If you’ve ever wondered “how can I improve myself in 30 days”, well, look no further. Here’s a roundup of some of the best 30 day challenge ideas, from fitness to mental health to creativity and more!
Are you feeling like you’re life’s become a little stale? Like you’re doing the same things over and over again? Does your life need a bit of a shakeup? Well, if that sounds like you and your life, I present to you the idea of a 30 day challenge. To be fair, it’s not a new idea, and I am positive you’ve seen some variations of this on Pinterest at some point in time!
There’s a reason why a 30 day challenge is so popular: it seems like just the right amount of time to test out a new habit or way of living or to break up with a bad habit. You don’t have to commit to forever, which can be scary at first.
I’ve tried some 30 day challenges in the last few years: I’ve done 10,000 steps every day for a month and I’ve done a month-long shopping ban as well. I’ve also done a shorter time fitness challenge. And I am currently more than 3 months into my no cola challenge. These challenges seem difficult in the beginning, but as with most things in life, it becomes easier as you keep doing it every day.
I am not suggesting that you’ll be a brand new person after trying out a 30 day challenge. After all, long term lifestyle changes take time to get ingrained – research suggests anywhere between 21 to 90 days, depending on the ease of the change. But a 30 day challenge could be the perfect starting point!
Oh, and the challenge doesn’t HAVE to be all serious and complicated or even time-consuming. You can use it to build a better routine (make your bed every morning) or lighten things up (laugh every day) or even inject some creativity into your life (read/write a poem every day).
As we get to the final stretch of this crazy year and start planning for the new year, these 30 day challenge ideas can give you a fun way of changing things up in your life! Depending on the complexity of the challenge, try out not more than 1-2 challenges at one time.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this list of 65 ideas! I hope you give one (or some) of these a shot. There’s also a handy printable of these ideas + a downloadable challenge tracker as well.
30 DAY CHALLENGE IDEAS FOR HEALTH & FITNESS
1| QUIT CONSUMING ADDED SUGAR
It’s 2020 and by now it should not come as a surprise to anyone that excess/added sugar is bad for your health. Give up added sugar for 30 days and experience the benefits firsthand.
2| SET A LIMIT FOR YOUR SCREEN TIME AND STICK TO IT
Has your daily screen time update moved to scary territory over the last few months? (I know mine has!) Try reducing your current average by 60-90 minutes for 30 days. You can use that saved time on something more productive.
3| KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, keeping a food journal could be a great starting point for you. We tend to underestimate the amount we eat every day, so actually tracking everything that you eat for a month will help you become more aware and also identify patterns, if any.
4| AVOID ULTRA-PROCESSED SNACKS
Traditional packaged snacks are loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Of course, there are plenty of healthy, packaged snack options these days, so figure out what works best for you. The idea is to avoid highly processed snacks made with too many ingredients that you cannot pronounce.
5| EAT 5-6 SERVINGS OF FRUITS & VEGETABLES EVERY DAY
You should already be doing this but if you aren’t, why not set up a challenge around it? Even better if you’re eating the rainbow!
6| SLEEP FOR AT LEAST 7-8 HOURS EVERY DAY
The way I look at it, sleep is one of the three pillars that contribute to healthy living. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day for 30 days and see how your overall health improves!
7| TRY A FITNESS CHALLENGE
There are so, so, so many variations of this that you could try out. A 30-day plank challenge, a 30-day abs challenge, a 30-day squats challenge. The options are endless.
The best part about these challenges is that you can customize them to your fitness levels. Easing back into workouts? Set yourself a 10-minute a day challenge. Want to focus on your core? Try out a 30-day plank challenge. There really is something for everyone.
8| TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent fasting has been credited with improving overall health as well as helping with weight loss. There are plenty of ways to do intermittent fasting but if you’re an absolute beginner, you could start with a 12 hours of fasting + 12 hours of eating plan (12:12), and move up to 16:8 or even 18:6.
9| WALK 5,000/8,000/10,000 STEPS A DAY
In an ideal world, the target for this should be 10,000 steps or more. But if you’re only about getting 1,500-2,000 steps a day right now, scaling up to 10,000 all of a sudden might feel a bit too hard. Aiming for 4,000 – 5,000 steps more than your current daily average should provide you a decent challenge.
10| NO FAST FOOD OR TAKEAWAY
Yes, it would mean doing way more cooking at home, but just imagine how much you would save, both in terms of money, as well as your health.
11| EAT AT LEAST ONE HOME COOKED MEAL A DAY
If no fast food or takeaway seems like a bit much, aim for at least one home-cooked meal a day. Unless you’re traveling, I think this is a highly doable challenge.
12| DRINK 8-10 GLASSES OF WATER A DAY
Repeat after me: water is life. No seriously, it is. Stay hydrated and see how your skin and health improves.
