Sometimes, we just need to shake things up a little bit.
Maybe you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut for the last few months, or just feel like you’re stagnating. 30 day challenges are a great way to shake yourself out of your comfort zone and start taking back control of your life.
It’s crucial to have a sense of routine in your life. Without routine, things can get frantic and we end up wandering from point A to point B without any direction.
However, it’s just as important to have a sense of spontaneity too. Sometimes, we need to break free from routine and try new things.
So if you’re looking to challenge yourself and start experimenting with some new behaviors in your life, then you’re in the right place. Let’s talk about a variety of 30 day challenges that you can start tackling today.
Do 30 Day Challenges Really Work?
There’s a lot of skepticism about 30 day challenges, and rightfully so.
That’s because people often start them with the wrong idea – they see them as quick-fixes for changing their life.
Although that’s how change would work in a perfect world, we don’t live in a perfect world.
So do they work? Yes, but in order for them to work you need to attack these challenges with the right expectations.
What 30 day challenges can do is put you on the path toward building positive habits that improve your life.
On average, it takes 66 days to form a habit. For some habits it’s longer and for others it’s shorter, but that’s beside the point.
If you can consistently repeat one behavior for an entire month, you’re well on your way to turning that behavior into a habit. And once behavior is a habit, it becomes a permanent part of who you are.
A short-term challenge can act as a great springboard towards the radical shifts that you’re looking to make. You can’t transform your relationships, finances, or mindset in 30 days – but you can put yourself on a more successful path in any of these areas.
How To Do A 30 Day Challenge Correctly
Here’s the best way to go about implementing these short-term challenges – simply pick one and stick to it for thirty days.
This article will give you a ton of ideas, but don’t fall victim to the motivation wave and try 2 or 3 of these at once. If you do this, you’ll burn out and find yourself in the same exact position as you were before you started.
Thirty day challenges often fail because they are black and white. We’re going to take a different approach and provide some flexibility in your efforts to change.
Because when you’re starting something new, it can be hard to get off the ground. If you’ve never meditated before, and you try to start meditating for 10 minutes per day, then there’s a chance that you skip a few days and the whole challenge goes downhill.
That’s why for each challenge provided there will be three different levels of difficulty – easy, medium, and hard.
The easy version of the challenge will be a target that you can hit daily no matter how demotivated you feel. Using this minimum requirement as a safety net during the challenge ensures that you get a win each day no matter what.
On the days where you do have that inner motivation to rely on, you can challenge yourself and attempt the medium and hard version of the challenge.
Creating these tiers for the 30 day challenge will make it so that you don’t feel tied to daily targets that you may or may not hit.
The Ultimate List of 30 Day Challenges to Spark Growth
These 30 day challenges will be divided into three categories – happiness, productivity, and personal/professional development
We all have different flaws and shortcomings that need to be addressed. That’s why the challenge you decide to take on needs to be tailored to these shortcomings.
This list will give you plenty of ideas to do just that. Good luck!
30 Day Challenges For Becoming Happier
If you’re feeling disconnected from your social circle, or find yourself lacking an appreciative mindset, feel free to take on any of these challenges for the next thirty days to help you find inner peace.
#1: Contact One Friend From Your Social Circle Every Day
It’s easy to get caught up with our to-do lists and neglect staying in touch with the people around us.
The “business” of our lives can hamper our ability to maintain close personal relationships. The problem is that numerous studies have confirmed that deep personal relationships are the number one factor in determining overall life satisfaction.
So it’s important to make this a priority no matter how busy we think we are. For this challenge, all you have to do is have some form of contact with one person in your social circle every day.
This can be as easy as a quick check-in text or a planned lunch – the most important thing is that you simply make the effort.
It’s one thing to say that you care about someone but it’s another thing altogether to prove it. Over the next 30 days, you’ll be focusing on the latter.
- Easy – Send a quick check-in text to a friend
- Medium – Call or facetime someone that you’re close to
- Hard – Meet up with one of your friends in person
#2: Work On Your Social Muscle
This challenge is tailor-made for people who experience a little bit of social anxiety, or find it nerve-wracking to talk to strangers.
Social anxiety was something that I struggled with for a very long time, and years of not addressing it took a huge toll on my life.
I desperately wanted to get over my social fear and meet new people. However, with each opportunity that came my way, my old habits took over and I curled back up into my shell.
The goal of this challenge is to work on your social muscle and start getting comfortable engaging with strangers.
If you’re already a fairly social person and don’t have much social fear, then this challenge probably isn’t right for you. But if you feel like you lack the courage necessary to have a rich and engaging social life, then this challenge might be just what you need.
