Every year millions of people proudly proclaim “New year, new me.” Filled with energy and enthusiasm for what they can become and how they can change with the new year. For some, it’s losing weight, for others simply kicking bad habits.

For almost everyone, it’s a broken promise.

Like clockwork, thousands of bloggers and publications write ad-nauseam about how to make your new year’s resolutions stick, or in true clickbait style: “The one habit you need to have a successful resolution.”

Trouble is, New Years Resolutions are simply loud ways of proclaiming precisely what you’re not going to stick to in the new year.

The problem is simple, without a plan or accountability, they don’t stick or create meaningful change.

Every year I create goals for myself, and like millions of others, I take my eye off my long-term goals somewhere around half way through the year. (C’mon dude, stop trying to dupe your readers, it’s really more like March or April)

This year I want to try a different tactic – I am taking on 12, month-long goals.

12 Months, 12 Goals

What’s better than setting a brand plan and abandoning it a few weeks or months in? Making the whole year a goal setting exercise.

We have limited attention spans, so a year is a long time to focus on a single goal. What if you get half way through and realize this new goal or habit isn’t worth the time?

On the other hand, 30 days is a tangible time to try out a goal, and if it turns out to not be something you want to continue, 30 days is a small investment of time.

Research shows it takes, on average, more than two months, 66 days, before a habit becomes automatic. So if the goal turns out to be worth it, you can continue the practice beyond the 30 days.

Introducing: The 30-12-1 Plan

Instead of just setting a bunch of gnarly, giant, year-long goals, I’m going to try a different plan.

I’ve come up with what I call a 30-12-1 plan. 30 days, 12 goals, 1 year.

The rules are simple: One goal that you practice every day for 30 days. Every month you start a new goal.

By the end of the year, you’ve reached 12 goals. If you find ones you like, you can continue them. The others represent a small investment in an experiment.

I’m still going to set my goals for the year and put them aside to read in December. The difference is this time every month I will be tackling something new to meet those yearly goals.

And I’m going to publish all the results for you.

This year I can’t get away from accountability. All of you are going to see every failure, success, embarrassing moments and all.

Every month will see three posts:

Post 1: Setting the goal

At the start of every month, I’m going to write a new post outlining the action plan for that month and publish it here. In that post, I will answer four questions:

  1. What is the action I’m taking?
  2. What am I measuring?
  3. Where am I starting?
  4. What do I plan on getting out of this goal?

Post 3: Retrospective

At the end of every month, I’ll write a retrospective – what went right, what went wrong, all the nitty-gritty, gory details.

End of the Year Summary

When 2017 closes, I’ll write a retrospective for the entire year. Which goals stuck and which I ultimately abandoned. Plus, I’ll write about what this did for me in general.

If it goes well, I’ll start this whole train over again in 2018.

Why Am I Doing This?

Like all entrepreneurs, I have big ambitions but I sometimes fall short of my personal expectations. The one thing that’s in my control is my own actions.

I’ve learned over the years that I don’t accomplish my goals unless I take action and a year will fly by before I realize it.

We overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in five years.

But all of us can do 1 small thing a day for 30 days, including me.

And that adds up to a whole lot of change. 

So this is my way of setting a goal, writing it down, telling others, and creating accountability.

And hey, if it works for me, it might work for others too.

The Schedule

For some months, I have the goal already figured out. For others, I’m still determining what my schedule will allow.

For example, I’m planning a vacation, so that month I need to be able to practice my goal without location-based requirements.

Here is my 2017 schedule of goals:

  1. January – Meditation
  2. February – Learn Italian
  3. March – TBD
  4. April – TBD
  5. May – TBD
  6. June -TBD
  7. July -TBD
  8. August -TBD
  9. September -TBD
  10. October -TBD
  11. November -TBD
  12. December -TBD

The Beginning

The inaugural goal for January is meditation. For 30 days straight, every day I will meditate. A full write up is coming soon.

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Here’s to making 2017 great and meeting our goals. If you want to follow along with me on this journey, follow my on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for my newsletter.

Charles Forster

Charles Forster

Creative Director and Partner at OCS
Passionate about personal & leadership growth for founders and entrepreneurs.
Charles Forster

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