eCommerce Made Easy

Conquering Goals with the 12-Week Year: Maximizing Personal and Business Achievement

January 02, 2024 Carrie Saunders Episode 36
eCommerce Made Easy
Conquering Goals with the 12-Week Year: Maximizing Personal and Business Achievement
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever felt like your goals are just out of reach, or that a year is too long to wait for success? In this episode, we are going to go over The 12-Week Year, an effective approach that can help you achieve your personal and business goals.

In my first ever book review, I am going to go over Brian P. Moran's book The 12 Week Year and how the 12 week year strategy has simplified my ambitions, allowing me to concentrate on a single personal and business goal every quarter, creating a rhythm of urgency and accomplishment. No more over-committing or feeling overwhelmed; just clear, attainable objectives and the thrill of crossing the finish line four times a year.

Tune in and learn how you can create more consistency in your business and push your business forward by following these tactics!

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Speaker 1:

As an online business owner and entrepreneur, we are bombarded with so many tactics and ideas on how to make progress in our business, but what will really make the difference? What will really propel ourselves and our businesses forward? Consistency is the key. It's the key in online business. It's also the key in brick and mortar businesses. In this episode, we're going to discuss how using tactics from the 12-week year book can help you become more consistent and be able to really push your business forward to where you needed to go.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Ecommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, kiri Saunders. When we started this business, all I had was a couch, a laptop and a nine-month old my main goal To help others. Now, with over 20 years in the e-commerce building industry and even more than that in web development, I have seen a lot. I love breaking down the hard tech and the easily understandable bits to help others be successful in their online business. Whether you're a seasoned e-commerce veteran or just starting out, you've come to the right place. So sit back, relax and let's dive into the world of e-commerce together.

Speaker 1:

Welcome back to this week's episode of the Ecommerce Made Easy podcast. So this is going to be our first kind of book review on our podcast, but it's one that is really exciting to me. So today I'm going to be talking about the 12-year week book, and that is by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. So this book I actually picked up I believe it was back in 2017 or 2018, and I'm recording this at the end of 2023. So a while ago, right, so over five years ago and I tried to implement it back then Now and I feel like I did a decent job at first. But, unlike like many of us entrepreneurs are, we're generally perfectionists and try to take on way too much than we really should, and the 12-week year, if you do it right, is supposed to help you not do that. But for me and for how I was at that time, there's no, no blaming or shaming here. We all have our own stages of life. I took too much on when I tried to implement the 12-week year back then, because I actually found today, when I was digging out some things to find some notes on this, how much I tried to implement back then and I realized, looking back now, that I'm older and wiser. You know, I really tried to push the limits and really get the maximum I could out of the book, but then I fell short because it got overwhelmed. So what I want to focus today on this podcast episode is how can we use a book like this that can help us really maximize our efforts, but also use it in a very intelligent way that we aren't overwhelming ourselves?

Speaker 1:

Because the 12-week year's principle is pretty simple we're going to get more done in 12 weeks than we're going to in a year if we look at that 12 weeks as a year. And the concept is really also, you know, plays on our psychology here, in that many times we really push and get things done when we're pushed to the limit, when we're pushed towards the edge of our time to be able to complete a task right. Many of us, especially perfectionists, might be procrastinators in our own way, because we want things to be perfect. So when we're wanting things to be perfect, many times we will procrastinate getting something done to the very last second. Well, with a 12-week year, you create a really good sense of urgency because your year ends in as short as 12 weeks, and 12 weeks is a pretty short period of time if you really think about it. So the whole concept is to really shorten up your year into four 12-week periods and then you have a 13th week in between, and that 13th week we'll talk about soon, but it's a great prep week and review week. So, for the 12-week year, though, we want to have fewer goals, because whenever we multitask and think about too many things at once, we get overwhelmed.

Speaker 1:

So this is something I did when I tried to implement this originally, as I had I believe it was like three or four 12-week goals. So if you have never done the 12-week year before, I highly recommend you pick one personal and one business goal and that's it, and that's what I'm going to be doing for 2024. I've already been doing prep work for this for several weeks now, been doing some practice trial runs, and, honestly, if you're like me, maybe you need a few weeks of practice trial runs too, where you're really kind of just, you know, digging in and saying, okay, what can I really like? It's not really adding to your plate, but kind of mentally, it feels like you're adding to your plate when you're adding a new structure like this. So, really, what can you kind of add to your plate, right? And you really need to be thinking about how can I implement this, what can I do so for me. I'm doing a revenue goal for our business for 12 weeks and then I'm doing a personal fitness goal because I want to get a bit more in shape and I'm trying to really be very conscious on the tactics I take when I'm doing this. Okay, so let me back up for a minute too.

