Yearly plans often fail.
It’s objectively hard to predict exactly where you’ll be in a year.
You can evolve as a person, gain new skills, meet new people, undergo a spiritual transformation, build a new business or sell an existing one and what not.
The solution is to shorten the timeframe.
I’m making a case for treating 3 months like a year.
We are trying to frame this time period in our mind like a year. When you plan a quarter, you are mentally planning for a year and dividing it into four milestones.
Here, we are mentally planning for a year. Only, the definition and time period of the year has been shortened to a fourth.
Instead of giving you an elaborate framework with a dozen steps, I’ll trace the exact steps I followed in a way that you can follow along.
But before you get into actual planning, you need to set your directional goals.
When thinking in the long-term (5 years+), I believe people should think in terms of which direction they want to be taking, rather than specific action points.
Perhaps the direction you want to take is:
Whatever the case, having an overarching direction is necessary to know which way you need to be facing at any given point.
But when it comes to planning what action you will take to move in that direction, one should plan in a shorter time frame.
I’ll talk about 3 of my directional goals.
The reason I placed health above DelightChat in the list - I always tend to sacrifice health for work. It’s a tendency that I know I have, and that I have to willingly apply effort in order to avoid neglecting health for work.
Goal - Become the fittest version of myself and feel great with my body and mind.
DelightChat is an obvious entry in the list, it’s my biggest experiment and venture building attempt so far in my life. This direction in my life includes learning any hard or soft skills in order to improve the odds of DelightChat becoming a success.
Goal - Build a profitable SaaS with a team that’s happy to work together and one that enables a great lifestyle for all.
This goal refers to everything else I do outside of maintaining health and work. You may call it hobbies, it’s the same. I’ve explained before how if I was a painter, this blog is my canvas and my keyboard, the paintbrush.
Goal - I have hundreds of ideas. Instead of sitting on all of them, I use my blog and side projects to realise some of those ideas as a form of creative release. No outcome necessary.
Once your directional goals are decided, it is time to focus on setting milestones and a plan of action to achieve those milestones for your individual goals.
These were what I had set for myself in the beginning of 2021. One 3 month year later, here is the progress report:
I only managed to make partial progress on this goal in this 3 month year. I got into a regular exercise routine, which I slipped up on in the 2nd half of March when there was an increased workload.
However, despite exercising regularly, my bodyweight did not drop at all.
In the mindfulness department, I tried journaling and meditation both. Unfortunately after not maintaining the meditation practice for a few months, I found it hard to get back to it.
What did work was journaling. At first, I was doing it daily, but then it became an intermittent thing. I didn’t have tons to write every day.
Plan for next 3 month year?
11 brands are using DelightChat daily. 9 from India, 1 from South Africa and 1 from Mexico. Our objective with the beta was to discover the technical issues in our product, discover missing features and also to find our direction for the path ahead.
Things have been bumpy, but we have managed to make progress on all fronts.
Plan for next 3 month year?
I’m pleased to say that personal projects turned out great during the previous 3 month year. Not only did I manage to launch an online course, it made over $10,000 in 2 months since its launch.
Both Sankalp and I wanted since forever to build our own habit tracker app, and I’m really happy that we did. It’s extremely minimal, but it’s mine!
Plan for next 3 month year?
Even in a 3 month year, you shouldn’t let the entire duration run without checking in with yourself.
The purpose of this check-in is:
It wouldn’t take you more than an hour of uninterrupted time to
The purpose of planning systems like 3 month year isn’t just to write fancy plans, it’s to set deliberate goals and measure over a time period on whether you are achieving them.
You don’t have to achieve all your goals, but the simple act of writing them down and thinking about them alone will make a difference to your life.
If you aren’t already following a planning system, I highly recommend that you do. It doesn’t have to be this one, it only has to be one that works for you.
Bonus section: The origin of The 3 Month Year
This is how I had originally started writing this post, before changing direction and writing it the way you just read. Sharing it below, including the original inspiration for the 3 month year framework.
I first came across Brian Morgan’s planning framework The 12 Week Year in 2017. I never actually read the book, but I completely absorbed the core philosophy through watching a YouTube video and reading a few book summaries about it.
Put simply, Brain’s book says that you should treat the time span of 12 weeks as if it were an entire year. And the reason for that is, 1 year is too long a timeframe to see your plans come through.
You might forget about them by then. You might get complacent, or lazy, or a new development in life might change your priorities and send you down a different path.
The solution is to shorten the time frame.
By switching to 12 weeks, you give yourself a realistic time window that is close enough that you don’t forget what you were doing by the time it’s over, while at the same time 12 weeks is a long enough window to make serious progress towards almost any goal you might have.
I personally think that having a shorter window instills a sense of urgency into your goals, because you can’t slack for too long, you don’t have the whole year to waste on it!
Why I turned 12 weeks to 3 months
I love the organic process of discovering an idea, applying it into your own life, deriving new conclusions from the experience and combining it with experiences in other aspects of your life, and then coming up with your own idea.
In this case, I swapped 12 weeks for 3 months. I did this because it’s hard to imagine where I want myself to be on week 27 of 2021. But it’s instantly possible to visualise myself at the end of March.
We humans are used to working day-to-day, living week-to-week, and planning in months or years. By following the convention we are accustomed to, I found my planning system better off for it.
The other benefit is that I can now split up the calendar year into 4 x 3 month years. And each 3 month year has its own goals and systems.
For example, my big goal for the first 3 month year of 2021 is to make working out part of my daily morning routine.