This year I’m trying something different. I’m doing a year of 30-day challenges! Twelve monthly challenges that are going to help me become more intentional about how I live my life. I’m also sharing my BEST tips for making 30-day challenges work for you. Want to know what they are and join in on the fun? Keep reading!
Article first published January 2020. Updated March 2021.
Hands up if you like 30-day challenges!
I know I do! There’s no better way to accomplish something than a 30-day challenge, am I right?! Not only are 30-day challenges a sure-fire way to get you motivated but they keep you accountable too. They make it incredibly easy to accomplish your goals – especially if there’s a specific area of your life you want to focus on or you’re not sure what steps you need to take to make something happen.
The benefits of a 30-day challenge…
30-day challenges are extremely popular and it’s not hard to see why. Helping us to accomplish something we’ve been struggling to achieve, 30-day challenges give us a quick win in a relatively short space of time. They work so well because there’s always an end in sight. You know exactly what you’re getting into from the beginning, how long it’s going to take and what kind of results you can expect to see at the end of it.
Long enough to help you get results but not too long that you get fed up and lose momentum, 30-day challenges are perfect for helping you to improve your life or make a change for the better. They’re also great if you want to try something new but you’re not sure if you’re going to like it or not. At the end of the month, if it’s not for you, you can just drop it and try something else!
(This post might contain affiliate links which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I make a small commission. Read my full disclosure policy here.)
30-day challenges come with an added bonus too…
The best thing about 30-day challenges is that you’re rarely on your own. There are usually others taking part. People who are as motivated and determined to accomplish the same thing you are. And with that comes plenty of support and accountability – which makes it even more likely you’ll see results. Which is exactly why I love this type of challenge so much!
Ideas for 30-day challenges…
So, what are good 30-day challenges to try? Well, it depends on what you want to do! Spend ten minutes on Google or Pinterest and you’ll find plenty of 30-day challenge ideas. Whether you want to:
- Lose weight
- Get fitter
- Eat healthier
- Feel stronger
- Make a new habit become routine
- Ramp up your self-care
- Get more sleep
- Improve your mental health
- Read more books
- Declutter your home
- Spring clean your house
- Start a side hustle
…or something else entirely, there’s a challenge out there to help you do it!
Using 30-day challenges to improve your life…
This year I really want to be more intentional about the way I live my life. To be more present, have more fun, use my time more wisely and take better care of myself. And I thought what better way to do this than set myself a year of 30-day challenges! Twelve fun and practical monthly challenges that would help me to declutter my home and mind, become more productive and live life more mindfully.
And so, I went hunting and made a list of 30-day challenges that not only looked like they’d be fun to do but would help me get the results I want too. Picking my favourite twelve, I’ve assigned one to each month and in this post, I’m sharing what they are.
At the end of every month I’ll be revealing how each challenge went – so be sure to check back to see how I got on. Want to know which 30-day challenges I chose? You’ll find them below!
Why not take part in my year of 30-day challenges too!
Want to be more intentional about how you live your life this year too? Why not join me in my year of 30-day challenges? I’d LOVE the company and it’d be great to know you’re doing it too. After all, there’s strength in numbers, right?!
I’ll be sharing my progress inside the A Simple and Contented Life Facebook group, so if you want to take part, this is THE best place to do it. At the beginning of each month, I’ll be revealing what the challenge is and as a group, we’ll be working through it together.
At the end of the month, we get to share our progress and celebrate our wins. With plenty of accountability and support along the way, it’s going to be a LOT of fun – and I’d LOVE for you to take part too!
Join the Facebook group HERE.
My year of 30-day challenges…
Okay, so are you ready to find out which challenges I’ve chosen? Here they are!
JANUARY: 30-Day Minimalism Challenge
Why I chose this challenge: When I saw this 30-day minimalism challenge, I knew it was the one to start my year of 30-day challenges with. Why? Because I know I need to clean out my wardrobe and handbag(s!) and I have way too many socks!
