Every new year begins with a long list of resolutions that you promise yourself you’ll keep up with. But you work too hard, and life can be a struggle. Instead of trying to stick with a year-long resolution that will stress you out more than help you, try breaking something smaller. Challenging yourself for thirty days at a time will help instill healthy habits, and you’ll know if you can keep going past thirty days. Also, it’s best to try one challenge at a time instead of cutting out a bunch of things at once. If you have nothing to turn to, it will be extremely difficult to develop better habits and lose bad ones. So, here are 10 thirty day challenges you can try this year!
1. No Eating Out Thirty Day Challenge
I get it. In today’s fast and rough world, it’s hard to prep delicious and healthy meals at home. We’re so tempted to stop by the drive thru on the way home or spend $5 on a delicious cup of coffee each morning. As convenient as it is, eating fast food is not good for you. Even if you try healthier options, you’ll spend a lot of money for processed food that could be making you tired or affecting your health. The first week is the hardest, but that’s because your body is addicted to the preservatives and additives in processed fast food. Break through that first week, and you’ll be okay. Of all the thirty day challenges, this one is probably the toughest. No eating out means you can’t eat out at all. No drive thrus, no fancy restaurants, no coffee runs. Everything you eat or drink needs to come from your kitchen. Meal prepping will help make this challenge a little easier.
2. Read for Thirty Minutes a Day Thirty Day Challenge
Phones have altered the way we communicate and learn. Technology and social media aren’t bad, but all the screen light definitely affects your vision. Take a break from a screen and try reading for thirty minutes a day. Even if you don’t like reading, forcing yourself to try something new might make you realize you actually enjoy reading. Don’t try this challenge by reading a literary classic, though. We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but choose something that automatically appeals to you. Go for entertainment value above the quality of the content for your first book. Doing so will ease you into reading and you won’t dread it as much. Once you realize how much you enjoy reading and you finish that purely entertaining book, then you can venture out into more difficult reads. If you really want to focus on your vocabulary and book smarts this year, then this will be the best of the thirty day challenges for you to try.
3. No Social Media Thirty Day Challenge
Again, social media is not inherently bad! We use our phones for a variety of reasons and they do not cause dead brain cells or poor communication. However, it is possible to get too caught up in our screens and miss out on wonderful moments with each other. Too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. That’s why it’s best to periodically go on a social media cleanse. Let your friends and followers know that you’re taking a break, and then spend thirty days with no social media apps on your phone. Do yourself a favor and delete Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube, and Reddit apps from your phone. If you have to keep these apps because they’re the only platforms you have to message friends, then at least turn off your notifications for them and only check them for direct messages. Do not scroll, do not post, and do not share. All the time you spend doing those activities can be replaced with a light meditation, a reading session, more time for writing or creating, or you can just listen to music and enjoy someone else’s company. This one makes the list of most difficult thirty day challenges, but I think you’ll find it refreshing after you get over that first week of needing to scroll and watch endless videos.
4. 30 Squats a Day for 30 Days Challenge
One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is getting a gym membership and losing weight. Gyms wait with anticipation for this time of the year. However, if you don’t already work out or lead an active lifestyle, you can shock your body or easily give up if you decide to go into the new year with an unrealistic goal of working out every other day or three times a week for the entire year. Instead, build up to a gym membership. Don’t spend the money until you know you’re going to dedicate the time. The easiest way to build up to a regular gym schedule is to try a thirty day challenge that will get you into exercise. For thirty days, take the time to do thirty squats each day. You can split these thirty squats up throughout the day, or you can do them all at once, as long as you do thirty. Squats are challenging, but you’ll build a lot of muscle and endurance. If you can complete this challenge, then you can trust yourself to keep up with the gym and try different exercises and workouts. Plus, you’d be surprised at how quickly you’ll fall in love with exercise after you get over that initial two to three weeks of hell.