- Easy – Walk outside and say hello to two people
- Medium – Walk outside and give out compliments to two people
- Hard – Walk outside and have conversations with two people
#3: Focus on Gratitude
It’s easy to focus on the things we lack, but what about the things we have? We’re always aiming for more, and that’s totally fine.
After all, if you don’t strive to reach your goals then there’s no way that you’re going to achieve them. However, it is possible to be appreciative and ambitious at the same time – you just have to strike the right balance.
Gratitude is one of the key characteristics of happy people. If you make it a daily practice over the next thirty days, you’ll start the process of rewiring your brain to see the positive in every situation as opposed to emphasizing the negative.
The neat part about gratitude is that it’s actually quite easy to put into practice daily. You don’t need to make a Herculean effort, small steps are all that’s required.
- Easy – When you roll out of bed in the morning, start the day by thinking about one thing you’re grateful for and say it out loud
- Medium – Each morning, write down three things that you’re currently grateful for. Another option here is to write down 2-3 good things that happened to you over the past 24 hours.
- Hard – Write a thank you note expressing gratitude to someone that you care about
#4: Start Meditating
Meditation is one of the best habits that you can implement into your life. It’s effects on the brain and our overall emotional state are stunning, as it’s been scientifically proven to:
- Decrease stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Increase focus and concentration
- Improve overall mood
Why is it that such a simple habit has so many positive benefits? Because the art of centering your mind and not getting lost in your thoughts is a skill that very few people master.
Meditating for 30 days won’t turn you into a Buddhist monk overnight, but it will challenge your mind’s natural tendency to wander and help you stay grounded in the present moment.
You’ll be less deterred by your mental chatter and more focused on the only thing that matters, which is the here and now.
- Easy – Meditate for two minutes
- Medium – Meditate for five minutes
- Hard – Meditate for fifteen minutes
#5: Start Exercising
Want to start the journey of getting back into the best shape of your life? Give a go at this challenge for 30 days and get moving again!
Exercise is one of the best habits to adopt in your life because it’s a well-known keystone habit. In other words once people start exercising, several other positive changes start bubbling up as well.
It takes discipline to stick with an exercise habit, and that sense of discipline can ripple over into other areas of your life as well. So not only will this challenge help you drop a few pounds, you’ll also feel empowered to start tackling other aspects of your life too.
- Easy – Pick one form of exercise and do it for two minutes
- Medium – Pick one form of exercise and do it for ten minutes
- Hard – Pick one form of exercise and do it for thirty minutes
30 Day Challenges For Improved Productivity
Next up, we’re going to be discussing various behaviors you can commit to over the next thirty days that will help you improve your productivity.
Here’s a list of 30 day challenges that will help be you sharpen up your productivity system and be more efficient with your time over the next month.
#1: Start Eating The Frog
There’s a huge difference between being productive and being busy.
Being busy is about crossing things off of your to-do list. Being productive is about crossing important things off of your to-do list.
The “Eat The Frog” technique was coined by Brian Tracy. It’s a philosophy inspired by a quote from Mark Twain who once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Our most important task for the day serves as that frog. It’s that one thing that we’re most likely to put off in favor of smaller, less-demanding tasks.
If you’re able to start the day by working on the task that you’re most likely to procrastinate, the rest of your day will fall into place because you’re already eaten the frog.
- Easy – Before working on anything else, work on your most important task for five minutes
- Medium – Work on your most important task for fifteen minutes
- Hard – Work on your most important task for one hour
#2: Focus on Deep Work
Cal Newport is the best-selling author of the productivity classic, Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World.
He has this to say about what it means to be productive in the modern economy:
“To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction. Put another way, the type of work that optimizes your performance is deep work.”
Deep work is simply about distraction-free productivity. It’s about putting all of your focus and energy into the task at hand without getting caught up in notifications or social media.
If you can learn how to master this skill, you’ll be ahead of 98% of people who are trying to get the same things that you want.
There are two key requirements for engaging in deep work. First off, you can’t multitask – all of your brain power must be spent on a single task. Second, you can’t engage with any distractions that will interrupt your workflow.
As long as these two criteria are met, you’re performing deep work.
- Easy – Perform deep work for three minutes
- Medium – Perform deep work for fifteen minutes
- Hard – Perform deep work for 45 minutes
#3: Experiment With The The Ivy Lee Method:
The Ivy Lee method is a great way to prioritize your day and focus on the tasks that actually move the needle forward in your life.