13| STRETCH OR FOAM ROLL FOR 10-15 MINUTES
Give your tired and tight muscles a break with this gentle challenge. For inspiration, check out this video to see how stretching every day for 30 days impacts your flexibility.
14| GIVE UP ONE BAD HABIT
I am pretty sure you already know what’s that one bad habit of yours that you REALLY need to break up with. I’m currently on day 114 of a no cola streak, so yes, I know it isn’t easy, but I also know that it can be done!
15| TRY A DIFFERENT WAY OF EATING
I purposely did not use the word diet here because I have serious issues with perpetuating a diet culture. Anyway, what I do want to encourage is trying out different ways of eating to see what works best for your body and health.
Perhaps giving up dairy could finally solve your acne issue for once for all. Or maybe, you could try eating vegan or vegetarian for 30 days to see if that benefits your overall health. The key here is the experiment really!
16| WALK DAILY FOR 20-30 MINUTES
Walking is probably my favorite form of exercise, and I’ve been missing my daily walks lately. It is one of the gentlest forms of exercise and just about anyone can do it.
So if you’re looking to make daily exercise a part of your life, why not start with a walking challenge?
30 DAY CHALLENGE IDEAS FOR MENTAL HEALTH & HAPPINESS
1| GIVE MEANINGFUL COMPLIMENTS
Have you noticed how making someone else happy seems to make you happier as well? Try handing out these heartfelt compliments which go beyond someone’s appearance and see how they light up.
2| STOP COMPLAINING
This is a hard one, but it’s going to be definitely worth your while if you want to be happier. Complaining does not solve any issue and only spreads more negativity. Try giving it a break for 30 days to see how it makes a difference to your mental peace.
3| CREATE AND STICK TO A MORNING ROUTINE
And no, your morning routine cannot involved scrolling through Instagram. The key here to create a meaningful morning routine. Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning could be worth trying out. How about a cup of tea and some journaling? Or maybe a 15-minute yoga flow sequence? The possibilities are endless here, so figure out what works best for you and just go with it.
4| READ 20 PAGES A DAY
Bonus points if you make it non-fiction!
5| MAINTAIN A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
This is one of my own personal challenges that I’ve put out in my 101 in 1001 list. We could all do with a little more gratitude in our lives.
6| PRACTICE DAILY SELF CARE
There is a reason why “you cannot pour from an empty cup” has become such an overused cliché. It’s because it’s true. You can run on empty for only so long before it catches up with you.
If you struggle with self care, this could be the perfect challenge for you. Create a plan for 30 days and try it out. Here’s a list of self care ideas that you can consider adding to your plan.
7| STOP WORKING AFTER A DESIGNATED TIME
All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. Don’t be Jane.
8| MEDITATE DAILY
Ooooh, I know this is a tough one. And trust me, I’ve struggled with it in the past as well. But seriously though, meditation is the new black! Rather, it always was, but we seem to be waking up to its benefits only in the past few years. There are plenty of apps that can help you to create this habit. I’ve tried a few of them and found Headspace to be the best.
9| CREATE A VISION BOARD AND REFLECT ON IT DAILY
Keep your vision board in a place where you can see it every day, and create a visualization routine. It need only take a couple of minutes, or you could even add a journaling ritual around it. The idea is to make your vision visible so that you can take inspired action to make your dreams come true.
10| FOLLOW A BEDTIME ROUTINE
No matter what you add or don’t add to your night-time routine, you better make sure that “take off makeup” definitely features on this list!
11| SPEND SOME TIME IN NATURE
I don’t think I need to sell you the benefits of spending time in nature! Get creative if you don’t live right next to a lush forest. Walk to a nearby park. Grow and tend to a couple of plants on your window sill. Every little thing counts.
12| TRY A DAILY DESTRESS SOLUTION WHICH DOES NOT INVOLVE A SCREEN
Give your eyes (and mind) a break from the endless scrolling and try something that does not involve a screen. Like these creative hobbies – they can definitely destress you and keep you (mostly) away from a screen.
13| KEEP A JOURNAL
I love myself a journaling session, but I totally understand that it might feel overwhelming if you’ve not really tried it before. I’ve put together a detailed guide on how to start a journaling practice along with some journaling prompts that you can use for your 30 day challenge.
14| READ OR WRITE DAILY AFFIRMATIONS
Positive affirmations will lift your heart up, and the more you practice repeating affirmations to yourself, the more self love and confidence you will build up.
15| AVOID NEGATIVE SELF TALK
Give your inner mean girl a rest and try making her an ally instead. Become your biggest cheerleader over the course of 30 days and see how your soul blossoms.