Speaker 1:

So when you do the 12 week year, if you're not familiar with the book, we will link to it in the show notes and if you're on our YouTube channel, you can see the picture of the book right here. It's not a very big book. It's actually a pretty quick, nice, easy read. They do a great job of giving you examples in the book of how it applies to real life and how we're really. One of the things I really like is how it talks about you become great when you're doing those daily steps. So think about that you're becoming great when you're doing those daily steps, not when you win that race. They have example with Michael Phelps in there and that he would became great when he decided to go to the pool every day, potentially multiple times a day, to practice his swimming and practice exercising and doing all the things that makes a great swimmer. He wasn't great when he won those gold medals. He was great when he made the decisions that helped him achieve that gold medal. So you need to keep in your mind that you are great when you're making those daily action steps towards your goals.

Speaker 1:

Another thing that's great about the book is they talk about lead and lag indicators. This is something that can be really easily missed on. One more business owners, and particularly online business owners, we need to be looking at what actions can I control those are more your lead indicators and what actions can I control as a business owner? What steps can I take? What things can I do to make my business work? And then the lag indicators are the results or the output of your actions that you're putting in. So you want to have both lead and lag indicators in your assessment of your 12 weeks. And another thing that really helps with the 12 week year is that you're having fewer and I think I already touched on this was really is we're having fewer goals to really concentrate on. I know for me, I can so totally overwhelm myself. I want to do this and I want to do that and I want to. You know now we don't want to do all the things all the time at the same time. We need to pick a couple of things.

Speaker 1:

I think they recommend the book a minimum or maximum, three or four tactic or goals that you want to achieve and, like I said, when you're just starting out and they even mentioned in the book just a couple, one or two, not very many. So when you're really doing that is you really need to look at these tactics. Like I said and he goes into really great detail in the book I highly recommend you get it, if you don't already have it of you know what are these small daily action steps. So if you're a business owner, you might need to do specific marketing steps every single day, and then you also are going to want to look at the results. You're gonna wanna be measuring your revenue that you're coming in Now. Revenue is going to come from the marketing steps you took weeks or even months ago. So that's why we wanna do the lag and the lead indicators, both in the 12 week year Also the 12 week year, and I'm gonna show on the YouTube channel if you're watching us on YouTube.

Speaker 1:

One thing I really loved about it is it has a lot of psychology in the book too, and it talks about our psychology and how we can really train and retrain our brain around this. And one of the things is on page 72, if you have the hard copy of the book right here is that it shows you this graph and so I'm gonna describe it to you for the podcast listeners, and it really shows you the five phases of a project. So first you have uninformed optimism. That's phase one, where you're at the top of the hill and you're excited to get this project going and this goal going, and you have uninformed optimism. And then about midway down in this kind of like a sine wave if you're kind of techy about midway down the curve, you run into informed pessimism. So you're kind of getting down in the weeds. You're realizing, ooh, what I'm trying to accomplish is a bit harder than I thought it was going to be, and so you have informed pessimism. And then we get to the bottom and phase three, and that's the valley of despair, and he describes this a lot. This is where a lot of people will stop and quit and start back over with the uninformed optimism and go to a new task or a new project. So really the key to being successful is getting past that valley of despair and moving on to phase four, which is informed optimism, where you're in the trenches and you're now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and you're like, ooh, ooh, I think I can make it. I think I can make it, I think I can achieve this goal. And then phase five is success and fulfillment, when you've actually fulfilled the goal. But I think the key here is realizing that when it gets really hard, that doesn't necessarily mean that we need to quit. That might mean that we're almost on the edge of succeeding and that we really need to push through this. And I kind of wanna go back to about the same time I got this book.

Speaker 1:

Honestly, I found I have celiac disease If you've already heard that on the podcast and my state that as I have health issues, because I didn't know I had celiac disease until my 30s. One of the health issues I have is I have osteopenia and I got diagnosed at 37 with low bone density and osteopenia. That's kind of a big deal at that age. You're supposed to be peeking in your bone density in your 30s. As a female, mine was already low, you know. That's kind of that's not good for my longevity right and my ability to not break my bones as I get older. So one of the things I decided is I needed a big, scary goal to chase. I decided to do a local mini triathlon back then. When I found out it was like it was. It was basically 10 years ago, actually to 10 years ago, exactly a month ago and so I decided to do a big, scary goal and I decided to do a mini triathlon.

Speaker 1:

I am not an athlete.

