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30 Day Challenge – Try Something New for 30 Days

by Diane

30 day challenges are in vogue right now.

There’s everything from decluttering to eating paleo to attempting a spending freeze being wrapped up in a 30 day challenge.

It makes sense.

30 days is short enough to get a real taste of the change you’d like to make, or the goal you’ve set but not so long it becomes a Herculean feat to accomplish.

I’ve set myself little challenges before, like the no-spend-month or really small ones like the $20 for ten days challenge.

But, I’ve never considered setting myself a new challenge every 30 days. That is, until I watched the short (3 minute) Ted talk shown below.

The question then becomes; if I’m going to set myself a new 30 day challenge each month, what would I do?

It’s not quite the same as being told you’ve got a carte blanche to go do whatever you want for a month but, strangely, there’s definitely an element of excitement surrounding that question.

What would I do?

What could I do? 

30 Day Challenge Ideas

If you’re curious about trying some 30 day challenges yourself, here are some ideas you might like to try.

For your body:

Drink more water

Few of us drink enough plain water every day. I’m certainly guilty of choosing coffee over a glass of water.

Proper hydration can make a huge difference to our general health and well-being. From clearer skin to a healthy digestive system.

Brush your teeth twice a day

Oral health plays a massive role in overall health.

Make sure you’re doing your best to keep your teeth and gums healthy. That means using a soft toothbrush and brushing twice a day.

Floss

And, flossing daily, too.

Eat an extra serve of vegetables each day

No matter how well you’re currently eating, an additional serve of colourful vegetables is a good thing. Remember, a serve is a cup of salad greens or half a cup of cooked vegetables.

Ban added sugar

This can be a tough one as sugar seems to be added to everything!

If you’re new to the sugar challenge, start with the most obvious things like cakes, cookies and chocolate bars.

If you’re already avoiding the obvious ones, start looking for the hidden sugars. Even in savoury foods…

Eat home cooked meals

Eating a home cooked meal every day will probably require some forward planning and meal prep but you won’t regret the effort.

You’ll eat better and spend less money. Win/win!

10,000 steps every day

Get moving.

Many of us spend most of our days sitting at a desk. That’s not great for your body.

Grab a pedometer or dust off that fitbit and start tracking your steps.

Achieving 10,000 steps a day will require effort. So, try adding in a lunchtime walk or a doing a lap around the office every hour.

Get 8 hours sleep

Getting sufficient sleep is the foundation of good health. Most of us don’t get anywhere near enough sleep.

Aim to be in bed for at least 8 hours, longer if you can manage it.

And, if you’re not convinced about the importance of sleep, watch this TED talk by Arianna Huffington.

Take the stairs (up and down)

Taking the stairs is a great way to add extra steps to your day but it’s also an excellent way to tone your legs and butt. It’ll also give your cardiovascular system a work out.

For your mind

Read every day

Reading can be a wonderful way to expand your mind and reduce stress.

You can choose whatever books take your fancy: fiction or non-fiction.

Reading before you turn the lights out at the end of the day is an excellent way to unwind and disconnect from technology. Make sure you’re either reading a book or a device like a Kindle rather than your phone, laptop or tablet. This will ensure you’re not exposed to blue light which can interfere with your circadian rhythm.

Follow a productivity system

Challenge your productivity by taking whatever method you use to the next level.

If your productive currently sucks (like mine does most days), choose a system to use for 30 days to see how much more you can achieve.

Set 3 priorities each day and achieve them

A large part of being productive is self-discipline. So, each evening, set three priorities for the following day and make sure you achieve them.

To paraphrase Brian Tracey, self-disciple is knowing what you need to do, and doing it.

Imagine what you could accomplish in 30 days?!

Learn to meditate

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, simply sitting comfortably with your eyes closed, allowing thoughts to waft through your mind and breathing deeply can help quiet your anxiety and stress.

There are a myriad of different meditation techniques you can try. A great place to find them is YouTube.

Be an idea machine

James Altucher is a proponent of being an idea machine. Every day, write down at least 10 ideas.

They can be ideas for anything; a business, a garden design, a better can-opener. Whatever it is, write it down in either a journal, note book or even a scrap of paper (just make sure you put it into a designated jar or box so it doesn’t get lost).

