Rarely is anything as inexorable as time. Like it or not, the next 30 days will pass anyway. Now the question is: how will you use them?
How many times have you thought about going for a run, learning something new, or getting up earlier? There are many inspirations. Every day we come across stories of people who do something impressive and inspire us with their healthy lifestyle.
A popular way to promote healthy habits is 30-day challenges. They can focus on adopting whatever positive behavior they want – reading books, expressing gratitude, doing one specific task each day, exercising – but the question behind this approach to promoting a healthy lifestyle is: does it really work? Can you instill a new habit through the 30-day challenge and keep it for longer?
Although the answer may be ambiguous, because only you can predict the effects after a month, you will definitely get an injection of inspiration.
I already talked about the power and importance of habits, routines, and rituals in my MORNING ROUTINE article.
The reason we consider them so important is that they are the pillars of our daily lives.
Routines are regularly repeated sequences of actions that become habits after a period of repetition. Habits, on the other hand, are automated responses that we make as reactions to certain triggers in our environment. Every time the alarm goes off, we wake up. The act of waking up triggers other habits that make up our morning routines.
Although habits are usually made automatically, they must first be learned or, in other cases, unlearned. This means that we are able to make a conscious choice of our habits and work on improving them.
However, it often takes more than one month. The process consists of many steps, from creating a vision, making decisions, setting intentions and formulating achievable and intelligent goals, to developing a strategic plan, practicing the behavior and repeating it consistently to master the new habit.
A 2010 study found that a habit lasts anywhere from 18 to 254 days, and it depends on the type of habit, the quality of your plan to make that habit permanent, and how it relates to your life and current situation.On the other hand, a 30-day challenge can help you stay motivated and inspired to make lasting change. Completing the first month is more like gaining momentum, celebrating the first milestone for many more, and getting proof that you can do it.
30-day challenges as motivators
There are two main types of 30-day challenges: those that involve introducing a new habit or behavior, and those that require you to do a different thing every day.
Whichever type you choose, both can inspire you to make a positive change in your life.
First you have to choose a challenge. Ask yourself: What kind of change do you want to achieve?
- Do something bold, new and interesting that you have never done before (travel alone, find a new hobby and turn it into a business, go diving, speak in public, etc.);
- Learn a new skill (sewing, foreign language, photography, painting, etc.);
- Instill a new habit or routine (healthy morning routine, gratitude journal, regular exercise, diet change, etc.);
- Create something (a short film about your friends, a book of poems, a flower pot, etc.);
Then you need to make a conscious decision that you will work to instill this new behavior. This process is best started by setting a broad course of action, or in other words, working on your intentions.
Intentions help determine what you really want to achieve, how to achieve it, and how you can overcome the challenges you will encounter on your way to changing your lifestyle. Intention makes it easier to stick to your decision to change, even if you get off track.
The next step is to make a plan by setting clear and achievable goals. They help create a step-by-step structure that makes it easier to walk you through the habit-building process.
The 30-day challenge can be part of that process. Choose for your first 30-day challenge something what will make you feel happy, something what create a smile in your face. For example, your first goal might be to complete a 30-day challenge of practicing gratefulness. Success is usually associated with a sense of satisfaction, joy and fulfillment. This way you will be motivated to keep going.
Besides, 30 days is neither short nor long. If you manage to complete the first month, you show yourself that you can hold out for another 30 days, and then another, until the habit finally sticks.
How to be successful
Perseverance and consistency are key to solidifying any new habit. But what if we are not very persistent?
One of the best strategies to make any new habit stick is to incorporate it into your existing routine. That’s because context plays an important role in adopting a new behavior, and environmental reminders help us automate this process.
For example, if you want to start a gratitude practice, it would be best to fit it into your existing morning and evening routine. Another example might be reading a chapter from a book or poem every morning while drinking coffee, adding abdominal exercises to your morning exercise routine, or meditating for 5 minutes after your evening shower as part of your twilight ritual.
Also, external support can do wonders for accountability and motivation. Share with someone close to you information about your challenge, suggest that you will take up this challenge together. Nothing motivates better than another person. I have this with my boyfriend, if one of us has a reluctance to exercise on a given day, it always motivates the other to act. Thanks to this, we stand together in what we have decided.
