Have you ever noticed how one small and seemingly insignificant change can trigger all kinds of good things in your life? I have and I challenge you to a little experiment. If you feel you’ve tried something a thousand times already, if you feel scattered, out of control and totally helpless stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath. Take several.
And now, what you could do to get yourself out of a rut is to pick one thing to commit to for 30 days. It sounds simple and it is. The thing about these 30 days challenges is that they give you something to achieve in one month, which boosts your self-esteem, rekindles your mojo and gives you something like a blueprint of how to achieve the next thing you want.
The only three rules, if you can call them that, are:
Do it every day, no exceptions.
Set a clear and realistic goal, no matter how small.
Have a reward in mind and celebrate on Day 31.
And no, you cannot change your goal during the month of the challenge. If you’re ahead, great — keep it up for 30 days, enjoy the ride and come up with a better goal for your next challenge. If you’re behind, savor your progress and make sure you’re focused and you’re doing your best.
Also, there’s no need to wait for the beginning of the next month. The best time to start is today (isn’t it always?). You can announce your challenge on Instagram or Twitter and let your friends follow you along or you can do it just for yourself, without telling a soul. This part is up to you.
30 things you could commit to for 30 days
1. do Veganuary or a plant-based diet for 30 days
I may be partial to that particular challenge but I’d like to say that choosing a whole food plant-based diet might be the best thing you can do for yourself and for the planet this year. It’s a whole movement, it’s meant to be done in January and it’s brilliant.
However, if Veganuary is over and you’re late to the party, do it for a month starting now. You can thank me (and the guys from Veganuary) in 30 days. ;)
Find out more here: veganuary.com
2. do the ‘30 days of sucking’ challenge
I heard about this challenge from Violeta, who after 30 days of sucking at designing opened a shop full of beautiful book covers for indie authors. So here’s a radical question for you: What if you didn’t care what the world thinks about your creations? Do something you enjoy for 30 days and see what happens.
Find out more about Violeta’s challenge here: violetanedkova.com/30-days-of-sucking
3. learn Calligraphy for 30 days
This isn’t an easy challenge, but it’s one of the most relaxing things you can do in the evening when your toddler is asleep or if you need a creative outlet when you come home from work. It’s meditation and art rolled in one. The repetitions you need to perform in order to get better are the perfect for soothing an overworked mind.
My favorite calligraphy exercise sheets are by The Postman’s Knock.
Find out more here: thepostmansknock.com/product-landing/calligraphy-worksheets
4. do a 30-day Yoga challenge
There’s no need for me to tell you how good daily exercise can be for your body and mind. Yoga is a gentle way to ease yourself into a daily routine of movement, breathing, and sitting still for a little while.
My favorite yoga challenge is the One Month Beginner Yoga Challenge by KinoYoga.
Find out more about it here: youtu.be/npZhY4fQWAY
5. Give up coffee & alcohol for 30 days
Now, to be perfectly clear, a proper detox should NOT be done without a medical supervision. As far as I know, there’s no safe way to do a real detox on your own, especially if you have health issues. So if you’re going to do anything drastic, go visit your doctor, please.
What I’m talking about is much simpler than that. Give up coffee & alcohol for a month and notice how your body feels. Journal about your experience, share your progress and inspire people to lead a more healthy life. Here’s a video by LilyKoi Hawaii that inspired me a to change my habits a couple of years back.
Find out more about your liver here: youtube.com/watch?v=N4TmlCIBIQY
6. Meditate every day for 30 days
In December 2016 I sat down with my first bullet journal and I read back through it page by page. The year has flown by so incredibly fast that I was mortified my whole life will go on like this. So I embarked on a little quest to find activities that slow down my perception of time. I found several things (that’s a topic for a whole other article), but it turns out noting is more potent in slowing down time than meditation.
Meditation alters your brain in a magnificent way — you might not notice it but you’ll feel it as time goes (slowly) by.