Speaker 1:

I'm. I was generally kind of fit. I mean not, I'm not, you know, I'm kind of fit but I'm not an athlete. I was a marching band in high school, which is athletic I will say A shout out for the marching band people out there but I wasn't like an athlete. I wasn't like a track person or a swimmer or a bicyclist or anything like that. I do love riding my bike, but I was not an athlete, what you'd really consider an athlete.

Speaker 1:

So when I started training for the triathlon, I literally couldn't run more than a quarter of a mile without out of breath. One I didn't know how to run slowly, because in this triathlon you have to run a 5k and I didn't know how to run slowly. I was a sprinter, so one I had to learn how to run slowly and not super fast and completely wear myself out. But it was a really long, big, scary goal, but at the same time, if I look back, it was a four month goal. I started in January and the race was in April, so it was about four months, which is almost 12 weeks. You know it's a little bit longer than 12 weeks, but I had step-by-step action steps. I decided to take this course here at our university on preparing for the triathlon, and you know what our coach did. He gave us exactly what to do every single day and as long as I checked those boxes, I was able to get to the finish line.

Speaker 1:

So not only could I not run a quarter of a mile, and the triathlon on this in this, this mini triathlon, is 500 meter swim, a 25k bike and a 5k run. I couldn't swim that long Like I was, as I love swimming as a kid, but I was not a swimmer right and I love biking and probably bike riding was probably the easiest part for me to get down, because I did love to bike long distances. But you know, that was just something that I had to do step by step. So not only could I not run not run a quarter of a mile, I couldn't do any of those things for that length of time or anywhere close. But I followed the action plan. I followed what is basically the lead indicators that we would consider in the 12-week year.

Speaker 1:

I did every single step I was supposed to do and by the end of those four months, when the triathlon was here, you know what I did. I did the triathlon, I didn't stop, I didn't take a break, I didn't do anything. So my whole goal was to do the triathlon without stopping. It didn't matter how long it took me, I didn't want to stop. And you know what I actually did at the end of the triathlon is, if you're not familiar triathlons, usually they swim by grunt because they don't want to drown you and have swimming last, so you do the swimming first.

Speaker 1:

In the run part, I sprinted to the finish line. Once I could see it hundreds of feet away and I'm very far-sighted so I could actually see it pretty far away. I sprinted. I had people looking at me like why is she running so fast? How is she doing this? I sprinted to the finish line. I was so excited and so stoked.

Speaker 1:

So that little story just kind of makes me realize and I hope it helps you realize that when we do those step-by-step actions like they talk about in the 12 week year and really laying out the daily and the weekly action steps you need to take to reach your goal, you get there and you stop looking at the finish line. You stop looking at this big, scary goal of, oh my goodness, I've got to take a couple hours. I mean, this is. I think I did it and I can't quite remember how long. I think it was about two hours. It was about two hours of exercise. I think I have to look back to be sure, but I basically exercised for two hours and I'm not an athlete right to do this whole triathlon and I did it and I completed it and I was so, so happy and so excited. But I never looked towards that scary goal as to what I was going to be doing at the end.

Speaker 1:

Every day I focused on the small steps I needed to get there. So when you're focusing on those small steps that you need to get your goal, the goal seems so much more attainable. So another thing that they talk about too that I love in the book is specific types of blocks of time. So the specific types of blocks of time are like strategic blocks and buffer blocks. So buffer blocks are super important. We always get interrupted in our days. So having those buffer blocks where you allow yourself to be interrupted on purpose and really honing down to when your employees or other people can interrupt you so that you can focus during your strategic blocks and so you can focus during those focus type of blocks, it also gets you in the habit of doing a consistent weekly review.

Speaker 1:

So something really important and really key to the 12-week year in making sure it's successful is that every week you score yourself. You score which tasks that are on your strategic task did you actually get done? And then you give yourself a rating for that day or for that week. Sorry, excuse me. So you want to make sure that you're working towards at least 85% completion every week, and he talks about in the book in the beginning. You're not going to get to 85% and that's okay, but you need to be getting better every single week and getting more, a better percentage done for that week. So not only does he give you step by step, he also helps you be realistic in getting those step by steps done, which is what I really like.

Speaker 1:

And he also talks about you know also the psychology of why am I hesitating to do a specific task, and really breaking that down. I'm really thinking about why you might be resisting that task. Sometimes we resist a task because we think it's hard. Sometimes we resist a task because we just don't want to do it but we really need to do it. So really kind of breaking down why you're not doing a specific task you know you need to do and sometimes a task just honestly needs to change and it's not really aligned with what you're trying to do, and that's okay too. But we have to be really careful we don't make that as an excuse either. Then he talks about that a lot and also Mindset Shift. That's really hard to say. Mindset Shift is a very key. This book is so great at helping you shift your mindset and really, glend, easy break down all the psychology and all the reasons why we resist change. We are so human beings that really want to stay in their comfort zone. They really want to stay with what's familiar. So when we're making new habits and new goals and things like that, we can really get uncomfortable with that and our brains will find ways to avoid that task or to get an excuse to not do the task or get distracted with other things that are more in our comfort zone. And aren't these new tasks that are going to stretch us and grow us?

