How 30-Day Challenges Can Change Your Life.

Back in March, this year, I flew to Ireland for a business trip. I was there for a week, ate too much, did not exercise and gained around 7 pounds (approx 3.5 kg) in weight.

Almost as soon as I landed back in Korea, the COVID-19 restrictions went in to place. The gyms shut down, our movements were curtailed and I spent a large amount of time being stuck indoors.

So, there I was, unable to get moving, suffering from jet lag and feeling rather unhappy with my physical condition and not being able to do too much about it.

Gradually over the next four months, the restrictions to our movements relaxed, I also found alternative ways to get moving and I set up a gym at home, so I could get some exercise in. But it was inconsistent and I didn’t feel I was completely committed to a regular exercise regime.

Now, I should explain exercise is a huge part of my life. I began running when I was fourteen and although I had a bit of a rebellious decade in my twenties, I have exercised consistently since. Without exercise in my life, I feel lost and my confidence suffers.

So, I found myself in July feeling a little out of sorts. I was not happy with my weight (it was still four or five pounds over where I wanted it to be) and I was not enjoying the exercise I was doing. It felt like a chore, not a pleasure.

Something had to change

To make the change and to get back consistency I decided to do a 30-day challenge. I decided to exercise for a minimum of thirty minutes every day in August. I made the decision to take massive action to get myself back on track and to start feeling like myself again.

Set the parameters

Now, whenever you do a thirty-day challenge you need to clearly identify the parameters you will use. For me, the parameters were a minimum of thirty minutes exercise and if I should find myself with some kind of injury or excessive soreness, then I was permitted to include a sixty-minute walk, but that walk had to be intentional which meant I must change into exercise clothes and go out and walk at a brisk pace and not combine it with something else, such as walking the dog or doing the grocery shopping.

Once I had the parameters in place I was ready to begin and since the first day of August I have, at the of writing, completed twenty-five consecutive sessions. I have not needed to do the sixty-minute walk and I have loved every minute of it. My whole attitude has changed. Exercise is back in my life as it should be — it is who I am — and those four or five excess pounds have gone (they were gone after ten days)

Why thirty-day challenges work

The reason thirty-day challenges work is that you turn a “should do” into a “must do”.

Now, normally, with things like exercise most people treat it is as something they “should do” a few days per week to maintain their health. The problem with anything that is a “should do” is it does not take much for you to decide you don’t have time to do it, or you are too tired, or too busy. It’s easy to make an excuse not to do it.

When a “should’ becomes a “must” there are no excuses. You have to find the time. No matter how busy you are or how tired you feel, there are no excuses. It must be done. This makes planning the day easy. When you look at your calendar for the day, you have to find the time to do whatever it is you want to do. If you decided to write at least 250 words in your journal for thirty days, then the only question you have is when are you going to sit down and write? First thing in the morning or last thing in the evening? If you decide to do twenty-minutes meditation every day for thirty-days, again, when will you do it?

Just knowing you have no excuses means you will find the time — you have to.

What you will discover is after seven days it becomes harder not to do it. By the time you get to day fifteen it is almost impossible to quit. At day fifteen you are half-way. At that point you do not want to give up. You are half way and to quit would feel like a disaster. Now the momentum will keep you moving forward.

Now the thing about a thirty-day challenge is you get to find out if whatever you are doing as your challenge is something you would like to continue once the challenge is over. For me, I discovered exercising for thirty straight days is not as difficult as I thought. It is easy to find thirty minutes to exercise. In fact, as the days have passed, my average exercise time has increased from around thirty-five minutes to forty-five. I also now look forward to that forty-five-minute break.

I stop what work I am doing, I turn on my music, change out of my clothes and into my exercise clothes, set up my small home gym, do my stretches and warm up and begin. Once the session is over, I make a protein shake, have a shower and then sit down with a cup of Yorkshire tea and get back to work. I feel refreshed and start to look forward to the next day’s session.

The strength of thirty-day challenges lay in the opportunities you get to try things and if you find you did not enjoy doing whatever it is you did, you do not have to continue after the thirty days. Matt D’Avella, the YouTuber and filmmaker, did a series of these thirty-day challenges last year and documented then on his channel. You can go and watch them here, I would highly recommend it. He learned a lot about himself and the things he wanted in his life.

Just some things you may want to consider for your challenges could be:

  • Wake up at 5 AM
  • Fast for sixteen hours every day
  • Quit coffee (Matt’s video on this one is very funny)
  • Exercise
  • Write a journal
  • Quit alcohol
  • Quit sugar
  • Write a blog post
  • Take a picture and put it into a digital journal
  • Go for a walk after dinner
  • Ten minutes meditation
  • 25 push-ups every morning when you wake up
  • Drink a glass of lemon water
  • Drink 2 litres of water
  • Read a chapter of a book you have always wanted to read
  • Study a skill for thirty-minutes

There are multiple things you could do, many of which may become a part of your life after the thirty-days, others may be something you have always wanted to do but found an excuse not to do.

One final part of your life that will improve by doing thirty-day challenges is your discipline. To be consistent with something every day means you will need to be disciplined and discipline is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. By regularly doing thirty-day challenges you will soon find your self-discipline improves and that will give you the confidence to change your life is so many positive ways.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

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Carl Pullein

Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com