That dreaded pause that makes us not fill out our 30-day challenge until day twelve of the month, and then give up after eight days (two of which we actually missed the challenge altogether). Oops.
It’s scary to commit to anything for 30 days, and it’s sometimes hard to think of what new challenge makes the most sense to work on, considering everything else you do already.
But you can do it. Sometimes you just need a little help to get going.
That’s why we put our brains together to create this MASSIVE compendium of inspiration for a 30-day challenge that anyone can try.
70 ideas total! We know you can find one perfect for you in there.
We’ve divided this list into five categories:
The premise of the 30-day Challenge in the Volt Planner is to define one activity you’re going to implement daily, outline why you are implementing this habit, and create a plan of action.
Each of the items on this list is designed to be a 30-minute-or-less investment of time, sometimes daily, others on a regular self-scheduled basis.
You can pick your own timeline for these habits. Some are things you can try to do every day, while others are better planned on a once-a-week basis. How you implement the challenge is totally up to you!
Each day in a new opportunity to be the best version of ourselves. Sometimes, I have nagging thoughts like, “If you knew how to… you’d be happier” or “If you just kept a journal, you’d feel better!”
The Volt Planner’s 30-day challenge was the antidote to those thoughts.
Instead of feeling like I couldn’t commit to something new, I had external accountability, each of those boxes corresponding to the day of the month, to keep me on track to a new habit. Some of these are from personal experience, others are habits I’d like to try in the future.
Could any of these work for you?
- Keep a daily gratitude list.
- Organize your handbag or laptop bag.
- Write a diary entry cataloging your day.
- Writer a letter or postcard and mail it.
- Enjoy a morning cup of tea or coffee in silence.
- Set a daily intention or mantra.
- Practice meditation.
- Learn or practice a new language using an app like Duolingo.
- Start an entrepreneurial brainstorming practice: List 10 problems daily (world, local, product-related) or 10 solutions daily, or both!
- Release one item (declutter, give away, toss) daily.
- Learn a new word every day.
- Listen to an audiobook for 30 minutes.
- Read for 10 – 30 minutes daily.
- Organize one small area of your life weekly – no more than 30 minutes.
- Write a daily to-do list first thing in the morning.
- Lightly tidy your home.
- Make your bed first thing in the morning.
- No screen time 30 minutes before bed.
- Eliminate plastic bags or bottles with reusables.
- Make new friends.
It’s easy to get comfortable once you’ve settled in at your workplace. You get to know your core group, you have your favorite spot for lunch, you get into the rhythm of having tons of work on your plate and everyone around you being equally as busy.
When you apply a 30-day challenge to your professional life, it’s an opportunity to slow down for a moment and reflect on how you might improve your career, workplace, or yourself professionally.
When thinking about how you might improve your work self, ask: “What is missing from my daily experience at work?”
Some ideas to get you started:
- Thank one co-worker, client, or partner every day.
- Avoid social media entirely during work hours.
- Listen to a career-relevant or educational audiobook during your commute.
- Wear an outfit or accessory that makes you feel like your best, smartest self.
- Brainstorm ideas or solutions for a work problem for 5 minutes.
- Avoid work emails before and after hours.
- Leave your work at work and don’t take it home.
- Journal about your daily work experience.
- Make a list of your professional profiles and assets (resume, CV, LinkedIn…) and update them.
- Have lunch with a co-worker or superior.
Especially around the new year, health becomes a major focus area for improvement. More ads for exercise equipment and health supplements run during the beginning of the year than any other time.
Instead of making a huge commitment that might be too big to accomplish, try to improve your health within the boundaries of your current schedule.
These ideas shouldn’t take more than 10 – 30 minutes per day or week (depending on how you structure your challenge) and can improve more than just your physical appearance, but the health of your whole mind and body.
- Floss once daily.
- Brush your teeth twice daily.
- Train your brain with an app like Lumosity.
- Keep a food journal.
- Home-cook one meal.
- Drink eight glasses of water.
- Drink one less cup of coffee.
