So, it’s time for a challenge.
You’re feeling the need to make some changes to your life.
You are, quite rightly, of the opinion that there’s always room for personal improvement and growth…
…and you intend to keep trying to better yourself for as long as you live.
We’re all wonderful, and we’re all special, and we all need to accept and love ourselves for who we are.
But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to keep wanting to reinvent yourself just a little, to tweak and sculpt your habits, characteristics and mindset, learning and growing every single day of your life.
If you’ve got personal growth on your mind and want to channel your efforts effectively, then a 30-day challenge might be a great tactic for you to do so.
Why 30 Days?
You might well be wondering why 30-day challenges are a good idea for personal growth or for forming new habits.
Don’t worry, it’s not just a figure I’ve plucked out of the air.
A 30-day time period can be helpful for teaching yourself new, beneficial behaviors in all kinds of ways.
Firstly, a month is a good period of time to commit to something for, psychologically-speaking.
That’s why so many month-long campaigns are run, like Veganaury or Stoptober.
Your challenges don’t have to start at the beginning of a calendar month, but you might find it a helpful way to commit to something.
A month, as we all know, flies by, so you’re not asking yourself to commit to anything for an unfeasibly long time period.
It’s important to set achievable goals when focusing on self-improvement, and a month isn’t too much to ask of yourself.
A month gives you enough time to play around with whatever it is you’re hoping to introduce into your life.
Plus, there’s time for you to get over the initial excitement and enthusiasm and figure out if it’s really beneficial for you and whether it is something you want to integrate into your life in the long run.
Last but not least, they say that it takes three weeks or more for a new behavior to become a habit, so committing for a full 30 days gives you the chance to go the extra mile and really ingrain this change into your lifestyle.
Who knows, by the time the 30 days are up, it might have just become part of your approach to life or your daily routine, without you having to consciously think about it anymore.
Do you think 30-day challenges might be a good way for you to start mixing things up in your life?
Here are a few ideas that could help you grow as a person.
30-Day Challenges To DO Something
1. Random acts of kindness
Do something kind for someone, every single day. Embrace the randomness.
Leave a note on a mirror to let the next person know they look amazing.
Leave a favorite book somewhere for someone to find, with a heartfelt note.
Buy lunch for the person behind you in the queue.
Have fun with it and see how many people’s days you can brighten over the course of the month.
Meditate for just 10 minutes every day for 30 days straight.
Use an app or YouTube videos to help you, or literally just sit down, breathe deeply, and see where your mind takes you.
30 days is more than enough time to discover the incredible impact that meditating regularly can have on your mindset.
3. Complimenting others
Make it your mission to compliment those around you for a whole month.
Make it genuine. If you like someone’s shirt, tell them. If you think they did a great job on a presentation, don’t keep it to yourself.
Is your mother looking lovely? Is your partner looking particularly sexy?
Unleash the compliments! It’ll make them feel wonderful, and that’ll rub off on you.
4. Writing down what you’re grateful for
Find yourself a notepad or a journal and write down three things that you’re grateful for every single day.
Do it either first thing in the morning to get your day off to a good start or last thing at night, reflecting on why it was a fantastic day.
5. Clearing out clutter
Drowning under a mountain of stuff? Free up some mental space by clearing out some physical space.
Make it your mission to pick five things to donate to charity every day, list five things on eBay every day, tackle one drawer or area of your house every day, or even donate 30 bags worth of unwanted stuff to charity before the month is up.
Minimalism is good for your mental health and you’ll be amazed at how liberating getting rid of all those unwanted possessions can be.
6. Reaching out to important people in your life
Do you want to be better at keeping in touch with the people who mean the most to you?
Have you let too many friendships fall by the wayside?
Now is the time to take action.
Send a message to one of those people every day for 30 days and see which of those old friendships you can breathe life back into.
7. Meal prep
Your 30 days don’t necessarily have to begin at the beginning of the month. For meal prep, it could be any Sunday in the month.
Challenge yourself to cook for the week ahead on a Sunday so you’ve got healthy lunches and dinners waiting for you on those busy weekdays and nights.
It’ll save you time, money, and keep you out of temptation’s way.
8. Reading before bed
Challenge yourself to read for at least 15 minutes every night before bed and see if you can finish a book by the end of the month.
Choose a book you know you’re going to absolutely love and rediscover the incredible feeling of being totally hooked by a story.
9. Getting enough sleep
This might sound appealing, but it’s easier said than done.
You’re not going to be able to achieve much positive change in your life if you’re not well-rested.
Make your challenge going to bed half an hour earlier than you usually do or getting a solid eight hours of rest every single night for 30 days, and you’ll be ready to take on the world.
Be kind to yourself every day for 30 days.
Have a think about how you’re hard on yourself and what you really need to thrive.
Decide that for a whole month you’re going to do things for yourself, whether that’s eating well, exercising, or treating yourself.
11. Talking to new people
Talk to a stranger every single day for 30 days.