Revisit your ideas when you’ve got a quiet moment to see if there’s anything you want to pursue.

Creativity is muscle that needs constant exercise. Generating ideas is a great way to keep your creative thinking in tip top shape.

Practice a hobby

Do you have a hobby you’ve let slide lately? Knitting? Playing the guitar?

Whatever it is, spend some time each day practicing your hobby. Do something you love. It’s a wonderful way to manage your stress.

Learn a language

Learning a new language can entail learning to speak a different language or learning to write computer code.

Either one will challenge your mind and could benefit you in other ways, too, like your employment options.

For your soul

These are challenges that will make you feel great about yourself and the world.

Random acts of kindness

Do one small thing every day for someone else.

Help carry groceries. Hold the door for someone. Buy a sandwich for a homeless person.

It doesn’t have to be a monumental event for you, but it might be for the recipient.

Gratitude journal

Each day, write down a minimum of three things for which you’re grateful. It can be about people, things, experiences. Whatever is happening in your life that sparks gratitude – big or small.

Smile

Smiles are contagious. Smile and say hello to your workmates, the barista, the bus driver.

At the end of 30 days, see how your relationship with the people you see regularly but aren’t friends or family have changed. You might be surprised.

Say “thank you” – actively

Most of us, I hope, say thank you all the time. But, do you do it actively?

For 30 days, make sure you look the person in the eye and say thank you. Notice how different it feels. Notice its impact.

No complaining

Retrain your mindset to focus on the positive. The hardest part of that is not complaining as it seems to have become a national pastime.

As my Grandma always said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

There’s always a better way to deal with a situation that’s not to your liking. Take a deep breath and choose it.

Create a vision board and use it morning and night

Creating a vision board can be a fun process but, you need to use it to get the real benefit. Once you’ve put your board together, put it somewhere you’ll see it morning and night.

Look at the images and feel the emotion achieving your goals will create. Don’t just think about it. Let the feelings wash over you, too.

Affirmations

An affirmation or two can be part of your vision board or you can write them on post-it notes and put them in prominent places so you’ll see them throughout your day.

When you repeat your affirmations, say them out loud. Don’t believe me? Try it now.

Say an affirmation in your head, then speak the words out loud. Feel the difference?

Laugh

This is especially useful if you’re feeling a bit stressed or generally overwhelmed by the world.

Have a good laugh every day. It’s good for the soul.

Take a break from social media

You might want to warn those people who expect to see you on Facebook that you’re taking a break. Then sign out of Facebook (or whatever your preferred social media platform might be) and don’t sign in again for 30 days.

That includes things like Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.

Your friends and family can still call you so it’s not like you’re completely isolating yourself. You’ll just be removing yourself from all the emotional clutter for 30 days.

Declutter

Speaking of clutter… Take a 30 day challenge to reduce both the physical and digital clutter in your life.

Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Unsubscribe from retail sites if you’re on a budget. Put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your mailbox.

Pick a category or area of your home or office to work on each day. Scaling down your belongings and your wardrobe can make a huge difference to your stress levels, too.

Share a meal with family/loved ones

If your family is a bit like mine and we tend to eat on the run and/or at different times because of our schedules, try to find one meal a day you can sit at the table and enjoy a meal together.

Breaking bread together is an important bonding exercise whether you’re with family, friends, work mates or house mates.

Spend some time outside

Get some fresh air and sunshine every day. Depending on where you live, this one might be a bit challenging in winter. But, if the sun is shining, even if snow is on the ground, get outside and soak it up.

Fresh air is equally important, especially if you’re cooped up in an office all day.

For your finances

Use cash only

If your financial discipline has evaporated lately, try going ‘cash only’ for 30 days.

You can use an envelop system if you like or just take out the cash you’ll need for all your usual expenses for the week. The key here: once it’s gone, it’s gone.

No more withdrawals at the ATM or whipping out the credit card.

Track your spending

If cash seems like to harsh a challenge, try tracking your spending for 30 days.

This is also a great foundation for organising a new budget, too.

Expenses change; fuel prices go up, food costs go up. Actually, pretty much everything goes up in price and rarely ever goes back down. That means, you need to regularly revise your budget.

