How long does it take to create a new habit?
To be honest, the research is conflicting; it could take days to weeks or even months.
But you know what? Exactly zero habits will be intentionally created until you start. And thirty days seems like a reasonable amount of time to start with. After this, you’ll have a good idea if it’s something you’d like to continue with or not. It also ties in to the average length of a calendar month, so you get to harness the power of a fresh start by starting your 30-day challenge on the first of the month.
Here are 30 ideas to try.
Healthy & Wholesome
You could try all sorts of things to sleep better; from setting a bedtime, to trying out a new pillow or sleep for a specific number of hours.
2. Healthy Eating
3. Meal Planning
4. No Sugar
We all know added sugar is no good for us. I know from personal experience that a 30 Day Challenge of not having anything sugary or sweet really helped nix my sweet tooth.
5. Ten Fruit & Veg A Day
Having 5 fruit and veg a day is the recommended standard. Why not aim nutritionally higher and eat at least ten portions of fruit and veg a day. There’ll be no room for unhealthy food and you’re bound to discover new recipes too.
Drink more water. Why not carry a water bottle with you or set a fixed amount of water to drink everyday; one litre, two litres or more.
7. Take Supplements
Food quality is not the same as it used to be, due to changes in agricultural practices and other factors. To ensure you have all the micronutrients your body needs, try taking a new supplement for a 30 Day Challenge. A multivitamin is a good start, omega-3 is great for your brain, or how about vitamin D – according to this report, everyone in the UK should consider taking vitamin D supplements over the winter.
8. Keep A Food Diary
There’s nothing like having to record something to make us more aware. Record e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g you eat for 30 days and you’re bound to make some changes for the better. This food journal will get you started.
10,000 steps a day is a good starting point. I enjoyed reading Martin Lewis’s article about his daily steps. Do you compete against yourself too?
I’ve clocked up miles of running which started with my resolve to not break my daily streak. I much prefer walking these days (as do my knees). You could run in a gym or outside and you don’t need to clock up marathon-level miles. Running is addictive, don’t say you weren’t warned.
11. Exercise Class
There are an abundance of exercises classes available at gyms and online too. Commit to doing a class everyday for 30 days; you could do a different class a day, try different levels over the 30 Day Challenge or stick to just one class and really nail all the moves.
Perhaps you’ve already got a plan that covers your cardiovascular moves. Then, how about stretching? I know I could do with stretching more. There are some great apps, like Sworkit that will demonstrate each stretch and time how long you need to hold it. Here’s to a more flexible you.
13. Strength Training
There are lots of ways to increase your strength without the need for a gym. You could try bodyweight exercises in the comfort of your own home. Or you could try online video classes too.
14. Bed Time
In a bid to get one more thing done, it’s easy to stay up too late at night. If getting to bed earlier is something you’d like to work on, then try setting a bedtime. After 30 days, you are bound to notice the benefits of the extra sleep time.
15. Wake Up
Who hasn’t used their snooze button in the past week? There’s no denying those extra few minutes feel good in the moment. In the long term though, we’re only increasing the chances of needing more snooze time. Why not set the intention to get out of bed the minute your alarm goes off? You’ll build your mental resolve and start your day on a winner’s high from completing something meaningful to you.
16. Daily Deeds
Having a daily plan helps you get the most out of your day. Write out all your jobs, tasks and actions for the day the night before. And wake up prepared to start your day. I’ve long used a simple to do list (I love lists), however daily planners help organise your activities and better structure your day.
17. Make Your Bed
It only takes a few minutes and it helps set the standard for an organised day. It’s something you can do just for you.
Caring & Connecting
Read a challenging book, read a little a day, read online material. And find comfort and knowledge in the words of others.
19. Contact A Friend
Make a point to get in touch with a friend every day. You could use this challenge to reach out to friends you’ve lost touch with or friends you haven’t spoken to in a while. Rekindle old memories and make new plans together.
Prayer is one of those things that comes to mind when we’re in desperate times, however we don’t have to wait for those sorts of circumstances. A simple prayer of gratitude is a small first step.
On numerous occasions, I’ve tried to keep a diary; I’ve tried paper and electronic versions, but haven’t managed to make the habit stick. Now I use my daily planner as my own version of a diary and will sometimes make extra notes for that very purpose. There’s a single sentence journal in my shop that would work well with a 30 Day challenge.
Give something valuable. It could be your time, your money or your possessions. It’s a compelling reason to clear out your cupboards, try compiling 30 items over 30 days and then giving them to your local charity shop. Some other ideas include volunteering at a soup kitchen, sponsoring friends and colleagues charity endeavours or giving money to your favourite charity.
Cease and Stop
23. No Television
Try cutting out television for 30 days. Even better, try filling that screen time with a healthier habit.
24. No Social Media
These days I think it’s easier to spend more time cruising social media sites than watching television. If you think you spend too much time on your favourite social media platform, why not ban it for 30 days?
25. No Complaining
The weather is the usual victim of our moans. It’s easy to fall into the trap of complaining about this, that and the other. However, if that saying ‘if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem’ rings true for you, then why not try thinking about how you can change something that you usually complain about. And if the weather brings on a full-on moaning session, remember ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes’ – time to go shopping, perhaps?
26. No Spending
You could try not spending any money for a month. This is probably easier to do if you exclude the regular mandatory monthly payments you make.
27. Save Money
A 30 day money-saving challenge can take many forms. Try saving a fixed amount every day or an increasing amount every day or a random amount every day, dependant on your bank balance of course.
28. Side Hustle
Start a side hustle, read Chris Guillebeau’s book and do it in less than 30 days. Who couldn’t do with a little extra in the savings account?
29. Listen To Music
You could use a 30 Day Challenge to explore new genres of music or a specific musician or singer. Or you could listen to music you already have.
30. New Hobby
If you’ve always thought about starting a new creative endeavour or hobby, but haven’t made the time for it, why not commit for just 30 days. Start with doing a little research every day, then gather your supplies and get started. I didn’t exactly start my sewing journey with a 30 Day Challenge, but I did start by reading about it first, then watching videos. And then I started taking classes. If sewing appeals to you, Sew Over It have great videos, classes and fabric.
Have any of these ideas piqued your interest? Are you itching to get started? You know you don’t have to wait for the 1st of the month, you can start straightaway. I’ve designed a handy one page 30 Day Challenge planner you can use to record your thoughts as you progress through your chosen challenge. Good luck.