A 30 Day Challenge is a proven strategy for implementing new healthy habits in life. It’s a great way to try new things, keep life variety high and undertake new challenges without putting too much pressure on yourself.
People do all kinds of challenges, for taking better care of their health, doing various type of art or pushing themselves through fears that always hindered their life. You can find many success stories online in different blog posts and forums.
If you’ve never done any 30 Day Challenge, you absolutely have to try one. There is no completely fulfilled life without at least one successfully performed 30 Day Challenge.
You have to know the extraordinary feeling of being proud of yourself on the last day, right after you complete the 30th repetition; and then you might even stick to the new behavioral pattern, who knows.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about 30 Day Challenges, including:
- How 30 Day Challenges nicely take away self-doubt and pressure from changing yourself
- Why 30 days is a period just long enough to assess if it’s worth it to stick to a new habit
- My personal experience with the last 30 Day Challenge I performed
- More than 70 ideas for what you can do as your first or next 30 Day Challenge
- Other interesting insights and facts
Limited time commitment releases the pressure
Every desire to permanently change yourself is filled with at least a little pressure and self-doubt. The problem is that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
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It’s hard to change yourself. It’s extremely hard to start with a completely new lifestyle and do it forever. Forever! Who can be disciplined forever? That brings a huge pressure into your life. Consequently, you may do nothing instead.
30 Day Challenges remove the doubts over whether you have the stamina to persist at something new forever. You have to persist only for 30 days, no longer. 30 days is nothing compared to forever. Anyone can persist for 30 days.
You can absolutely persist for 30 days at any reasonable challenge you set for yourself.
Great way to experiment with what works and what doesn’t
30 Day Challenges are an excellent way to do experiments in personal life and test if something works for you as an individual or not.
Persisting at something for 30 days is a period just long enough for you to get the whole picture of how the change affects your life – physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, socially and materially. It’s like testing a shareware software for 30 days and then deciding if you buy it or not.
Here’s the thing. Usually when you implement a new change, the following happens. The first two to three days you ride the motivation wave, you’re proud of yourself and your discipline muscle is still functioning. After the first few days, the crisis occurs. The motivation perishes and the only thing left is willpower. You feel more tired, exhausted and emotionally irritated by the change. The crisis can last from one to two weeks.
Somewhere in the third week, things get stabilized and the crisis goes away. You know that more than half of the challenge is behind you, so you don’t have to persevere for much longer. Somehow you need less and less discipline every day. Your body, emotions, mind, spirit and people in your life get used to the new behavioral pattern. You can start measuring if you are getting the results and changes you want or not.
At the end of a 30 Day Challenge, you most often have a very clear picture of how good the change is for you. Doing something new for 30 days is usually enough to see the changes on your body, blood, moods, emotional health, social life, financial statement or whichever life metric you want to improve.
If things go in the direction that you want, you can keep the change in your life, if not, you can simply pivot to something new, for example a new 30 Day Challenge.
Consistency is the key to developing new habits
The good news is that it takes around 30 – 60 days to develop a new habit. After performing a 30 Day Challenge, it’s much easier to persist, towards 100 days, 365 days and then for however long you want to do something new.
Beginnings are always the hardest. If you slice and dice forever into small 30 Day Challenges and then 1 Year Challenges, you may even get to forever one step at a time.
The best way to keep consistency and really do a 30 Day Challenge is to visualize it on a calendar (Kanban principle). Stick a really big calendar on a wall in your home, with 30 boxes, one box for every day. Then draw a red cross in a box each day right after you complete the new desired action.
At the end, you want to have 30 crosses on your calendar. Having such a calendar helps a lot. The moment you wake up and see the calendar you’ll be ultra-motivated to perform the new habit.
I just completed a 30 Day Challenge and learned so much
In August, I decided to write and publish a blog post every day.
The reason behind it was pretty simple. August is always the worst month in terms of traffic, since people are enjoying their holidays and spending more time outside. I wanted to meet my monthly traffic growth goals, and posting more content was my strategy to achieve that.
Besides that, it was a great exercise to train my writing attention span. The rules for my 30 Day Challenge were pretty simple. I only followed two: (1) Wake up early and write until you’re spent. (2) Publish a new blog post every day. That’s it. I successfully completed the challenge, and the findings and results were quite interesting.
I wrote around 150 letter pages. That’s basically a whole book. I successfully published a blog post every day. That was 31 blog posts, one extra since August has 31 days. I had the all-time most successful month regarding traffic to my blog. I definitely strengthened my writing muscle and enjoyed the challenge, but there were also a few downsides.
One big downside is that I was hurrying all the time to write as much as possible. Style and clarity began to suffer. I don’t like putting quantity over quality, no matter what I do in life.
Next to that, if you do too much of anything that you love, you start hating it. In the end, I couldn’t wait for August to end, so I could take a break. You can definitely get fatigued if you exaggerate with anything, and it takes all the enjoyment away from the activity. Nevertheless, it was definitely worth it. I only had to do it for 30 days, and that's always manageable.
Here are the blog posts I published as my 30 Day Challenge:
- Timing is everything – here is how to hit the perfect timing
- The 5 Whys technique – dig deep to find the root cause of any problem
- Emotional flashbacks – when your emotional response is out of proportion
- Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving – Book Summary
- The execution mode – without execution skills everything is futile
- Learning is useless, validated learning is everything
- Rapid prototyping for designing a superior life strategy
- This is how to do experiments in your personal life (outside the bedroom)
- Business Model You – Book Summary – Reinvent your career
- Regular daily reflections will change the quality of your life forever
- You know nothing, so always put data before rhetoric
- Branching and forking – the ultimate way to stay agile in life
- Goal journey mapping – The superior strategy to achieve any goal
- Short life stories – clear goals with a powerful why
- Vision list prioritization or which goals to pursue first
- The only goal setting strategy that really works in the 21st century
- Immediately stop wasting your life
- How much relationship drama is just too much?