In all seriousness though, I think this challenge is going to help me eliminate the things that have been weighing me down without me even realising it. It’s also going to help me become more mindful about the things I own and appreciate everything I already have instead of wanting more. Which makes it THE perfect challenge to kick off this year of 30-day challenges!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: Creating a relaxing space on Day 20. I’m working hard to get up at 5am every day (except Sundays of course!) so that I can have a few minutes to myself, read, journal and enjoy my coffee before the chaos of the day descends. And it would be so nice to have a relaxing space to retreat to. It might even motivate me to stop hitting the snooze button too!
FEBRUARY: 30-Day Marriage Challenge
Why I chose this challenge: With February being Valentine’s month, it’d be wrong not to do a loved up challenge, right?! And so, I’ve decided that I’m going to make this 30-day marriage challenge my focus for February. My hubby and I both work from home which is great but our offices are in different parts of the house.
And so, whilst we might be under the same roof all day, we rarely see one another and get very little time to connect. And I want to change that. Mini-challenges like “hug your husband 3 times today” and “look at him admiringly, make sure he sees you looking at him” are going to help make me feel closer to him and appreciate him more.
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: Day 17 – Laugh with your husband. We have so much fun together but rarely get the opportunity to hang out properly with one another. And so, whilst the 17th might be a Monday, I’m booking us in for a date night at home once Harrison is in bed so that we can curl up on the sofa and watch one of our favourite comedies together. Which one? I’ll let you know next month!
MARCH: 30-Day Self-Care Challenge
Why I chose this challenge: I know that I should be doing more to take better care of myself but I always find an excuse to bump my own wellbeing to the bottom of my list. But not any more. This year is going to be different. I’m going to start putting myself first. I’m going to start filling my own cup before everyone else’s. And I’m not going to feel guilty about doing it!
I thought this 30-day self-care challenge would be perfect because it’s not just about early nights and bubble baths. With challenges like “listen to a guided meditation podcast” and “do a 10-minute stretching routine“, it’s going to give me the opportunity to try some self-care activities I’ve never thought of doing before.
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: The “take a photo walk” challenge on Day 26. I love going for walks whilst listening to podcasts and audiobooks. But I’ve never thought of taking pictures while I do it. And so I’ll be taking myself off to my local forest to see what photos I come back with. With any luck, I’ll get to snap a picture or two of the muntjac deer that live there!
APRIL: 30-Day Spring Cleaning and Decluttering Challenge
The spring cleaning challenge:
The decluttering challenge:
Why I chose this challenge: This is the time of year that everyone is focused on spring cleaning and getting their homes in order. And all being well, it’s also around the time that we’ll be moving into our new home. So, it makes perfect sense for April to be the month that I declutter and refresh my home.
I found it really hard to choose which of these two 30-day challenges to do, so I’ve decided to do both! I’m going to take my favourite mini-challenges from each and create my own 30-day spring cleaning and decluttering challenge. I’ll be revealing which challenges I’ve picked when I start the challenge – so watch this space!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: Sorting out my mail and paperwork on Day 3 of the decluttering challenge. I have a box of papers to sort that has been calling my name for months now and I keep putting it off. This challenge might actually force me to tackle it and get it done! On the flip side, the challenge I’m dreading the most is clearing my garage…I’m sure all the junk in there breeds by itself!
Why I chose this challenge: When it comes to work, I’m a HUGE procrastinator. I have a terrible habit of leaving everything until the last minute and then wonder why things are a mad rush. I also get incredibly distracted and will often have several projects on the go at once. I’d love to figure out a way to knuckle down, stay focused, see a project through and get more done in less time. So adding a 30-day productivity challenge to my year of 30-day challenges is a must!
I liked the look of this 4 Weeks to a More Productive You challenge because I know it’s going to help me to figure out exactly where my time goes. And with challenges like “quit multitasking” and “work in 90-minute intervals” I’m hoping it’s going to teach me how to stay focused on just one project until it’s finished WITHOUT getting distracted!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: Week 3: Don’t overestimate. I think that one of the reasons I get so distracted is that I have far too many things on my to-do list and I never really know which is the most important. Choosing 1 large, 3 medium and 5 small tasks each day and focusing on just those is going to help stop me from flitting back and forth between projects.
