With the new year coming up soon, it’s time to start thinking about planning out next year’s goals. Sometimes our modern calendar really bugs me. I’ve been trying to lay out the coming year in pieces that make sense for goal planning. I like things that are uniform and fit well together and many of the components of the 365 day year just don’t fit. For example let’s divide the year in half and we get 182.5 days… not exactly a number that exudes confidence. Lets take the math a little further…
365 divided by 4 = 91.25 days per quarter
365 divided by 12 = 30.416 days per month
365 divided by 7 = 52.142 weeks per year
365 multiplied by 24 = 8760 hours per year
None of these numbers are uniform and each one would make yearly goal planning a mess. When we look at setting up an easy to follow goal management system we must find some time periods that work. I like numbers that divide easily and are easy to remember.
Lets take a look at some numbers that seem to work better for planning.
Lets take a 364 day year
Divide it by 7 and we get our usual 52 weeks
Divide 52 by 4 and you get 13 week quarters
The number 13 is a stumper. Since it is a prime number, it doesn’t divide into anything usable. So where do we go from here? I like the week as a planning model, since they are uniform. Months can vary from 28 to 31 days so they make planning inconsistent at best.
Here is an idea that seems to work for me.
For Goal Setting, let’s divide the year into quarters of 13 weeks each.
Start each quarter with a planning week.
Set the remaining 12 weeks to accomplish our goals.
Now we have a number that works well and is easily divisible into planning pieces.
One half of our goal is reachable in 6 weeks.
One third of our goal is reachable in 4 weeks.
One fourth of our goal is reachable in 3 weeks.
Twelve weeks is ideal for so many goals. It works well for weight loss, financial, and productivity objectives. Twelve weeks is enough time to see real results without becoming discouraged. If we have shorter duration goals we can put multiple ones on the time line. Longer term goals work well when broken up into 12 week increments.
In my life I have had great success with 12 week goals. For example, I lost 25 pounds using the 12 week, “Body for Life” program. I was able to set milestones along the way to see how I was doing. I knew that it was realistic to expect a one to two pound weight loss per week. Multiplying 12 weeks by two pounds, it was pretty easy to see that 24 pounds would be a reachable 12 week goal.
The nice thing with the 12 week time period is that you can achieve 4 major objectives in a year’s time. If you have goals in different areas of your life you can overlap 2 or 3 of them at a time.
Setting aside 12 Weeks, with a planning week at the beginning, can easily be a major building block for personal change. Using this basic element we can design some simple yet powerful paper based goal planning tools that will help us on our road to success.