The 21/90 Rule!


When I look back upon my 20+ years as an entrepreneur and reflect upon the challenges that I faced in my business and in my personal life, I wondered what I would do differently. What advice would I give to a young entrepreneur who was just starting out, given the experiences that I had? I met a lot of different people in my life – dealers, managers, business owners and other entrepreneurs. When I go over all of my conversations with them, I realized something – All of them loved to be self-employed, yet their struggles and issues overwhelmed them.

I gave it more thought and realized that in life and business we often cite the 80/20 principle – that 80% of the outcomes are generated by 20% of the input. Like 80% of a firm’s revenue is generated by 20% of the employees, or that 80% of our happiness is derived by 20 % of our activities.

But my own journey as an entrepreneur has been governed by another rule. I have decided to call it the 21/90 rule. All my life, my business, all of my achievements seem to have the same common thread running through them – the 21/90 rule.

So, what exactly is the 21/90 rule?

You must be thinking how come you have never heard of it.

I’ll tell you now.

Simply stated, the 21/90 rule is this:

It takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle.

Let me elaborate.

In life and in business we always know WHAT it is that we need to do but not always HOW to do it. We know our destination but getting there is the tough part.

In my journey, I came to see, time and time and time again, that the key to change, the key to everlasting permanent change lies in the 21 Days of the Habit.

Let me give you an example.

When I was in my early to mid-40s, I realized that I needed to set up a workout routine. However, I could never find the time. My day started earlier than most – I’d be on my way to work when others were still in bed, I’d work through my lunch – just grabbing a quick bite at my desk or in the car and in the evening when most were headed home to their families, I’d use the quiet of the office to get as much done as possible. By the time I’d get home, grab a quick supper and tuck the kids into bed, I would be so spent that heading to the gym or taking to the treadmill would be the last thing I wanted to do. I’d climb back into bed, and next morning the crazy cycle would begin all over again.

However, finally a few years later, I decided enough was enough. I made up my mind that come what may, I’d make sure that I got 30 minutes of exercise, 4 to 5 times a week, either first thing in the morning or last thing before I went to bed. I decided that I would stick to this for 30 days and see what happened.

And guess what? By the 20th day, it became much easier to find the time for my workout. I was feeling better, I was enjoying my workouts and the clarity of mind that exercise gave me made my day more productive. I can say that it was by the 20th day that working out became a habit. By the time I reached 90 days, it was no longer merely a habit, but a lifestyle that I still maintain to this day. Not because I am overweight but because I felt that I needed to make a change. Now I am in my late 40s and I have realized that has been repeating throughout my life. Whenever I have achieved success, whenever I have made a meaningful change in my life, the 21/90 rule has come into play.

So, what is it that I am trying to tell you?

In our lives, the greatest gap between us and our goals is the KNOWING vs DOING gap. What we KNOW vs what we DO. The 80/20 rule is the rule of KNOWING but the 21/90 rule is the rule of DOING. If you truly want to get to your goals, close this GAP from what you KNOW to what you DO.

If you want to make a transformation in your life and create a meaningful change in your lifestyle; if you want to create a life that you enjoy, then focus on the 21/90 rule, implement it and make the change that you are looking for. Make the 21/90 rule the primary rule in your life and take action NOW.

I suggest following steps to make any meaningful long-lasting change in your lifestyle

  1. Reflect deeply on what you truly want in life. It may be money, fame, worldly possessions, knowledge, successful career or meaningful relationships.
  2. Write your life goals down on a piece of paper and place them in 3 or 5 locations where you see them throughout your day – in your car, on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, on your desk at work.
  3. Verbalize your achievements and say it out loud to yourself in the mirror 2 times a day. Follow this and the steps you need to take to reach your goals for 90 days and watch a transformation take over your life. It takes time, but with a consistent and deliberate effort, the universe will respond the way you want it to.

As a Human Potential and personal development coach and mentor, I always look to help those who reach out to us about what they want to achieve and what barriers are keeping them from achieving their goal. I’d love to hear about your life, your challenges and your thoughts on where your journey has led you.

Mark Wagner is the owner of “Next Level Worldwide – AM Services & Next Level Entrepreneurs specializing in Leadership Development Training, Business & Personal Development Coaching through Seminars, Consulting & Events.  He Currently lives in NE Wyoming, for 22 years with his family of 4 children and Fiancé Amber. You can learn more about his services in Business or Personal Development at or For a FREE 30 Minute DISCOVERY SESSION, click here.


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