Goals, Podcasts, Productivity

30 day challenges

So far, so good with my “March” challenge to limit social media to only 15 minutes per day.

Besides using the timer, I’m not imposing any other limits of when I can use it. So, most days I end up checking facebook several times during the morning-early afternoon. And then I run out of time before evening rolls around.

But that’s actually been nice! I’m finding I rather enjoy not even having the “option” to look at it for the rest of the day. There is something oddly freeing about not even having to think about it. Once it greys out, I’m done, nothing more to consider. Whatever EXCITING content that is being posted will have to wait until the next morning. 😉

Speaking of challenges….I loved the Happier podcast episode (#367) I listened to while cleaning on Sunday. It was all about 30 day Challenges- which I’m a sucker for. 🙂

Some people complain that 30 day challenges are not useful, because the behavior change doesn’t last once the challenge ends. True statement! I have experienced this as well.

But in this episode, they re-framed the whole concept of the 30 day challenge. Instead of treating a 30 day challenge as a “kickstart to a new you” type mentality/ jumpstart to a new, lifelong change, you could think of it more as part of an ongoing challenge. As in, the challenge doesn’t have to “end”- after 30 days, you could then just morph into a new (similar, yet different) challenge, to keep the novelty fresh and the momentum going.

Some examples:

🔷 Let’s say your overall goal is to exercise more in 2022. With a traditional 30 day challenge, one might plan to work out every day for 30 days. Then, on day 31, they basically fall off the wagon and go back to their old sedentary life, and the whole experience feels like a “failure”.

Alternatively, you could say, ok- in January, I’m going to run every day. In February, I’m going to do a workout class every day. March is strength training every day. (Or whatever you wanted!) Maybe it would be a 6 day/ week challenge, in this case, to have a rest day.

🔷 Same for healthy eating! You could focus on X oz of water every day for January. A salad every day for February. 5 servings of fruits/ veggies in March. Etc.

This feels fresh and fun and like it could be really motivating for some people! And at least you’re always moving the needle in the right direction toward your over-arching goal of (exercise/ diet/ other).

🔷 Or, as Gretchen and Liz mentioned, you could do a totally random 30 day challenge, something new each month! Like, read 20 minutes every day in January. No sugar in February. Read the Bible every day in March. I thought this sounded like a great way to potentially experiment with new things. Personally, I like the idea of a challenge to “play the piano” every day for one whole month. (Something I love to do, but don’t always make time for.)

I hadn’t specifically considered the concept of 30 day challenges in this way before, although I guess maybe I did without realizing it. It’s basically what I set out to do with my social media challenge (different smaller focus each month/larger goal to decrease social media consumption).

To me, it’s also a nice way to try something without feeling like you’re necessarily committing to some big lifelong change.

(e.g. I’m going to stretch for 10 minutes every evening. Well, maybe I don’t want to feel I “have” to stretch every single day for the rest of my life, but prioritizing it for just 30 days straight could be a nice way to see if stretching more positively impacts my body/life, for example.)

On the podcast, Liz mentioned that one of Gretchen’s big life themes is to always be living in an atmosphere of growth. Trying different challenges, trying new things, considering new way of doing things, learning something deeper. And ongoing 30 day challenges are a great way to implement this!

I really liked this episode and the discussion of this idea. 🙂

Are you a fan of 30 day challenges? (or other similar ideas)

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for pillows.

4 thoughts on “30 day challenges”

  1. I think 30 days is long enough time to adopt a new habit and doable for something challenging. I kind of do that when I track some new habits for the month like meditating everyday, or finish dinner by 6pm. It gives me a visual reminder of what my goals are. sometimes I stick to the challenge later on, other time I don’t.
    my march challenge on social media consumption is not check it until noon. and since I’ve unfollowed many, it takes less than 5 min to go through them. 😉 I agree that it’s liberating to not do it often.


  2. I generally set quarterly goals because I’ve found that 90 days is enough for me to develop a habit, but it’s also enough time for me to see if it’s a habit that I’m interested in maintaining. So one of my quarter one goals has been to drink 16 ounces of water a day (I’m REALLY bad about water) and I’ve been able to mostly meet this goal, so maybe next quarter I’ll bump it up to 32 ounces. But I also had a goal once where I said I would vacuum at least twice a week and I did it grudgingly, but realized that once a week was probably all that I was really up for most of the time.

    I have tried 30 day goals, but I always feel like they’re so short that if I miss a day, I’ve ruined the whole thing and then I just give up. For me, the 90 day window feels like there’s more wiggle room for a miss (or two or half dozen).


  3. I do like 30 day challenges and have done them in the past. I didn’t have that ‘falling off a cliff’ feeling when they ended, though, but that might be the upholder in me? I think they help me establish a habit and then I can keep it going. I used to do ‘workout 30 times in 30 days’ challenges. I liked that better than working out every day as I could do double workouts (this was pre-kids) to give myself a day off. I ended up doing 6 months of that challenge. I could not do that again, at least not with young kids/not with working full time.. but it was fun when I was able to do that! I haven’t really taken on a challenge in quite awhile, though! I liked their thoughts on 30 day challenges, too. Their podcast is one of my faves!


  4. This past January I challenged myself to write one positive thing about my kids and husband each day in my journal. I had been in such a slog state where parenting felt so hard and joyless that I was finding it hard to remember the cool people they really were. It was a really great exercise to get me to see my kids as separate from me.


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