The 12 Week Year Book Review

 

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Time is our most valuable asset, and The 12 Week Year gives us an approach to make the most out of every week, it’s a book that you need to read actively, implementing the steps and activities they give you in each chapter.

Imagine if you could maintain the focus of the first couple weeks of January for reaching your new year’s resolutions all the way through December, there would be amazing changes in your life if your motivation and actions weren’t diminished as time went by.

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The 12 week year presents a system where you keep working on your goals, day in and day out without having to rely on the first peak of motivation of the beginning and the urgency we get to get things done in the last weeks of each year.

A program that has worked for companies to get more productivity can also be applied to any aspect of our lives that needs constant improvement.

It consists of creating a vision to work towards an ultimate goal that excites you, and deconstruct it into small pieces of daily actions that will sum up, packing these actions into a weekly plan, and review your performance every week.

The importance of periodization

Setting goals in an annual way of thinking, gives us the misconception that we have plenty of time to accomplish them and we keep pushing them, to start working towards them on the next Monday, next 1st day of the month, our next birthday, and so on, until the end of the year comes inevitably and we’ve done so little work on the changes we needed to implement to improve our lives.

The 12 week year makes us think in a shorter period of time to reach quarterly goals. In one year you’ll get 4 quarters, 4 opportunities to focus on different aspects of your life, and weekly reviews are a chance to measure the execution of those daily actions that contribute to your master vision of the life you desire.

In 12 weeks you only focus on the minimum number of actions that are most important to hit your goal.

The execution system of The 12 Week Year lies in 8 elements:

  1. Vision
  2. Planning
  3. Process control
  4. Measurement
  5. Time use
  6. Accountability
  7. Commitment
  8. Greatness in the moment

Crafting your vision

There are three time horizons that The 12 Week Year wants us to focus our vision on:

  • Long term aspirations
  • Mid-term goals, about three years into the future
  • 12 Weeks which will become our action plan.

Writing down Long term aspirations will give us the push and motivation we need when things start getting difficult, we remember why we are doing this in the first place, what is the life we want to live, it doesn’t matter how big our dreams are, we can always turn them into plans.

You can turn your dreams into plans in three steps:

  1. By thinking about your dreams that might seem impossible and asking yourself: What if…? How would it feel if that was true, how would your family’s life be if that was true? Once you start seeing your vision as possible you can move to the next step.
  2. Now you ask yourself: How might I? With this question you put your mind to work and turn that vision from possible to probable; it will be probable that you reach it by implementing some changes in your life.
  3. Take those changes you must implement into your life and turn them into a plan, those daily actions that you know you need to do in order to accomplish greatness, and with consistency, your vision will shift from probable to given.

Writing down mid-term goals, helps you get a clearer vision of what you need to work on and start creating your action plan: The 12 week plan.

The 12 Week Plan:

Start by choosing some goals to work towards that will get you closer to your vision. Then for each goal write down tactics that stretch you out of your comfort zone, these have to be actions, that you can implement daily or weekly and measure progress and execution of them.

The 12 week goal is the bridge between your vision and your 12 week plan; your 12 week goal should be a realistic stretch for you. Decide on the progress you are willing to commit to achieving in the next 12 weeks.

Following these criteria makes a great 12-week plan and tactics:

  1. Each goal and tactic must be specific and measurable.
  2. State them positively.
  3. Ensure they are a realistic stretch, not too hard but not too easy for you to not see any change.
  4. Assign accountability; be honest and make yourself accountable for the execution of those tactics.
  5. Be time-bound; you must assign a deadline to each tactic and goal.

Process control

“Process control is a set of tools and events that help you work your plan even when you get hit in the mouth”

You will not always be motivated, you will not always have willpower, process control is then the system that supports you to keep going and stick to the plan even when it’s cold outside, you’re tired or you just don’t feel like it.

Basically having a clear plan, that has the vital actions you have to take in order to reach your 12-week goal, meaning that having completed them equals progress and gives you that little push you need.

Also having a weekly accountability meeting (WAM) with a team, or partner willing to do this side by side will help you stay on track, sharing your progress, your weekly execution score, what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve the plan.