Speaker 1:

Just like whenever I was doing the triathlon, I had to set a non-negotiable set of time during my day when I was going to do my workouts. I am not a morning person, so it was not in the morning, I can tell you that. But I knew in the evening between it was like I think 7 and 9 pm. That was my window when I was going to work out and I had to do it during that time, absolutely no matter what. Now, that did make it hard on the days. I did have the triathlon training class because that was like at 6 in the morning or something like that. Awful, yes, it was 6 in the morning. Such awful memories because I am not a morning person. So it was kind of hard if I worked out the night before like 8 pm at night and then I had to get up and work at 6 in the morning, work out at 6 in the morning. But the point is, though I had specific times, I had a non-negotiable. This is when I'm working out, so having that mindset shift of a non-negotiable and also really seeing why am I getting tripped up, why am I not doing these things I know are going to move me forward?

Speaker 1:

And then another thing that I didn't implement then when I was doing the 12 week year let me clarify that, not the triathlon when I was doing the 12 week year before. One thing I didn't implement was an accountability partner. I didn't have somebody checking in with me and keeping me accountable on my tasks. This time I do my podcast buddy, melissa, who we will have on our show later in 2024, when we celebrate our one-year anniversaries and launching our podcast. We're going to be having her on our show. She is working with me. We're going to be our own, each other's 12 week year accountability buddy this year. So one of the reasons the triathlon was so successful is I had an accountability buddy there. My friend and employee Lynn and I decided we were going to do the triathlon together, so we were always checking in with each other on our workouts. So having an accountability buddy could be a business friend, could be a friend in person could be whomever you want, but having an accountability buddy when you're doing something brand new, like the 12 week year, is going to be really helpful. And if you've done the 12 week year before but maybe, like me, not been as successful as you would have liked, I feel like having that accountability buddy is what is really going to make the big, big difference.

Speaker 1:

Ok, so that is a little bit of a short synopsis of the 12 week year, how I'm going to be applying it for this year. I'm so excited because it actually kind of feels like a relief to me because I have a lot of business goals. You know, in the past few years have been really weird for all of us. You know we've had the pandemic. You know it was four years ago. This March is when I really broke out in the United States and it's been with us, whether it's been like actively with us as far as sickness goes or just as a you know part of our lives, as far as how the economy is working and how businesses are run and things like that. You know it's been a heavyweight burden on all of us and on the online business owners you know, these past four years.

Speaker 1:

So I'm really looking forward to working with Melissa, my accountability buddy, and us working on this 12 week year together and I'm sure later on in the year I will go I will do another episode on the 12 week year and how it's working for me and what I've learned, because I feel like as entrepreneurs and online business owners, we really got to find what will work and what will really help us move forward without the overwhelm, with the joy and with the step by step confidence, and I know, especially after rereading the book a second time, that this is the time. This is my 12 week year. I'm going to have it four times this year and it's just going to be really great to help me grow as a person and grow our business and become better. You know better people who serve other online business entrepreneurs who need technical help out there in the world, so I hope this is really helpful and I appreciate you listening to us on the podcast and if you listen to us on YouTube, be sure to hit that subscribe button. We really appreciate all your feedback.

Speaker 1:

Oh, and something new too, which I announced on the last episode, is we have a new Facebook group where I will be going live regularly in 2024, teaching you all about online tech, and we've got some interesting topics coming up that are going to be very impactful for businesses. So if you want to join our Facebook group, you can go to ecommercemeadeeasypodcastcom. Forward slash Facebook Again. That's ecommercemeadeeasypodcastcom. Forward slash Facebook to join our free Facebook group. We're going to be having lots of information, including email marketing and also email deliverability. There's a big, huge change that's coming up this year. I'm going to just give you a little preview there, because it's really important that you're going to need to pay attention to, and we'll be doing an episode and doing some videos on it as well. So I hope this was super helpful for this week's episode of the ecommercemeadeeasypodcast. I appreciate you listening and, as always, we look forward to seeing you next week and you can always visit our show notes again at ecommercemeadeeasypodcastcom.

12-Week Year for Business Growth
Achieving Big Goals Through Step-by-Step Actions