The start of a new year brings forth fresh goals and budding aspirations. New Year's Resolutions cause us to look back on the past 365 days (or 366 in 2020's case) and assess our lives. When the clock rolls over to January 1, each of us may hold excitement for the future but also, perhaps, some regret for the goals we didn't reach during 2020.
It goes without saying, we would hope, that 2020 wasn't exactly a stellar year in many facets of life. It's easy to look back on the year through a negative lens; however, seek the positive even if it means simply focusing on one good thing. What is one thing you were grateful for this year- just one thing you can carry into the new year, holding onto that feeling of accomplishment and success?
That one thing can propel you into the new year in a way that nothing else can. It gives you hope that abundance awaits on the horizon. If we can acknowledge that one thing, hopefully more, that came out of the chaos and adversity of 2020, imagine what we can accomplish in 2021.
Set Fresh Goals in a New Way
It's no secret that New Year's resolutions rarely stick. When you have twelve months, there are plenty of tomorrows and plenty of opportunities to start later. But, as Meredith Wilson once said, "You pile up enough tomorrows and you'll find you're left with nothing but empty yesterdays." So, consider kicking the year off with a different mindset.
Breaking the year into smaller chunks provides you with deadlines much sooner than December 31st, providing a larger sense of urgency and focus. What does this look like? Establish a 12-week year.
Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington, co-authors of The 12 Week Year, frame each year in an entirely new way. What if you could accomplish your year's goal in the first twelve weeks of the year? In essence, this opens your year up for continually evolving and expanding goals.
In their book, Moran and Lennington go into much more detail, but when breaking our year into 12-week periods (and another after that and another after that...), essentially, our goals are accelerated and the motivation of urgency pushes us to achieve more in a shorter period of time. When we reach our 2021 goal at the end of March, we take a break, evaluate, and set new goals for our next '12-week year.'
Imagine harnessing the emotions of an approaching deadline. Adrenaline, energy and increased focus abound as we settle into the task(s) at hand. Finally.
Typically, this happens in the last few months of the year or maybe not even until December: "The 12-Week Year narrows your focus to the week and, more to the point, the day, which is where execution occurs" (Moran & Lennington, 2013, p. 16). Set your sights high and have the confidence and determination to reach your mountain peak in 12 weeks, committing to a 90-day sprint.
Bring the Blurred Into Focus
As we ambitiously move forward with evaluating 2020 and setting goals for the new year, don't get too carried away. Instead, be choosy in your focus. Remember, you're giving yourself 12 weeks, not 12 months.
In spreading yourself too thin with an abundance of goals, you will likely be pulled in so many directions at once that you'll quickly tire and fail in reaching any end destination. Choose no more than three goals- for several reasons. In fact, I challenge you to only set one. Make it big and make it count, but more on that later.
Brianna Wiest, a senior contributor for Forbes Women, overviews several not so earthshattering reasons for narrowing in your goal focus for the upcoming new year in her article "Make 3 Goals For 2020 - No More, No Less." While she discusses multiple reasons for her thinking, two absolutely stand out above the others; 1. Accomplishing more means doing less, and 2. What you really care about will rise to the surface. So, how exactly can doing less equal more?
There are only so many hours in a day. Consider how you budget them. When focused on traversing a million different paths, no direction gets the true time it deserves. Not only that, but huge to-do lists are daunting and seem unachievable. So, let the things that don't matter so much go and spend the 'extra' time on the true goal you want to pursue.
Once you've determined how you will spend your time, your priorities will quickly rise to the surface. And this is where you need to expend your energy.
Picking a Goal
Now that we see why it's important to narrow in our focus, let's discuss how. If you're unfamiliar with Dr. Benjamin Hardy's '30-Day Future Self Project,' we recommend you get familiar.
Over the course of 30 days, Dr. Hardy releases a series of videos, one per day, providing enlightening ah-ha moments. The project's primary purpose is to shift your focus from the belief that your past experiences have created who you currently are to the idea that your future self determines the present you. In order for this concept to work, however, we must determine our one keystone goal. What is the one thing that will create a clear path to your future? This goal, according to Hardy, ultimately determines your process.
The truth is, only you can determine what your goal will be for the upcoming 12-week period, but Dr. Hardy can certainly help you take steps to get there.
Gratitude in the Act of Preparation
As the Twin Power Team, we've been very grateful to have found such amazing resources as we move forward with planning for the new year. We've gained a clear focus and set rigorous yet attainable goals to propel us into an amazing 2021. Join us in our journey and explore the resources we've provided. We would love to hear how you've prepared yourself for 2021!
Buy Moran & Lennington's 12 Week Year to discover more of their not-so-secret principles for a successful 2021 and beyond!
Reference: Moran, B., & Lennington, M. (2013). The 12 Week Year. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.