Reach your goals with the 90 day year

Remember those goals you set on New Years? Or the ones you didn’t make? How’s that going for you? Pause for a minute and think about that. Don’t mind me. I’ll be checking out some funny memes as I wait for you to do that. Done? Here’s what your response says about you…

Your Point of View

I love something performance guru, Todd Herman, shared about how different people view progress towards a goal.

When it comes to facing change you either have an OWW brain or a WOW brain - Todd Herman

Did you celebrate the progress you made towards your resolutions or did you fret about the progress you didn’t make?

Did you celebrate the lessons learnt from your successes and failures or did you complain about not getting stuff done?

Wow brain people look on the bright side and smile at the progress made from the starting point. Oww brain people look on the not-so-bright side and frown at the gap between their current situation and their expected finishing point.

Do you have an OWW brain or a WOW brain?

Some people have a WOW brain when it comes to health and fitness goals, others have an OWW brain. Sometimes, you’ll have both in the same area at different times.

The WOW brain appreciates progress made towards your goal and helps spur you on to more achievement.

It’s possible to develop a WOW brain in an area you choose by training your mind to focus on the bright side and appreciate progress made.

Goals and System

Mike, a friend of mine, challenged my thoughts on productivity. He asked, “what’s more important: setting goals or setting up a system or process?”

It’s important to know where you’re going. You won’t get there without a plan and means.

Focusing on the goal and forgetting about the system or process is a recipe for disappointment. Besides SMART goals can sometimes be dumb.

Writing down a SMART goal isn’t enough to achieve your goal. You need a good strategy and system or process too.

It might be tempting to focus 100% on the process, but the behaviour it leads you to is also important.

Who you are determines what you do, which determines what you get.

90 Day Year

The 90 day year system is based on Todd’s 18+ years of helping top athletes and entrepreneurs around the world perform. I use some of its principles to achieve the things I share on my now page.

The general flow includes:

  1. Work with a time limit of 3 months (90 days)
  2. Set a goal e.g. “I wanna lose fat”
  3. Identify how you’ll track progress e.g. “body fat percentage”
  4. Refine goal to be specific e.g. “I wanna lose 10% body fat in 90 days”
  5. Decide on a strategy to get to your goal e.g. “Sports, training for a marathon or going to the gym”
  6. Make an operational plan based on your strategy: what is to be done, by who, where and when
  7. Schedule the plans into your calendar so you don’t have to think about the nitty-gritty
  8. Work in 2 week sprints and check progress made (body fat percentage lost)

Does the 2 week time limit seem short? Think of hackathon events that birth apps and business ideas in a weekend. In 2 weeks you can do some significant stuff.

A 2 week limit helps you be more focused and intentional in your efforts while giving you a reasonable timeline to assess your progress towards your 90 day goal. Without waiting to get to day 90 to learn.

According to Todd, 90 days is the amount of time that’s decent enough to make substantial achievements yet short enough that your mind doesn’t treat your goals as long term dreams but actionable items. Makes sense? I think so too.

90 Day Year Applied

I recorded my 30-day application of the 90 day year to my fitness goals earlier this year. The objective was to lose 6% body fat in 90 days (about 2% on average monthly).

The strategy I settled on was dancing plus swimming 1-2x weekly, training for a 5k run 3x weekly, eating well (no-junk, no gum) as much as I could and 10 minute exercises once a day.

In addition to scheduling these activities on my calendar, I setup ‘moment-of-truth’ events mid and end month (2 weeks apart) to check my progress. Here’s what I was able to do:

  • Lost 4.06% body fat
  • Ate clean 24 days (no junk, no gum)
  • Exercised 26 days (10 minute exercises)
  • Danced 10 days, learnt 2 dance choreographies and made a wedding dance choreography
  • Didn’t make it to swim
  • Ran on 7 days for a total of 18.21 km
  • Walked on 28 days for a total of 149.78 km
  • Drank 187 glasses of water (at least) and 19 green teas
  • Slept 6.5h – 7h on average

The stats I tracked daily using apps or spreadsheets kept me honest and taught me that my strategy at the time was valid.

First step to driving your life is taking responsibility and the last is being accountable

Tag, you’re it!

The 90 day year can do you lots of good. Is it a silver bullet? You might experience challenges trying it out the first time(s).

You’ll also want to figure out a way to keep yourself accountable (honest). I failed to do this well enough initially.

A good thing about the 90 day year system is that you can change strategy (and your operational plan) after 90 days if things don’t work out. Not your goals, unless they’re not worth it anymore.

It’s 81 days to the end of 2016. Just shy of 90 days to checking off the resolutions you made in January. Or this month. Try the 90 day year on your business, fitness, or other kind goal and see what it does for you.

Have you used the 90 day year or something similar to achieve significant goals? What useful lessons have you learnt (successes or challenges) from your experience? Tweet me.

– Evans “Do Extraordinary Things” Musomi



Helping develop people, software products and learning programs