Then scoring your week based on execution of the tactics, planning your next week accordingly, and participating in a weekly accountability meeting will be your weekly routine that keeps you on track and focused on your objectives.

Measurement

We need to start keeping scores of not only the achievements but the execution of the tactics that lead to them. Only this way we’ll make sure that the actions we are taking are working or not. To measure progress we are presented to Lead and Lag indicators which we need to keep track of.

  • Lag indicators are the end result, the weight you want to reach, the grade you want to score, etc. Your 12 week goals are your ultimate lag indicators, these are what we usually measure.
  • Lead indicators are the things that happen early in the execution process, the miles you run, the amount of hours you spend studying, etc.  Whatever indicator you decide to measure make sure to track and record your progress each week for every goal.

On the 12 Week Year they present us a Weekly Scorecard which shows the percentage of tactics that you completed in the previous week, aim to reach 85% or more, but if you reach less than that don’t be discouraged and keep striking for progress and getting better week by week.

Don’t be afraid to confront what the numbers are telling you, remember that a weekly scorecard of less than 85% isn’t necessarily bad if you’ve been having an improvement from previous weeks, just commit to making progress each week.

Time use

On The 12 Week Year we are encouraged to take control of our time and make it the most valuable resource we have, therefore, reducing interruptions by blocking your time and setting timeframes to specific actions instead of multitasking and trying to do it all at the same time.

There are three primary components of performance time: strategic blocks, buffer blocks, and breakout blocks, after you’ve saved time for those you can plan around the remaining time and your progress will keep up.

  1. Strategic block: 3 hours of uninterrupted time scheduled each week, you will focus all your energy in producing breakthrough results. These will be high-value activities that contribute to your long term vision.
  2. Buffer blocks: 30 minute, to an hour daily; designed to deal with all the unplanned and low-value activities like emails, phone-calls, etc. The power of these blocks comes from grouping together activities that tend to be unproductive but have to be done, therefore, placing them in a defined block of time you will gain great control of your day, not having to deal with them every couple of hours distracting you from high value activities.
  3. Breakout blocks: at least 3 hours long weekly break from anything related to work, this is to release stress, do different activities to refresh, and reinvigorate yourself so when you return to work, you can engage with more focus and energy.

Accountability as Ownership

We need to let go of the negative tag that accountability has, you can’t hold someone else accountable because it is a matter of oneself; accountability is being responsible, honest, and taking ownership of our acts and their immediate and future results.

Interest vs. Commitment

When you’re interested in doing something, you’ll only do it when circumstances permit it, you’ll find excuses not to do it, and sometimes those excuses will make total sense for you and for anyone else.

When you’re committed to something you will do whatever it takes to reach it, you’ll accept no excuses, no change of circumstances will take you away from your commitment, you will only accept results.

In this book we are highly encouraged to make commitments, and to be successful in keeping them you need to have:

  • A strong desire: it has to be personal and meaningful to you, otherwise, you’ll find excuses not to push through hard times.
  • Clear keystone actions to follow
  • Awareness of the costs, the downsides of what taking these actions might have on your life, it could be time, money, loss of comfort. Identifying the costs before you commit allows you to consciously choose whether you are willing to pay the price of your commitment.

Greatness in the Moment

The moment you decide to change and start implementing keystone daily actions in order to reach your goals you are already reaching greatness.

In the book they give the example of Michael Phelps, he didn’t achieve greatness when he won his eighteenth gold medal or when he won his first. But every day he went to the pool and made his practices, every workout, meal choose, every action he took that lead him to winning from day one is what made him great from the start.

Results are not the attainment of greatness, but simply the confirmation of it. You become great long before the results show it.

Final thoughts

This system of a 12 Week Year with quarterly goals to reach and look up to, it made me change the way I approach my goals, I’m truly motivated to implement these tactics into my life and I’m ready for the improvement it will bring.

I will be sharing the crafting of my vision and my 12-week plan, because I know it might seem overwhelming at first, I had to re-read some chapters to understand the system and how to implement the tactics.

Overall, this is a great book, if you’re willing to reinstall your “operating system” and are open to change and improve your life with a different approach.