This is a particularly good one for those who tend to be shy or insular, not noticing the people around them.
Be that person who strikes up a conversation on a train or in the queue at Starbucks. Some people won’t respond all that well, but the majority will.
12. A new hobby
If there’s a hobby you’ve been meaning to try, but you’re not really sure if it’s for you, now’s the time to give it a whirl.
Commit to it for 30 days before you decide whether or not you want it to be part of your life in the long term.
You never know what you might learn or who you might meet.
If you’re single and not currently dating, but would love to find someone special, put yourself out there for 30 days.
Sign up for an online dating profile. Go along to singles’ events. Ask your friends to set you up. Smile at that attractive guy at your pottery class and see what happens.
You might find someone special, but you might just find out more about yourself and the things that are important to you.
14. Career development
If you’re in a bit of a rut with your career, then do something, whether small or significant, every single day for 30 days.
Update your CV. Reach out to a contact on LinkedIn. Attend a webinar. Apply for a job. Sign up for a course. Buy a relevant book.
Whatever it is, do something every day to keep yourself moving forward professionally, and by the end of the month, that momentum will become the new norm.
15. Getting out of your comfort zone
Do something that scares you every day for a month.
Go out for dinner alone. Book a ticket for a solo holiday. Jump out of a plane. Say hello to the woman you find attractive at your Spanish evening class.
Whatever it is and however insignificant it might seem, get out of your comfort zone every day. Beyond your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
16. Intentional listening
Make a deal with yourself that, for 30 days, you are genuinely going to listen to every person you have a conversation with.
Make what they’re saying your sole focus at that moment. No checking your phone. No thinking about what you’re having for dinner. No worrying about your to-do list.
You get what you give, so you’ll find that people start taking more of a genuine interest in what you have to say too.
17. A morning routine
Do you have a routine in the mornings?
Now’s the time to implement one!
Establish what your mornings are going to look like. Consider not checking your phone for at least half an hour after you wake up, so you don’t have to deal with all those emails before your brain is really in gear.
Wake up 15 minutes earlier. Do yoga. Go for a run. Have breakfast with your partner or family. Write your journal.
Whatever it is, make it calming and make it consistent, and see if it has an impact on your mindset.
18. An evening routine
The same applies to your evenings. Having a routine in place can help you wind down and get better quality sleep.
Say goodbye to your electronic devices an hour before bed. Read. Write. Stretch. Talk to your loved one. Get into bed by a certain time.
19. The Pomodoro method
If you struggle with procrastination and productivity, why not introduce the Pomodoro method into your life for the next 30 days?
It involves focusing on one task for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break.
After four 25-minute blocks, you take a 30-minute long break, and so on and so forth.
Make that the way you work for 30 days and see if it boosts your output or makes you more efficient.
If you need to be blogging for professional reasons or for a passion project, or you just have something to say, dedicate 30 minutes every single day to writing.
Aim to finish and publish at least one post per week.
You should be able to carve 30 minutes out of your days, and a whole month of continuous writing will mean working on your blog becomes the norm.
30-Day Challenges To NOT DO Something
1. Using negative language
For 30 days, stop framing things negatively.
No talking about why you can’t do something or shouldn’t do something.
No focusing on your weaknesses or sighing and saying “I’m just a weak/selfish/lazy person.”
Whenever you catch yourself using negative language, think about how you can reframe what you have to say to put a positive spin on it.
A bit of swearing never hurt anyone, but if you think that you swear excessively or other people have commented on it, then try to go cold-turkey for 30 days.
It’s a fantastic way of getting more creative with your language use and learning some new and interesting words, as you have to come up with different ways of expressing your feelings.
Complaining is of absolutely no use to anyone, least of all you.
Complaining focuses your mind on the negative and does nothing to actually resolve the situation.
So, introduce a 30-day complaining ban. You’re still allowed to comment on negative things, but you’ll find that you have to focus on the silver lining or figure out a way to move forwards and reframe things.
A good way of reminding yourself is to wear a hair tie, rubber band, or bracelet on your wrist and change wrists every time you catch yourself complaining.
Banning yourself from lying for 30 days can make you realize how many little white lies you tell every day.
Not everyone is guilty of this, but many of us fabricate the truth far more than we’re conscious of.
Utter and complete honesty can be tough, but it can also be liberating and really improve both personal and professional relationships.
5. Rejecting constructive criticism
Do you struggle to take constructive criticism on board?
Do you tend to get defensive, or consider it to be a personal attack?
This is going to be a tough one, but promise yourself that for 30 days you’ll consciously have a better attitude toward any constructive criticism that comes your way.
Try thanking people for their feedback and asking them for ideas on how you could improve.
Or, if you don’t agree with what they’ve said, ask them for clarification in a polite, non-aggressive manner.
See how much you can improve during the course of a month by taking everything on board and working on it rather than sticking your head in the sand.
Gossiping is a very human behavior that bonds us together, but there’s a line which we cross all too often.
