Setting Resolutions The Right Way (a book review of The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran)

This is the time of year where you see alot of posts about how New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time. I am not one of those people. I always love the New Year and the chance it brings to review past goals and start fresh with new ones. In fact, I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and to improve daily habits for success. Cultivating habits are at the heart of incredible achievements as well as productive self care and resilience. Brian Moran’s Twelve Week Year is a great resource for upleveling any part of your life you want to improve. In this blog I’m excited to share some great tips I learned from this easy to follow resource.

On the Inside cover of The Twelve Week Year the writer describes his book as a guide to creating results through focus, commitment, and accountability. Everything about this description echoes elements of the healing process whether it be from anxiety, depression, addictions or relationship challenges. In order to heal our lives and achieve goals, we have to be able to focus, keep commitments and become accountable to ourselves and those around us.

But how do we start?

Limit Goals to 12 Weeks

One of the first things that struck me about this book was the way Brian encourages us to stop setting New Years Resolutions is because 365 days is way too far out for most of us to plan AND keep momentum at the same time. This isn’t just for some of us. In fact, the vast majority of individuals (and organizations) need goals that are much more time limited. In this book, the author puts that sweet spot at 90 days. He’s not the only one. A similar, VERY popular plan is the 90 Day Year by Todd Herman. While I haven’t done the 90 Day Year program I am going to bet these two resources are super similar. And with good reason, 90 day goals just work better for many things both business and personal. This article from Fast Company breaks down why 90 days feels so much better than 365.

Add Structure to the 12 Weeks

The book not only offers a theoretical overview of why setting twelve week goals is better, but it goes into detail about little tricks and behavior changes to help you along the way. One is to plan out those 12 weeks into actionable, clear goals. Within those weeks we can break our time down even further by setting aside what he calls “blocks” for things like time away from work for recreation, time to focus on product development without distraction and specific time to clean up the mundane parts of our work. The book makes it super clear that time is most easily wasted when we aren’t consciously planning it. How well do you plan your work schedule? How much time do you spend on mindless activities like browsing social media or watching television?

Strive To Be Great In Every Moment

In therapy-speak, we just call this mindfulness. When we are deeply listening or paying attention fully to what is right in front of us, Moran states, we are practicing greatness. The book is full of inspiration around the practice of being present in everything you do. And yes, even if you are deeply dissatisfied at your job, there are ways to take back your experience and feel more in control of your day. One simple way to do this is to just decide that nothing is going to ruin your day and see how it goes from there.

Stop Viewing Accountability As a Weakness

This was probably my favorite aspect of the book. I often see people when they are struggling with very complex and painful experiences. I hear every level of excuse to avoid self care from “my problems aren’t big enough to talk about” to “so many other people have it worse” to “i should be able to do this on my own.” The book does a wonderful job of explaining and normalizing the fact that we all need help when it comes to accountability. Simply put, we do better when we feel supported by communities. Where can you find more support for your goals and dreams?

My review of this book…two thumbs up! It’s an easy read and something I will refer to over the year to support my goals.

Happy Holidays and Many Blessings in setting your first 12 Week Year Resolutions of 2019!