All of us have dreams and resolutions. We start working towards something but quit when things stop going well. We juggle so many dreams. After a few years when we look back, it looks like we tried and we failed. But in the first place we never tried seriously to work on our goals.
What can be the solution for this?
30-day challenges can help us to achieve our goals and resolutions. In order to get good at something, we need to develop habits related to that. A routine takes 21 days to form a habit. This is where a 30-day challenge can be used to make the habits and retain them. The 30th day is not the end of the journey. It is just a milestone in the journey of the new habit. At the end of next 30 days, there will be a different milestone. It is the constant improvement of our lives which provides joy and fulfillment and not just a single milestone.
Why only 30 days? Why not 7 days or 6 months?
30 days is neither too short as 7 days nor too long as 6 months. It will be an ideal time which covers both the good days when you feel good about your progress and also the bad days when you feel like giving up and also the tough days where you keep waiting when the 30 days will end.
In the past 30 days, I chose two 30-day challenges. One for my health and the other to improve my skills. The one for my health was running. I lead a sedentary lifestyle where I sit for 12 hours a day. Research says that people who sit for more than 6 hours a day are likely to die sooner than those who smoke every day. So this exercise helped me to have some movement in my day. But the 30-days were not a cake walk. The first few days of running gave me terrible cramps. On the 5th day, I was telling myself that it is just 5 more such 5-day sets. On the 10th day, I told myself it is just 2 more such 10-day sets. But today when I went for a run, it just felt like a habit such as brushing. It did not feel a great deal. There were days when I woke up late and did not have enough time to run. I went for a quick 5 minute run on those days. There were days when I was sad or depressed. I did not feel like moving out of my bed. But just to keep up with my 30-day challenge, I went for a run. And there will be a few days like today when it rained. I went for a run after it stopped raining. I have written in this article how helpful running was for me. And this is just the beginning of a habit. I have a lot more miles to run.
The other 30-day challenge which was related to my skills was writing. I took a 30-day challenge to write on Quora.com. I want to be a writer. I am not great at writing. But it gives me immense pleasure. Reading heals my wounds. Hence I want to write and make many others heal themselves through my writing. Like every other habit, I tried and failed in writing too. But doing a 30-day challenge helped me stick to it. And I chose Quora because I need not think every day what to write on. On a few days, I can just write a few words and still consider that I have written and published it. And in the beginning of this year, I thought I should have written 500 answers on Quora. That would have remained just as a dream if I had not written every day for the past 30 days. On this 30th day, I am not going to stop writing there. I will keep blogging regularly and even continue writing there too.
The following are a few guidelines for 30-day challenges:
Choosing a challenge:
Write down the list of things you always wanted to do. Classify them into categories like health, relations, finance, personal skills or any other one you have. Prioritize the categories and goals in each category. Start with the first category for this month.
Tell someone you trust that you are on a 30-day challenge.You will more accountable when they inquire your progress.
If you take up a challenge of lifting 10kg weight every day when you have not even lifted 1kg any time before, the challenge would be unrealistic and there are higher chances of you giving up on the third day itself. Instead, if you start with 500 gms on the first day. You might be able to lift the 10 kgs on the 30th day.
30-day challenges are difficult to stick with when you don’t have easy availability of resources. I gave up writing many times when I started them previously because of lack of easy availability of prompts. That is why I chose Quora this time so that I can choose a question from millions of questions out there. I need not waste my energy in deciding what to write on.
At the end of this 30-day challenge, I will be starting with a new set of challenges from tomorrow. The book “Happiness Project” inspired me to take this next set of challenges. The author of the book transformed her life through a set of 12 such 30-day challenges. Comment below what is going to be your first 30-day challenge.