- Go vice-free (alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, etc.)
- Stop counting calories.
- Avoid weighing yourself.
- Walk with your pet, child, partner, parent, or neighbor once daily. Engage in lively conversation for an added bonus.
- Stretch when you wake up or before bed.
- Walk or bike to work or a close regular errand location instead of driving.
- Track your heart rate when you exercise and get it to 75% of its max BPM per day.
- Try an app like Eye Exercises to strengthen your eyesight.
I’m of the opinion that we could all use a little boost in our financial health and education from time to time. As we get older, our responsibilities, financial and otherwise, tend to get weightier and more complex.
By taking on a 30-day challenge to learn, improve, or otherwise positively impact our financial situation, we could be setting up a life-changing habit from which we could reap major rewards in the future.
- Track your spending and categorize your purchases daily with an app like Mint.
- Put your spare change in a jar and count it at the end of the month.
- Pause clothing shopping for 30 days.
- Set and stick to a budget.
- Research a topic related to personal finance for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Brainstorm 5 new ways to improve your financial health.
- Avoid buying a to-go coffee (and instead bring one from home).
- Learn about retirement accounts and set one up..
- Bring your lunch to work instead of going out.
- Assess your bills and subscriptions with an app like TruBill and see what you can decrease or cancel all-together.
How fun would it be to spend time learning a new creative activity like knitting, painting, or ukulele?
The 30-day challenge is the perfect accountability partner for your dream of planting a garden or starting a blog. (You know, those things you daydream about but never seem to actually start.) Take this opportunity to think about what you have always wanted to learn but may have never quite devoted the necessary time and focus to do so.
- Take a photo every day.
- Start a blog.
- Create a drawing or painting daily.
- Start an art journal.
- Write a daily poem.
- Draw the weather.
- Sing a song.
- Dance to at least one song each day.
- Enroll in a course for an art you’ve always wanted to learn and practice daily.
- Practice your handwriting.
- Create a video, as simple as using your smartphone and iMovie.
- Learn a musical instrument.
- Prepare your current creative practice for performance.
- Try projects from your Pinterest boards.
- Learn a new craft activity like knitting, gardening, or embroidery.
Did you find an idea that interests you?
Once you’ve decided what you’d like to do for the next thirty days, be it a daily commitment or overarching project that culminates at the end of the month, it’s time to get clear about your intentions. What stops people too-often is insidiously simple…
They simply fall off the wagon, just one time.
Life gets in the way. They miss a day. They miss a weekend. They give half-effort for a few days and then slowly rationalize that it wasn’t that important to begin with. Or it’s “too late” to start over.
This is why it is imperative to be detailed and authentic as you formulate your response to the prompt, “I want to make this happen because…”
Do you want to become a better singer? Do you want to have cleaner teeth? Do you want to learn Portuguese? Why?
- I’m going to practice singing everyday because I want to sing around the piano to my children like my great-grandmother used to do for me, which is one of my most treasured memories.
- I’m going to floss every day because after my last very painful, somewhat embarrassing dental appointment, I don’t want to ever have to endure that again.
- I’m going to practice Portuguese for 15 minutes every day because I want to travel Portugal by bike next summer and be confident enough to converse with locals.
By day 15, when your commitment is feeling more like a dead weight on your ankle than an inspiring opportunity to expand your horizons, you can reread your genuine commitment to the activity and be re-enlivened by your own fortitude.
Once you have your plan of action written in stone (well, pen and paper), make sure you schedule your planned activities in your calendar.
Yes, that includes scheduling yourself to floss if that is what you have chosen for your 30-day challenge. It may seem excessive, but that daily reminder just before bedtime may be deciding factor of whether or not you do or don’t floss. Want to take that one step further? Summarize your reasoning for your activity and add that to your reminder, even if it is as simple as:
That makes me want to go floss right now. And, that’s not even my 30-day challenge.
To go more in-depth on tips for a successful habit practice, visit our previous post: A Year’s Collection of 30 Day Challenges to Help You Build Better Habits