12-week Year Goalsetting: My Test, Track and Tweak Method (Notion Template Included)

When you reflect on the last few years of your life, how much has been determined by a few great decisions?


The thing is, we cannot just sit down and decide to make life-changing decisions.


In other words, if you find yourself dreaming big and relying on the “new year, new me” momentum only to find out your “someday” list is getting longer, this is a new solution for you.


Important, pivotal decisions are results of listening to our inner voice, and creating space for ideas to brew and grow.


This is how I quit my first career, went back to full time studies amid a pandemic, and quit all relationships that were not serving me anymore.


Nothing happened overnight.


When I look back, I found a pattern of how I achieved all those significant goals:


1 Circumstance: something isn’t working. There is a nagging voice asking me to change, to a point I cannot ignore it, or lie to myself that everything is fine anymore.

2 Rising opportunity: a good opportunity comes up, and I decide to act on it.

3 Pathway: deciding on a reasonable path to achieve what I want.

4 A set time frame: having a clearly defined goal and deadline gives me the momentum and urgency to sprint towards the goal.

5 Going all in: yes, I do mean sprinting.


“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month. We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.”
– Matthew Kelly


That’s why I don’t believe in new year resolution. It doesn’t work for everyone. It feels nice to dream, but in general, human beings are not good at practising delayed gratification and thinking long term. We lose focus and momentum after a while.


So how did I make life-changing decisions, and stick through the process time and time again?


This is where my Test, Track and Tweak method, or TTT comes in. I combine this with the 12-week year goalsetting method, originally created by Brian Moran, who claims that we should stop thinking in terms of a year; instead focus on shorter time frames.

I have been doing yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly reflection for a very long time and I realised I always went back to my quarterly goals to see if I’m on track every week. It’s a good time frame to see what’s working, and what needs to be changed. It’s only until recently I found out there’s actually a goalsetting method called the 12-week year, which compliments my TTT method, and I’m happy to share my process – and a free Notion template! Keep reading.

Free Notion Templates

Everything you need for your wellbeing and productivity. Duplicate the pages and you're good to go. No strings attached.

🗓 The 12-Week Year Method

Try splitting a year into quarters. Every 12 weeks is a sprint period to take massive and effective actions to achieve certain goals.


The whole point is to do something, get feedback quickly, adjust approach if necessary, and make progress.


Trying to achieve something in a quarter means 3 things: a tight deadline, a clear path, and a measurable end goal.


Tight deadline is important because we need a sense of urgency and momentum. We are hard-wired to think short term and we crave for instant gratification. But when you have a tight deadline, you will figure out getting the essentials done – which means applying the 80/20 rule. It speeds up your journey to success, and those goals are no longer sitting on your bucket list, waiting to be done “someday”. Don’t let Parkinson’s Law get into the way. If your boss asks you to write a 1,000 word report in 1 hour, you will not procrastinate.


Clear path keeps you on track, and gives you laser focus of what needs to be done. You are not distracted. This means setting up systems to make sure you show up and do the work.


And at last, a measurable end goal, which is clearly defined, means you either achieved, or have not achieved the goal. Have I dropped my body fat to 15% in 3 months ? Have I got 6 new clients in 2 weeks? Use numbers.


Your goal defines your approach and process. Dr. Benjamin Hardy wrote an article on “How to Achieve Your 10-year Plan in the Next 6 Months” which forces you to think from first principles, get rid of distractions and achieve your goals faster because you’re getting the essentials done.


Now I’m showing you the step-by-step process of my goalsetting and review system so that you can start living a life you want. Click “duplicate” on the top right corner to start mapping out your plan.

💭 Who Do You Want To Be?

If you are unsure about the goals you want to achieve, consider spending some time envisioning who you want to be in 3-5 years’ time, what your core values are, then narrow down to 1 year, and reverse engineer the concrete goals you need to achieve in 3 months’ time.


You are what you do, not what you said you would do.


How you spend your time reflects what you care about.



If you don’t know what your core values are, consider spending 15-30 minutes alone and uninterrupted to reflect on what really maters to you. Chris Sparks has this amazing worksheet here (which is also a Notion template) if you need some guidance.


I’m not against new year resolution if that gives you some hope or momentum, which is totally fine, and you can surely go for setting some floaty goals that give you a general direction of where you want to go. It’s a good starting point.


Vision inspires actions and results.


But you still need mini goals to keep you on track.


Once you figured out the “why”, you can map out the “what”, the “how” and “when”.


Pick 3 life areas you want to focus on, rate your current satisfaction, and write down the direction of those areas in a year.

Life AreasCurrent Satisfaction (/10)How I want this area to look like in a yearPriority

Here is one of my goals from 2022 Q2:

Life AreasCurrent Satisfaction (/10)How I want this area to look like in a yearPriority
Physical Health7maintain 16-20% body fat; sustainable workout routine & diet; better gut health1

Now go on and prioritise those 3 life areas. Remember, what you focus on expands. Juggling never works well.