I’ve tried a bunch of different to-do list methods in my quest to become more productive, and the Ivy Lee Method is the most effective one that I’ve come across.
Essentially, all you do is write down six tasks that you want to accomplish for the day. Then, you rank them in order of importance from 1-6.
When the day starts, you start with the most important task on that list and don’t stop until it’s done. The tasks get done one by one, and you don’t put any focus on number two until number one is done.
If you experiment with this method for thirty days, I’m guessing you won’t ever experiment with another to-do list method ever again.
- Easy – Complete The Ivy Lee Method
- Medium – Complete task #1 on the list
- Hard – Complete tasks #1-3 on the list
#4: Limit Screen Time
It’s hard to avoid screen time in the world that we live in. Every tempting distraction seems to involve a smartphone or a television.
And while there’s nothing particularly bad about staring at a screen, especially if that’s what your job involves, the problem is when screen time and bedtime are intertwined.
As bedtime approaches, your body starts to release chemicals that make you sleepy. Staring at a screen disrupts this process.
The blue light emitted from these screens keeps us awake and alert, which makes it harder to go to sleep.
As a result, you stay up longer and wake up later. It creates a compound effect that means low quality sleep, less energy, and decreased focus and productivity the next day. Give this challenge a try and you’ll be amazed at the impact it has on the quality of your sleep.
- Easy – No screetime after 12 pm
- Medium – No screen time after 11 pm
- Hard – No screen time after 9 pm
#5: Try Out The Pomodoro Technique
Last up on this list of productivity challenges is experimenting with the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro technique is yet another productivity technique that can simplify your life and reduce the overwhelming nature of your to-do list.
It consists of listing the things you need to get done and then applying a time-oriented approach to your workflow.
The pomodoro technique is characterized by 25 minute work periods followed by five minutes of rest. This 30-minute period is considered to be one “Pomdoro.”
Working this way will ensure that you’re not overwhelming your brain because you’re giving yourself intermittent rest periods to recharge.
- Easy – Complete one pomodoro
- Medium – Complete three pomodoro’s
- Hard – Complete five pomodoro’s
30 Day Challenges For Personal Development
These next batch of challenges won’t be tied to any specific domain of your life. You’ll simply be focusing on developing yourself both personally and professionally.
#1: Read a Self-Improvement Book Every Day
Self-improvement is a skill, and the best way to learn a skill is to educate yourself on the topic.
That’s where self-improvement books come in handy. You get to consume the wisdom of people who’ve studied complex topics for years and have the ability to break them down into simple language.
Reading these books will give you the inspiration and tactical advice you need to start making the changes that you need to make.
If you’re looking for a list of the best possible self-improvement books to level up your life, then feel free to check out this article to get some ideas – 19 Best Self Improvement Books You Must Read
#2: Spend Time Working On Your Side Hustle
If you’re looking for a career change, or just have a side passion that you want to put more time into, then this is a great opportunity to make that happen.
It’s really important to work on something each day that fires you up and makes you excited to attack the day. Most of the time, our jobs don’t provide this level of fulfillment.
In fact in a perfect world where bills didn’t exist, I think that we’d all trade cushy corporate jobs to pursue a career that we love.
So use this challenge as an opportunity to start making progress on that blog that you want to start or that book you want to write, you won’t regret it.
- Easy – Work on your side hustle for 5 minutes
- Medium – Work on your side hustle for 30 minutes
- Hard – Work on your side hustle for 90 minutes
#3: Learn A New Skill
Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano? What about learning a new language?
Oftentimes, it’s hard to make time for these interests because our lives get busy. These desires can fade away as we struggle to meet deadlines and slug through our to-do lists.
Use this challenge as an opportunity to take the plunge and develop new skills that you are truly interested in learning about.
Don’t let the ebbs and flows of life stop you from developing the skills that you’ve always wanted to have.
- Easy – Spend 5 minutes learning a new skill
- Medium – Spend 20 minutes learning a new skill
- Hard – Spend 60 minutes learning a new skill
At this point, you have plenty of ideas for 30 day challenges that can shake you out of your comfort zone.
When life gets repetitive and predictable, that’s a glaring sign that we need to switch things up. If we really want to live life to the fullest, then we need to keep our lives fresh and interesting.
It’s new experiences that make life worth living. No one really gets out of bed and says, “I hope that this day is the exact same as the day before.”
So flip the script on your life and take one of these challenges head-on. Will one of them change your life? Not at all.
However, proving to yourself that you can commit to something and stick to it might just give you the momentum you need to bring about the radical shifts you’re looking for.