morning. I have a nice amount of space when I fold my murphy bed that becomes my insta-yoga-studio!. I lay my mat out and do a few vinyasas, poses, stretches, etc and when I feel warm enough, I’ll start kicking up into inversions. I was scared at first that I would fall over, smash into the walls, etc, but I’m more comfortable now and doing it in my apartment it actually the best way to guarantee it gets done. visualization/prayer: By the time I’m done trying inversions, I’m usually warm and a bit sweaty, so it’s the perfect time to go into a child’s pose and then a little meditation. I relax in a sitting position, close my eyes, and start some visualization. If visualization is a practice shared between Olympic athletes and business greats alike, I’m sold. In the School of Greatness, they talk about imagining the feel, the sound, the taste and smell, even, of your achieved goal. It’s mandated HD daydreaming! After this very enjoyable exercise, I get into prayer, praying over others, giving thanks, seeking answers, and simply having time with God. It’s the perfect end to the perfect start to a new day. Around the same time that I was reading the School of Greatness, I came across Michael Hyatt’s podcast on “How to Become a Morning Person.” He was talking about what it takes to really get up early and take charge your day with the first step being “throw away the ‘I’m not a morning person’ story.” He’s got some great tips so listen to it here: but what stuck out for me was the importance of protecting your evening in order to ensure your morning. So, for example, if I want to be up at 7am with 7 hours of sleep under my belt, then I should be asleep by midnight and so I start getting ready for bed at 11pm. 11pm is the mark for shutting everything down and saying, “no more, I will pick it up tomorrow. ” Sounds practical, but up until this point, I was traveling down a slippery slope of allowing that “bed time” to creep later and later for no good reasons: watching silly videos, doing work, watching silly videos, etc. Michael Hyatt breathed a very realistic reminder into my brain and I’ve been sticking with it. Finally, I went to church service on the first Sunday of the New Year and their message was about “Giving God the first part of your:______” The blanks were filled in with “my day, my week, my relationships, & my energy” The way these translate are:
- my day: quiet time in the mornings
- my week: church attendance on Sundays
- my relationships: sharing God in your relationships
- my energy: serving God