There are 2 things that drive success in 99% of the cases. Consistency, and experimentation.
You can work your butt off on something, if it’s not working, you need to experiment with something new. Not necessarily completely different, but you will have to at least tweak a few knobs here and there.
On the other hand, you can experiment all you want, if it doesn’t lead you to pick something to do consistently for a while, you won’t get far.
When it comes to big projects, you need long-term consistency: at least half a year, often many years. Those big projects will ask a lot from you and will require self-discipline. In order to work on that self-discipline, you will have to develop automatic mental processes to stick to. Keystone habits that you will follow consistently, because you know you need them to get further on your timeline.
30-day challenges are great, because they can give you a taste of what it would feel like to follow a habit you’re not too sure of. This article summarises 11 30-day challenge ideas you can try for the rest of the year (starting February 2020). They are numbered only for structure, you can pick whichever you want, in whatever order you prefer.
All the templates are available for free download at the end of the article!
Journaling is one of the top habits of people who get things done. You don’t have to spend 1 hour writing per day, or even half an hour. Journaling can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes during weekdays, and a little more on the weekends for a better recap/planning.
2. Cold shower
A cold shower wakes you up, activates your metabolism, and is healthy:
- It lowers stress
- It improves cardiovascular health
- It enhances skin and hair
- It promotes faster muscle recovery
3. No social media and/or TV
Even if you sleep for 7 hours per day, spend 1 hour in the bathroom, 2 hours eating, and 2 more doing random stuff, you still have 25 hours left in your week. A lot of us fill that time with Youtube, Instagram and the likes. Imagine how much you can move a project forward by using as little as 1 hour per day.
Need help to get rid of Youtube? Check out this article.
4. Run 5K
Someone once told me a story about one of their friends who trained for a marathon by starting to run 1km one day. The next day, she ran 2. The day after, 3. All the way until 42km. This may not be the best way to train for a marathon, but it works, and it requires dedication, self-discipline, commitment. You can adjust the 5K variable to your own running skills. If you want to run only 3K a day, then do that. What matters is consistency. Run everyday for a month, and see how much your life improves. There’s a reason a lot of people first turn to exercise to change their life.
5. Wake up at 5am
This is extremely hard. I’ve been waking up at 6am on weekdays for a long time, and I still hit snooze for 10 mins once in a while. 5am is something I know is within my reach, but it would impact my end-of-day mood/energy in a negative way. 6am is the sweet spot for me.
You have a sweet spot too, and experimenting will help you find it. The more you can do, the less you can do. If you currently wake up at 7am but wish you would wake up earlier, then wake up at 5am for a month. After that, it will feel easy to wake up at 6am, still an hour earlier than 7am.
Note: it’s nearly impossible to wake up at 5am if you don’t have a reason to wake up. Make sure you work on your vision and your goals first.
I don’t remember where I got this, but it stuck with me forever: one easy way to have a space look cleaner and tidier is to not have anything lying/standing on flat surfaces. Keeping a space clean is the result of a sequence of automatic behaviours: habits.
- Finished eating = clean table
- Just woke up = make bed
- Done brushing teeth = swipe bathroom sink
- Just got home = shoes in drawer
Meditating daily for a month can open up your vision of your self and your environment. The main benefit I find to meditation is the development of gratitude. It’s good to strive for success and shoot for the moon. But it’s also good to pause once in a while and acknowledge the life you have and how lucky you are. Some people (a lot of people) have it way worse than you, and that’s important to remember.
Meditation also helps develop compassion, which opens the door to more understanding of the people you interact with on a daily basis. Your friends, family, co-workers… Everyone has a reason to be the way they are, and simply judging without trying to understand won’t get you far.
8. No added sugar
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugar per day for women, and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. If you start paying attention to your daily intakes by reading food packages, you’ll probably realise you are way above the threshold.
The no-sugar challenge is a hard one because of the likely side effects. For the first few days you will experience:
- Inability to focus for more than 10 mins
- Lack of energy
- Big, big craving for sugar
Those symptoms vary from one person to another. Once you make it past the 2–3 days, it will become a lot easier. Decreasing your sugar intake is one of the biggest gifts you can make to your body.
Note: we’re talking about unhealthy added sugar here. Sugar naturally present in fruits and other foods is usually not a problem.
9. 10K daily steps
We’ve talked about running 5K a day. That will barely get you to 6K steps. The recommended amount is 8 to 10K steps per day. The main benefit I find to having a daily step target is that it makes me go out to simply enjoy being outside. I love going for a walk to the park for the sole purpose of walking, and enjoying the life around me.
10. Track your life
Sergey Faldin wrote a great article about how he tracked some aspects of his life for 45 days to learn about his peak state and what he enjoys doing the most in life. He used the spreadsheet method to track everything. I prefer the “old-school” paper habit tracker (a spreadsheet, but printed).
The best way to track every single day and make sure you don’t forget is to have a routine. I write down my data every evening before going to bed, and I keep the habit tracker on my bedside table.
Another top habit of people who reach their goals. Very few people who successfully changed their life did it without books. Reading will give you a new perspective on yourself, your environment, and the world in general. Books offer an outstanding wealth of knowledge about anything you want to learn. Reading up on topics that interest you will transform you. Give it 30 days, and see if you want to stick with it or not.
Thanks a lot for reading! Need a little push to motivate yourself? Download all the 30-Day Challenges templates, for free!