🎯 Tight Deadline & Measurable End Goal: Define Your Quarterly Goal

For each life area, define your the end goal in 3 months, reverse engineer where you need to be by the end of the first and second months.

Life Area (in order)Achieve by end of QtrAchieve by end of month 2Achieve by end of month 1

Here are a few tips in setting goals:

  1. SMART goal is somehow still relevant. Make sure it’s quantifiable so you can track progress properly. Remember, data don’t lie.
  2. Is the end goal realistic? Have you taken upcoming life events into account? Of course, growth is not linear, and it takes time for us to develop and stick to a habit in order to progress.
  3. How surprised will you be if you didn’t achieve the monthly goals? What might distract/derail you? Adjust from there.

🏁 Define Weekly Checkpoints

Now we have our monthly goals all set. It’s time to put on our experiment hat (you might prefer a lab coat).

First Principle Thinking

Firstly, we need to ask: what is the most reasonable and direct path to get to where you want to go?


What are we going to do every week to achieve that goal?


From there, we define the clear path and test our hypothesis every week.


Seeing every week as experiment is crucial for the following reasons:


  1. It makes your journey more fun: things might turn out to be a surprise. You might achieve your goals faster or slower than you expected. Keeping an open mind to be “wrong” about your hypothesis makes it less serious and makes you more willing to explore options.
  2. Fast feedback loop: by taking more actions, you quickly know what works and what doesn’t. That allows you to adjust your approach and reach your goals faster.
  3. Room for improvement and errors: create maintenance/backup plan to account for unexpected events that might come up and slow down your progress.

🔬 Test, Track, Tweak

Now we are officially in the TTT phrase!

Life Area (in order)Achieve by end of QtrAchieve by end of month 1Wk3 checkpointWk2 checkpointWk1 checkpoint

Remember, it’s an experiment. The weekly checkpoint signals if the path you set out is reasonable enough. It’s subject to change.


At this stage, we want to make sure the weekly hypothesis is measurable. We need clear KPIs (key performance indicators):


  • Can we measure input and output accurately?
  • Have we assigned the time to address the goal?


From my experience, numbers and habit stacking are the key to success.


What gets measured gets managed.


I tracked my pull-up progress on Notion like this:

I was already working out every day (first thing in the morning) so it wasn’t too hard for me to add on the pull-up training. As you can see, I was able to stick to it apart from the day my muscles hurt so bad that there was no point to train.

Copy this in your weekly reflection template:

Things I experimented this week:


Key findings:


Tweaks for next week:


Free Notion Templates

Use my free templates to set goals based on the TTT/12-week year method 👆🏻

Keys and prompts:

  1. Brutally honest evaluation: not to be harsh, but why lie to yourself when everything is an experiment? Dumbbells don’t lie. Face the music, practise acceptance and take full responsibility of what really happened – both the good and the bad.
  2. Eyes on the goal: is the goal still reasonable?
  3. Replicate success: what worked and how can I double down on that?
  4. Reflection on setback: what got in the way? Which area is lacking input? Do I need an accountability parter?
  5. Preview: are there any life events that might affect progress/performance/approach? Adjust from there.

🗺 My Field Notes

Here are a few mistakes I reflected on in the previous months:

  1. Too much planning, not enough doing and testing
  2. Overestimating what I can achieve in short timeframe – unrealistic and unreasonable
  3. Lack of benchmark – quantifiable goals are important. For example, if you don’t know your current body fat %, how are you going to track progress and measure effectiveness?

⚠️ Caveat: Outcome vs Process-oriented Goals

12-week year goalsetting method is great for outcome goals – like getting 6-pack by summer, getting a masters degree by the end of next year, etc. There is a danger to go after outcome goals only as your goalpost is always moving, which might get you on a hedonic treadmill – always chasing for more, feeling unsatisfied etc. it depends on what life areas you’re after, but sometimes outcome goals are useful.


I do think that in general, life is a marathon, not a sprint. This is what James Clear talked about – process-oriented goals rather than outcome-focused goals. We are only competing with ourselves, and we should enjoy the journey more because when we focus on the journey rather than the destination, the result takes care of itself.


And this is the bottom line of sprinting: keep in mind that you will change. Your core values and aspirations are constantly evolving. Which is why we should experiment different seasons of life!

💬 Final Words

That wraps up the 12-week year x my Test, Track Tweak (TTT) goalsetting method!


If you are not a fan of new year resolution, go give this one a try.


What we need is not more planning, but conviction and consistent execution.


Prioritise taking action over planning.


Act fast, get feedback, tweak and improve.


This is how you make every day count, instead of writing up another bucket list.


The best plan is the one that lets you change your plans.

If this article helped/inspired you in some way, I think you will also enjoy my DO-RE-MI newsletter in which I share more DOable ideas, REflection prompts and MIndfulness every week to help you improve your life. Join now 👇🏻