16| LISTEN TO AN INSPIRING PODCAST
Podcasts have been one of my favorite discoveries this year, and I love how there is something for everyone, no matter what your interests. If you’re wondering where to get started, here are 9 amazing podcast recommendations for you!
17| LAUGH EVERY DAY
This SHOULD NOT really have to be a 30 day challenge but I know that life can be hard from time to time. Try injecting some light moments in your day – watch a couple of silly videos or an episode of your favorite comedy show. Call up a friend who always cracks you up. If you’ve got kids, get in some tickle time with them. Whatever works for you!
18| MAKE A LIST OF TANGIBLE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY AND DO ONE THING FROM THAT LIST EVERYDAY
Turns out you can be intentional about seeking happiness after all. Make your happy list, and try to tick at least one thing on your list every day for 30 days.
30 DAY CHALLENGE IDEAS FOR MANAGING FINANCES
1| TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Think of this as a first step towards creating financial discipline. Tracking your expenditures (and income) for a month will make you aware of your habits. Who knows, it might even tempt you out of your weekly Friday evening shopping haul!
2| CREATE AND STICK TO A BUDGET
If you have a decent handle on what your current expenses and income looks like, take it step further and set a budget for yourself for 30 days. If you manage to stick to it, you’ll end up feeling like a badass + have some savings to boast of! Ka-ching!
3| TRY A SHOPPING BAN
I’ve tried a 30-day shopping ban once, and I did not find it all that hard, tbh. But you definitely need to plan for this! Get specific about what is banned and what exceptions you’re going to make. Since it’s only 30 days, ideally, everything apart from essentials should be on the banned list.
4| TRY A SAVINGS CHALLENGE
There are so many ways to do this! Let this personal finance master tell you how to save $1,000 a month. Or, you could try saving $1 (or its equivalent in your currency) on Day 1, $2 on Day 2, and so on, all the way up to $30 on Day 30 to save close to $500 in a month’s time! Get as creative as you want with the ideas, but the key here is to SAVE! :)
30 DAY CHALLENGE IDEAS FOR CREATIVITY
1| TAKE A PHOTO A DAY
This is a really great one to flex your creative muscle. Pick a different theme for each day, or shoot the same subject for 30 days (self portraits, perhaps?). But most importantly, have fun!
2| DRAW, PAINT OR DOODLE EVERY DAY
This would be a good challenge for artists and non-artists alike. If you’re already in drawing/painting, challenge yourself to take up a different medium for 30 days. If you’re absolutely new to this, try working through this book – it’s brilliant, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist. For more floral inspiration, try this book.
3| READ (OR WRITE!!!) A POEM
If you’re reallllllllyyyyyy planning to stretch your creativity, go all out and write a poem a day. If I take up this challenge, I will stick to reading a poem a day, thank you very much!
4| COMPLETE A NEEDLEPOINT OR KNITTING PROJECT
Haven’t you heard – millenials are grandmothers in disguise? Unleash your inner grandmillennial and take on a needlepoint project for 30 days. Or if the weather allows it, a knitting project!
5| ART JOURNAL
Ah! One of my favorite creative escapes. Get Messy is a great place to start if you’re new to art journaling. Actually, it’s a great community for all levels of art journalers, and they usually do monthly themes, which would tie in perfectly with a 30 day challenge.
6| LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Okay sure, you may not learn a new language completely in 30 days, but you’ll surely get a hang of the basics in that period. Babbel and Duolingo are two great apps for learning a new language.
7| LEARN A FEW CARD MAGIC TRICKS
This will make you a party favourite pretty soon!
8| MAKE A SHORT VIDEO EVERY DAY
If you typically take a lot of photos every day, switch things up and shoot video instead. It does not have to be a lengthy one. The 1 Second Everyday app is a fantastic starting place. Record a one-second video for each day, and then use the app to put it all together to create a 30-second video! And if you want to get better at making videos using your phone, you need to check out Xanthe Berkeley. Her video classes are all superb!
9| WATCH A TED TALK EVERY DAY
This one shouldn’t be too difficult really, given the number of TED talks that are there! By the end of the challenge, you will likely find yourself buzzing with ideas on how to improve your life!
30 DAY CHALLENGE IDEAS FOR ORGANISED AND CONSCIOUS LIVING
1| SET YOUR TOP 3-5 PRIORITIES FOR EACH DAY
On the days that I do this, I end up having an extremely focused and productive day. Which begs the question that why don’t I do it every day, but then again, I digress. Anyway, having a daily list of MITs (Most Important Tasks) could be a game-changer for you, so why not use a 30 day challenge to make it a habit?
2| GIVE AWAY/DONATE ONE THING EVERY DAY
If you’ve been caught by the minimalism bug, this could be a good way to initiate yourself. Keep a box out in plain sight and over the course of 30 days, fill it with things from around the house that you would want to give away.
