With 2020 looming in the not-so-distant future, I’ve been thinking a lot about 30-day challenge ideas and how I can use them to help me reach my goals next year. I’ve never been one for setting New Year’s resolutions as I find long-term goals only get me fired up for a short period of time before they start to feel too overwhelming. I am much more motivated to stick with smaller, short-term goals, and after experimenting with a few 30-day challenges over the last few months, I decided to take a different approach in 2020.
Instead of writing out a bunch of big goals I know I will lose interest in within the first 3 months of the year, I want to identify areas I’d like to develop both personally and professionally, and then commit to several 30-day challenge ideas throughout the year to help me stay motivated in adopting new habits. There are so many things I’d like to try, and by structuring my time such that I’m only focusing on one item for 30 days, it will allow me to evaluate which habits have the most impact on my life.
If you’re looking for 30-day challenge ideas to try, I hope this post inspires you!
What Is a 30-Day Challenge?
As the name suggests, a 30-day challenge involves adopting one new habit for 30 days. It’s a fun way to try something new for a specific period of time, and by limiting your commitment to only one month, it’s easier to stay motivated. Adopting new habits can be challenging, but imposing a 30-day limit helps keep things manageable, thus helping to keep your motivation up. 30-day challenges offer a great way to get yourself ‘unstuck’, and are becoming a very popular self-improvement tool.
How to Be Successful with a 30-Day Challenge
1) Be realistic
In order for a 30-day challenge to be successful, it should challenge you without feeling too overwhelming. For example, if you live a very sedentary lifestyle and want to commit to 30 days of physical activity, consider setting a goal of moving your body for 30 minutes every day. Some days you might make it to a group fitness class, go for an outdoor run, or do a killer HIIT workout from home, but other days you may only be able to swing 30 minutes of housework, walking around your neighborhood, or playing outside with your kids.
2) Make it manageable
When we make personal goals for ourselves, many of us (myself included!) have a tendency of taking things to the extreme. In the example above, someone who wants to get into better physical shape may want to commit to running 5K every day for a month. This is definitely an exciting goal to set for yourself, but if you haven’t stepped foot in a gym for many years, you need to take into consideration things like your current physical state and the need to give your body time to rest and recover between workouts.
3) Only focus on ONE change at a time
As tempting as it is to adopt multiple new habits in one go, there is tons of research out there that suggests the only way to lasting change is to focus on ONE new habit at a time. This allows you to give 100% of your effort, making it less likely that you’ll fall off the wagon and quit. The beauty of 30-day challenges is that you can switch gears every 30 days, allowing you to focus on multiple habits throughout the year!
4) Create your own challenge
There are tons of 30-day challenge ideas out there to motivate and inspire you, but don’t be afraid to create your own based on your goals and what you’re capable of. When it comes to personal growth and development, the sky really is the limit!
5) Replace bad habits with new ones
If you’re cutting bad habits out of your life, you will be much more successful if you find a healthy replacement to fill the void. For example, if you’re giving up alcohol for 30 days, you may find it helpful to replace your nightly glass of wine with a mug of tea, and if you’re giving up sugar for a month, you can use honey or maple syrup in its place.
6) Act now
While it can be tempting to wait until a new year (or a new month) to commit to the 30-day challenge ideas below, that way of thinking can actually be quite limiting. If you feel stuck, you will be much more motivated to make changes if you act NOW. Don’t allow a silly date to hold you back!
30-Day Challenge Ideas to Try This Year
1. Get 8 hours of sleep each night
2. Wake up 30 minutes earlier each day
3. Give up caffeine
4. Prepare all your own meals
5. Give up one food you tend to overindulge in (i.e. chips, cheese, chocolate)
6. Drink half your body weight in water each day
7. Give up social media
8. Create a spending budget and stick to it
9. Commit to 30-60 minutes of self-care
10. Quit a bad habit (i.e. smoking, biting your nails, swearing)
11. Keep a gratitude journal
12. Give up alcohol
13. Take a photo everyday
14. Replace your afternoon snack with a green juice
15. Keep a food journal
16. Spend uninterrupted quality time with your kids
17. Bring your own lunch to school/work
18. Give up sugar
19. Try a new recipe
20. Walk outside for 30 minutes
21. Keep a daily journal
22. Walk 10,000 steps
23. Set a specific fitness goal (i.e. 100 squats, 100 crunches, 100 pushups)
24. Give up electronics after dinner
25. Read for 30 minutes
26. Give up eating between meals and/or after dinner
27. Meditate for 30 minutes
28. Write X pages/words per day
29. Give up soda
30. Listen to one podcast per day
31. Perform one random act of kindness
I hope you find this list of 30-day challenge ideas inspiring! Remember to be realistic and choose goals that are manageable, to focus on one challenge at a time, and to find a way to replace bad habits with healthier alternatives. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive year ahead!
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