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“The great thing about having a 12 Week Year is that the deadline is always near enough that you never lose sight of it,” he adds. “It provides a time horizon that is long enough to get things done, yet short enough to create a sense of urgency and a bias for action.”

Write down your plan. It lets you make your mistakes on paper. A “plan” in your head isn’t really a plan. It’s wishful thinking. That’s because life gets in the way, and if you don’t have a written plan, you will almost certainly drop the ball in the first few days. The world is noisy, the unexpected happens, distractions arise, your innate desire for comfort tugs at you, and you lose focus on the things you know you should do. But if you sit down at the start of your 12 weeks and write out your strategy, it forces you to think through potential pitfalls up front.

“With a written plan, you make your mistakes on paper, which reduces miscues during implementation,” says Moran. “You no longer waste time on unimportant activities because your plan triggers your actions. Your action choices are made proactively at the beginning of the 12 weeks when you create your plan. In short, a 12 week plan helps you to get more of the right things done each day, and ultimately it helps you reach your goals faster and with greater impact.”

Give each goal its own set of tactics. The way your plan is structured and written impacts your ability to effectively execute. Effective planning strikes a working balance between too much complexity and too little detail. Your plan should start by identifying your overall goals for the 12 weeks. (Yes, you may have more than one goal during that time frame.) Then, you’ll need to determine the tactics needed to meet each goal.

“Break your 12 week goal down to its individual parts,” suggests Moran. “For example, if your 12 week goal is to earn $10,000 and lose 10 pounds, you should write tactics for your income goal and your weight loss goal separately. Tactics are the daily to-dos that drive the attainment of your goals. Tactics must be specific, actionable, and include due dates and assigned responsibilities. The 12 week plan is structured so that if the tactics are completed on a timely basis the goals are achieved.”

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