There’s been a lot of buzz in recent years about self-savvy debutantes the world over partaking in 30-day challenges. Today, one quick search on the web will yield a magnitude of results for weight loss challenges, social challenges, gratitude challenges, and everything in between. 30-day challenge ideas are everywhere.
So, what’s it all about? The idea originated from the conventional belief that it takes approximately 30 days to create a new habit. This notion is quite controversial, but one thing is certain: After 30 days of consistent action forming new disciplines and new behaviors, you’ll be a new person.
How many people do you know that take the initiative to better themselves, convinced they’ve found the perfect solution or method to finally make a change, only to find that a few weeks later not much has changed at all? They planted the seed in the form of an idea, but they never cultivated that seed through consistent action.
30-day challenges are among the most popular of tactics for improving your character and what I’ve recently discussed as one of the “5 best daily habits to supercharge your self-development.” Stated simply, they work. The essence of this article is to inspire you to take part in the creation and execution of your own 30-day challenge. With that, I’ve broken down our challenge ideas into four separate categories: The 4 cornerstones of personal development, as we will call them. These include the body, the mind, the outward flow, and the inward flow.
Taking daily action from anyone category will be powerful for personal growth, but it is the combination of actions from all four of these categories that will create unlimited potential. This is true for two reasons: First, we must maintain a state of “growth equilibrium” in these four areas to live a truly exceptional life. And second, each practice will have an “overflow” effect into another of the four areas.
For example, if you choose to cut out junk food from your diet, it will obviously have a positive impact on your physical health (the body), but this, in turn, may also provide you with more clarity and motivation to meditate (the inward flow). The meditation will improve your sleep, allowing you to wake rested and feel much more social throughout the day (the outward flow). This is a simple concept, but it is of paramount importance. Let’s keep this in mind as we continue on to our challenge ideas.
30-Day Challenge Ideas For a New You
Your body is the vehicle in which you experience life. It is absolutely crucial to nourish your body, to develop it into the best form possible for your goals and desires, and to honor its amazing complexity each and every day. Your 30-day challenge needs to include at least one or two disciplines for your physical health and well-being in order for you to achieve results in any capacity. There are unlimited possibilities as far as what practices to include for the body, but here are some great ideas to get you started.
Wake Up Earlier
Choosing to wake up earlier is one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself. Wake up at 6:00 A.M. (or at least two hours before you need to leave the house) and adopt a new morning routine. Meditate, visualize, read, exercise, cook a healthy breakfast; the possibilities are endless.
Exercise Every Morning
Plain and simple, your body needs to move. Exercise, in any form, is essential for not only physical health and energy but mental clarity and balanced emotions as well. There is no better kickstart to your day than to get your body in motion. And it doesn’t need to be much. Just a few minutes right out of bed will make you alert and energized.
Go to the Gym
If exercise (or specifically weight loss, weight gain) is a current goal, create more of a habit by going to the gym. It takes dedication to make changes to your body, dedication that you’ll carry into all areas of your life.
Eat Only Healthy Foods
This isn’t an article on nutrition, but we all know what’s common sense as far as a healthy diet is concerned. There are many ways to eat, but choose a way that supports your health and vitality. A good question to ask yourself: “Would my great-grandparents have been eating this?” If the answer is no, you should probably put it down. This means no processed “food”, fast “food”, or junk “food”, as it’s really not food at all. Your body will thank you.
What better way to start eating healthier and valuing what you put into your body than by cooking more often? It doesn’t need to be anything complicated, but the act of preparing and enjoying your own creation goes a long way.
Drink More Water
It’s something we all need to do, but how many of us do it? So much of the physical fatigue and mental burnout we’ve become accustomed to is due to lack of hydration. Why skimp out on the most basic and most nourishing thing we can do for ourselves?
I would recommend purchasing a filtered pitcher; fill it up and you’ve got clean water all day. No more excuses.
Green smoothies are one of the most powerful “hacks” for improving your health and nutrition. I have an extensive article (listed below) detailing everything you need to know to make them part of your daily routine. You’ll be amazed at the results, seriously.
Yoga is one of the most powerful practices for total health and wellness. You can join a class or choose to do it in the comfort of your home. There are plenty of resources available to get started. Choose to do this every morning and you’ll be a new person on many levels, guaranteed.
Use a Foam Roller
Foam rollers are another amazing tool to promote total body wellness. Use a foam roller at the end of the evening (or any time of day) to relax away tension, stress, and physical imbalances. To learn more, check out my article on the benefits of foam rolling.
