11 Aug 29 of the Best 30-Day Challenges
I am really excited for this post. To provide a little background, I have a degree in advertising, minored in both anthropology and business, and dabbled in sociology. One concept we learned about in every field of study was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow theorized that all humans must meet certain needs to be happy and progress. They must fulfill the most basic needs first—like eating and breathing—before they can focus on safety, belonging, self-esteem, and more complex needs.
To be happy, we need to challenge ourselves. Challenges help us grow and become better employees, leaders, friends, people, and whatever roles we currently fill. No matter where we are on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we should take steps and complete challenges to fulfill that need and move up in the hierarchy.
Way back in 2011, Matt Cutts presented a TED talk about challenging ourselves with 30-day challenges. For those of you who don’t know, Matt Cutts was the face of Google for SEO and digital marketing companies. In the video, Matt shares some of his own 30-day challenge successes and explains why he wanted to get out of a rut. The video is only three minutes long, and I recommend you check it out.
One of the main reasons I work, and do what I do, is to help small businesses. But I’m mainly a connoisseur of being happy. Helping small businesses succeed improves my way of life, but it is just one way of many to improve.
Below is a list of 30-day challenges we can complete to improve and become happier in our circumstances. Start with small challenges and work your way up. Each of the goals listed can be completed over 30 days, no matter how hard. If you need to, break up the challenges into smaller and more manageable goals.
Hopefully, the list helps you brainstorm some of your own ideas, which you can share with the rest of us in the comments.
Find a Mentor
What do you want to do with your career or studies? Locate a mentor who can guide you toward your goal. Do your research. Find someone that does what you want to do, and reach out through social networking sites to connect with them and ask questions. Your mentor doesn’t even have to work or live in the same place as you.
Learn a Skill
This suggestion is very broad, but you can cater this goal to an area of your life you would like to improve. For example, you could learn how to create Excel formulas, how to use Photoshop, or how to code in HTML. Or, you could learn how to play an instrument, cook a new dish, knit, or speak a new language.
Take a picture a day. The picture can be of something as mundane as a water bottle or as cool as one of the 7 Wonders of The World. But seriously, take a picture once per day of the places and things you interact with.
Go on a Media Fast
Sometimes we try so hard to stay connected with all things digital, that we forget to connect with those around us. If a full media fast is too daunting, you can take baby steps. Start by cutting out Facebook or Twitter for a month.
Create a Thankful List
Sometimes people complete this challenge by listing everything they are thankful for, including the pet goldfish they had when they were a kid. While this is a good way to create a thankful list, I would like to add a twist to it. We can be thankful for things that happen every day, not just in the past. Each day, add an item to the list that is something you are thankful for from that day. This challenge can open your eyes to all the awesome things that happen to you each day. (Side note: If you want supreme happiness as an end goal, I recommend this challenge.)
Try New Food
Train your taste buds to like a new kind of food. I am not a big fan of seafood, but I also haven’t eaten it in a while. For this challenge, I would try different variations of seafood during the month.
Random Acts of Kindness
Perform an act of service each day. It doesn’t matter how big or small. Hold the door for someone, donate blood, or help someone move. You could even call one of those “How is my driving?” numbers and report good driving.
Cut Out a Bad Habit
Cut out a bad habit over the next 30 days. Some ideas include smoking, complaining, tardiness, excessive TV time, impulse shopping, and unnecessary stress. Most studies conclude that it takes between 21 and 66 days to form a habit. Even if a habit takes you 66 days to create, completing a 30-day challenge gets you halfway there.
This is another fairly broad challenge. You can take 10,000 steps each day, or even take the stairs wherever you go (maybe skip the Eiffel Tower on this challenge). Exercise at least 15 minutes a day with no excuses, and make an effort to add some extra physical activity to each day.
You could send a quick Facebook message to a teacher who made a difference in your life. Even a simple thank you to someone who held a door open for you counts. You can even add to this goal by formally thanking 10 people during the month. Either way, you are thanking people who may have otherwise gone unthanked.
Explore Your City/State
When planning or dreaming about vacations, most people don’t think about visiting new places within their own state. Plan a staycation. Go somewhere in your own city or state you haven’t been to before. See a new local landmark, park, or restaurant.