125 Motivational Quotes for Students

 

Study Motivation

We all need a little push sometimes, from watching motivational videos on YouTube to writing these little quotes on the corners of your notebook.

I got your back with this compilation of great quotes to get your brain into study mood when you’re feeling lazy:

  1. Don’t study because you need to. Study because knowledge is power. Study because they can never take it away from you. Study because you want to know more. Study because it enhances you. Study because it grows you.
  2. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
  3. You don’t have to be good to start, you just have to start.
  4. Knowledge will give you the opportunity to make a difference.
  5. Be stronger than your excuses.
  6. Tomorrow you’ll wish you had started today.
  7. Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; set goals while others are wishing.
  8. Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want the most.
  9. You don’t want to look back and know you could’ve done better.
  10. If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.
  11. Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.
  12. Study hard, no matter if it seems impossible, no matter if it takes time, no matter if you have to pull off an all-nighter. Just remember, the feeling of success, is the best thing in the world.
  13. You don’t have to do this, you are so lucky that you get to do this.
  14. One day these 5 a.m.’s will make you a legend.
  15. Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.
  16. Time is the scariest thing, if you waste time now, it will waste your life later.
  17. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, time will pass anyway.
  18. Life is not a race, take your time. No work is stressful, it is your inability to manage your body, mind, and emotions that make it stressful.
  19. The best way to predict your future is to create your present.
  20. Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.Work-hard-Pin-me
  21. Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours ahead of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.
  22. Wake up early, drink coffee, work hard, be ambitious. Do what you love, love what you do.
  23. You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you want to go to bed with satisfaction.
  24. Don’t blame the distractions, improve your focus.
  25. We all have 24 hours of a day, but what we do with those is what defines us.
  26. Study hard and work hard, because all the late nights and early mornings will pay off.
  27. Don’t blame the distractions, improve your focus.
  28. One day you’ll have everything you wish for. Start working towards it today.
  29. Work hard to be someone you’ll be proud of.
  30. Be patient with your goals, we live in a quick-fix society where everything is delivered extremely fast. This can condition us to start expecting that everything should happen quickly. Keep working and trust the process, it will happen for you.
  31. Learning is not the product of teaching, Learning is the product of the activity of learners.
  32. Success is not magic, it’s not luck; success is made of late nights, hard work, and sacrifices.
  33. Never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.
  34. The expert in anything was once a beginner.
  35. If you want that degree, don’t settle for average, give it your all.
  36. The practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.
  37. If you want to be powerful, educate yourself.
  38. Of course, it will be hard, if it was easy everyone would do it.
  39. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.
  40. You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
  41. Your level of education is in direct correlation with your salary.
  42. Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.
  43. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
  44. There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who want to get things done, and those who don’t want to make mistakes.
  45. Don’t talk, act. Don’t say, show. Don’t promise, prove.
  46. Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
  47. Some people dream of accomplishing great things. Others stay awake and make it happen.
  48. Is not about how bad you want it. It’s about how hard are you willing to work for it.
  49. Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
  50. The pain you feel today is the strength you will feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is an opportunity for growth.
  51. The secret to getting ahead is getting started.
  52. Not everyone can truly succeed in everything. But success only comes with self-management and determination.
  53. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
  54. Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.
  55. The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.
  56. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
  57. I think is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary. – Elon Musk
  58. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
  59. The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
  60. I am qualified for the career I want.
  61. No matter how long you’ve traveled in the wrong direction, you always have the choice to turn around.
