Trying to decipher our behavior, often times we come to realize that we conduct our lives rather unilaterally, dreading change as if it was something we never want to deal with. It worked so far, so why changing things? Why deny our intrinsic fear of the new, unfamiliar?
And so it happens that we go with our lives living more of a routine than anything else. We narrow our focus on repetitive behavior, habits, more often than not a whole set of boundaries and rules girded too tight that we lose sense of who we are.
Realizing that the need to stay in the comfort zone, even though rudimentary, is still an obstacle not allowing us to fully enjoy life, we ought to do something about it.
The idea behind the 30 day challenge
While we may think that it’s fun more than anything else that created this concept of challenging yourself for a period of 30 days, we are only partially right. The intent was, in fact, to make you gradually form the habit of going against your already set routines; to start tackling them one by one. Shift your mindset, in a way.
It was created as a result of the realization that approaching change head on, was something that worked only in a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances.
So, we now have a day by day transition, where you are about to transform yourself for enjoying life more via the concept of change, which is now not only less frightening, but also more of a fun.
What to expect?
The 30 day challenge, instead of being a set time frame in which you are either to improve or not, is rather further away from any other technique of self-improvement. We don’t even count it as such.
So, instead of expecting the epilogue of the change, you should rather try and enjoy the whole process.
You will change, that’s a given. But the transition is meant to be so gradual, that you will be able to see the change only retrospectively.
The thing is to focus on day to day basis. Small steps, you know.
The fun aspect is also important. Neglecting the importance of adding something that will keep you waiting for the next day to come, this can turn out to be just another deadline, another routine. No, fun is a must.
Find something you always wanted to implement in your life, and bring that back on the table. You can, with this 30 day challenge technique, not only improve what you already know, but also invite other activities into your life; make it more interesting.
Hence, this is not only a self-improvement technique, but a lifestyle changer. Or what I would love to say – a lifestyle update. ;)
Starting the 30 day challenge
Once you are all set with what you would like to improve or add into your life, it’s time to start the challenge.
Think about a process by which you are about to keep yourself on track. Whether we are talking about having a calendar template, a new folder dedicated to tracking and commenting the experience in your computer, a new tattoo if that’s what you decided to try.
Forget about having a reward or punishment system. Here, enticing with a sweeter carrot, or threatening with a sharper stick would not work. That’s why you chose something fun to do, right?
Decide whether you will add or subtract a habit, and this will change your routine for good.
Ideas to try
This process of trying new things became so interesting and appealing that we popularized it a lot. And I don’t see any harm in that. It’s rather great.
I remember when I was starting to work out, every day was an insurmountable challenge. It took a lot of willpower to press the play button week after week, but it was also one of the most interesting periods of my life. Then, after I’ve hit a plateau, I decided to change my workout routine and introduce other forms of exercise.
I started to experiment with Yoga and Pilates, and even reverse engineer celebrity workouts. Fight Club was popular then, and Brad Pitt was the role model of choice, so I naturally read more about the workout that prepared him for the role. I did the Brad Pitt workout for a month as part of my next challenge, but the routine took off, and I ended up sticking with it for three consecutive months. That’s the great thing about 30-day challenges – sometimes, as it can happen often, they become part of your daily routine, and then part of your lifestyle.
So, you can now find countless of templates and ideas of what to try new, if you cannot come with something by yourself.
One of the people who came up with so many interesting ideas about this challenge is Google’s webspam team head Matt Cutts.
“Think of something that you always wanted to add to your lifestyle, and try it, for the next 30 days. It’s that simple” – he says.
On his blog he wrote about various things he attempted to do, and what’s even more interesting he shares some of his experiences too.
His 30 day challenges vary from exercising each day or eating vegan, to drawing something each day or staying away from the news whether that may be in the form of TV, newspaper, radio… He even expanded his 30 day challenge to six months challenge, so he can prepare for a marathon.
His challenges have also taken him from biking to work, to climbing Kilimanjaro.
Matt says that taking these challenges, he was, in a way, forced to remember the time passed (what he did, where he was, how he felt like), as well as savor the most out of a given moment in time. You see, when you do things with intention, they have a deeper meaning, thus embedding themselves even more into your mind, your memories, allowing you to squeeze the most out of life.
He was also more confident, started doing things for fun. Things that, mildly put, scared him in the past.
He also adds that making changes gradually is in a way ensuring yourself that they are more likely to stick. Hence, small challenges equal sustainable growth. You are adapting fast, escaping the radical overwhelming change, and as a result of this your transition towards a better lifestyle is that more real. Over time small challenges get replaced by bigger ones, and you won’t see it coming before you’ve changed a lot.
Reading about what he has to say, you can pretty much get the grip on how fun this is at the first place.
Now, let’s name few examples for you to try. Here are some interesting examples just to jump start and fire up your creativity:
- Take a photo each day
- Try a workout program
- Go out in a different place every day
- Try different sports
- Try to be a vegan
- Write a short story about something
- Detach from things you don’t need
- Talk to a stranger each day
- Bike to work
- Change something in your life and blog about the experience
- Learn a new language
- Run one mile
- Travel to different countries.
- Write a book
You see, there are so many things to try and incorporate into your life. The thing is, once you decide to enrich your everyday by adding new and new variables, your spare time will be more fulfilling, more interesting and fun, and as a result of this whole experience you will transcend in terms of improving your lifestyle as well.
Enjoying these activities may result in rediscovering your identity, what you love doing, what you are good at. Hence this 30 day challenge may, as a result of this, change your life for the better, or just change your narrowed focus from the routine, and make you enjoy experiencing the periphery more.