It is been said that it takes about 30 days to form a habit.
The ones that are good for you require cultivation and determination.
The starting phase is the hardest, especially if you want to change an old habit into a new one. This is why giving yourself a challenge for a minimum of 30 days is a great way to improve all facets of your life.
Yes, it is a gift. So, take a moment to think ‘Who do I want to be in 5 years?’ What kind of habits would you like to have? You better start now if you want your new habits to influence your lifestyle and consequently your life! Check out this TED talk first to get inspired:
Now pick one or more challenges and stick with them! Keep a log, challenge your friends and stay inspired! Be cautioned, picking too many challenges at the same time can easily result in a failure of all of them.
#1 Write a I-Like-This-About-You note/text/email each day for someone (Easy)
This is the perfect way to let someone else know you care. We are so often focused on the bad stuff that we forget to mention the good. You surely will make people’s day, 30 days in a row!
#2 Talk to one stranger each day (Hard)
This is a great one to cure approaching anxiety. Have you ever resisted the temptation to talk to someone because you were afraid and said to yourself that you actually don’t want to talk to her/him anyway? Not anymore! After 30 strangers you will understand people are just people and there’s nothing weird in speaking to someone you don’t know.
#3 Take one picture each day (Hard)
This one gets harder nearing the end of the challenge because at one point you will run out of the easy shots. This one is great to combine with other challenges, a great way to make a photo diary!
#4 Re-evaluate one long-held belief each day (Intermediate)
Questioning your own beliefs is a great way to rid yourself of bullshit while continually adapting to new knowledge you’ve taken on since putting old beliefs together.
#5 Take a 30 minute walk each day (Easy)
Walking is healthy, relaxing and inspiring. And it is both easy and free! A great exercise while walking is to observe other people and think about what the differences and similarities are between you and them. This will definitely increase your empathy and your observing skills! A great book on this subject is Manwatching.
#6 Take a moment each day to practice self compassion and self-love (Hard)
Do you love yourself? Do you beat yourself up after you make mistakes? You can test your own level of self compassion here. Chances are you don’t score very high. This is because our society sets standards that are almost impossible to achieve. And so we form a habit of thinking we are not good enough, not worthy enough. There is also a kind of stigma on self-love, it is often confused with either being arrogant or it being a weakness. Both are wrong. It is a skill that can be trained so you will develop the emotional skillset to accept parts of yourself which you might not like very much, you learn to stop fighting against frustration and start accepting it as an integral part of life itself. Self love and self acceptance are also crucial to loving and accepting others around you. Exercises to increase self compassion can be found here and check out the love yourself challenge here.
#7 Try a new recipe each day (Intermediate)
If you want to learn how to cook you need to practice, practice, practice. Forcing yourself to try a new recipe each day is a great way to learn of more techniques and ingredients. It also makes it easier to drop bad food habits you might have and turn them into healthy ones!
#8 Refrain from alcohol and other drugs for 30 days in a row! (Depends)
Do you have a social circle where there hasn’t been a sober night out for years? Can you try to have fun without ingesting chemicals to alter your doors of perception? This is a great challenge to learn how to stand up for yourself against peer pressure.
#9 Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (Hard)
Ever wanted to write a book? Do it. Do it in 30 days. Check out the official site here.
#10 Learn how to draw a human face in 30 days (Intermediate)
There are many ‘how to’ youtube videos on drawing and if you ever wanted to learn how to draw, stop making excuses. Set yourself a challenge and be amazed what you can achieve in 30 days!
#11 Watch a documentary each day (Easy)
Always wanted to know everything about a certain topic? You are in luck, it’s the digital era! There are more documentaries online you can possible watch in a lifetime. YouTube, Google Video, TruthTheory.org and TopDocumentaryFilms.com are some of the great sources. Here is a list of HEthens best documentaries!
#12 Read a chapter each day (Easy)
We all know we should be reading more often but somehow we are glued to the same computer screen you are staring at right now. Clicking buttons. The solution is to take some time each day to read one chapter. Just one. Easy right? Do it somewhere cozy or outside. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, turn on some ambient music. Check out these links on what books to read. Click here and here.
#13 Study a topic you’d like to master each day (Hard)
Always wanted to know everything about Animal Behaviour? Psychology? Physics? Philosophy? Educate yourself without school! Pick a topic, plan at least a lecture or an assignment each day and become a genius on your passion! Click here to find out what is possible and how to do it.
#14 Walk/Drive/Run a new route to work/school each day (Easy)
This is a great challenge to keep alert, discover new places, get a better understanding of your city and to have more fun while doing one of the mundane daily tasks of life.
#15 Read a new article on HE each day (Easy)
A great way to keep inspired, to come up with new ideas and to motivate yourself to make the best out of life!
#16 Media-fast for 30 days (Intermediate)
Don’t watch any television and stop following the news. Limit yourself to reading a maximum of 5 blogs this whole month. Log out of Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon. Stop the information overload and try living simple. You¥ll be amazed how much free time you have left!
