Change Your Life With a 30 Day Challenge


Recently, a friend said that caffeine was a drug because of its addictive elements. I didn't buy his argument, but I accepted the challenge to cut caffeine out of my diet for 30 days. The experiment went well, and I learned that I could apply the 30 day challenge to other areas of my life. (See also: Big Changes or Small Changes)

A 30 day challenge is simply a goal to make one lifestyle adjustment and stick to it for 30 days.

I'm currently almost at the end of another 30 day challenge not to watch any television before going to bed, and it's going pretty well. If I hadn't set a 30 day challenge, I guess that I would have quit a week or two into the challenge. So why was I able to stick it out through the whole 30 days?

The Challenge Builds Self-Esteem and Momentum of Discipline

Each 30 day challenge you complete will convince you that you can actually make the necessary lifestyle changes.

You Can Experiment With Different Lifestyle Improvements

You may never consider becoming a vegetarian forever because that's a bigger commitment than you're willing to make. However, you might be willing to try it out with only a 30 day commitment.

30 Days Is Long Enough to Create a New Habit

...if that's what you're trying to do. But it's also short enough to make you feel as though your goal is within reach. What do you do when your drive and self-control starts to wear down? Usually, we look far ahead in the future and realize that we can't see ourselves keeping up, so we decide to cut our losses. On the other hand, a 30 day challenge helps us to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You Focus on Only One Change

Too often, when we consider lifestyle changes, we pile on the goals. We decide that we're going to improve our eating habits, exercise habits, spiritual habits, and financial habits all at the same time. 30 day challenges allow you to intensely focus on the most pressing areas of life change needed.

They're a Cost-Effective Way to Establish a New Habit

Instead of buying a yearlong gym membership, you might make it a 30 day challenge to go to the gym each day. After the 30 day challenge, if you're still doing it and think you'll continue to do it, then you can buy an annual subscription.

15 30-Day Challenges to Consider

In all likelihood, you have a few behaviors you'd like to change or habits you'd like to develop with a 30 day challenge. But just in case you don't, here are 15 to consider, beginning with the two I've just accomplished.

  1. No caffeine
  2. No TV
  3. No sugar
  4. Talk to someone at the grocery store every time you visit
  5. Go vegan or vegetarian
  6. Morning prayer, meditation, or devotional
  7. Avoid using your credit card
  8. No spending aside from necessary purchases like groceries
  9. Write every day
  10. Exercise every day
  11. Eat an apple a day
  12. Drink only water and cut out all other beverages
  13. Write a letter of appreciation each day to a loved one
  14. Read a book a week
  15. Complete a hobby or lingering task

We all know we need to grow and improve in certain areas. By setting a 30 day challenge, we're much more likely to change than if we set multiple long term goals. Try it, and let us know how it works for you.

Have you ever tried a 30 day challenge? How did it go? What would you like to challenge yourself to do for 30 days?

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Guest's picture

I did a seven-day vegetarian challenge that never really ended. I haven't eaten meat since the day before the challenge started and am now a vegan. Did I think I'd make the full change? No. But I did and I'd never go back.

I also challenged myself to run 100 miles over the course of a month. I hit 100 with a week to go! 30 day challenges really, really work.

Next up: I'm doing this in June:

Guest's picture

CalendarBudget has a 21-Day Budgeting Habit Installer that is very popular. I've heard in the past that new behaviors take 21-30 days to become a habit - some now say it takes longer. I think it depends on how much effort/focus you put into it.

Guest's picture

I did this back in 2011. Every month, I cut something out, only for that month. Many were diet related (sugar, alcohol, meat, dairy, dining out) and many were not (television, driving, cursing,) All were sucessful and I had been inspired by a book called "Living Well with Less", where the author had done similar challenges.

Guest's picture

Of course caffeine is a drug, but whether it's a vice has nothing to do with its status as a drug. :)