30 day challenges

30 days

“Knowledge is not power -action is! Execution trumps knowledge every day of the week!” ~Tony Robbins

In my last blog post I mentioned that I have often used 30 day challenges to build new, positive habits in order to help me turn around various aspects of my life. I think the beauty of this approach is that anyone can commit to doing something for thirty days. I make a rule with myself that if I miss a day I have to start at zero again. This mental trick seems to work on me because I never end up going back to zero.

Oddly enough, although the thing that gets me started is knowing that I only have to do this new thing for 30 days, a huge number of my previous 30 day experiments end up becoming incorporated into my daily routine and I find myself still doing them consistently years later.

In Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, he suggests committing to a specific morning routine for 30 consecutive days. In Elrod’s terminology the first 10 days can be unbearable, the next 10 merely uncomfortable and by the last 10 you are unstoppable. He may be onto something because I read the book in January and I haven’t missed a day yet!

Some people find it helpful to use an app or website like don’t break the chain. Personally I use a paper journal, but go with whatever works for you. I usually fly solo with things like this but others find it useful to impose some accountability on themselves, to make sure they stay on course. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Find an accountability partner – a friend you trust, who is working on their own thirty day challenge.  You have to text message or phone each other to “check in” once you have completed your daily activity.
  2. Post evidence of your daily activity on your social media, tagged day 1/30, 2/30 etc. Your entire friends list becomes your accountability partner

If you have an individual accountability partner, it can also help to make it interesting by introducing some stakes. If one of you skips a day you have to:

  • Buy the other person a meal
  • Donate to a charity of the other person’s choice
  • Donate to a cause you definitely do not support (a group or political organisation you find objectionable) This third one is the scariest, and therefore perhaps the most effective, of all!

After posting last week’s article I was asked to give clarification on some of the 30 day or one year challenges are that have helped me in the past.

Here are some of my previous experiments, along with a few I intend to try in the future:

  • Drink a minimum of three litres of water a day for thirty days
  • Keep a food diary for thirty days
  • Walk at least 10,000 steps per day for thirty days
  • Avoid all alcohol for thirty days
  • No takeaway food for thirty days
  • Meditate for thirty days in a row
  • Day 1 – one sit up, and push up, Day 2 – two sit ups and two push ups… etc.
  • De-cluttering – throw away/donate/recycle one thing on day one, two things on day two… etc.
  • Smile and say “hello” to everyone you pass for thirty days
  • Write in a journal every day for thirty days
  • Compliment someone, anyone every day for thirty days
  • Perform a ‘random act of kindness’ for thirty days in a row
  • Start a conversation with a stranger every day for thirty days
  • Practise a musical instrument every day for thirty days
  • Read for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes a day for thirty days
  • Get up early for thirty days
  • Learn a foreign language with Duolingo every day for thirty days
  • Write down ten ideas every day for thirty days – thanks to James Altucher’s Choose Yourself for this one
  • Take a picture a day and post it on social media – this is fun as a 365 day project. It encourages you to live a life worth photographing, and keeps a nice record to look back on at the end of the year

There must be hundreds of these to have fun with. Let me know if you have any ideas not listed here. Why not try one and let me know how you get on: Tweet me @dfrancisdrums with the hashtag #30days

Good luck!