Maintain Good Posture
Our posture is so often neglected, yet it is one of the most important factors for keeping us happy and healthy. Good posture not only keeps your body in proper alignment and good health, but it also affects your hormones, confidence, and energy levels in a massive way. Sit up straight.
Our mind is the control center, the tool which we use to create goals, create methods for achieving those goals, and create the circumstances through which we experience life. And it is a tool that must be kept sharp if we wish for it to work for us, rather than against us (more on this in the 4th pillar: the inward flow).
Creating and maintaining a sharp mind is essential for becoming a better version of yourself. There are a variety of methods we can use to keep our brains well-oiled and high-performing. Also, keep in mind that all of the physical disciplines listed above will play an important role in keeping your brain beastly as well. Here are some of our 30-day challenge ideas for the mind.
Use “Brain-Training” Apps
There is conflicting evidence on the efficacy of these programs and to whether or not they produce a “real” increase in intelligence. But what I can tell you from personal experience is that I think faster, sharper, and much clearer when I practice these consistently. There is no better feeling than a good “mental pump.” There are plenty to choose from such as Lumosity, Elevate, and NeuroNation, to name a few. Give it a try.
Abstain From Porn
The mental (and physical) effects of consistent porn viewing are crippling to men. This is a topic that has been accommodated extensively on this site and I urge you to check out these resources if you’re still on the fence.
Read Every Day
It doesn’t need to be 1,000 pages and it doesn’t need to be anything dense. Just know that reading is one of the best practices for self-education, relaxation, and mental sharpness.
This can tie into reading, but it also includes videos, interviews, and podcasts. Turn off the news, turn off the talk radio on your morning commute, and instead listen to a podcast; something educational or inspirational. Your subconscious digests whatever you feed it so make sure it’s something healthy, not just tasty.
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language is one of the best ways to challenge your brain and to create new neural pathways. It also goes a long way toward making you a more diverse and interesting person. Fais le!
Take Cold Showers
You may be wondering why cold showers made it to “the mind” category rather than “the body.” After your first attempt at the cold shower, you’ll understand. Cold showers are amazing for reducing stress and strengthening your immune system, but most of all, they build unshakeable willpower and determination. Every morning after you’re clean, turn that knob down to zero for as long as you can stand it.
This is simply the process of connecting your future goals with an emotional charge. Doing so allows these desires to sink into your subconscious so that you’ll be taking the actions necessary, day in, day out, to make your dreams a reality.
What better way to start each morning than by reflecting on your goals, getting amped up, and having the vision to go out into the world and crush it?
Keep It Clean
Maintaining a clean living space is essential. The current state of your pad says a lot about who you are and how you operate. When you walk in, do you toss your jacket onto the chair, set your phone somewhere you’ll forget until it rings, and walk past the dirty dishes on your way to the fridge? This definitely isn’t what the best version of you would do. Clean your living space back to baseline every evening before you go to bed. You’ll feel amazing waking up to a fresh, clean slate each and every day.
The Outward Flow
We are social creatures by nature, and social limitations and anxieties are something many men struggle with. Our social qualities are important for a number of reasons. It relates to how we’re interpreted by the world, how we’re able to make friends and build connections, and how we’re able to attract the opposite sex.
So many men are trapped in their own heads, creating false realities and self-induced restrictions that hold them back from being social. A 30-day challenge is a great way to start breaking out of those four walls of comfort and into a new life of social freedom. You can start small, but you must be consistent.
Talk to 3 Strangers Each Day
This is great for overcoming shyness and social anxiety. It can be anyone, the person on the park bench, the lady walking her dog, the cashier at the store, it really doesn’t matter. Start with “Hi. How are you?” You might just be amazed at some of the great conversations you have.
Hold Eye Contact
Eye contact speaks measures about your confidence and authenticity as a person. If it’s too daunting to maintain laser eye focus during a conversation, start by holding eye contact with every person you walk past.
Engage Everyone You Pass
Think of how many people you walk past each day, down the street, on your way into the store, or into work. That’s a lot of potential opportunities for breaking out of your social comfort bubble. Say “Hello” or “How’s it going?” to each and every person. Yes, that’s a lot of people, and that is the point.
Make All Transactions an Interaction
Inevitably, you communicate with many people on a regular basis, no matter how minimal it may be. You talk to the cashier at the grocery store, the bank teller, and the waiter or waitress. Take these opportunities to strike up a conversation. Doing so will add a little more to their day as well as be a great opportunity for you to break out of your boundaries.