There are a lot of different types of meditation, so do a little research, try different things and choose the one that suits you best. If you want to start somewhere, Boho Beautiful has some very simple and enjoyable guided meditations.
Find out more here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQB3SXzSbHk
7. learn Botanical drawing for 30 days
Just like calligraphy, drawing can be mighty relaxing and it can give you an excellent output for your creative itches. And if calligraphy requires some basic tools, all you need to start drawing is a pen and paper. To find what to draw, head over to Pinterest and if you need a guide, check out The Pigeon Letters by Peggy Dean.
Find out more here: goodreads.com/book/show/34888788-botanical-line-drawing
8. keep a Minimal Bullet Journal for a month
I’m a naturally organised person but the bullet journal system took my project planning, daily journaling and goal setting to a whole new level. If you’re scattered and not very good at remembering things, starting a bullet journal will simply do magic for you. Try it for a month and let me know how it goes.
Find out more here: youtube.com/watch?v=fm15cmYU0IM
9. do a Squat/ sit ups/ push ups/ etc. challenge for 30 days
Can you do 10 squats every day for 30 days? Then you can do this challenge. If you can do more then commit to that. Take a photo of yourself each day and see how your body changes. Perky booty and strong legs here we come!
10. Taking a walk every day for a month
Let me tell you a little secret. I hate walks. Well, not ‘hate’ hate but I consider them boring and a total waste of time. However, I know how good they are for my health so, as always, I found a way to make it work for me. Miss Marie Forleo always encourages me to ask the question “How can this work for me?” Well, this is how:
Here’s my little trick - I never go for a walk to just walk. Instead, I make it a chat-walk with a friend, photo-walk with my camera and good music, errand-walk through the town, reading-walk with an audio book or even a podcast.
So, can you take a walk every day for a month and document your experience?
11. Write 100 words each day for a month
If you’re a writer in a rut, this might be your way out. Or if you don’t have anything to do with writing but want to launch your creative business this might be a terrific way to write the copy for your website or the text for a small booklet you want to send to your customers for free.
If you need a little inspiration, start with Miss Marie Forleo’s free class at thecopycure.com or get your creative writing skills ready for the next NaNoWriMo.
Find out more here: nanowrimo.org
12. Journal every day for a month
This is another method I use to slow down time. Write down what you’re proud of each day, or make a small affirmation in your notebook, or just dump it all on the pages. For me writing is the best self-therapy, it cleans your soul and organizes your brain.
13. Learn to sing a song in 30 days
This might sound silly to you but singing is a great way to relax. If you often feel like screaming into a pillow, try your vocal cords at something more structured. I have a Youtube playlist with only one song in it. I read the lyrics a couple of time, put the playlist on repeat and use vacuuming as an excuse to shout as loud as need or want.
Pick a song and sing it once each day. In a month, dress up and go out for karaoke night with the girls, if this is something you’ve always wanted to do. ;)
14. Learn to cook 30 simple dishes
The time when you needed cookbooks to find recipes is loooong gone. So, why not turn on that super device you have in your pocket and find 30 recipes you always wanted to try? Keep most of them simple - scrambled tofu, hummus, things like that. Pick 2-3 fancy ones to try on the weekends.
Bazillion bonus points if all your recipes are plant based. Here’s a great cookbook, if you insist on using one: goodreads.com/book/show/33898876-the-how-not-to-die-cookbook?from_search=true
Find more plant based recipes here: forksoverknives.com/recipes
15. Write 30 letters
Re-reading Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer books always gives me the itch to write letters. I’ve tried pen palls but it didn’t work out for me, so I write letters to dead writers and scientist (such as Jane Austen and Isaac Newton), to friends or to my past or future self.
Why not write a letter to each of your friends? Or 30 letters to one very special friend?
