Planning a successful 30 day challenge is about having an ultimate goal and using the 30 days to reach that goal.
The new year has always been known for starting new habits or challenges but to be honest that is the worst time, because there are lots of distractions during that time of year and I think you should start a 30 day challenge anytime.
It’s not hard to start a challenge, It just requires a little bit of planning and motivation to complete it.
Why take on a 30 day challenge?
Simply to become better at something or to break a habit, and in some cases it is both.
It’s also shown that repetition and putting yourself out of your comfort zone will help you become better at whatever task you’re doing.
A challenge can also lead to a new habit forming. This will make you feel better about yourself and even a better person, such as reading before you go to bed or quitting a bad habit.
Apart from the end results, my favourite thing about a challenge is the excitement of when you’re planning and starting a challenge, once you complete the 30 days you’re better off than you were previously. If that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is.
I’ve tried challenges to improve my cooking, fitness and mindfulness. All simple to do and have resulted in good long-term habits.
What’s the difference between a Challenge and a habit?
They kinda of are the same in a way because you set a goal to do something everyday.
A challenge is usually done for a period of time such as 30 days or more in the hope to become better at something or to change a habit. A challenge can certainly become habit forming if you continue to do it.
A habit is ongoing and can be done every day. Since it doesn’t have an end date. It will only stop when you decide to not do it anymore.
I like to think that a challenge is when you’re making a change or it’s something that you’re trying out because you want to better yourself, for example a photography challenge. Whereas a habit you’re trying to keep on doing the task for long periods of time.
Challenges have a lot of enthusiasm when you’re starting them and working towards completing them in 30 days. Habits are simply on going and you’re making sure to keep track of whether you are doing it or not.
Tracking your challenge
You don’t need to complicate tracking your challenge. Just use your mobile phone calendar, a small notebook or a printable that is specific to the task.
Choose what is convenient and stick to it.
My personal preference is to use a small notebook to mark off the day and add any notes or if I had an issues during the 30 days.
So don’t just have a tick box for completion you need to also know about skipped days and any issues that come up? Did you come up short? If so by how much.
Some challenges also need space for setting the daily challenges which is important to reaching the end goal.
In the past I’ve used symbols to cut down on writing space when I do my nightly planning. Smiley emojis to show mood and circle with quarters to show how much was completed on the day, leaving more room for notes.
30 Day Challenge Planner Insert$4.50 – $5.50
How to plan a 30 day challenge
To plan a successful 30 day challenge you need to look at the bigger picture first and then break it down to smaller daily challenges otherwise you may not complete it.
I would also recommend transitioning to a habit tracker after the challenge so you can continue on the good work you’ve started. This is the technique I’ve used and it has worked well for me.
1. Your 30 day challenge can start any day
It just needs to go for 30 days, so cut out the distractions and start your challenge today. you don’t need to start on the 1st of the month or even in the new year. Just get going otherwise you’re procrastinating and that’s not good.
2. Pick a challenge that means something to you
It’s excellent that you want to start a challenge but ask yourself what is it that you’re trying to achieve and is it the right challenge to do? Because you don’t want to stop a few days in and change it to something else.
A lot of people do fitness challenges and do things like sit-ups or burpees or go for a run. have a clear understanding why you’re doing the challenge.
3. Set a goal that you can reach
It’s great to aim high, but you have to be realistic. Don’t make the challenge too difficult, and give up a few days later. It’s better to make the challenge easy and start a harder challenge straight after to keep the momentum going.
For example if you want to start running but you’ve got bad knees, doing a 30 day challenge where you walk everyday is a good start and then the next 30 days you can do a walk to run challenge. Once you build up your confidence and staninmata, try 30 days of running. The important thing to remember is you have already accomplished so much even before you were ready for the actual challenge.
4. Plan out the 30 days ahead of time
Depending on the challenge you’re doing you should plan it out before you start. Some challenges that are the same every day such as drinking 8 glasses of water a day or going for a 30 minute walk don’t need too much planning.
But if you have a challenge where the end goal is not easily attainable such as losing weight or if you want to become good at something you need to break it down into smaller chunks, and work towards your goal so you reach it in 30 days.
Start with the end goal and work your way back.
- When will you start and end?
- What is your goal after the 30 day challenge?
- What needs to be done every day to complete the challenge
- How are you going to achieve your daily goal?
- What time everyday will you do the challenge?
5. Track your results
Use a 30 day challenge printable or a notebook to keep you on track. This may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this.
It’s an important part of the challenge because it helps you to keep on track and gives you insight where you may be failing if you didn’t complete it.
Also it’s an excellent motivator when you can see visually how you are going and how long you have to go.
6. Make your 30 day challenge public
It is simply to make yourself accountable and that you’re going to finish it. If you let people know and bring it up in conversation you will feel more motivated to complete the challenge.
Better still get a friend involved. It’s more fun when you have a buddy during the challenge to motivate each other.
If the challenge is sensitive or private it’s perfectly fine to not share. What I suggest in that case is set a daily reminder on your phone to keep you accountable.
7. Assessing your 30 day challenge
Did you meet your goal? What could you do to improve your next challenge?
Before closing out your challenge write some notes on how you went overall and ask yourself.
- Did you achieve what you set out to do?
- Did you find it hard to complete?
- What obstacles did you have to overcome?
- Did you need extra motivation
- What would you do differently next time?
- Do you need to redo the challenge for a better result?
31 challenges to consider trying
- Read before going to bed
- Do light exercise at lunchtime
- Increase your fruit intake
- Clean a little bit every day
- Walk 10,000 Steps
- Learn a new thing everyday
- Let anything for 30 days
- Limit social media to an hour a day
- Take a photo everyday
- Go to bed early
- Eat more vegetables
- Take up a hobby
- Read a joke every day
- Increase family time
- Stop a bad habit
- 30 days of no spend
- Cook something different
- Start a journal
- Talk to a friend
- Do a puzzle
- Try something new
- Save $10 a day for 30 days
- Compliment your spouse for 30 days
- Learn a new word for 30 days
- Work on your handwriting
- Start a new sport
- Limit TV for 30 days
- Start a side business
- Practice your typing
- Learn to knit or crochet
- Lose weight
FAQ on 30 day Challenges
Can you use a habit tracker for a challenge?
Yes, of course. But depending on the challenge it may be useful to use a printable that is specifically designed for a 30 day challenge as they will have space to write the daily challenge next to the date.
What should I do if I miss a day?
That’s ok sometimes we get really busy and it’s hard to complete the challenge. If you find yourself in a position where you may not do the challenge on a given day try to do it later in the day or extend the challenge by how many days you missed.
That way you won’t be completely skipping out on it and It will still keep you motivated for the next day.
What should I do if I can’t complete my challenge?
These things happen and sometimes it’s out of your control. If you do find that you’re not able to complete your challenge fully.
Work up to the final goal and try to do it over 2 months so the first month is for you to reach a certain level. in the 2nd month is where you keep up that standard and go beyond.
A good example of this is if you’re doing a fitness challenge and you can’t reach your goal then the first 30-day. You should be trying to condition your body to get it to a level where you can complete the challenge you originally wanted to do.
30 day challenges are great if you want to kick a bad habit or even introduce a new one. Set yourself an attainable goal to reach in 30 days. It’s ok if you didn’t finish your challenge as long as you go back and reassess why you couldn’t complete it and adjust so you can try again.