Gossip is negative and damaging when we’re laughing at a person, passing on untruths, or commenting on something that really isn’t our business.
Promise yourself that, for 30-days, you’ll avoid the water-cooler chat or change the subject when things come up that you know, deep down, you shouldn’t be discussing.
Whilst some people could benefit from putting themselves out there, others might benefit from taking a break from dating and spending time on themselves.
If you’re feeling a little jaded by the dating scene or have found yourself hopping from relationship to relationship, a 30-day no-date challenge could be just what you need.
It can give you a little perspective and allow you to figure out what you want from a romantic relationship.
8. Dating apps
An alternative to giving up dating entirely would be giving up dating apps.
If you rely on apps to connect with potential love interests, then you might be unconsciously ignoring IRL (in real life) opportunities.
Delete the apps for a month and try your hand at meeting people in person.
Whilst always being respectful of boundaries, strike up conversations with people you find attractive.
Approach someone in a bar, the old-fashioned way. You’ll probably experience your fair share of rejection, but you’ll be surprised at the people you meet and the connections you make.
Yes, I went there. 30 days without Netflix (or other streaming services).
Are you in?
Spend the time you would’ve been glued to the screen talking to the ones you love, reading books, or working on that side hustle.
10. Shopping online
This is an excellent exercise in self-control for anyone who finds themselves spending too much time and money on online shopping.
Give your credit card a 30-day rest. If you feel the need for retail therapy, go in person.
11. Social media
This is another big challenge, especially for anyone of millennial age and under.
Take a month off Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or your social media platform of choice.
You’ll be amazed at what you can do with all the time you’d normally spend scrolling.
Social media can be extremely damaging to our mental health and relationships, so an extended social media detox could be really beneficial.
12. Electronics before bed
Make it a rule for 30 days that you won’t look at any screens for at least 30 minutes before you hit the hay.
Heck, if you like a challenge, make it an hour.
Doing this for a month straight means that, with any luck, it’ll become a habit, and you’ll find yourself sleeping far better for not checking your emails right before lights out.
13. Eating out or takeaway
If you spend too much money going out to eat or find yourself constantly eating like you’re on holiday, then break the habit by banning yourself from eating out for 30 days.
You might have to get creative on social occasions, eating before you go out or just joining your friends for drinks.
A whole month of this will mean you’re forced to expand your cooking repertoire and get more creative in the kitchen.
It’ll be a baptism of fire, but hopefully by the end of it you won’t feel the need to eat out quite so often.
If you drink alcohol, however moderately, a month off can never do you any harm, and might do you a lot of good.
Avoiding alcohol for an extended period can mean you lose weight, eat better, sleep better, and generally feel better.
Don’t wait for Dry January. Challenge yourself to 30 days with no booze starting today.
Some people will really struggle to go cold turkey on smoking, but for others, it’s the only way.
30 days without cigarettes will be tough on someone who’s addicted to tobacco, but there’s plenty of help available to anyone trying to quit.
If this is a big struggle, try an e-cigarette for 30 days instead of your usual cigarettes. Vaping is far less harmful to your health in the long run.
If you’ve been wanting to quit, see if a 30-day challenge could be the key.
We might not realize it, but most of us are sugar addicts.
Going without for 30 days is another tough challenge, but it’s one that will pay dividends.
This is an incredible exercise in self-control. Give it a go and prove to yourself just how strong your willpower is.
How many cups of coffee do you need to make it through the day? How many cups of tea do you get through? How about energy drinks?
Well, how does a month with absolutely no caffeine sound?
Yes, this is another one that a lot of people will really struggle with, but by the time 30 days are up, you should have freed yourself from your reliance on caffeine.
18. Ready meals
If you eat a lot of ready meals, you don’t need me to tell you that they are often quite unhealthy.
But it’s hard to change your eating habits without real motivation. Make that motivation committing to 30 days without a ready meal in sight.
Unplug the microwave and get out the cookbooks. You’ll be doing both your health and your bank balance a favor.
19. Saying yes to everything
It can be very hard to say no to things people ask us to do.
But we need to be wary of spreading ourselves too thin and overstretching ourselves, so that in the end we have nothing left to give.
For 30 days, practice saying no.
Say no to work things you don’t have the time or inclination for. Say no to social events you’d rather not go to. Just decline politely, and no one will be offended.
By the end of the month, you’ll have realized that there’s no need to be afraid of the word no.
20. Being mean to yourself
For 30 days, I’d like you to treat yourself just as nicely as you do other people.
Be honest, you’d never criticize anyone else in the way you do yourself. You’re never as hard on anyone else.
So, for the next month, whenever you’re tempted to berate yourself, ask yourself honestly if you’d say the same to a friend or a colleague.
If not, don’t say it to yourself.
Show yourself the same respect and consideration you would anyone else for a whole month.
As with all of the challenges above, by the end of that time you should’ve really grown as a person, ridding yourself of a negative behavioral pattern and freeing yourself up to keep on flourishing.