5. Write Every Day for Thirty Days Challenge
Even if you’re not a writer, this is a challenge you need to try. If you don’t want to try your hand at fiction, then use this challenge to journal every day for thirty days. Try not to use a computer for this. Get a small journal and your favorite pen or pencil, and spend thirty minutes a day writing. Use this to process what you need to accomplish for the day, or do this at night to process everything you went through and think about how you can make tomorrow better. This is probably the most insightful of the thirty day challenges. Try not to read over your entries until the end of the month. You’ll get a pretty good idea for how you think and feel, and maybe you’ll find room for improvement in your attitude or outlook on life.
6. Practice Yoga for Thirty Days Challenge
Since fitness is one of the most popular resolutions, here’s another fitness related challenge to try. YouTube is a great source for yoga routines, especially for beginners. You can turn on the TV or set up your laptop and work through a routine every day for thirty days. Yoga is a workout, but it’s gentle and you’ll be able to do it every day without hurting your body or feeling too sore or tired. You can also change the intensity of the yoga session based on the type of routine you follow. If you want more of a workout, you can switch it up. If you need a rest day, you can do something more relaxing that will focus on your flexibility. I would suggest adding an extra step to this, too. Take measurements of your body and weigh yourself at the beginning of the challenge. Also pay close attention to how your body moves as the month progresses. Take notes if you need to. Really observe how practicing yoga every day shapes your body. You should notice a difference at the end of the month, even if it’s a very small difference. Make sure you drink plenty of water to help with the stretches, too.
7. No Sleeping In Thirty Day Challenge
Ah, we all love our wonderful beds. Personally, I wish I could sleep twelve hours a night. My ideal vacation consists of me just sleeping for two days before I do anything fun. However, it’s possible that some of us spend a little too much time sleeping. Or, we convince ourselves that we need that extra thirty minutes and end up being late for work. This is one of the more difficult thirty day challenges because it’s going to require you to really change your lifestyle. Choose a set time every morning to wake up. That can be 5:30, 6:00, or 7:00. Don’t choose a time past 8:30 AM. Whatever early morning time works best for you on a typical work day so you have time to shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast beforehand is ideal. You’ll also be waking up at this time on the weekends or whenever you’re off work. To make this challenge work, you will have to go to bed earlier. However, even if you get to bed late one night, push yourself to wake up at that early time the next day, even if you’re tired. Push through! You’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish and how productive you’ll feel at the end of the day if you practice waking up early and not sleeping in.
8. No Hot Showers Thirty Day Challenge
What does a cold shower really do for you? This challenge may seem like a terrible idea, but it can be life-changing for some people. Cold showers help your body wake up, the temperature is better for you hair (especially if you dye your hair), and you won’t take super long showers. That last one is key! A cold shower means you want to finish as soon as possible, so you’ll save your water. This helps the environment and it helps your water bill. Grit your teeth and push yourself through short cold showers that will energize you.
9. No Caffeine Thirty Day Challenge
How can I ask you to live without coffee?? Out of all these thirty day challenges, why am I asking you to give up caffeine? While small amounts of caffeine are good for you, you shouldn’t be relying on coffee or energy drinks to function and stay awake. The first week will be difficult, don’t get me wrong. You’ll have headaches and you’ll be drowsy. After that first week, though, those withdrawal symptoms will go away and you’ll notice a lot of benefits. You may notice that your anxiety isn’t as bad, you may not suffer from that inevitable mid-afternoon crash everyone experiences, and if you put lots of sugar and milk in your coffee, you’ll definitely notice a bit of a weight loss. Plus, your wallet will thank you. Of all the thirty day challenges I’ve suggested, this one is probably the most beneficial for your physical health.
10. Save $5 a Day for Thirty Days Challenge
Most of these thirty day challenges will help you save money as an added bonus, but let’s look at a challenge that is directly focused on increasing your savings account. No matter what is going on, save $5 a day for thirty days. If that means you have to sacrifice a fast food meal or you can’t get those cookies from the bake sale, then oh well. By the end of the month, you’ll have $150 saved up. This challenge teaches you how to give up on small things that add up in your bank account. It’s so difficult because we do deserve to treat ourselves, but you shouldn’t do a lot of impulse buying. That is specifically what this challenge targets. You have to actually think about how you’re spending your money and if that bag of chips and soda is truly worth it. You’ll start looking for other ways to save money, and you’ll learn a lot about your financial health, much more than any of the other thirty day challenges.