By Christine Song

What If the Next 30 Days Could Change Your Life?


The 30 day challenge = one month + one focus. Are you up for it? We know you are because you’re like us. You want to better yourself, develop your strengths, and be successful in your endeavors. But to get there, you have to push the boundaries a little. You will never grow if you […]

The 30 day challenge = one month + one focus. Are you up for it?

We know you are because you’re like us. You want to better yourself, develop your strengths, and be successful in your endeavors. But to get there, you have to push the boundaries a little. You will never grow if you don’t do something new.

Get outside of your comfort zone and try something new, even if you’re a little scared, intimidated, or hesitant. The best way to dig a little deeper and find success is to start by changing the small stuff. Because the small stuff becomes the big stuff.

The concept of a 30 day challenge is an awesome launching pad you can use for anything and everything. Want to give up a bad habit? Solve a recurring problem? Find a way to feel better? Or just take a month to focus on one thing in particular you’ve been wanting to try?

A 30 day challenge is the perfect opportunity and length of time to challenge yourself and actually see progress. It’s a flexible approach to habit forming that is only limited by your imagination. Every day is a new opportunity for greatness and the 30 day challenge keeps you focused on just that.

A special and unique feature of the Ink+Volt Planner, the 30 day challenge pages each month help you formulate your challenge, implement it, and stay accountable to it throughout the entire month. Ready to give it a try? Yes, we know you are!

The 30 day challenge is LIFE CHANGING

The 30 day challenge is all about your habits. Being aware of what habits you have, good and bad, and what habits you’re lacking or want to improve on. By focusing on a single habit every day, bringing =it to the forefront of your mind and attention, you’re giving it specific time in the spotlight.

And consistent time like that is more positive and productive than simply trying to find time to try something new.

For example, if you have a habit of not getting enough sleep because you stay up in bed late because you’re on social media, then you wake up tired the next morning with feelings of frustration, irritation, or regret are all negative and not really productive. Being in a negative frame of mind, or being mad at yourself, is not a productive mindset.

Instead of kicking yourself for your bad habits, the 30 day challenge turns the problem into a positive goal you actively address in a thoughtful, purposeful, and positive way!

You should try the 30 day challenge no matter what because your life is really made up of all the small habit you do every day. The big things — marriage, kids, new jobs — feel like the most important sometimes, but when you look back on your life, the things that influence your quality of life the most are the little things that happen every single day.

When you challenge yourself to improve these small habits or expand your life to include new skills, you’ll soon realize:

  1. You’re a lot stronger (mentally or physically) than you give yourself credit for
  2. You’re resilient and up for a challenge
  3. You can teach an old dog new tricks
  4. It’s fun!

Where do you start?

It’s a pretty simple process. In anticipation of the first day of the next month, think about areas you want to improve, change, or grow:

  1. Be aware of your routine, interactions, reactions to challenges, etc. Are there things in your daily life that you want to change or do differently?
  2. Identify your habits: good habits you want to improve or strengthen and bad habits that you want to break and reverse course.
  3. Consider things that you used to enjoy doing, but stopped. What happened? How would it feel to start again?
  4. Ask yourself if there are activities or things that are missing from your life or that you’ve heard about and want to try.
  5. Keep a list of those things you find yourself saying “if I only did ___, I would be/feel/have ____.” The 30 day challenge format is perfect for those what ifs!

Keep the ideas themselves on the shorter side. Try to pare your big ideas down to small steps and things that you could do every day and realistically accomplish.

The Ink+Volt Planner 30 day challenge page

Using your Ink+Volt Planner, follow the prompt at the beginning of the month to get started on your 30 day challenge. Here’s how:

1. For the next 30 days I want to…

This space is where you identify your challenge. Declare it like you’re shouting it from the rooftops! It can be very broad like “read more books” or “start a journal.”

For example, our team member Tessa wrote about a year’s collection of 30 day posts, and the first challenge she wrote about was simple and straightforward:

“For the next 30 days I want to read more books.”

