Even a small change for 30 days can have a big impact on your life
It’s the beginning of a new year, and there’s an optimistic, inspiring energy in the air. People view January 1st as a fresh start, a time to get motivated as they create their resolutions for the year to come. I’ll lose that extra weight! I’ll become more spontaneous and go on more adventures! I’ll work hard and finally get that promotion!
The downside? The majority of people abandon their resolution by February, and head back to the same old grind they found themselves in way back in December. If you plan well and dedicate yourself to your resolutions, you don’t have to fall victim to the Forgotten by February syndrome.
A great way to take on goals is to try a 30 Day Challenge. As Matt Cutts discusses in his Ted Talk, 30 Day Challenges are a great way to build (or get rid of) a habit and try new things that you wouldn’t have bothered trying before. Get specific about a goal or a step you need to make towards achieving it, and focus on it for 30 days. Need some ideas? Here are a few challenges you can take on for 30 days to kickstart the new year.
If your resolution is to declutter…
Get rid of one item every day. Start up a pile to take to a donation center, or finally get rid of those sneakers with the hole in the toe that won’t do anyone any good. It will quickly make you realize how many unnecessary things you have lying around.
More of a pack rat? Take it a step further. Make a list of sections of your space that you can work on decluttering each day. Keep the sections small so you can take manageable steps each day. For example, take on day to focus on the shoes in your closet, another to clean through one desk drawer, and another to tackle that top shelf in the coat closet that hasn’t been touched since 1999. You’ll quickly find yourself surrounded by less clutter, and will have the daily satisfaction of crossing off each section from your list that you tackle!
If your resolution is better health…
Turn the lights out at 10. Dedicate yourself to getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, and wake up at the same time each morning. Try disconnecting from electronics an hour before you go to bed to ensure you get into the relaxing mindset for a restful night of sleep.
Say goodbye to soda, and hello to water. Cut out sodas and sugary drinks, and be sure to drink a healthy amount of water every day. Carry around a reusable water bottle to make sure you are drinking throughout the day. If you get bored with plain water, try throwing in some lemons, cucumber, or other fruits to mix it up.
Create a workout calendar. Set a specific activity and length of time for each weekday, and commit to that schedule for 30 days. Don’t think you have to break a sweat every single day–be sure to throw in an off day so your body can rest! Your workout will vary based on your goals and health, but find a few heart pumping activities that work for you so you can keep things varied and exciting, such as jogging, lifting weights, going on a hike, or yoga.
If your resolution is to gain a new skill…
Start learning! Break down what you need to do to develop that skill, and set aside an hour every day to work on it. The 30 day challenge is the perfect way to kick start the learning process, and you may be surprised how far you can come in such a short amount of time.
If your resolution is to focus more on self-care…
Journal for fifteen minutes each day. Set aside a specific time each day for journaling, such as when you wake up or right before you go to bed. Set a timer, and don’t stop writing until it goes off! It’s a great way to get in touch with your thoughts and emotions, and may even help you work through problems you are facing.
Read (and finish) a new book. Find a book (or two!) you are interested in, and break down how many chapters you need to read each day to finish by the end of the challenge. Taking this time to do something you enjoy every day will help you stay on top of taking care of yourself.
Give yourself an hour. What should you do in that hour? It’s entirely up to you! Come up with a few activities that will best serve you and your self-care practice, and spend an hour each day focusing on one or two of them. They can be anything from meditating, taking a walk, listening to music, cooking, painting–the list is endless! It’s easy to skip taking care of yourself, but take this hour commitment to yourself seriously, and give it high priority in your schedule.
If your resolution is to spend less time in front of a screen…
Go social media free. If you don’t trust yourself, give your account info to a friend and have them change your passwords for the duration of the challenge so you aren’t tempted. Try to have fun with the challenge and connect with friends in another way–send a letter by snail mail and include a print of that gorgeous sunset picture you took (who needs Instagram?), or pick up the phone and chat with a friend or family member who is far away.
If your resolution is to stick to your budget…
Cut out an unnecessary regular purchase. Avoid eating out during your lunch break and pick the much more wallet friendly option of bringing your own food to work. Opt for brewing your cup of coffee at home, rather than stopping at the coffee shop in the morning. If you’ve been buying more clothes than your closet can hold, skip the mall and find new ways to style what you already own. Adhering to one of these rules for 30 days can help you avoid overspending in the future by creating new habits and forcing you to think before you buy.
Pick up one of these challenges (or create your own!), and see what exciting changes can happen. You may find that it’s just the kick start you need to build new habits and achieve the goals you set for 2017. Make sure you write down the concrete rules in a journal so you know exactly what you expect from yourself, and keep track of your progress if applicable. Good luck, and we can’t wait to see where the challenges take you through the year!