Take your lunch to work

If you’ve developed some bad habits around buying lunch every day, which can put a sizeable dent in your budget, try making lunch and taking it with you.

Yes, it’ll take a bit of planning, but it’ll be worth the effort. Keep a note of how much you save during this 30 day challenge and use some of it to reward yourself.

Take your breakfast to work

The same goes for breakfast as it does for lunch. If you’re guilty of hitting the drive-thru on the way to work, try taking breakfast with you instead.

When I worked in an office, lots of my workmates had oatmeal sachets or cereal in a desk drawer that they’d eat at their desk when they got to the office.

No spend month

Want to really stretch those frugal muscles? Try a no spend month!

You can learn more about how they work here.

Start a side hustle

Expand your means and, live your dreams!

There are lots of excellent reasons for starting a side hustle. Extra income is just one of them.

Have you thought about starting a side hustle? Use a 30 day challenge to either research potential hustles you can work on the side or use it to start your side hustle.

A side hustle can include everything from selling stuff on eBay to starting a blog. Only you know what sort of side hustle will suit you.

30 Day Challenge Ideas

Some of these 30 day challenge require you to learn new skills, some focus on developing new habits.

Whatever type of 30 day challenge you set yourself, even if your discipline wanes in places, you’ll have achieved something.

And, the more you challenge yourself, the better you’ll get at maintaining discipline and achieving your goals.

Now that’s something worth celebrating, right?

Over time, I’ve learned that when I made small, sustainable changes, things I could keep doing, they were more likely to stick.

There’s nothing wrong with big, crazy challenges. In fact, they’re a ton of fun. But they’re less likely to stick.

Even if only two or three of these challenges create lasting change, it’s definitely going to be change for the better. And, building a better life is worth a little extra effort, don’t you think?

Do you regularly set yourself 30 day challenges? What are some of the ones you’ve completed?

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11 comments

Sridhar September 8, 2019 - 5:12 pm

What a great and useful post I stumbled upon just now! The 30 days ideas you have suggested in this post are certainly worth trying. While I already am writing on a blog meant for experimenting things unknown to me, I am happy to know that some of them very much fall in line with your proposed ideas. These 30 day ideas, I think, not only satisfy your quest for innovation and adventure, but also in turn, could be advantageously be converted into a useful tool for bringing about a change in the society.

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Anne March 4, 2019 - 8:48 pm

I look forward to trialing writing down 3 priorities for the day and achieving them – for 30 days !!! Here goes

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Diane March 5, 2019 - 8:03 am

And… Watch out world! 🙂

Thanks for visiting.

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Christine October 24, 2015 - 2:50 am

This TED talk recently inspired me to begin a year long journey of 30 day challenges 🙂 I’m so excited to write about it and happy to see the inspiration of others!

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Diane October 24, 2015 - 10:40 am

It was an amazing talk that’s for sure! I’m a big fan of TED talks… There’s always something you can take to apply to your own life.

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Anne June 17, 2015 - 12:27 am

This is one of those things that I always tell myself that I should do one day. *sigh* maybe one day I will attempt one, that I KNOW is a good idea, but never seem to get around to doing.

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Diane June 19, 2015 - 11:21 am

Maybe start easy. Pick something you do most days anyway and just commit to doing *every* day for the next 30. It’ll get an easy win on the board. 🙂

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Jason @ Islands of Investing June 14, 2015 - 7:55 am

I’ve always been tempted to do a 30 day challenge of some sort, but just haven’t been able to bring myself around to commit to something – or something I care enough about at least. Don’t know if it’s fear of not being able to do it, or just plain laziness, but I should definitely find something to challenge myself with!

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Diane June 14, 2015 - 11:16 am

Sometimes, life is challenging enough when you’ve got a young family! Maybe start with something that’s all benefit (or mostly) and very little pain – a bed time story every night for the little one. Win, win, win! 🙂

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Saving Sanely June 13, 2015 - 9:19 pm

I do like 30 day challenges! I’ve done a whole 30 and a 30-day no spend challenge. I also break my debt-management into monthly goals so, in a way, that’s also a 30 day goal.

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Diane June 14, 2015 - 11:17 am

That’s a great idea breaking debt management into 30 day goals. 30 days seems to be the Goldilocks zone!

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