JUNE: 30 Days of Mindfulness
Why I chose this challenge: I’m not convinced that balance exists and I think we’re better off aiming for a happy medium instead. But this 30-Days of Mindfulness challenge promises to help me relax, increase my focus and bring more balance to my life. So I’m willing to give it a go!
For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to meditate every day for at least ten minutes before I go to bed and I’ve been amazed by how calmer I feel and better I sleep. I’m hoping that this challenge will not only help me take my meditation sessions to a whole new level but show me how to be more present with my boys and my self too.
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: The “check the kids sleeping before going to bed today and follow three of their deep breaths” challenge on Day 16. Every night, before I go to bed I kiss Harrison goodnight on the forehead and whisper “sweet dreams Baby, I love you” in his ear whilst stroking his hair. But I really like the idea of sitting with him and following his breathing, just for a few moments. I know it’s going to take me back to when he was a baby and I would hold him whilst he slept soundly in my arms – which is something I miss very much.
Why I chose this challenge: As June is all about mindfulness, it makes perfect sense to follow on with a challenge that’s all about gratitude, right? I think we could all do with a little more thankfulness and appreciation in our lives and I think this 30-Day Gratitude challenge is going to help me accomplish just that.
And with Harrison breaking-up for the summer mid-July, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to do it with him too. Studies have shown that when a child practices gratitude, it has a positive effect on both their mental and physical wellbeing. In addition, I’m hoping that practicing gratitude together is going to help us foster a deeper connection too.
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: Honestly, I’m looking forward to diving into and journaling about every single one of these prompts. And I can’t wait to see what Harrison comes up with for each one too!
AUGUST: 30-Day Photography Challenge
Why I chose this challenge: When Harrison was little I would take photos all the time. Now he’s older I rarely take any pictures, which is a real shame. And so, I thought it would be nice over the summer to get the camera back out and for us to do this 30-Day Photography challenge together.
Not only will it give us something to do over the summer break but I think with his perspective, Harrison is going to take some great pictures! It’s going to be a lot of fun comparing the snaps we take for each prompt and sharing them with you. And I have no doubt that he’s going to be a much better photographer than me!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: The “yourself with 13 things” challenge on Day 13. I have no idea what 13 things I’m going to pick but I can’t wait to see what Harrison chooses. I’m betting that Lego and his colouring books and pens are going to be amongst the pile somewhere!
SEPTEMBER: No-Spend Challenge
Why I chose this challenge: Most people tend to go for no-spend challenges at the beginning of the year after the expense of Christmas. But I think September is a great time to do it too. It helps you get your finances back on track after the spending too much over the summer break. Plus, you have plenty of time to save a few pennies before you need to start thinking about what Santa is going to bring everyone in December!
I chose this No-Spend challenge because instead of focusing on how to save money, it encourages you to do things with your time that improve your physical and emotional wellbeing. Because, when we’re feeling good about ourselves, we’re less likely to use shopping as a source of comfort. Which in turn means we spend less. So, I’m interested to see how much this 30-day challenge has affected my bank balance come the end of the month!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: Organising my photos and keepsakes on Day 15. I’ve been promising myself for ages that I’ll turn all of the photos we’ve taken over the years into photobooks that we can all sit and look at together but I’ve not yet done it. We have 15 years’ worth of pictures to choose from, so it might take me a while but it’ll be so good to finally start the project!
OCTOBER: 30-Days of Self-Improvement
Why I chose this challenge: October is my birthday month and so I thought what better a challenge to do than one that focuses on my own personal growth. For the whole of October, I’m going to invest in myself and nurture my own wellbeing. And I’m not going to feel guilty about doing it!
