You don’t have to wait until New Year’s to challenge yourself, change some habits, and set some resolutions. That’s really all New Year’s resolutions are: personal challenges.
And I know we like to start on January 1st and we like to begin new things on Mondays, but why not just start a less-than-perfect plan right now? When we put all that pressure on ourselves with a “start date” and this big plan, we’re destined to fail. That’s why the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions do fail.
It’s not going to be perfect. Just challenge yourself in some way. Today.
A Challenge is Born
I had surgery on my ankle and due to a series of unfortunate events (summed up as the military in general), I didn’t have physical therapy until two years later.
That brings us to today.
So it’s been a slow road to recovery.
In that time, I’ve put on some extra weight. Not in a good way — the bad kind of weight.
I wasn’t feeling overly motivated to lose said weight and I know the holidays are coming up, which doesn’t help, so I was trying to find a way to get motivated.
Then I had an epiphany. Ok, maybe that’s a strong word.
I had a… great idea.
My great idea was to use the challenge of losing weight itself as motivation.
I like challenges and they’re great for re-motivating me in areas I’ve neglected.
When I did the 90-days-without-spending-money challenge, people seemed interested to do the same. So I thought a challenge or challenges would be a good idea.
Thus, a series of 30-day challenges were born.
I was thinking about things like 75 Hard, which is basically just committing to 75 days of working out a lot, sticking with a diet (literally any diet), and reading 10 pages of a non-fiction book each day.
I like that 75 Hard is easily moldable to anyone since you pick your own eating style. But then I decided I don’t need a specific program to set a challenge for myself.
And neither do you.
So instead of titling this the Freedom Sprout Challenge or something of similar silliness, I decided to just share what I’m doing and give you a ridiculous amount of ideas to create your own challenge.
Because challenges like this keep us moving and growing.
How the Challenge Works for Me
Let me make this clear: this is how I’m doing my personal challenge.
Yours should look different because you’re different.
Only you know what your challenge should look like.
For me though, these are the parameters:
- I set up the challenge 30 days at a time
- Anything that can increase does increase… every 10 days
- I track it with Productive App (it’s effective… and pretty)1
That’s it. I also decided to use this challenge to do a lot of things I wasn’t doing but should’ve been doing. So it may seem like I added way too much to this challenge, but plenty of these things were already part of my daily ritual. I’m just making sure I don’t miss them this way.
In general, it’s always best to start small. As Leo Babauta would say, “so small you can’t say no” to whatever habit you’re trying to add.
Here are the habits in my challenge:
- Meditate for 5 minutes a day (increase by 5 min every 10 days) – I’m using the Pause app
- Complete one Bible devotional/reading – I created a list of plans here
- Wash face – Washing and using face moisturizer (I use this one)
- 3 sets of 10 pushups (increase by 5 pushups every 10 days)
- 3 sets of 20-second planks (increase by 10 seconds every 10 days)
- Read for 20 minutes a day (increase by 5 minutes every 10 days)
- Run/jog/walk for 30 minutes a day (increase by 10 minutes every 10 days)2
- Follow slow-carb eating style – Any time I need to lose weight, I revert to a slow carb diet. It’s perfect if you love Mexican food like I do, but it’s pretty strict. It’s not meant to be a forever thing — at least not for me.
- Drink 4 liters of water
- Drink greens drink
- 10 minutes decluttering garage (increase by 5 minutes every 10 days) – We’ve only lived in this house for about six months, and the snow is coming, so we need to finish unpacking all the non-essentials that are cluttering our garage. I’m a fan of decluttering slowly.
- Almond butter before bed – This is something that helps me in a few ways. Some science has shown it helps me sleep better, but mostly it’s that if I’m hungry at all this will help me to not be. Even if it doesn’t help me sleep better in any other way, I sleep better because I’m not hungry.
Those are my habits. Every 30 days I’ll reevaluate and add to them.
As you saw above, every 10 days several of my habits increase.
Now it’s time for you to create your own challenge!
36 Ideas to Add in to Your Challenge
I’m including the things I’ve added and things plan to add in my own challenge. I’ve also come up with plenty of additional things. Remember, these are challenges to do for 30 days at a time and then you re-evaluate.
Choose anywhere from 1-10 of the following things to create your own challenge. Smaller is better because it means you’re more likely to stick with it, so start with a few and see, after 30 days, if you have room to add more or increase the ones you started with.
Again, choose them knowing you’re only doing this for 30 days at a time.
- Declutter a certain number of rooms entirely over the month
- Declutter for 10 minutes a day
- Plan [and set up for] a yard sale for 5 minutes a day and have it at the end of the 30 days
- Put 5 things into a donate box each day
- Put 10 things back where they go each day
- Actually follow a budget
- Do a personal savings challenge (decide an amount to get to in 30 days and do it)
- No eating out
- Only buy essentials (food, fuel, rent/mortgage, and utilities)
- Spend less than $100 on non-essentials for the month
- Spend less than $400 on groceries
- Bible reading
- Leave 5 minutes earlier everywhere you go
- Practice an instrument for 10 minutes a day
- Read/listen to books
- Watch a documentary
- Watch a productive video
- Drink a certain amount of water
- Eat a certain amount of vegetables a day
- Exercise of any sort
- Follow a specific diet/eating style
- Quit a bad habit entirely or gradually
- Sleep at least 7 hours a night
- Take only cold showers
- Limit social media to 5 minutes a day
- Only use one social media platform
- Quit social media entirely
Now go create your own 30-day challenge and share it in the comments!
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- They’re not paying me to say that. I just really like this app.
- Since I’m still recovering from surgery, I run until I have to start jogging and then jog until I have to start walking, but it totals however much time the challenge calls for.