  62. The future is very expensive, and only those who are carriers of discipline can inherit the future.
  63. The fact that you aren’t where you want to be should be enough motivation.
  64. Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself.
  65. It takes extraordinary effort to continue to pursue your dream when so many forces are fighting against you. Don’t give up.
  66. The tassel is worth the hassle.
  67. Allow your mistakes to be your greatest teachers.
  68. The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.
  69. Allow your passion to become your purpose and it will one day become your profession.
  70. You are very lucky and privileged to have access to almost unlimited knowledge, and you should appreciate that.
  71. As long as you keep working the only thing that separates you from your goals is time.
  72. No matter how many times you fail, you can still rise.
  73. Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.
  74. If you give up now, you’ll have to return to this later anyway but from the very beginning.
  75. Either give up your excuses or give up your dreams.
  76. Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on, but you keep going anyway.
  77. Work harder than you think you did yesterday.
  78. Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
  79. Be thankful for what you are now and keep working for what you want to become tomorrow.
  80. Stop calling it a dream, it’s time to call it a plan.
  81. A month from now… You can either have a month of progress or a month of excuses why you didn’t.
  82. Work on yourself, for yourself, by yourself.
  83. Your level of success is determined by your level of discipline and perseverance.
  84. Studying doesn’t suck nearly as much as failing.
  85. Discipline is the strongest form of self-love, it is ignoring current pleasure for bigger rewards to come. It is loving yourself enough to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted.
  86. Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.
  87. Don’t let one bad grade define your abilities. It’s a minor setback. How you choose to overcome it, is what sets you apart from the rest.
  88. Change is taking place within you. Continue to be consistent and remember that all you have to do is take one step at a time.
  89. I have to be successful because I like expensive things.
  90. Where you are a year from now is a reflection of the choices you choose to make right now.
  91. Successful people never worry about what others are doing.
  92. The harder you work for something, the greater you will feel when you achieve it.
  93. You have only failed if you have given up. Until then, it’s called learning.
  94. All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.
  95. You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than yesterday.
  96. Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.
  97. The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.
  98. Be brave enough to travel the unknown path and learn what you are capable of.
  99. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
  100. Every great achievement was once considered impossible.
  101. Little steps each day towards your goals bring amazing results. Keep moving forward.
  102. Struggles are required to survive in life because in order to stand up, you gotta know what falling down is like.
  103. We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges.
  104. 6 months of hardcore focus and alignment can put you 5 years ahead in life, don’t underestimate the power of consistency and desire.
  105. Remember why you started.
  106. I am thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength.
  107. You were born to win. But to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.
  108. Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.
  109. Sooner than you think, you’ll look back on this period of your life and be glad that you never gave up.
  110. Action is the foundational key to all success.
  111. Motivate yourself by the fear of being average.
  112. Be one of those rare people who step over their insecurities and succeed.
  113. Greatness is earned, never awarded.
  114. An investment in education pays the best interest.
  115. Develop a passion for learning, if you do, you will never cease to grow.
  116. Knowledge is power, information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.
  117. It is a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up.
  118. You will know what to do as soon as you start, ideas never appear from inactivity.
  119. Your competition isn’t other people. Your competition is your procrastination, the knowledge you neglect, the negative behavior you’re nurturing, and your lack of discipline. Compete against that.
  120. Become the hardest working person you know.
  121. If the plan doesn’t work change the plan but never the goal.
  122. If you fall asleep now, you will dream. If you study now, you will live your dream.
  123. If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.
  124. Life is not all about studying. But if you can’t even conquer this little part of life, then what else can you possibly do?
  125. You won’t always be motivated, you have to learn to be disciplined.

