Try something new for 30 days.
It’s a simple enough concept, but it is just enough to give your life a breath of fresh air, to get you out of a rut, to re-invigorate. I was inspired by Matt Cutt’s TED talk on this topic – it’s worth taking three and a half minutes and watching the video.
With that philosophy in mind, I’m trying to put together a nice list of 30 day challenges to inspire you.
To my mind, there are two ways to approach the 30 day challenge – habits, andÂ achievements:
- Habits: Try something new and do it every day for 30 days
- Achievements: Aim to have completed something by the end of the 30 days
- Get up early every day
- Just get a decent alarm clock (not your phone!), ideally without a snooze function, and just set it up on the other side of the room. Then make it a habit to get up, turn the clock off and get a glass of water. By that time you’ll have passed the danger point of “I’ll just rollover and sleep for a few more minutes”.
- Do a sudoku every morning before work
- Utterly pointless, but it will help you create a morning routine which will prepare you mentally for work. Our brains love routine and repetition. Plus sudoku is a fun ‘brain training’Â exercise.
- Photograph something unusual every day
- I love taking pictures. This challenge makes a great excuse to get out with the camera every day. I suggest you print all the pictures out into an album when you’re done. It’s a great feeling to make something, even just a photo album.
- Cook a new meal every day
- Just buy a recipe book (charity shops are full of them!) and work through it, you’ll pick up loads of new techniques and ingredients, as well as a new skill. Plus it’s healthy to vary your diet from time to time.
- Drink 2.5 liters of water a day
- I never drink enough water, yet it’s a very simple way to improve your health. If you don’t like the taste, buy squash.
- Eat 5 different fruit and veg portions a day
- I find this so hard – I like fruit and vegetables – but I never seem to get 5 portions into my daily diet. I think I’d feel a lot healthier if I did.
- Eat breakfast every day
- Skipping breakfast is so bad for you. This one ties in nicely with the getting up early and having a morning routine. It’s also nice to have a bit of time to yourself before starting work.
- Stay off red meat for 30 days
- I’m such a carnivore, I think this would be the hardest for me. But thinking of the juicy rare steak at the end of the challenge would probably keep me going!
- Become a vegetarian for 30 days
- This is extreme, but perfectly achievable.
- Stop swearing
- There’s no reason to swear so much, try not doing it for 30 days.
- Make something every day
- Whether you’re making lemonade, or bread, or a papier mache bowl, just creating something every day is a great fulfilling challenge. And after 30 days you’ll have a load of new skills.
- Write a novel
- Every November the folks at NaNoWriMo get together and write an entire novel in 30 days. This is an awesome challenge with a strong community behind it. It’s perfectly possible, so what’s stopping you?
- Walk 100 miles
- Go for two 10 mile walks a week for this first 2 weeks, then three a week for the next 2 weeks and you’re done.
- Learn a language
- I find the “Teach Yourself” books are very good. It’s really not hard to pick up a language. It does help to have someone to practice conversation with.
- Learn a really good card trick
- I mean a proper jaw-dropping card trick. Buy the “Born to Perform” DVD with Oz Perlman and you’ll be performing professional quality magic within the month.
- Swim a quarter-mile non-stop
- If you’re a complete non-swimmer right now, this might be a longer-term challenge. If you can swim a few lengths then you can start training towards the mile. Slow your swimming down to preserve energy – the mile is all about stamina, not speed. I wouldn’t advise swimming more than three times a week. Twice a week is probably more like it. In a standard 25 meter pool you’ll be doing 17 lengths for your quarter mile. Ask the lifeguard how long the pool is. No need to do more than you need to – in a 33 meter pool quarter of a mile is only 13 lengths. If you’re swimming three times a week and can currently do 2 lengths non-stop, you only need to swim one extra length each time in a 33m pool. (I swam my first mile last month. If you want any tips hit me up on twitter @user24. If you’re in Northampton, let’s meet up and swim together!)