How To Change Your Life Using the 21/90 Rule

How To Change Your Life Using the 21/90 Rule
Image via Ranti In Review

I think I speak for the modern woman when I say that I want to change, grow and a make a shift in my daily life. Whether it be fitness goals, explicitly losing weight or getting to the gym, I feel the need to make fitness a part of my everyday life for the results to show.   Or maybe it is my writing goals; I want to journal each morning before I start my day, and know that I need just to wake up and maximize my morning. And! I want to drink more water. These are all commonly set goals amongst young working ladies.

Don’t we all want to implement little things that will make us happier and more successful?

The catch is, we can’t seem to find the secret to nailing these tasks. We fall off the train and see ourselves slipping back into our old ways, not drinking water, maybe skipping the gym here and there or just opening our journal on the weekend when we can sleep till noon. I recently came across a method – the 21/90 rule – which implies that it takes 21 days to build or break a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle.

I find this simple statement fascinating. I have been trying to implement fitness into my daily routine and I’m currently going to the gym maybe three times a week, but my goal is to make it to the gym every day. I don’t see this as unrealistic because I view the gym as an investment. To my health, mind, and overall well-being. The thought to me personally is inspiring, but I can’t seem to bring it to life.

Each week I make it to the gym around three times, and when I do go, I give it my all. When discussing the reasons behind my desire to get to the gym, I said to myself “I want to make fitness a part of my lifestyle.” And, that is when it clicked. That word – lifestyle. Yes going to the gym could become a good habit, but my real goal was creating a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of that seemed much more appealing than just losing ten pounds.

When thinking about applying the 21/90 rule to my own life, I tried to put it into context. I broke it down in a way that made sense and made me feel so much closer to my end goal. The result I had been striving for the past few months. Because the thing is, 21 days is all it takes to make a habit. If I could get to the gym consistently for 21 days – 3 weeks – not even a full month – I could set my plan in motion. Without thinking, after 21 days, my body would crave the gym and want to be there regardless of my mood and energy levels. It would be a habit that I could then propel into a lifestyle or take 21 days to break (no thanks!).

Setting these “timed goals” for myself seemed like a challenge. Time is a measurable thing, and that is why I believe this 21/90 method has been so successful amongst others. Hitting the 21-day mark is a milestone, and once you reach it, you have another 69 until, poof! You have changed your life; you’ve implemented a new lifestyle. It took ninety days – not five years. That to me is inspiring.

So whether it be fitness, writing, eating healthy, reading, or drinking water here is how you too can create a lifestyle (not just a good habit) and see a change in YOUR life.

1. Identify the habit you want to make or break

First things first, you need to focus in on the habit you want to make or break. This exercise will later result in a lifestyle change. For example, if you’re going to break a bad habit of eating sweets before bed your overall lifestyle goal might be to eat a healthy balanced diet.

Grab your journal or write down in the notes on your phone “In 21 days I am no longer going to be grabbing sweets before bed”. Now, next to your statement I want you to put the date. All of a sudden you have a plan, over the next twenty-one days you will not eat sweets before bed, and after the 21 days, you won’t want too. If you doubt your accountability, I want you to put three reasons below your statement/date why you want to stick to this plan. For me and my fitness goals I wrote…

  1. I don’t want to feel winded after ten minutes of running on the treadmill.
  2. I want to be able to do ten push-ups and feel stronger.
  3. I want to improve the range of motion in my hips by stretching.

These reasons back up your WHY. Why it is so important that you stick to your goal of doing or not doing something for 21 days. For me, if after 21 days I could do any of the smaller things I’d listed, for example, run on the treadmill and not feel out of breath after ten minutes I knew that I was on track and that I could achieve my bigger goal of having a healthy lifestyle. These mini goals help back up your bigger goal. They make you see your progress even if it is only a small step in the right direction.

2. Stick with it; it is just 21 days!

I never said it was going to be easy, if you have a bad habit you are trying to break you are going to be uncomfortable the first week when you tell yourself NO! But, stick with it! In the bigger picture, you can force yourself to do something for 21 days and see significant results or continue with your daily habit and never change a thing.

Fight through the discomfort, stay on track and be persistent. Look back at the reasons you need to do this and the big WHY when you feel discouraged. You got this!

3. Check in on your results + make a motto

Nearing the end of the 21 days, I want you to take an honest look at the results you see so far. Don’t be hard on yourself if they are not super drastic, but take note of any changes in your journal. If you are trying to quit caffeine, maybe the first two weeks were challenging, and you felt quite gross and suffered a few nasty headaches, but now, nearing the end of the 21 days, you wake up feeling energized naturally, and you don’t crave that cup of joe.

The reason I want you to put a pen to paper and write down any progress at all is that you need to see that your efforts are contributing to change. However small, progress is progress and progress makes us happy.

Make yourself a motto that you can tell yourself when times get tough in the future. Because even when the 21 days are up you need to take the momentum and move it forward. You have nearly a month under your belt, why stop now?

(My motto is “Fitness is a lifestyle, not a diet, punishment or something to resent.“)

Good luck babe!

I hope this inspired you and got you thinking about how tangible your goals are. To achieve anything I believe what you really need to do is make a plan, hold yourself accountable and focus on the end results. You can get there! If it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 to create a lifestyle, imagine where you could be in three months time?

Hannah Russell

Hannah is a passion-driven, coffee drinking, art-loving twenty-something. Currently living in London, England, she loves to create content, network and inspire other women. Hannah believes in living the most creative life possible and tries to communicate this motto through her blog. Her future aspirations include a career in Marketing and Communications!

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