This is a field report of how my experiment with undertaking my first The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran. After reading the 12-week year, I decided to undertake a little experiment to see what difference this methodology would make in my life. In January, I published an article that detailed all the things that I was aiming to achieve in my first 12-week-year (the original post can be found here). It is now 12-weeks later and I thought I would share the results of my experiment. If you are thinking of undertaking your own 12-week year, then continue reading to find out if this processes benefited me or not. Interested to know the results, let us find out!
Out of my first 'year' goals, I managed to complete 16 out of the 22 goals that I set myself. When I wrote some of these goals down, I had serious doubts whether I would finish some of them. Some of the tasks were a mammoth. By far, the two biggest goals were committing to complete my two books. If you have never written a book, I can confirm it is tough! In January, I had been writing my Episerver book for over a year and a half!
The 12 week year finally gave me the motivation to finish it. I had to put in over 100 hours of proof-reading effort in January to finish it off the Episerver book, but it is now done done! The same effort was required for the Umbraco book in February. These two tasks alone consumed the majority of my time within my first 12-week year. The great news is that they are both completed and I am pretty proud of how they both turned out. I do have issues with perfectionism. Mentally, I will never be able to fully convince myself that the book is perfect. A tiny part of my brain will always feel that there is more to do. I do however fully believe that both books are the best resources you can buy for the price for both Episerver and Umbraco.
Over the years I have learnt a number of different languages and frameworks. Understanding the effort it takes to learn a new framework, when I wrote the goal down I knew I would not have the time to finish it. In a best-case scenario, I thought I may potentially make a token Google search on it, but, mentally I had written the goal off! This is where the benefit of the 12-week year kicked in. As the 12-week year imposed a short timescale and I had made a public commitment that I would look into it, something strange happened. These two factors combined surprisingly made me mentally force myself into making progress. As I had committed to publicly look at it, I purchased a course on Svelte and decided as a minimum to complete the first chapter. The course went so well that I'm now nearly 3/4 of the way through a 20 chapter course. I have spent over 30 hours this month learning Svelte! I have now built 5 applications in Svelte and I feel confident I could build an application for a client if asked. This goal is definitely something I would not have achieved if I had not followed the 12 week year and also publicly announced my goals.
My fourth biggest accomplishment within this 12-week year was also pretty epic, I brought a house! When I wrote the goal to buy a house, we had already made an offer on a house and it had been accepted. In fact, we were 5 months into the buying process and the bank had approved the mortgage on the house. Buying my first family house and moving from London is definitely a big win. I feel like this goal would have occurred regardless of the 12-week year. This is why I'm only ranking this goal as number 4, epic, but it would have happened regardless!
Life was not all peaches and cream. I did not complete all of my goals. In a surprising twist of fate, I actually think the 12 week year really helped with my failures as well. When I wrote my yearly goals down, I did no research on how feasible some of my goals were. One goal I failed to complete was finishing my Umbraco V8 video series. Even though I published 8 videos on Umbraco within my 'year', I still want to publish a few more. Having deadlines actually made me consider what content and topics I wanted the series to contain. Up until the start of my 'year', I was just randomly publishing content on things I thought were useful. The 12-week year forced me into thinking about my goal more. The result of this thought and process, helped me to create better videos.
A second goal that I failed to complete, but where I think the 12 week year helped me make more progress than I would have otherwise was my commitment to reading 'Brandon Sanderson - Way of Kings'. I have heard this book is great, however, I know nothing about it. After committing to reading the book this 'year', that I did some research into buying the book on Amazon. It was only after seeing the page count that I realised how big the book is, 1258 pages!!! If I had tried to read this book within my year, I would not have been able to read anything else. Having this self-imposed deadline, made me research something I would not have looked at otherwise. My idea now is to pivot. I run most days and this book looks like an ideal candidate to listen to on Audible instead. For my next 'year' I will aim to listen to half of this book (25 hours in a month!).
As you can probably tell, I am a fan of the 12-week year. Within my year, I overcame a lot of big goals that I'm not sure I would have finished otherwise. I have always enjoyed the process of thinking about and writing down my goals. I definitely found the shorter deadlines helped to add more urgency into my life. The result of this urgency is that I got more shit done within 3 months than I thought I would. If you have not read the 12-week year then it is definitely worth a read. You never know, simply reading the book could be the catalyst of big changes in your life. Starting that side hustle, writing that book, or simply tackling something that you have been putting off for years!
Before January, I have never publicly shared any of my goals before. As I have found some pretty good benefits from sharing my goals publicly, I am going to continue sharing them every quarter for the rest of 2021 just to see if it continues to add benefit to my life. I know most readers will not care about my goals. No one reading this is going to think any better or worse of me if I finish them or not. The simple act of making them public, however, has been a surprisingly useful motivational tool. This is my second big take-away from this experiment. Making your goals public will definitely help you take action. Try it and see how it goes!
🎆 Year Two Goals
The remainder of this article is dedicated to my year-two goals! Below summarizes all of the tasks that I am committing to finishing by the end of June! I am going to do a second experiment with my goals and mix the formating up. I am using
- Get to BLACK level on Nike+, I have been trying to get here for 10 years and I'm finally close to hitting this goal!!!!!
- Get my 2021 running total to over 1000K to claim my virtual running medal
- Re-factor https://www.dailymotivationalthought.com/ to use Svelte, Contentful, and Netlify instead of Umbraco CMS
- Start a Svelte based app that helps build coding muscle memory
💵 Finance & Business
- Start my 1k a month business
- Become an eToro platinum member
- To get the damp sorted in my house
🖱️ Improving My Coding Abilities
- Learn the basics of the GO programming language. Take a course on GO. I count success as writing and releasing a simple API
- Finish the Svelte.js course that I started in my first '12 week' year
- Stackoverflow overflow rep 1000+
📖 Books I Will Read/Listen To
- The 10X Rule
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Bill Bryson - The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid
- Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet
- The Effective Executive - Peter Drucker
- Finish listening to A Promised Land by Barack Obama on Audible
- Start listening to Brandon Sanderson - Way of Kings on Audible
📦 Being Creative
- Proof-read every blog post on my site (1000+) using Natural Reader. I have always had spelling issues since I was young. Recently I learnt about a dyslexic tool called, Natural Reader. Using vocal tools to proof-read my work allows me to catch typos I would never have seen before. This will not be a fun goal, however, it is an essential step in the promise I made to myself to level-up the quality of this site.
- Start a Dog/Edge/JAMStack series on my Youtube channel. In terms of web development, I think there are lots of really interesting things that are happening in this sector. The aim of this series is to make people aware of some of the new tools and ideas that are now available.
- Finish Umbraco V8 Youtube Series
- Publish 12 Youtube Video
- Publish 24 blog posts
- Publish 12 episodes of my weekly newsletter, the Sunday sessions
What are your thoughts on my 12 week year? What goals have you set yourself? Please share!