How the 21/90 rule helps you build good habits and a better life


We all want to make good habits, whether it’s in business, in our hobbies, or in our personal lives. One popular method to build habits is called the 21/90 rule. The rule is simple enough.

Commit to a personal or professional goal for 21 straight days. After three weeks, the pursuit of that goal should have become a habit. Once you’ve established that habit, you continue to do it for another ninety days. If you can keep up something for three weeks and then ninety days, then it should become a permanent lifestyle change.

Now that we’ve established what the 21/90 rule is, what is it that you should use it for? While flossing every day might be a nice goal, you need to do one thing every day that improves your quality of life in a major way. It needs to be something specific that can be done each day no matter where you are. Here are some potential goals to pursue with the 21/90 rule.

Staying Positive Every Day

One thing that many of us have difficulty with is remaining positive. There is one way to stay focused, however. Find one notable positive thing in every day and write it down.

That one thing might be a minor victory at work. It could be your kid’s excellent test score. It could even be an amazing comeback win by your favorite sports team. Write one good thing down for 21 straight days. You can repeat sometimes, but it’s good to focus on something current. Once you’ve done that, keep it up for three months.

It’s very likely that by doing this that you’ll start seeing more positive things to write down. You can write down more than one thing a day, but you only need one at the minimum. Life will probably begin to look a lot brighter. You’ll find the negative things don’t drag you down in the way they once may have.

Find three things in your life that you feel need the most help. Focus on one at a time.

This suggestion is based on an idea from the blog Positive Game of Life. Find three things in your life that need the most work, whether they deal with relationships, your stress levels, your finances, or your health. Focus first on the one that is most important to you. Work at it just a little bit every day. Always do something to try and bring you towards that goal.

At the end of the three weeks and ninety days, you can move onto the next of the three, then repeat the process. You will likely find yourself making progress without becoming overwhelmed.

Download a Printable version of our Simplest Desk Habit Tracker Ever. Available in editable Word or PDF.

Find a task that brings you joy for just five minutes a day

We all need an escape, but it needs to be short and sweet enough that it doesn’t take away from our other pursuits and responsibilities. So try and find something that takes you only five minutes or maybe ten minutes each day, but that is something you can look forward to each and every day.

Your five or ten-minute escape could be a walk around a local garden. It could be doodling or scribbling in a notebook that no one else ever sees. It could be talking to someone who always knows the right thing to say.

There are a nearly endless list of possibilities for this goal. Make it an experience that gives you a break but also gives you a true feeling of recreation. Most other things in life can wait for five minutes, so find some quick me time and make it count.