Work On Your Speaking
The way we speak is crucial for the way we’re perceived by others. This includes volume, tone, pronunciation, and speaking clearly. For the next 30 days, make it a habit to speak more slowly and articulate your words, or maybe focus on the tonality to make what you’re saying more interesting. There are multiple ways to do this and it’s a great exercise for self-awareness.
Improve Your Body Language
Nearly all communication is nonverbal, this much we know. Others will assess your persona within the first second of seeing you based on your body language and general vibe. Enhancing your body language, including posture, mannerisms, stance, and expression, will not only help you appear more confident but also be more confident from the inside out.
The Inward Flow
The outward flow describes the energy and attention that you put out into the world, the way you engage others and give value through expression. The inward flow is the inverse of this concept. With the inward flow, we’re focusing on the energy and feelings that we’re giving to ourselves.
As discussed earlier, our mind is a tool that we can use to create amazing circumstances for ourselves, but oftentimes, our minds run rampant without any conscious observation that it is happening. This is where awareness, giving value to ourselves, and opening our heart comes in. Without these final actions, our results in every other category will be sub-par at best.
This is where the chasers and ruthless achievers fall short. They may have had the energy (the body), the intellect (the mind), and the personality (the outward flow) to amass results, but it fails to mean much of anything without a grounding and love for yourself. Here are some ideas on how to do just that.
Meditation is one of the single most important practices you can adopt for becoming a better you. There is no better way to start (and end) your successful day than with a good meditation session. You’ll be more confident, have more energy, feel more relaxed throughout the day, and sleep amazingly. Start by sitting down and closing your eyes for 10 minutes each day. What have you got to lose?
Record a Journal
Journaling can take on many forms, all of which are extremely effective. You can choose to keep a “gratitude journal”, a “self-love journal”, or simply write down your thoughts and experiences for the day to reflect on. All too often, we swerve through life without ever stopping to look where we are and what we’re doing. Sitting down to journal will offer you a clear understanding and may very well change the way you see your life.
What’s one thing that nearly all successful individuals mention? An attitude of gratitude. There is nothing more powerful than appreciating what you have. We often take everything for granted, not realizing how great we really have it.
The fact that you’re reading this article on a computer, considering how to become a better person, means that you already have all your basic survival needs met, and that alone is so much more than a large portion of the world. Reflecting on what you’re grateful for (or even better, writing it down in a journal) will keep you on the fast track to creating a life of appreciation and abundance.
So much of our self-talk is negative; surely, far more than we realize. If you don’t love, honor, and appreciate yourself, how can you expect others to? Oftentimes, the people around us can only pick up on and feel what we feel about ourselves. Standing in front of a mirror reciting our positive qualities can sound ridiculous, but this is only because the concept of self-love is so uncomfortable for most.
It is a convenient taboo that justifies our pushing it away rather than facing our own storm. A “self-love journal” can be a great way to start. Simply write down a few things each day that you love about yourself. This is extremely powerful.
Taking on an opportunity to volunteer can offer the greatest gift possible, that of selfless giving. It’s important that along your journey of developing yourself, you turn equal attention outward to help others. This is something that the “new and improved you” will be even more equipped to do. Having filled your own cup a little more, you now have more to offer.
30 Days to Greatness
There is no magic pill. What there is, however, is consistent action, each and every day, to become better. What really matters to you in life? What do you really want to achieve, and what type of person do you need to be in order to get there? Take the steps necessary and become your own inspiration.
A 30-day challenge is a great way to establish positive habits, and that is how success is really built. Your version of success doesn’t happen overnight. It happens day-by-day, hour-by-hour, one small action at a time. I hope that this article has inspired you to create your own 30-day challenge. Use some of the ideas presented here, search the web for more, or even better, create your own challenge list suited perfectly to you and your goals.
And one final note, do not be discouraged by failure. Depending on where you’re at and what challenges you take on, repetitive failure may very well be in the forecast. During my first 30-day challenge there were a couple of challenges on my list that I failed over and over again. I restarted the challenge, week after week, month after month. What I’d discovered was that despite the failed attempts at a couple of goals, I had still transformed myself into a “morning person”, a healthy eater, a consistent action-taker, and much more in just a couple of months. To me, that doesn’t sound like a failure at all.
I was a different person. You will be too.