- Finding the balance between doing and being for all the workaholic
- Stupid decisions that can ruin your whole life in a second
- Don’t worry about failure, because you only have to be right once
- Life is just a dream – not really, but the idea can be useful
- A place to escape everyday life and reconnect with yourself
- Super healthy foods you simply must eat every day
- Hour of power – take one hour daily to invest into your future
- Wrong assumptions are the mother of all fuckups
- The proven ways to stop taking things personally
- Your mind is like a garden that needs a good daily care
- How long you should practice when you’re learning something new
- Daily cold showers will make you healthy, attractive and sharp
- Optimize your life for productivity and flexibility
That was a lot of work done.
I did several other 30 Day Challenges in the past (and even 365 Day Challenges). Some of them ended successfully with me implementing a new habit into my life, others gave me mixed feelings, like the writing challenge did. For example, I didn’t drink alcohol for one year. Nothing, not even a sip at big celebrations. It felt great. Then I decided to do something for my body every day for 30 days and it also felt great.
Once, I also decided to brainstorm business ideas every day for a month. It was an extremely good experience and I found many great ideas. On the other hand, I ate only raw food for a year which ended awfully, and also completed some other challenges that didn’t end so well.
At the end, it’s all about experimenting and finding what works for you and what doesn’t, where is the limit when you still enjoy the activity and where too much good turns into bad. It’s about finding the right balance between trying new things, being persistent and listening to yourself.
There are so many ideas for a 30 Day Challenge
There are so many different types of challenges you can do. One thing you can do is to pick one of your behaviors that you don’t like about yourself and do the opposite for the next 30 days.
You always leave a tip for a waiter, even if they don’t deserve it? Leave no tip to anyone for a month (as a side note, a tip is not a mandatory or always expected thing here in Europe as it is in US). You always listen to your friend complaining? Listen to no zombie for a month. You never initiate a conversation with a stranger? Initiate a conversation every day.
Well, you can even do a 30 Day Challenge to try something new every day, then pick the thing you liked the most and do it for the next 30 days. The only thing 30 Day Challenges require is a little bit of boldness, curiosity and creativity.
They are simple, straightforward and they work. Below you can find 70+ additional ideas for what to try as your first or next 30 Day Challenge.
Body level 30 Day Challenges
- Take a cold shower
- Get up early
- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t eat anything sweet
- Go for a walk
- Do squats
- Do 100 pushups
- Pick any of the 30 day exercising programs
- Do yoga
- Do intermittent fasting
- Don’t eat meat
- Take stairs
- No coffee
- Gluten-free food
- Try polyphasic sleep
- Take bike to work and back
- Cook healthy dishes
- Cook with no repeating dishes
- Sup, skate, longboard
- Learn to dance
- No masturbation
- Drink only water
Emotional level 30 Day Challenges
- Smile 10 times per day
- Hug somebody
- Make love
- Keep a journal
- Do something that scares you at least a little bit
- Don’t complain
- No swearing
- No porn
- Write a love poem
- Don’t get mad
Mind level 30 Day Challenges
- Read for one hour
- Read a book summary
- Write a book (you can do it with joining National Novel Writing Month)
- Write a blog post every day
- Upload a YouTube video
- Draw or create any kind of art
- Take a photo
- Learn a new language
- Learn interesting facts about one country per day
- Learn something completely new
- Go on technology detox
- Don’t use your mobile phone
- Don’t watch TV
- Don’t read any news
- Watch a documentary
- Practice a skill
- Use a new software
- Write down all of your business ideas
- Play an instrument
- Memorize as many Pi decimals as possible
- Solve IQ tests
- Study a chosen topic
- Write with your left hand
- Use only the keyboard on your computer without a mouse
Soul level 30 Day Challenges
- Write down something you are grateful for
- Write down one thing you like about yourself
- Read the Bible
- Do one random act of kindness
Social level 30 Day Challenges
- Make your spouse breakfast
- Learn a new board game (poker, chess …)
- Call an old friend
- Meet someone new
- Ask someone out on a date
- Don’t lie no matter what
- Go to a meetup
Resource management 30 Day Challenges
- Have no calendar
- Sell one of your items on eBay
- Clean something
- Devote only 10 minutes to e-mail
- Have no meetings
- Don’t use your credit card, operate only with cash
- Use a virtual assistant for 2 hours
- Say no to everything and everybody
- Say yes to everything and everybody (just don’t tell people about your challenge)
- Use only reusable packaging
- Use only green energy
- Rent a car you’ve always dreamed about
- Work on your additional income in the afternoons
- Take 30 days of vacation
Choose your next 30 Day Challenge and start now
It’s time for action. One big mental shift you can do is not to be frustrated by obstacles, changes and problems in life, but to see them as challenges you can’t wait to undertake.
You should love all the challenges that pop up in your life; and you should constantly challenge yourself to grow, create, love and connect with new people. One great way to do that is by regularly doing 30 Day Challenges.
To sum things up, 30 Day Challenges remove the pressure of being forever disciplined, they’re a great way to experiment in personal life and get first-hand insights into whether something works for you as an individual or not, and they’re also great for tricking yourself into developing new habits. And on top of that, life never gets boring.
Now you know the concept, you have more than 70 ideas for what to do as your first or next 30 Day Challenge, so the only thing left is to just do it. Don’t wait for the new month to begin.
Hang a calendar on your wall today, pick the challenge you want or like the most, and draw the first cross on the calendar. Then do it again tomorrow and the day after, all the way until you finish the challenge. Ready, steady, go!