Finally, when it’s time to choose a challenge for yourself, make sure it aligns with your goals and aspirations and is realistic to implement in your lifestyle. For example, if you’re choosing an exercise or diet challenge, make sure they’re consistent with your health situation.
30-Day Challenges can sometimes backfire if you approach them too rigidly. If you missed one day, that’s fine, just continue where you left off or start over. If you take it too rigidly, you can set yourself up for failure or unnecessary stress.
30-day challenges should be about having fun implementing something that feels good for you, not about beating yourself up.
30-day Challenges suggestions
I have prepared for you a list of ready-made ideas for implementing 30-day challenges. In addition, some of them contain free downloadable pdf files with information or materials to help you persevere in these challenges. I hope you will find something for yourself and decide to introduce a healthy habit into your everyday life.
At the end of the post you can find the link to download
30-day gratitude challenge
Practice gratitude every day, trust me you will see results after one week. You will start to see many positive things during your day.
30-day story-telling challenge
If you ever thought about writing your own book, articles or blog. That challenge will help you to improve your writing skills. Don’t be scared, share your stories with others.
30-day meditation challenge
Pick your favorite type of meditation, or do a combination each day for a more relaxed and mindful life. If you’re looking for more information about meditation or apps to help you start check my post: CURE FOR FAST LIFE
30-day sustainability challenge
Avoid single-use plastic for a month. Do plastic-free groceries, recycle the waste, shop consciously. You can even go the whole month without buying anything (I’m talking about clothes, home decor, beauty products) unless it’s truly essential. Do you think you can do that? Mother Earth will be very grateful for this.
30-day self-care challenge
Find and make time for yourself every day. This may be doing something that grounds your spirit before the workday starts, exploring spiritual practices, investing in a therapy, treating yourself to SPA or a massage, setting up a bedtime routine to sleep better, doing random acts of kindness, taking a vacation or the rest that you need, decluttering your space, and practicing positive affirmations.
30-day digital detox challenge
Start small by taking off few hours per day from social media. Make sure that when you go sleep your phone is off and the last thing what you’re doing before sleep is not scrolling the instagram. After go one step more and take a day off from social media, or, if you prefer, from your screen. Then you can do it for a weekend, then for a whole week. The key is to stay present and be here and now.
30-day musical challenge
Discover new songs and artists that inspire you each day of the challenge. Create and curate playlists for special occasions and share them with friends.
30-day water intake challenge
Decide to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day of the challenge. Use a water reminder app to help you get through the challenge. Also if it’s needed buy a Day water bottle (check here) You will instantly feel better.
30-day steps challenge
Make at least 10.000 steps each day, or start at 6000 to reach 10.000 or 12.000 by the end of the challenge. Go for a walk after lunch or dinner, explore new neighbourhood or city, spend more time in nature. This challenge you can combine with social media detox. When you go for a walk switch off your phone and enjoy the nature.
30-day home-cooked meals challenge
Try to eat home-made meals for a month. You can experiment with the diets, discover new recipes, invite friends and family over for a brunch or a special dinner, and master your cooking skills. Everywhere in social media you can find simple recipes, why to not to try them.
30-day exercise challenge
Pick a 15-30 minute exercise that you can complete every single day by the end of the challenge. The exercise should be compatible with your current fitness level. Alternatively: start small and then progress by adding more repetitions every two or three days of the challenge, until you reach a certain number of repeats (50 abs/100 squats/etc.). This challenge also means signing up for a gym membership and actually going there. Consistently. Or going for a run every morning, or learning how to ride a bike. You name it.
I propose you to read one of my first post regarding exercise MOVE YOUR BODY to help you make this step and start moving.
30 days behind me! What now?
And when 30 days have passed? There are only two options: succeeded or failed.
Even if you didn’t live up to your initial plans, but you persevered, fine-tuned, and kept going, you made it. Failure is only when you stop and learn nothing. Ask yourself: what will you change? What worked well? Compare the effect with the starting point. And most importantly, come up with your next challenge!
A word about challenges
They are big, they are small, they are more ambitious or more mundane. But it does not matter. It is important to constantly and consciously work on yourself, and thus become a better person. Do everything you can to make sure you succeed. And start – start working!