If you want a pen pal check out the London Letters Club here: quilllondon.com/pages/london-letters-club
16. Learn Watercolor painting in 30 days
Another great way to relax and learn something new at the same time is watercolor painting. You can paint with your kids or while listening to an audio book. It’s both a meditation and a creative output you can go back to any time you need your “me time”. I often use Instagram to learn how to paint something specific, but Miss Ekaterina Smirnova has a Youtube channel with easy to follow tutorials.
Find out more here: youtube.com/user/EkaterinaSmirnova
17. start your day with a smoothie bowl every day for 30 days
One of the best things you can do for yourself this (or any) year is to eat more fresh fruits and veggies and smoothies or smoothie bowls are a great way to do this. Do a little research, plan 30 different smoothie bowls and start make them as pretty or simple as you want. They look amazing when decorated and just before you dig into them, so make sure you take a photo and share it on Instagram.
Find some simple smoothie recipes here: youtube.com/watch?v=mtG9YLKI2TI
18. Create a moon journal
This is something I started doing in 2018 and it changed the way I work and rest. I first found about it in the Lisa Lister’s book Witch: unleashed. untamed. unapologetic and I was pretty angry for a time nobody told me these things about being a woman when I was growing up.
The thing is, we have cycles - up times and down times. All of us, not just the ladies. And once you get to know your cycle you can do pure magic throughout the month and recharge when you feel the need to.
So why not make a moon journal, document your up and down times throughout your cycle or that of the moon and adjust your life around around your ebb and flows?
Here’s a video by Jordan Clark to inspire your creative process: youtube.com/watch?v=dUXFGYFtvS8
19. DRY-BRUSH for 30 days
Imagine starting your day with this 5 minutes spa treatment for a month. Not only will you have glowing skin at the end of these 30 days but you’ll spend 2.5 hours getting to know your body and falling in love with its every fold and curve. Sounds great to me! :)
Here’s more information by LilyKoi Hawaii: youtube.com/watch?v=bEbgjKlISFQ
20. Eat turmeric for 30 days
Another simple change that can have a huge impact on your health is adding turmeric to your diet. There’s plenty of research on the benefits of turmeric so why not try it for 30 days, document your experience and take the opportunity to clean up your diet all together?
Here’s more information by LilyKoi Hawaii: youtube.com/watch?v=B0LGDoa5JSo
21. Write one article each day for 30 days
This is a different and much more challenging endeavor than writing 100 words per day. Think about it, if you write 30 articles in one month you’ll have content for your blog for about 7 months, if you post weekly, or for one year, if you post every other week. Great, right?
So, grab a pen and paper, brainstorm as many ideas as you can, prepare a list of 30 article topics, outline them and start writing.
22. Create one graphic each day for 30 days
If you’re just starting a business you’ll need a lot of “first” graphics. It can be hard to conjure up great visuals from scratch, so why not spend one month creating your templates?
Make a list of 30 graphics you’ll need to design regularly (blog thumbs, Instagram posts and stories, Facebook promotions, etc), and commit to design one Canva or Photoshop template every day.
23. Read for 1 hour each day
2016 was the year of no books for me. I started a whole bunch of random books, but I didn’t finish them. For me reading is like breathing, so by the end of the year I was suffocating. In 2017 I made reading a non-negotiable part of my day. I took time of my morning or evening to sit down and spend some quality time with a book.
If you’ve been struggling to focus and relax, this challenge might be exactly what you need. Try it, document your progress and let me know which books you’ve read during that month.
24. Wake up one hour earlier each day for a month
We’re always complaining that we don’t have enough time in the day. Well, what will happen if for a month you go to bed one hour earlier than usual and then wake up one hour earlier? Try it and let me know. ;)
The thing is, there’s always something to do in the evening but in the morning you can take time just for you. Dry brushing, reading, yoga, this is where you put all these incredible things, in the early hours of the day when the world is still blissfully asleep.
Oh, and by the way you don’t have to wake up at 5 am if, for whatever reason, you can’t go to bed early. It’s better to have a good night sleep and wake up refreshed at 6 or 7 than to be a sleep deprived zombie that gets up when “the cool people on Youtube” say you should wake up so you can have a productive day.
