Everywhere you turn it seems like there is a new health & wellness “challenge”. But did you know many of these challenges actually do the opposite of improving health & wellness!? In this blog post I’m going to show you how to craft a true 30 day challenge (and give you a free downloadable workbook!) to boost health and wellness (both physical & mental!) and give you over 100 ideas to get started!
Keep ready to get your free e-book!
Why Should You Do A 30 Day Challenge?
As humans we like to have something to work towards. We like challenges! That is one reason we’re so drawn to things like dieting, to be honest. It gives us the feeling of hope and the satisfaction of accomplishment. We also have scientific evidence that tracking our progress, such as via a 30 day challenge, actually causes us to be more likely to achieve said goals.
The key here is to pick the RIGHT goals. This is especially true with things like dieting or fad health & wellness trends. Why? Because most of the time they’re designed for you to fail. Yep! They’re intended to be too restrictive. They don’t give you grace. Etc. As a result, you “fail” and then look for another one to try. This is how the diet industry makes so much money!
Doing a 30 day challenge with friends can also create a sense of bonding. Something that again as humans we desire. This is yet another reason we’re drawn to things like dieting. I mean think about it, I remember chatting with gal pals about the latest diet we were trying and feeling so connected and not at all alone. (Spoiler alert: fast forward and I also remember seeing us bond over frustration that we “failed” and binged the entire kitchen!)
What Is A Good 30 Day Challenge?
A good 30 day challenge should have a few important characteristics:
- It should be enjoyable and something you’re motivated to do (not something someone ELSE wants you to do or that you think you “should” do)
- It should allow for flexibility (life happens!)
- It should be attainable (meaning you’re not setting yourself up for failure trying to turn an apple into an orange!)
It’s also important to keep in mind what we NEED as humans and ensure you’re meeting all of the bottom needs before building up. We know that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (see the chart below) describes which of our needs need to be met before we can achieve higher goals.
Essentially, our needs are like building blocks. We must first accomplish the lower levels in order to build towards the higher ones. When you’re creating a 30 day challenge idea it’s important to keep this in mind. You shouldn’t necessarily focus on one of our higher needs, such as self-actualization or esteem, if your lower needs, say physiological, aren’t being met.
The science says that by meeting more of our lower level needs first, we can better meet those in higher needs. And by encompassing them all, we can achieve even bigger goals!
It’s also important to kick all-or-nothing thinking to the curb. Give yourself grace during any challenge, if you miss a day that’s okay! Don’t let it stress you out. It won’t do you any good especially is you’re doing a challenge focusing on health & wellness! (This is a TOTAL different point of view from the 75 hard challenge that I reviewed! Be sure to check out that blog post if you’ve thought about doing that… you might re-think that decision!)
We know that resiliency is one of our strongest defenses against stress, and showing ourselves grace and trying again to pursue health and wellness is helpful to our health. When we guilt ourselves over not meeting our goals, we can increase our stress hormone, cortisol, which can harm our blood sugar regulation, digestion, growth, immunity, reproductive health, and even our mood.
How To Plan A 30 Day Challenge
Alright, so now I’m going to share with you a super simple way that you can create your own 30 day challenge to boost total health & wellness (both mental & physical!) Here is what you’ll want to do:
- Snag the free downloadable e-book I made you that you’ll plan and track your 30 days in
- Pick a start date (it can be any day! It doesn’t have to be a Monday or the start of a month!) and write this on the 30 day challenge calendar your downloaded e-book.
- Take a peek through my 100+ 30 day challenge ideas and highlight or circle in your e-book which ones you might want to do
- Pick just ONE thing each day to do. You can plan these out in your 30 day challenge e-book or you can decide more intuitively and in the moment on a daily basis
- Continue to do this for 30 days (if you miss a day(s) that’s totally OKAY!)
- Complete the reflection worksheet at the end of the e-book to assess what challenge tasks you enjoyed the most and want to continue doing!
The best part of this DIY 30 day challenge is that you can do it again and again and again and it’ll be a totally different experience every time! Cool, huh?
100+ 30 Day Challenge Ideas
- Do 3 rounds of boxed breathing (AKA square breathing is when you exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, inhale for 4 counts and hold for four counts then repeat!),
- Take a walk outside (even just 5 minutes counts!)
- Eat without distractions
- Call a friend to chat
- Make a “fancy” coffee at home (add spices like cinnamon, use a milk frother, etc!)
