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30-Day Challenges to Try Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions

Sadie Holloway loves researching and writing about simple ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

Instead of making New Year's Resolutions this year, you could try doing a variety of 30-day challenges all year long and see what you learn about yourself. Think of them this way: If something you do for 30 days sticks—that is, you want to keep doing that activity after the month is over—then you’re more likely to make that activity one of your good habits. If, however, you find that the activity is too tedious or difficult, by limiting the challenge to 30 days you’ve given yourself an out. When the challenge period is over, you can simply say, "Well that was interesting, but it's not for me. What's next?" and then plunge into a fresh challenge for the next month.

Unless an activity is causing you pain or is unhealthy and self-destructive, there are very few challenges that you couldn't try out for a month. Here's a list of ten 30-Day Challenges ideas to get started.

Can You Turn Any of These 30-Day Challenges Into Regular Lifestyle Habits?


1. Save energy. Do a challenge sponsored by your utilities company. Most state-run electricity, gas, or water companies offer tips and suggestions on how to cut back on energy usage in order to save money and protect the environment. Some of the utility companies even offer prize draws for completing the challenges. Head on over to your power company's website and see if they have any energy saving challenges.

2. Learn how to be a frugal foodie. Learn how to make a nutritious family meal for four people for under $10.00. It shouldn't be too hard to find tasty and nutritious recipes and meal planning ideas online. The movement to cut back on food costs and avoid unnecessary waste is gaining traction and you'll find you're in good company among frugal foodies who like to share their ideas.

Wouldn't it be fun to spend more time with the one you love? You can, simply by committing to doing a few fun 30-day challenges together.

Wouldn't it be fun to spend more time with the one you love? You can, simply by committing to doing a few fun 30-day challenges together.

3. Buy nothing but food and consumable goods for 30 days. No clothes, no magazines, no 'things'. Going to a birthday party? Make a homemade food gift. Want something new to read? That's what the library is for. Challenge yourself to buy only things that you will either eat or clean and bath with. If you think you are about to run out of underwear in a month, you might want to buy a few packs before you start this challenge, otherwise be prepared to think creatively to fill your 'wants and needs' without buying stuff. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out how much stuff you don't need in your life.

4. Use 10% less of everything each day. Less toothpaste, less dish liquid, less laundry soap ---you'll be amazed at how effective some of your everyday products can be even if you're using less of each product. Do you really need to put a long blob of toothpaste on your toothbrush to clean your teeth? Besides, using more toothpaste doesn't mean you teeth are going to be any brighter if you aren't using the right brushing technique (the one your dentist always lectures you about at each visit).

5. Read a different writing style for 30 minutes a day. For example if you normally read fiction to relax and unwind, try reading some non-fiction instead. Examples of good non-fiction books are Self-help books, how to guides, books about natural or human history, inspirational memoirs or books on philosophy, politics or current social trends. Get creative when you think about what you want to read. For example, read song lyrics, poetry, screenplays, and theatre scripts to expand your selection of reading options.

Going meatless for at least one meal a day can help boost your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Going meatless for at least one meal a day can help boost your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Reminder: Always consult your doctor before starting any new diet and exercise programs.

6. Go meatless. Replace at least one meal a day with a vegetarian or vegan meal. It doesn't have to be dinner; it could be lunch or breakfast. Just pick a meal that would normally contain meat and go vegetarian. For example, if you don't normally eat meat for breakfast, choose another meal such as lunch or dinner and make it vegetarian.

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7. Go 'au natural' around the house. No, I don't mean run around naked (but if that's your thing, no judgments here). What I am talking about is replacing your household cleaning and laundry supplies with all natural products. You’ll be surprsied how clean you can keep your home by using a few simple ingredients such as lemons, vinegar, and baking soda.

8. Eat only food that you or a family member prepared. This will help you cut back on fast food meals, fancy coffees, and junk food. If you know how to make an awesome chocolate bar from scratch, then lucky you! Otherwise, you'll have to ignore the candy display at the cashier.

9. Do a still life drawing every day for 30 days. Even if you’ve never considered yourself an artist, pick up a pencil and pad of paper and just start drawing what’s in front of: a bowl of fruit, your spouse sitting next to you on the couch, your dog asleep at your feet. Don’t judge your drawings; just enjoy the process of looking around and really noticing the world you live in. You can make the sketch as detailed or loose as you want, but try not to rush through the process. Spend at least 30 minutes on each drawing. You will likely find that time will pass effortlessly as you immerse yourself in your drawing and you might want to keep drawing for more than 30 minutes.

10. Turn off the all the screens in your house for the evening---tablets, computers, TV's, etc. Enjoy 30 peaceful nights at home or out with friends and notice how you feel at the end of the month. When the 30-day challenge is over, don't be surprised if the sound of the TV grates on your nerves once you go back to having it on in the evening. You might even find that you sleep better at night when you do this challenge. The blue light that is emitted from computer screens, phones, and tablets can disrupt your circadian rhythm---your body's biological clock that regulates your sleeping and waking cycles. Shut-off the blue light and get more shut-eye!

Turn off the electronic devices each night and play card games, work on a jigsaw puzzle or read a spine-tingling crime novel.

Turn off the electronic devices each night and play card games, work on a jigsaw puzzle or read a spine-tingling crime novel.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Sadie Holloway


Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 30, 2017:

I like #2 and #3. I'm working on both of these. Today for the first time I decided to give up grocery shopping at my favorite market (high-prices) and shop at "food saving and food for less".

True, the atmosphere needed a little help but the prices saved me a considerable amount of money.

Thanks for this helpful hub and the informative tips. Sharing.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on January 29, 2017:

There's some good advice here. Committing a random act of kindness is a really good idea, I love that one. Thank you. =)

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