I’m intrigued by the many new goal journals becoming available. What a brilliant idea to embed productivity principles right into a planner!
Following my successful experience with the SELF Journal, I wanted to explore the other options. The design of the 90X Goal Planner caught my eye.
Before I get into my review, let me quickly go over goal journals and how they’re different from old school planners.
Typical planners have lots of lined spaces to enter your appointments and to-dos. It’s up to you to plan what goals you want to set. You have to decide for yourself when to do the activities that will get you there.
Goal planners are workbooks that step you through the process of setting and getting goals. We aren’t born knowing how to accomplish large goals or projects. Most people have to study books and blogs to learn about that. Then they use trial and error to figure out what works. Goal planners shortcut all of that by showing you what to do.
The most popular goal planners span about one quarter – 90-100 days. That’s not surprising, since quarterly planning is probably the most effective time horizon.
The goal planners I’ve worked with are based on scientifically sound productivity principles. The creators of these planners are experts in productivity. They’ve incorporated everything you need to set up achievable goals and then line up the actions to get there.
Disclosure: Links to merchants mentioned within this post might be using an affiliate link, which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you buy something through that affiliate link. I only recommend products I’ve actually used and found valuable.
90X Goal Planner Review
The 90x Goal Planner is a substantial hard bound book with thick pages. Everything about it feels high quality.
The structure of the setup leads you through setting goals. There’s a weekly cadence of reaffirming those goals, AND what you’ll do to work toward those goals.
No goal journal is perfect. In the 90x Planner, the use of five lofty example goals could look discouraging if you’re just starting out. So that’s the only modification I did in setting up my 90x Planner – I set up two challenging but achievable goals. That way I can focus my energies and not get overwhelmed.
One great thing I’ve noticed in using the 90x Planner is that when you restate your goals each week and how you’ll achieve them, it wipes the slate clean from the previous week. If I didn’t hit my target, it felt good to start fresh the next week.
The 90X Goal Planner is about 8.5” tall, 5.75” wide (closed), and 1” thick. It has a good heft to it.
90X uses smooth, thick paper in a sewn binding. What I like about the binding is that the pages lay open.
The paper is thick enough for most pens and highlighters. I only saw significant bleed-through with Sharpies. No surprise there!
There is one satin bookmark, an elastic band to keep it closed, and a pocket inside the back cover.
The edges of the pages have a progress indicator that reminds you how far along you are in your goal progress. I liked that it emphasized the sense of urgency to work on my goals.
Who the 90X Planner is for
Entrepreneurs who direct their own work schedules will be the most aligned with this planner’s methodology. There is nothing about the 90x Planner that assumes you work 9 to 5.
You can start on any day of the week or the month because it’s numbered by days of your goal timeline. That makes the planner quite flexible. It also emphasizes that you have three segments of 30 days to work toward your goal and so it marks off the passage of time.
I found it strange to have what looks like a month calendar but with no dates, so I wrote in the important dates for my goal milestones.
The other aspect of this planner that makes me think it would be good for entrepreneurs is the fact that there are places for five goals. For personal goal setting, I would never recommend more than three goals at once. And that’s if you’re really phoning it in at your day job.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, could pursue 3-5 goals at once because those goals could be a combination of personal and business goals. It’s a lot to keep track of, but it would be possible.
90X recently added a slimmer three-goal version of their goal planner called the Action Planner.
People with a lot of energy to pursue multiple goals would enjoy the 90X Goal Planner. The goal suggestions in the 90X Planner are quite ambitious. The quotes throughout this journal are Gary V. style – high energy and no excuses. Like this quote from Mark Cuban: “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.”
- You don’t need any prior experience with setting goals or with productivity practices.
- Lay-flat binding encourages you to leave it open to refer to it multiple times a day.
- Undated pages let you start on any day.
- Detailed example pages and videos make setup easy.
- The 30 day overviews don’t align to months.
- The suggestion of five goals could be overwhelming.
Features and Benefits
Based on Trusted Productivity Principles
The goal planning process asks you to talk about why you want to achieve each goal. Writing down your reason creates an emotional connection and commitment to the state you want to reach.
The real strength of the 90x Planner is in the execution. Restating my goals and how I would get them each week gave me a fresh start. I completely missed my weekly goal one time because life happened. Instead of feeling demoralized, I was encouraged because I got to start over the next week.
The daily “5 Actions Toward Your Goals” area is the most powerful part of the daily page. It makes you stop and remember each day that you have an opportunity to take the next small steps toward your goals.
90X has a Facebook group you can request to join. There you can find extra goodies [insert pic] and members requesting advice and responding. This group isn’t as mature as the one for the SELF Journal. The 90X Facebook group does appear to be positive and supportive. You can find an accountability partner or mentor from the group.
The written examples in the front of the planner were detailed enough to get started. If you like more explanation, there are videos available on 90xMindSet.com. I recommend signing up there to see the training portal.
Once you’re in the portal, you can access paid coaching and a mastermind, as well.
Alternative Goal-Getting Journals
SELF Journal, which I used and liked, has many similarities to the 90X Goal Planner. It has a full spread for each day. While the 90X has the weekly check-in pages before each week, the SELF Journal has all the weekly planning pages in the front.
Another popular alternative to the 90X Goal Journal is the Productivity Planner from Intelligent Change. I have not used this one, but the main difference appears to be that the Productivity Planner incorporates pomodoro tracking.
A newer option, which I also have not tried, is the Freedom Journal from John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire. It’s a little more expensive than the 90X. It breaks down your 100 day goal into 10-day sprints. It includes a gratitude prompt every day and frequent check-ins.
Conclusions – is the 90x Planner worth it?
I’m glad I bought the 90x Goal Planner. It showed me a few new tricks for setting and achieving goals. The overall quality of the planner is fantastic.
As long as you’re not turned off by the aggressively motivational style, this planner should work for you. I would be surprised if anyone said it wasn’t effective.
If you’re not an entrepreneur, consider the pared-down three-goal version of this planner, the Action Planner.