Can the 90/90/1 Rule *Actually* Help You Achieve Your Goals in 2024?

What can you accomplish in three months?

90 90 1 rule illustration of a woman standing atop a podium
Malte Mueller/getty images

You know that podcast you’ve always dreamed of starting but have never gotten around to? Or that career jump that would change everything but that requires a new skill set? You could get closer to achieving those goals in just three months—according to the 90/90/1 rule, a self-improvement method created by leadership advisor, author and founder of global consultancy firm Sharma Leadership International, Robin Sharma.

Sharma’s rule works as such: For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to achieving one goal, with no distractions. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb,’ mark the time in your work calendar as ‘busy’ and plug away on whatever it is you most want to achieve. Do this for three months, Sharma’s thinking goes, and you’ll have made a significant amount of progress in whatever it is you’re working towards.

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As Sharma says in a video on his YouTube channel about the 90/90/1 rule, “We live in the age of dramatic distraction. Most people—and it’s no judgment, just reporting—but most people really are addicted to their phones.” By committing to logging off and focusing solely on a specific goal for 90 minutes a day for 90 days, you’re putting yourself in a better position to actually make progress.

Does it work? While there haven’t been specific studies done on the efficacy of Sharma’s rule, research does support sticking to goal-setting habits (like setting aside 90 minutes a day for 90 days) in the pursuit of results.  A review published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that that creating positive habits, over willpower or determination, is the real key to achieving long-term goals. Speaking of achieving goals, here are four ways to set yourself up for success.

4 Tips for More Successful Goal-Setting

1. Be Specific

Goals work, but they shouldn’t be too broad. For example, instead of saying you’re going to read 50 books this year, tell yourself you’re going to read 20 pages every single day. Setting smaller, more tangible to-dos makes the ultimate goal much more manageable.

2. Don’t Tell Everyone About Your Goal

While accountability is awesome, studies have shown that announcing your solo goals makes you less likely to achieve them. Boast about your achievement afterward, sure, just don’t shout your intentions from the rooftops.

3. Check in from Time to Time

Which should be easy since you set specific, quantifiable goals to begin with, right? Seeing your progress—no matter how incremental—will motivate you to keep going (and let you know when you might need to readjust your plan of attack).

4. Reward Your Progress

Set up a treat for yourself when you reach certain benchmarks, just make sure that whatever that treat is doesn’t derail your hard work.

Here’s the thing: If 90 minutes for 90 days sounds intimidating (it sure does to us), tweak the rule to better suit your current situation. For example, can you commit 30 minutes a day for 30 days? How about 15 minute a day for 15 days? While you might not get quite as close to your goal as you would strictly following a 90/90/1 plan, you’ll be a hell of a lot closer than if you never started a specifically regimented plan. 

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...