It’s almost April. How is this possible?! Yes, a lot has happened since the beginning of the year, but on the other hand it feels like 1st January was not that long ago. Three months into 2016 already, and it’s time to review our progress on our theme for the year…
The New Year’s Theme
The idea of setting a theme, instead of writing long lists of resolutions that we’ll probably never complete, is to provide an overarching framework for the year. It guides our choices and our actions without being too restrictive. My past themes have included Bold Decisions, Follow-through, and Being (Physically) Active; this year’s theme is Externally Focused.
The year started well for me, with my article about lessons learned since quitting my job being picked up by three online publications with very little effort on my part (I had actually written the article a couple of years ago). This came about as a result of my answering a question on Quora, where I have since become a Most Viewed Writer in topics including Setting Goals, Career Transitions, and Work-Life Balance.
I wrote another post about some of the leadership principles I had learned during my time at P&G and this got almost 35,000 views and brought me up to the top 1% of profiles on LinkedIn. I’ve participated in my first podcast, and I’ve done several other interviews that will appear on various blogs and websites over the coming months. I also have a number of speaking engagements on the horizon, which I’m very excited about.
It’s definitely easy to withdraw back into my own little world, however, to sit at my laptop and work on my website, or stay indoors all day. I’m very focused on creating content for my own platforms and so I don’t really get round to sending off proposals for guest posts and articles. On a social level, I’ve been saying yes to meet-ups as much as possible between my travels and a couple of very stubborn colds.
Looking ahead to the next quarter, there are plenty of friends who I’ve been meaning to catch up with and I hope to do so soon… I think an offline networking event could also be interesting at some point, to get myself away from the virtual world and out meeting actual live people. And I really do want to have a go at sending off some guest posts and articles for publishing on other sites.
The 12-Week Year
Doing this quarterly review is important, I think, in terms of tracking progress and keeping you on course. The New Year’s theme is quite broad and its intent is precisely to allow a great deal of flexibility within its general scope, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t – or shouldn’t – set more specific goals.
I’ve just finished reading The 12-Week Year, based on the premise that 12 months is far too long a period to allow you to stay focused and motivated on your goals. Instead, this book encourages you to define goals and measures for each 12-week period. You set one or two big goals for the quarter – your “year” – and then you define specific actions for each of the 12 weeks, actions that will move you closer to your goal. The idea is that if you manage to tick off at least 85% of your actions each week – assuming, of course, that your strategy is sound and your actions are effective when implemented – then you should hit your goal at the end of the “year”.
This 12-week year fits in nicely with my 3-month review timing, and I’ll be experimenting with some more concrete goals and actions for the next three months. I do love my freedom and the flexibility that comes with a loose schedule, but I’m also a big fan of goals and I think tightening up that link between my big vision and my day-to-day work can only be a good thing.
Over to you…
How is 2016 going so far for you? How have you been embodying your theme these past three months? What can you do to step things up in the next quarter?
Please share your progress in the comments below!