25. Brush your hair 100 times each evening for 30 days
Another one of my favorite self care activities is hair brushing. I love it because it helps me grow strong and shiny hair and it’s such a pleasure to do. I cut my hair in a short bob in April 2016 and now, three years later, it’s just a few inches above my waist. I’m a tall woman and I’ve cut the tips once or twice, so when you do the math, my hair has grown with the incredible speed of approximately 10 inches per year. Not bad, right?
So if you love your hair and want to do something meditative and pampering each evening, brush your hair with an wooden brush while counting.
Here’s more information by Sarah of HolisicHabits: youtube.com/watch?v=T680KTT9NgE
26. Work on your business for 1 hour each day for 30 days
Here is the harsh truth: you can spend a lifetime planning it and never start it. When asked about your business, how often do you answer: “Oh, I’m working on it". But do you? Do you really? Planning is just one tiny part of the work and lately I don’t even consider it as part of the actual process. So how long have you been planning?
Here’s a radical thought, plan it as quickly as possible and start it while still planning it. You’ll never be able to make a perfect plan of something you don’t know how to do. You’ll learn and grow while working on your business and that will change all your plans anyway.
So, make a very quick plan of 3 things you want to do in one month and take 1 hour each day to do them. Here’s a simple list you can use:
Brand and website - 5 days
My first product/ service package - 20 days
Marketing efforts (blog, email, social media) - 5 days
Start as simple as possible, make it real and build upon it with time. Oh and let me know how it goes of course! ;)
27. Learn to knit in 30 days
Or crocheting. Or hand stitching (that’s my next thing). Have you noticed that you tend to fidget with your phone while watching something or talking to someone? Well, our hands (our brains, really) are not meant to be still like that. When I was a child my great grandmothers always had some needle work for their hands while talking to the family in the evening. I call it creative quiet time together and it’s so much more rewarding than scrolling mindlessly through your feeds.
So, why not give it a try and knit a hat or a scarf for a month?
Here are some tutorials by Wool and the Gang to get you going: woolandthegang.com/t/how-to
28. De-clutter your home one day at a time
Another life changing moment for me was when I read the Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and started de-cluttering my home.
I lived on a suitcase or the bare minimum of things for so many years that once I had my appointment I started to accumulate things. And accumulate. And accumulate some more. It was a bit exhausting to be fair. Miss Marie Kondo give me the tools to be something I call boho minimalist - I keep the minimum amount of things I need to keep my creative, boho lifestyle going.
Go ahead, de-clutter your home one drawer at a time and see if this helps you make some other changes in your life.
Find out more here: konmari.com
29. Keep a Gratitude journal for 30 days
A lot of good things can be said about keeping a gratitude journal — it gives you perspective, urges you to find the silver lining, gives you a pick-me-up on a bad day and more. Give it a try, keep a gratitude journal for a month and see how it changes your view on life.
Here’s a little inspiration by Jordan Clark to get you started: youtube.com/watch?v=O-5c6LYDqQM
30. Not buying things for 30 days
We are consuming much more than we actually need. Most of it is done because we have a hole in our life, something’s missing and we’re trying to fill it up with stuff, or we are just mimicking what people around us are doing. Whatever it is, try keeping the urge to buy at bay for a month.
Make a realistic budget for food and going out with friends and commit to buy no clothes, no electronics (unless your computer kicks the bucket, of course), no pretty stuff, no cute stuff for 30 days. It sounds easier than it is.
This challenge will help you appreciate what you already have and you’ll save some money in the process.
Which challenge speaks to you?
I’m doing most of these things already, so I might challenge myself to learn something new. I think hand stitching work is calling my name.
You can do more than one at a time but it’s best to challenge yourself with just one. You can always pick another one next month, nothin’s stopping ya ;)
Most important thing: Have fun and when it gets tough keep going and find a way to have even more fun! :)