#17 Pick one bad habit you already have and ditch it for 30 days (Hard)
Are you a smoker? Do you like to see the negative side of things? Do you practice self-hate? Do you eat fast food? Do you play too many video games? Quit them for 30 days, and pick another challenge instead!
#18 Inspire yourself each day (Easy)
Studies have shown that people who are inspired are happier, nicer, productive and will not stray away from their chosen path if life gets difficult. So print a quote and tape it to the mirror. Have an inspirational video as your starting page. Use an inspirational mantra for meditation. Get a principle to live by. In short, get your dose of inspiration each day!
#19 Take a cold shower each day (Intermediate)
Cold showers are great for uplifting ones mood, cure stress related diseases, to strengthens ones immune system and to make your skin beautiful. You can read the reports of some HEthens that have been trying it for some time over here!
#20 Think of an accomplishment you’d like to achieve for each year of the next 30 years, a year each day. (Hard)
This is great existential shock therapy. You can’t answer these questions without facing your life as it is right now and how it is likely to unfold. This one also gets harder progressively. It’s a great way to reflect!
#21 Practice a random skill everyday (Easy)
There are many available How To’s on YouTube and other video sites. Pen tricks, hand stands, parkour, dances, cooking tricks. Broaden your arsenal!
#22 Take the stairs every chance you get (Easy)
Somehow escalators seem ridiculous to me, and in some cases elevators too. It always reminds me a bit of all the fat people in Wall-E. Too lazy to do anything. So take the stairs every chance you get for 30 days. It is healthy, it doesn¥t look silly and it will add up over a lifetime 🙂
#23 Wake up early each day (Intermediate)
It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. – Aristotle
Check out how to become an early riser.
#24 Keep a journal (Intermediate)
Great for memory, reflection and especially awesome to look back to in the future and remember the good old times when you did these challenges!
#25 Don’t lie for 30 days (Hard)
This is quite the challenge. Stop deceiving yourself and others, speak from the heart. This one goes great with cultivating right intentions, because if you master that, there won’t be any need for lying!
#26 Combine challenges (Easy)
Take a photo of yourself reading a different book at a different location. Take 10,000 steps on a new route to meet a stranger and ask for a recipe to try out. Do all challenges, a different one each day. Wake up early to make time to meditate, practice self compassion and yoga. Finish it off with a cold shower!
#27 Doing something that scares you every day (Hard)
Fear is the one thing keeping you from being the best version of yourself. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them head on!
#28 Don’t complain for an entire day (Hard)
This one will likely take more than a few days to work up to achieving. Even if you’re a highly positive person, it’s difficult not to utter one negative sentence for a 24-hour span. Don’t be down on yourself if you can’t make it past an hour — as with everything this takes practice! This one is also great practice for becoming conscious of your thoughts.
#29 Meditate each day (Intermediate)
Read this to learn why you should meditate, learn awesome variations on meditation here and discuss this challenge here. The best moments are just after waking up and just before sleep!
#30 Practice (at least) one completely selfless act each day (Easy)
Go out of your way to help someone else out who may or may not deserve your kindness. Take out your neighbor’s trash. Give a $5 to a homeless person. Do something that takes real effort on your part while brightening the day of the receiver.
I actually kicked this one off in 2010 without realising it when I did the Nanowrimo challenge – I’ve always planned to be a writer and a friend of mine told me to take it on; I overcame it and I loved it!
Then I read this article in October and mastered cold showers! Now I never start my day without one.
For some reason I forgot about monthly challenges until recently. This August I am in the process of an interesting one: everyday i am writing down my thoughts on life, the Universe and everything as part of a sustained effort to create my own philosophy and commit it to paper. This is a very tough one, but I’m going well so far, and its helped me clarify and evaluate my belief system to an amazing degree.
Planned challenges for the future: a month of no drinking, a month of vegetarianism, months where I master skills (like chess etc)
I just started this today. 30 Days Challenge:
-Wake up at 6:00am (I usually wake up at 7am and rush to get readyfor work)
-Cold Showers (I hear the health benefits are great)
-NO TELEVISION (including Netflix & movies)
-Clean My Room every day (not too difficult for me, but I’m much happier when uncluttered)
-Write a new song every day (I used to write music all the time. Haven’t had much time in recent years, so I’m excited to rejuvinate that area of my life)
-Exercise for 30mins every day (I haven’t worked out in 2 years. Any exercise at this point will be a change in lifestyle)
Waking up an hour earlier allows extra time to clean my room and fill myself with inspiration for a new song every day. I exercise after work. The cold shower this morning was horrible. I turned the knob to the temp setting “Cold As Hell”. I was pretty much hyperventilating when rinsing off. It will be interesting to see how I learn to control my body and breathing over the next 30 days. I certainly was more awake after my brisk shower. I live in MN (28F Degrees today). When I walked outside this morning, I was surprisingly not cold. I had been freezing all morning since my shower, and warmed up slightly with every article of clothing I put on, so even the freezing winter air seemed mild.
I’m not sure if I can keep this up for 30 days, but I’m REALLY going to try.
One thing I am sure of: I am amazed with how much extra time I have without television.