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Change your life before it sends you a wake up call

 

 

Life can be so easy when you have the right mindset when you do what feels good, and I mean to really have your mind at peace.

Procrastination, laziness, and constantly blaming everyone and everything else for your problems, that doesn’t feel good. Powerlessness is a heavier weight than the size of your real problems.

You’ve probably heard this before, that you are in complete control of your life and you decide where to lead it. I’m here to encourage you to assume control before life hits you in the face because when it does, it hits hard.

My wake up call

It was a regular afternoon, the only difference was that one of my twins was coming out of a flu, I was resting upstairs because I was more tired than usual after a row of sleepless nights.

We heard one of them talking, waiting for his brother to reply, there was no answer, he’s probably still asleep.

They have this thing when one of them wakes up before, he tries to wake the other to play.

But something different happened this time, we heard a gagging sound, not natural, we immediately went running downstairs thinking they could be choking, when I saw my kid my heart stopped: he was having a seizure.

All my previous medical knowledge went off the window, dad grabbed the kid and gave him first aid.

It was a simple febrile seizure, it lasted around 2 minutes, he didn’t have any noticeable symptoms before, his temperature raised too quickly in less than half an hour, and according to me he was healthy, his brother was the one with the flu and I did my best not to have him caught it.

Thankfully it was a random episode. He’s better now, I just have to keep a close eye to the fever.

The guilt

Seeing him like that was the most terrifying experience I had as a mom.

After it was over and he was stable, I was sitting in the hospital waiting room, crying, feeling guilty, because they could’ve had a better immune system if I had given them more fruits and vegetables, and they wouldn’t have caught the flu.

I know I can cook more nutritious food, if I just stop telling myself I’m a terrible cook, I’d have more energy, I could finally get back in shape if I start exercising, now that I have the time.

Ever since I quitted my job I’d been on this toxic hiatus where I didn’t do anything, even though I knew I had the time I wanted to do stuff.

I realized how my voluntary powerlessness was stopping me from living the life I want.

How to take back control of your life?

I was already doing homework to understand how to take back control of my life, but it happens sometimes that we stick to the theory and not really act upon that, even if we are motivated by a book, a speech, a story and truly believe we can do it, we just keep waiting for the right moment.

There’s no right moment, there’s just right now.

Here are the steps I took, and I’m slowly regaining control of my life.

1. Get inspired, read, accept help and guidance

Self-help books are undervalued for many of us, I know that was my case until I really needed help and didn’t want to make such a big deal out of it.

I first looked for motivation to study and stick to good habits and ended up reading a bunch of books that changed my way to see life and my role in this world.

Some of the books that inspired me:

I promise to write a book review and insights from all these books and how they had helped me change my life. If you’ve been thinking about reading any of these, I give you my word they are so worth your time.

They’ve helped me in many different aspects of my life, and I’ve seen unexpected connections between some of them.

If you just read one of these books and start implementing it into your life, you’ll start to see the change. It takes action, to see change.

2. Believe in yourself

There’s nothing crazy about your dreams, when you sincerely listen to your heart the answer to all your problems is in there.

Following your instincts and trusting yourself is an everyday training that will become easier day by day, you’ve got an amazing power inside of you just waiting to emerge.

Connecting with your creative energy is the mindset I was talking about before, I had an eye-opening experience when I was reading The Secret, I have many posts to come around the Law of Attraction and the power lying within all of us.

If you need a little push on this subject, definitely read that book.

3. Stop complaining

Once you’ve taken in the fact that there’s energy surrounding us, and the more you focus on something the more you’ll attract it, it will be easier for you to consciously try and stop the negative thoughts.

You have to realize that you’re hurting yourself with self-doubts, feeling of worthlessness and that toxic self-talk your mind takes on you, complaining about not having enough will set you on the mindset of scarcity and you’ll see it everywhere, and it goes a long way with every complaint you may have.

4. Be grateful for what you have

Instead of focusing your energy on those things you lack, be grateful for the things you do have, it can be as simple as being able to read, break down everything involved in the act of reading right now, and practice this:

  • I’m grateful for my eyes that allow me to see these words.
  • I’m grateful for the education I received that allow me to read.
  • I’m grateful for my hands that are holding my device.
  • I’m grateful for the device I’m using that allows me to connect with the world.

You can try this and go from small to big, there are so many things to be grateful for, and when you start seeing the world through this mindset you’ll find more and more good things appearing in front of you.

4. Make a plan for action

This is probably the most elaborated part of regaining control of your life. You have to decide the route you’ll be taking your life on, why would you want to do it, and how it will improve your future self.

Write down every aspect of the person you want to be and go through your day as that person.

Focus on one aspect of your future self life and make small improvements everyday.

Setting a specific time frame to accomplish determined goals or to acquire a habit will make it easier to follow up through your efforts.

A 12 week period is a good start to see constant changes in your life and make any adjustments necessary to the plan.

Having this in mind I created the “12 Week for a New Me” Habit tracker, a simple design to keep track of up to 6 habits at a time on a weekly basis, there’s a motivational quote or affirmation in every week and a space for you to write your own thoughts. You can get it here, I’d love to hear your feedback!

Have constant reminders of what you are supposed to do, whether they are physical like habit trackers or journals or digital, like a social media account destined to document your journey.

There’s so much more to write about this, but in my next post I’ll be talking about how to create the action plan to take control of your life and start living the life you deserve to have. I hope this first insight was helpful.