3| LIVE BY A MEAL PLAN
This could be a great way of ensuring that you’re eating healthy + not wasting food items. If you plan to do this, my suggestion would be to keep a couple of “open” spots in your plan, so that there is a bit of room for spontaneity.
4| MAKE YOUR BED EVERY MORNING
File this under “things you should be doing anyway”. But really, if you’re not, set yourself this challenge for 30 days and make it a part of your morning routine!
This is not necessarily a hard one, but definitely needs a fair bit of effort. You pick an area of your house to declutter for 30 days and then tackle it in order. This is one of the challenges I found on Pinterest and it seems quite comprehensive.
6| CREATE A LIST OF UNFINISHED PROJECTS AND TACKLE THEM
I got this idea from Tobia at Craftaliciousme. For her #100dayproject this year, she made a list of all her previously unfinished projects and went about completing them as a part of the project. You could do the same, but with a time frame of 30 days. Mind you, this does not have to mean a project a day, but if you’re comfortable with that, go you!!!
7| TRY A CAPSULE WARDROBE
30 DAY CHALLENGE IDEAS FOR YOUR BLOG/BUSINESS
1| START THAT BUSINESS YOU’VE BEEN DREAMING OF
Depending on the scale of your business, sure, you may not get everything done to have it up and running in 30 days, but you could definitely get a head start. Draw up that business plan, write down your marketing ideas, detail out your products, figure out the legal, operational stuff. 30 days is a good enough time to get started and get ahead.
2| DEDICATE AN HOUR TO EDUCATING YOURSELF
If you’re anything like me, you have a pile of courses/reading material that you’ve amassed and you’re yet to make your way through them. In this 30 day challenge, make a list of courses/books/publications that you want to get through on priority, and dedicate an hour a day to learning. Keep aside some time for implementing the lessons as well.
3| REACH OUT TO ONE NEW PERSON EVERY DAY
Even if you’re a hardcore introvert, truth is, you have to put yourself out there if you want your blog/business to shine. Reach out to new people via Instagram, Twitter, emails. Send a fellow blogger a heartfelt email. Interact with your followers on social media. Pitch to a brand. Reach out to a PR person. Just do something every day that puts you and your blog/business out there.
4| SHOW UP ON INSTA STORIES AT LEAST ONCE A DAY
InstaStories is a fantastic way to connect with your audience. It might take a while, but get comfortable talking to your followers. It’ll build a better relationship with them which in turn will lead to more brand recognition and loyalty.
5| PUBLISH ONE POST A DAY ON YOUR BLOG OR INSTAGRAM OR YOUTUBE
Okay, so this isn’t necessarily easy. Creating quality content takes a lot of time and effort, but if you plan for this challenge, it can be done! For inspiration, check out Anna’s (of The Anna Edit) post on how to plan and execute such a challenge.
30 DAY CHALLENGE IDEAS FOR BETTER RELATIONSHIPS
1| Eat at least one meal together with your partner/family
Building a life together is about sharing the little things. Coming together at meal times is one of the best ways to connect with your partner/family on a daily basis. And sure, in an ideal world, this should be the norm, but if it’s not, sometimes you just have to get intentional about it.
2| CALL YOUR PARENTS/RELATIVES/OLD FRIENDS
Amongst the many lessons this year has taught us, the value of meaningful human connections is certainly one of the most important ones. Make those calls, and see how someone else lights up at being remembered.
3| WRITE A LOVE NOTE TO YOUR PARTNER OR CHILD
This could be such a cute little thing to do. Small love notes to brighten up your partner or child! Ah, I am smiling just thinking about the joy of doing something like this.
4| ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN YOUR PARTNER’S HOBBY
Now sure, you don’t have to do everything together with your partner, but showing active interest in their hobby can only help to improve your personal connection! Find out about their favorite sports team, watch their favorite movies or shows along with them, cook together. Basically, just show up, and let them know that their interests matter to you as well.
5| SET UP 30 SURPRISES FOR YOUR PARTNER
Again, this does not have to be a big thing. You don’t have to go out and buy 30 different things to surprise your partner. Get creative with your ideas. Buy their favorite bottle of wine. Indulge them with breakfast in bed. Cook their favorite meal for no special reason. Get them their childhood favorite snacks/candy. Purchase that scarf they’ve been lusting over for so many weeks.
There is so much potential with this idea. And I repeat, not all surprises have to cost money or be expensive!!!
Phew, that turned out to be a long one! To make things easier for you, I’ve put all of these ideas in this handy printable, and it comes with a few different options for trackers as well. Sign up below to get your free copy!
Let me know if you try any of these challenge ideas and your experiences. And as always, feel free to add your ideas in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.