30 Day Challenges

26 April 2021

This is a sketch . It might be rough, incomplete or without context.

What is a 30-day challenge?

A 30-day challenge is a commitment to do something, every day, for 30 days. After 30 days, you are free to stop, or continue as you choose.

This TED talk explains it better than I can.

Why do a 30-day challenge?

It is a great way of iterating through habits, life hacks, new skills, or basically anything that you think could add value to your life. Thirty days is a long enough to form a habit if it turns out to be something you want to keep doing. Or, it’s long enough to give it a good go if it turns out it’s not for you. Either way, it’s surprising how quickly you can try out new things.

What are the rules?

  1. Make up your own challenge, and start when you like.
  2. Do your thing every day for 30 days, even if you hate it.
  3. Incentivise yourself to do the thing every day, e.g., with a checklist.
  4. Just showing up is enough — doing the absolute minimum is enough to count as a success for that day (and is key to forming new habits).
  5. After 30 days, you’re done. Keep it or discard it as you wish.
  6. These are my rules, but make up your own if you like.

What sort of challenges can you do?

Anything you want. There are some great examples in the TED talk. Things I’ve done so far include:

  • Stopped using social media
  • Given up chocolate
  • Given up alcohol
  • Used my exercise bike
  • Written every day

I’ve kept most of those (although abstaining from chocolate and alcohol turned out not to be for me).

Top tips

  • Pick something where it’s easy to ‘just show up’. For example, it was enough for me to use my exercise bike for one minute (although in reality most days I used it for 15 minutes or more).
  • Don’t run more than one challenge at once, unless they are very different.
  • Find a way to incentivise yourself to keep going. For me, a visible checklist is enough.