We all need time to invest in ourselves and this 30-Days of Self-Improvement challenge is the perfect opportunity for me to do just that. I’m excited to see how different I feel come the end of the month!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: My favourite has to be “go to a new place” on Day 26 as I love to explore places I’ve not been to before. But the 26th isn’t my birthday, the 17th is. And so, I’ll be moving “meditate for 10-minutes before bed” to the 26th so that I get to do one of my favourite things on my birthday!
NOVEMBER: 30-Day Happiness Challenge
Why I chose this challenge: Given that I’ll have just completed a challenge on self-improvement, I thought I’d take things one step further and do a challenge that focuses on improving happiness in November. And the challenges in this 30-Day Happiness challenge make a great follow-on from the ones I will have done in October.
With Christmas just around the corner, these last few weeks of the year can get pretty stressful. And so I think that November is the perfect time to work through a happiness challenge. Especially as the nights will have started to draw in and the weather begins to turn cold and miserable too!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: Doing something I’ve been meaning to do on Day 24. I have a list in my journal of all the things I’d like to do or try and places I’d like to go. So it would be really good to actually tick something off of this list! What will I choose? You’ll have to wait until November to find out!
DECEMBER: 25 Days of Christmas
Why I chose this challenge: For the final challenge of the year, I thought I would choose something fun and festive that I can do with the whole family. So, I’ve gone for this 25 Days of Christmas challenge.
Christmas is BY FAR one of my most favourite times of the year and with challenges like “bake Christmas cookies” and “go to a winter festival” I know this 25 Days of Christmas challenge is going to help us make the most of the holiday season and enjoy the build-up to Santa’s arrival. It’s also going to help my year of 30-day challenges go out with a bang!
The mini-challenge I’m looking forward to doing the most: The “have a pyjama day and do crafts” challenge on Day 16. Harrison loves staying in his pyjamas on the weekends so I think he’s going to love a whole day in his PJs doing crafts with me – especially if his pyjamas are Christmas-themed ones!
My year of 30-day challenges…
There you have it, my twelve 30-day challenges for my year of 30-day challenges! What do you think? Which do you like the idea of most? I’m not sure I could choose my favourite just yet though because I want to do all of them! So, I’ll have to let you know which one I enjoyed the most at the end of the year – which seems a very long way away right now!
I hope that you’ll be joining me in this year of 30-day challenges. I really do think they’re going to help me lead a more intentional life and I know they can totally help you do the same too. Feel free to switch the order around if you like – you don’t have to do them in the same order as me!
And if you’re worried about making it through to the end of each month, check out below because I’m sharing what I’ll be doing to make sure I complete each challenge!
My best tips for making 30-day challenges work…
Although most 30-day challenges have the steps laid out for you to follow, sometimes it can be hard to keep the momentum going. Especially after a week or two once the excitement of starting the challenge begins to wear off. And as someone who’s incredibly good at setting new goals and getting started but not so great at following through, I know I’m going to have a few safety nets in place if I’m going to complete each one.
And so, here’s what I’m doing to make sure I see it through to the end of each 30-day challenge. If like me you struggle with follow-through too, why not try them too!
30-Day Challenge Strategy #1. Picking challenges that truly resonate
During my search, there were plenty of challenges that I thought might be a good idea to do. But when looking at them, they didn’t really resonate – sorry 30-day plank challenge! And whilst I thought I probably could or should do them, I knew I’d be unlikely to complete them. So, they didn’t make the cut.
Make sure the 30-day challenges you choose are ones you know you’re going to complete. Pick ones that truly resonate and fire you up with excitement as soon as you read them. Ask yourself what you want to achieve, why you’re looking for a challenge and find one that fits. Don’t pick a challenge just because you think you should be doing it or because someone else is doing it – that’s not going to help you to complete it!
30-Day Challenge Strategy #2. Write down the steps of the challenge
I know that if I write something down, I’m more likely to do it. And so, I’ll be writing the steps to each challenge in my diary. At the start of each month, I’m going to write every challenge for that month in my diary and tick them off as I go.
If writing it down means you’re more likely to do it too, try writing the steps of whichever 30-day challenge you’re taking in your diary as well. To help keep you motivated, you could even print off the challenge and put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day – like your bathroom mirror or fridge door!