The challenge is broad but focuses on a single habit and has a measurable aspect to it: you can quantify it and turn it into steps (we’ll get to that part later).

2. I want to make this happen because…

This part is super important. What is motivating you to make this activity a 30 day challenge? Why? In the middle of the month when you’re not sure why you’re doing something every single day, this section of your planner should dispel any doubt instantaneously.

Stating your intention and the reason for choosing this challenge will keep you focused and motivated. Go back to this part of your Ink+Volt Planner as frequently as you need to! Clearly state why the challenge is important to you and what or how will you be different at the end of 30 days.

Going back to the example of wanting to read more books:

“I want to make this happen because I love to read, but I often feel too busy. There are a million things on my to-do list and reading feels like a luxury I can’t afford. Sound familiar? But I’ve realized that reading is crucial to being better at my job. By reading more books, you are fostering a habit of continual learning. Whether or not the book pertains to the industry you work in, you are developing critical thinking skills, reducing work-day stress and expanding your vocabulary. Frequent reading can also improve your writing ability.”

The beginning describes why this is going to be her 30 day challenge, but it doesn’t stop there – it could, but it doesn’t. It gets very specific, detailing 5 more reasons, other than just the love of reading, for why this challenge is important.

3. My plan of action is…

This is where you get to go deep into the nitty gritty. What’s your plan and how are you going to successfully incorporate your 30 day challenge into your life over the next month?

Try to make your plan measureable or based on objective criteria; this means it could be time bound or based on not having or doing something at all. For example, practicing an instrument for 30 minutes a day versus not watching television on weekdays. It’s very clear whether or not you’ve met the challenge each day in both of these examples.

Consistency is important, so also take time to brainstorm and identify barriers that might prevent you from making daily progress and consider what you’ll do to overcome each. The more specific and measurable this section is, the more successful you’ll be. For example,

“My plan of action is read 20 pages a day. Twenty pages is kind of an arbitrary number, but it’s a good target goal because 20 pages means that you can finish reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own in less than a week. My plan is to start my reading in the morning over breakfast (and wake up earlier if need be). Find a time you can dedicate to reading.”

The plan of action is clear and measurable; if you don’t read 20 pages a day, it’s apparent you haven’t met the goal. In this example, Tessa’s identified that a possible barrier to achieving her goal is putting off until the end of the day, implied by her statement that she will start her days reading first thing in the morning, even waking earlier if necessary!

4. Commitment.

At the bottom of the 30 day challenge page in your Ink+Volt Planner, you’ll see a sentence that says “I fully intend to commit myself to this for the next 30 days.” You’ll then sign your name and date it. It doesn’t get more official than that!

To keep you feeling motivated and to act as a visual reminder, the dates of the month are listed 1, 2, 3, etc., ready and waiting for you to cross them off every day that you accomplish your 30 day challenge habit.

Go a step further than this and block off the time or write a reminder for yourself in your planner on each day of the Weekly Outlook page.

It’s hard adapting to something new, especially in the beginning, but by outlining in your plan of action for how the challenge will be incorporated into your days and scheduling it in, you won’t forget or leave success up to fate.

The 30(ish) day challenge…

Let’s say you get to day 5 and you’re going strong. But life happens and days 6 and 7 go by, but you didn’t get to do your challenge…don’t give up! It’s not over! The month and your challenge are not completely ruined.

Rather than despairing, go back and look at your 30 day challenge page, the why and the plan of action section in particular. What happened on days 6 and 7 and what can you do to prevent that drop off from happening again? How can you tweak your plan of action for the remaining days this month?

Stay accountable to yourself and be honest, tweaking where necessary. But whatever you do, keep at it.

Inspirational challenge ideas

If you need a little bit of inspiration, we’re here to help. Here are just a few very inspiring ideas to get you started, but for more, check out older posts here and here:

What 30 day challenge will you do next?