Goal Setting Strategy: The 4-12-48 Solution

You have your masterpiece ready. The lines are drawn, and you just need to apply the paint. You put your dream sketch on the easel for everyone to see. This is your personal goal for this year. The sketch is impressive and all the details are applied. Now all you need to do is paint it.

You grab your paintbrush to get started and the phone rings. Of course the person on the other end of the phone needs you right away. You drop your brush and put off your painting until another day. Later in the week you pick up the brush again, but this time the football game on TV calls your name. Painting will have to come another day. This process repeats over and over. The painting will certainly get done… tomorrow.

Unfortunately Tomorrow never comes.

Tomorrow always turns into Today.

After a year of this you realize one important fact…

You can’t do anything Tomorrow…

You can only do something Today…

This is where the 4-12-48 solution comes in and is my biggest challenge. Trying to explain the numbers. I’ve taking a couple of the popular time saving techniques we have talked about in the past and combined them together. Our basic goal building block is centered around our post on the Power of 48 minutes. If we add this building block to a time period of 12 weeks, we can build a powerful personal goal setting system.

The Basic Session: There is real power in 48 minute focused work sessions. You focus on your goal and nothing else. Then you take a 12 minute break and start the process all over again. This simple 48 minute building block is the basis for your whole goal achievement system. You may find that one session a day is all you have time for. Maybe you have time for two or three. While working for 48 minutes straight may not always be possible, it is the preferred method.

The secret here is to work for 48 minutes and then take a 12 minute break.

The Basic Week: You can do multiple 48 minute sessions per week as your schedule allows. Maybe you have time to do two sessions everyday in the morning. Maybe you have time for one session on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Try to set a regular weekly schedule and stick to it.

The key to making this work is to set up a regular weekly schedule and take off at least one day per week.

The Basic Quarter: If you design your basic personal goal setting around twelve week periods, you’ll find that you can accomplish quite a lot. If you divide a year into four parts, you end up with 13 week quarters. Set one of these weeks aside for planning and you have easily divisible 12 week quarters. The great thing here is twelve weeks is easily divisible in half, thirds, or quarters.

For best results use you planning week to organize your full quarter.

The Basic Year: With four quarters available, four major goals can be accomplished in one year. Or you can combine multiple 12 week periods to accomplish longer term goals. When you step back and lay out multiple goals for the year, you become more productive. Instead of trying to start multiple goals in January, set aside one quarter for each and focus on one at a time.

Focusing on one major goal at a time will help you be more productive and reduce your stress.

The 4-12-48 system:
Four Quarters, 12 Weeks, 48 Minutes. A simple goal setting system that can yield impressive results.

Later this week we’ll look at some simple, paper based personal goal setting tools that will help us plan out our dreams and put them in a simple to follow form.

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Question: What is your goal setting strategy?


  1. Paul Courtney says

    -48 minutes sounds like the right block of time for a period of productive focus; aren’t many class periods set up on this time frame?
    -I’ve found the 12 week period to be an excellent one for managing goals, projects, ect. I’ll also pay close attention to the season ie; my summer goal is always more “aggresive” . If I want to lose weight in the winter its difficult and my goal will be modest, but if I want to lose weight in the summer it quite a bit easier so I double or triple my winter goal.
    -Typically I’ve tried to manage a goal with a 30day ‘trial’ period followed by a ‘beta’ period for 30 days; the features of the goal are set , but I’ll be open to working out the bugs. After that I try to move the goal into a stable routine-based period where I focus on monitoring the results (logs)of the new habit or habits
    -Thanks for this post its been helpful in getting a better picture.

  2. says

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