30-Day Challenge Strategy #3. Get some accountability
One of the reasons that 30-day challenges work so well is that they usually come with some kind of community. It could be a Facebook group (like mine!), your friends in real life or a local meet-up group that gets together once a week. Whatever form it takes, there really is strength in numbers and when you have someone to share your progress with, you’re more likely to see a challenge through.
Want some accountability?! Join the A Simple and Contented Life Facebook group HERE!
30-Day Challenge Strategy #4. Reorganise the challenges if you need to
Looking at my first challenge, I know that there are going to be some days where the challenge for that day won’t work. I’m either working or going to be away and so I know that it’s just not going to be possible for me to do that challenge on that day. And so, instead of feeling like I’m going to fail before I even start, I’m going to change the order of the challenges.
And you can too!
What matters is that you complete the challenge – but it doesn’t matter what day you do which challenges! If you know you’re more likely to complete one of the weekday challenges on a weekend then go for it. I’m switching up a few of mine, so there’s no reason why you can’t too!
Make the challenge work for you and fit it around all your other commitments. It’ll stop you from feeling frustrated and help you make it through to the end.
30-Day Challenge Strategy #5. Give yourself some grace
These 30-day challenges all look great on paper but I know that in reality, there are going to be days where life is going to get in the way and for whatever reason, I won’t be able to complete the mini-challenge for that day. And that’s okay. I’m not going to beat myself up over it, I’m just going to keep going. I’m going to give myself some grace. And you need to too.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t manage every single day of the challenge. We don’t need to complete every single mini-challenge in order to feel accomplished. And missing a day here and there doesn’t make us a failure either.
Progress is progress. So, choose progress over perfection and if you do miss a day, go to bed telling yourself you’ll carry on tomorrow. And then make sure you do!
That’s it for this post!
Are you as excited to get started on these challenges as I am? I’m mega excited about doing each and every single one and sharing my progress. I can’t wait to see yours too – who knows what both of us will have accomplished by the time 2021 arrives!
Be sure to check back at the end of the month to see how I get on with my first 30-day challenge – my 30 Days of Minimalism. And if you’re taking part in the challenge too, don’t forget to head on over to the Facebook group and join so that we can cheer each other on! Oh, and make sure you pin this 30-day minimalism challenge so that you can come back to it if you need to too!
One final note…
Before I go, I have to confess that my list had more than twelve 30-day challenges on it and it was REALLY hard to choose which ones to try this year. I wanted to do them all! And so, I’ve kept the rest in reserve just in case. If this year of 30-day challenges works out, I may do the rest next year – so watch this space!
In the meantime, in case you want to try one of them instead of the 30-day challenges above, here they are:
- Simplicity Challenge
- Social Media Detox
- Self-Care Challenge
- Be More Positive Challenge
- Mental Cleanse Challenge
- Confidence Challenge
- Kindness Challenge
And if you want more ideas for 30-day challenges, be sure to check out my Challenges to Improve Your Life board on Pinterest. You’ll find all of the challenges mentioned in this post and many more!
Will you be joining me for my year of 30-day challenges? Which one are you most looking forward to doing? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Did you like this post? You’ll LOVE these too!
- How to Put Yourself First Every Single Day
- 30 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Have a Better Day
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Article first published January 2020. Updated March 2021.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey there! In case we haven’t met, I’m Sarah and I’m incredibly passionate about helping others step out of a life on autopilot and into one of purpose.
I’m on a mission to help you become your BEST self and live your BEST life every single day – and that includes making life less stressful and more enjoyable with the help of these fun 30-day challenges!
A certified master life coach, transformation coach, goal success coach and self-published author, I’m also an Executive Contributor for Brainz Magazine, a proud mum of two, a besotted wife, breast cancer survivor and your mentor for making a change for the better.
When I’m not helping my clients create a life they love, you’ll find me in my favourite Starbucks curled up in a chair, book in one hand, hazelnut latte in the other or attempting to walk my somewhat lazy Frenchie pup Arthur!