Setting New Year’s resolutions often feels like managing an endless checklist: increase protein intake, cut down on alcohol, walk more steps, aim for a promotion, work on building confidence, and strive to be the best version of yourself. Amidst the chaos of daily life and distractions like personal grooming routines, mounting laundry piles, or engaging in office gossip, it’s easy to lose track of time and wonder how to fully embody your most productive self to achieve your aspirations. Rather than overwhelming yourself with a lengthy list of goals for the upcoming year, why not concentrate on one significant goal at a time?

Introducing the 90/90/1 rule, hailed as the key to achieving significant goals. Here’s an insight into the 90-90-1 rule, its workings, and how you can start implementing it now to conquer your objectives in 2024.

Exploring the 90/90/1 Principle and its Mechanics

Devised by Robin Sharma, renowned for works like The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The 5AM Club, the 90/90/1 method stands as one of his top ten rituals for outstanding performers. This method could be your ticket to realizing any resolution or goal this year. The premise is simple: select one major goal—be it launching a business or completing a marathon—and dedicate the initial 90 minutes of each day for 90 days towards advancing this goal.

Why 90 minutes? It’s considered the optimal duration for focusing intensely on a task before experiencing a decline in productivity. Termed the ultradian rhythm, this cycle of high-frequency brain activity (about 90 minutes) followed by low-frequency brain activity (around 20 minutes) influences our efficiency. The 90-day timeframe strikes a balance between being not too brief or overly extended. Goals set on January 1 might lose relevance by December or even mid-year. Conversely, aiming for December 31 can lead to procrastination. Ninety days offer a realistic timeframe to achieve a single objective and ample opportunity to form a habit. For instance, if your aim is to read more and you consistently read each morning, by the end of 90 days, reading will be ingrained in your routine. Breaking the year into 90-day blocks enables a focused approach, one goal at a time.

A critical facet of the 90/90/1 method’s success is scheduling it as the initial 90 minutes of your day (Sharma denotes 5 a.m.-9 a.m. as your “highest value hours”). Research supports this claim: Studies by the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Education in Singapore indicate that self-control, essential for avoiding distractions and accomplishing tasks, peaks shortly after waking and diminishes throughout the day. While the temptation to sleep in is strong, utilizing these early hours wisely is crucial. Sharma asserts that implementing the 90/90/1 method during these hours will yield “exponential productivity,” offering a substantial edge in goal attainment.

Putting the 90/90/1 Rule into Practice

Allocate Time and Prepare

Begin by marking off time in your schedule and setting a 90-minute timer for the next 90 days (or adopt a method that suits you to stay committed). Treat this timeframe with the same diligence as a work meeting, doctor’s appointment, or fitness class: Prepare beforehand and show up. Eliminate potential distractions, such as turning off your phone, updating your Slack status to “Need to Focus,” using noise-canceling headphones, setting intentions, taking deep breaths—whatever aids in fostering a distraction-free environment. Track your progress through journaling, apps, or setting rewards for each milestone reached (celebrate those small victories!).

Map Out Your 90-Minute Activities

How you utilize these 90 minutes is at your discretion. The tasks may vary depending on your goals. For instance, if your objective is to read more and complete five books in 90 days, you might wake up earlier to read before starting your day. The activities need not be monotonous; the focus is on progressing towards your goal, no matter the form. If entrepreneurship is your aim, certain days may entail administrative work while others involve brainstorming. For marathon training, some days will revolve around running and physical exercise, while others will concentrate on preparations like stretching, creating motivating playlists, meal prepping, etc.

Pursue Intentions Alongside Goals

In instances where clear goals aren’t defined or traditional resolutions aren’t appealing, consider applying the 90/90/1 method to intentions or emotions rather than explicit goals. For instance, enhancing happiness is a universal pursuit. Dedicate the initial 90 minutes of your day for 90 days to prioritize happiness: engage in a cherished hobby, listen to a happiness-themed meditation instead of scrolling through your phone, or reach out to a friend who brings joy before delving into work emails. Striving to actualize your best self? Spend that time journaling about different aspects of your ideal self—habits, living arrangements, daily routines. Following this, enact steps outlined in your journal that align with your vision, such as establishing a morning routine, setting boundaries, or surrounding yourself with positive influences.

Adapt Based on Comfort Level

If committing to 90 minutes seems daunting, start with smaller increments like 15-15-1 and progressively increase to 30-30-1, 45-45-1, up to 90-90-1. Alternatively, begin by dedicating five minutes daily for a week. If mornings aren’t ideal or your schedule doesn’t permit a continuous 90-minute slot, choose a different time that suits you. The bottom line is to avoid fixating on specific numbers or logistics; instead, initiate action towards your desired goal or passion project by chipping away at it consistently.


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