Avoid Negative Language
Avoid words like “can’t,” “shouldn’t,” or “don’t.” People typically use words like these in an attempt to evade ownership of a situation. While small, if said enough, these words can become thought patterns. Instead of “I can’t go,” try “I’m sorry. I have another activity going on.” Positive language helps us take control of a situation and better express ourselves.
Start a Thought Journal
Have you ever had an great idea or thought and then forgotten it? Was it an amazing business idea? Maybe you made a connection between the theory of relativity and losing weight? Write down all of those awesome ideas and thoughts, even if you think you’ll never forget (because you will, unless you write it down. Trust me!).
Increase your brain strength by memorizing something. Poems might be a good option—you can find poems in different lengths and for different memorizing capabilities very easily. As a bonus, poems can teach you important lessons or cheer you up.
Laugh Each Day
Take part in activities that make you laugh. Do funny YouTube cat videos make you laugh? Then watch some! Does hanging out with your family usually result in laughter? Then hang out with your family. Take time to laugh every day for 30 day. You’ll be surprised with how much this can boost your mood.
So, I stole this exercise from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” What would you want people to say at your funeral? Usually, this exercise results in a list of characteristics like: kind, helpful, smart, etc. This challenge can center on creating 30 individual goals or character traits you would like to develop, or it can be just working on one character trait you would like to improve.
Play Brain Games
Exercise your brain with activities like crossword puzzles or Sudoku. They will help you and your brain function at a higher level.
Read a Book
Any kind of book—it doesn’t matter. Read a fantasy book for fun or a self-help book for ideas on how to improve. Books can relieve stress while increasing vocabulary and intelligence.
Wake Up Early
There is quite a bit of debate on whether successful people wake up early. This article lists successful people who wake up early, while this article lists successful people who stay up late. But, you might as well test out the theory on your own, right? You can do this by setting your alarm clock a half hour earlier than normal. If you usually hit the snooze button, try setting several alarms in succession to ensure you wake up.
The options for things you could create are limitless. Grow a Chia Pet or a plant. Make a quilt. Make pottery. Paint or draw something. Put together a table. Use your hands to create one or more somethings over 30 days.
Be More Charitable
Research a charity that stands for something you believe in and take part in it. You can start by performing a simple Google search for causes you are passionate about. If you like animals, you could volunteer at an animal shelter. Or, maybe a charity needs someone to go door to door asking for donations. Maybe you could volunteer at a hospital. Just choose one of the many possibilities for charitable work.
Stretch your brain and learn about a period of history, or a subject that interests you, like: the Declaration of Independence, the Titanic, World War II, ancient Greek civilizations, the French Revolution, the origins of Google. The list goes on and on.
This amount is somewhat arbitrary, and you can change it according to your budget or lifestyle, but the purpose behind this goal is to save. Save $100 by cutting purchases out of your life that aren’t necessary. Could you save $100 by not eating out as much? Whatever the amount is, stretch yourself and put some money away in savings.
Write Your Bucket List
Our moods change from day to day, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a bucket list changed from day to day. For this purpose, add at least one item to your bucket list each day. At the end of the month, you will have a list of 30+ awesome things to help you start setting goals.
This one is also pretty broad, but try being healthier for 30 days. This can include cutting out fast food, caffeine, soda, or sugar or even just going on a walk.
Watch TED Talks
TED Talks are pretty awesome, inspirational, and educational. Watch one TED Talk per day. You can start by watching the TED talk about setting 30-day challenges.
Set Business Goals
If you are reading this blog you probably own and operate a small business. Set manageable 30-day goals to improve your business. You may want to optimize a page per day on your website or ask for a review once per day. Whatever it is, put your business in a better place by the end of the 30 days.
Look for Passive Income
Generate income outside of your normal job. Bonus points if the passive income comes through a passion of yours. For me, that would mean generating additional income through sports, like coaching or selling a sports product.
It’s pretty easy to find things to complain about. If you look, it’s also pretty easy to find things to be happy about. Complaining, usually, brings about bitterness and unhappiness. And, as you know from this post, that is the opposite of what I want. So a challenge to get rid of unhappiness is right up my alley.
The list of possible 30-day challenges is limitless. Again, you don’t have to start with a crazy challenge. Do one challenge and work your way up. Hopefully, this list sparked an idea for a 30-day challenge you are interested in completing. I would love to see what 30-day challenges you are doing and how the process is going. Let me know in the comments.