The Power of Setting Goals You Can Accomplish in 90 Days

The great thing about having a 12 week year is that the deadline is always near enough that you never lose sight of it.

Time Is the Most Valuable Asset at Your Disposal

You can always make more money. But the one thing you can never get back is your time. One of our biggest misconceptions about time is how long something should take. We don’t see that we are the ones who determine how long we think something will take. To our detriment, we usually overestimate the time and make slower progress towards our goals.

According to Parkinson’s Law, we fill the time allotted for a given task. Last year, when our content strategist Kingshuk was overseeing one of our first course launches, he had a long list of things that needed to get done. When we asked him how long it would take, he said two weeks. I challenged him to condense the timeline of the things that he thought would take 2 weeks and try to accomplish them in 2 hours.

  • What if you only gave yourself an hour to do something that usually takes a day?
  • What if you gave yourself a day to do something that usually takes a week?
  • What if you gave yourself a month for something that usually takes a year?

A few months ago, a friend recommended a book called The 12-Week Year. The premise was simple: give yourself 90 days to accomplish a goal that would typically take a year. In his own 12 week year, my friend Steve Daar signed his biggest client and had one of his most profitable quarters ever.

In 2013, when I was working with my first mentor, and in 6 months we:

  1. We planned and sold out a conference,
  2. I published a book that became freakishly successful,
  3. We rebranded and redesigned a website.

In that process, we went from 600 dollars in the bank in June to $125,000 in the bank by December. While the results were nice, the most valuable lesson I learned from that period was about how fast we could move if we were deliberate.

The biggest problem with setting yearly goals is that you have no idea what your life or your business will look like a year from now. It also causes people to set gargantuan unrealistic goals, ultimately paralyzing them with fear and preventing them from taking any action.

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1. Constraints Make Your More Resourceful

With any constraint, whether it’s time, money, or people, you’re forced to become resourceful. If you only give yourself 90 days to accomplish a goal, you’re forced to manage your time more efficiently. In the long run, resourcefulness is more valuable than resources. Resourcefulness is something you can rely on even when you don’t have resources.

2. Become an Essentialist

If you want to accomplish a goal in 90 days, you have to say “no” to everything that’s not aligned with your essential priorities. This requires what Reid Hoffman has described as “relentless prioritization”. If something isn’t directly aligned with whatever you’re trying to accomplish, it doesn’t deserve your attention.

3. Manage Your Attention

The state of your attention determines the state of your life and most time management problems are attention management problems. Start by reducing the competition for your attention:

  • Use distraction blockers like Rescuetime
  • Work with distraction-free tools or in full-screen mode, so you’re forced to single task
  • Unsubscribe from everything that is not adding value to your life
  • Take a long break from using social media. During the 12 weeks my friend Steve signed his biggest client, he stopped using Facebook completely

Attention is the currency of achievement. Since you’re trying to achieve a goal in the next 90 days, treat your attention like gold.