- Create a bedtime routine for yourself and do it! (Examples: Read for 5 minutes, turn off screens 1 hour before bed, etc)
- Make a new recipe
- Read for 10 minutes
- Set a new boundary with yourself, your partner, a friend, or a family member (i.e. no work after 6pm)
- Practice gentle nutrition and make a meal with 3 of 5 food groups (fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy/dairy alternative)
- Enjoy a dessert mindfully (checkout this post for my favorite mindful eating exercises)
- Write a letter to a friend (try pen and paper!)
- Try a new spice
- Write a letter you’ll never send (try one forgiving your past self!)
- Journal for 15 minutes (write whatever comes to your mind!)
- Make a Pinterest board of body positive quotes
- Go to bed 30 minutes earlier
- Make a point to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day
- Take time to notice how your food looks and smells before eating it (increases mindfulness and satisfaction!)
- Write a list of 5 things you’re grateful for that happened in the last 24 hours
- Carve out 30 minutes of alone time
- Create a bedtime routine for yourself and do it! (Examples: have a slow morning cup of coffee, drink a glass of water, take 5 deep breaths, don’t look at your phone for the first hour, etc.
- Try a new yoga pose or sequence you’ve never done before (checkout Pinterest for this!)
- Learn a new cooking technique (example: how to poach an egg)
- Don’t set an alarm and wake up naturally
- Ask for help with something you’ve been struggling with
- Sleep for a full 7-9 hours
- Notice how the taste of your food changes throughout a meal (a subtle satisfaction & fullness cue!)
- Take 5 minutes to stretch your body
- Unfollow 10 social media accounts that don’t serve/inspire you
- Follow 10 social media accounts that do inspire you
- Try an exercise you’ve never done before
- Stay off of social media for a full day
- Pre-cut veggies to hand on hand throughout the week
- Place a bowl of fruit on the counter for easy access
- Get rid of expired pantry items
- Take time to clean out the fridge
- Try a new fruit
- Try a new vegetable
- Make a list of 5 of your characteristics you love about yourself (Nothing to do with how you look!)
- Turn on your favorite song of the moment and dance
- Pick 1 thing to meal prep for the week (i.e. hard boiled eggs, shredded chicken, etc)
- Clean out your junk drawer
- Start a book list (any kind is great!)
- Be cognizant of your posture and stand up straight
- Set a placemat for your meal and create a “mood”
- Take a walk through a new neighborhood
- Print out a coloring page and color!
- Listen to a new podcast
- Make a Pinterest board of recipes you want to try
- Watch a TedTalk
- Replace items of clothing that no longer fit with ones that do
- Slow dance in the kitchen (with your partner, dog or alone!)
- Burn your favorite candle
- Go on a solo date
- Spend 5 minutes alone in silence
- Have a couch day
- Write a positive post-it for yourself
- Get your nails done
- Write your bucket list
- Create a vision board
- Turn off your phone notifications
- Watch the sunrise
- Watch the sunset
- Take time to reflect on the pit and the peak of the day
- Buy yourself flowers
- Plan a dream vacation (even if it doesn’t ever happen!)
- Try meditating (the calm app is great!)
- Try adding in a serving of whole grains
- Make a meatless meal (plant based eating is great for our bodies and the planet!)
- Look at yourself in the mirror and say “I’m beautiful just the way that I am”
- Donate clothes you haven’t worn in the past 12 months
- Get “dolled up” for no reason other than yourself
- Make a meal incorporating as many colors as you can
- Add 1 thing to your morning routine (journaling, meditating, not looking at social media, etc.)
- Sit in the sunshine
- Make the appointment you’ve been putting off (dentist, doctor, etc.)
- Allow yourself a rest day and relax
- Give yourself a facial massage (increases lymphatic flow!)
- Enjoy your favorite food from childhood
- Plan our 5 meals you’ll make during the week for dinner
- Have protein at every meal
- Pack a lunch instead of buying it
- Do 10 pushups
- Have a cup of tea at night to help relax you
- Make fancy avocado toast at home
- Take the stairs
- Do a strength training workout
- Give yourself a head massage
- Walk somewhere instead of driving
- Make an empowerment playlist
- Strike a power pose in the mirror 3x throughout the day
- Say no to something you don’t want to do
- Take 5 deep breaths 3x throughout the day
- Write a list of everything you’ve accomplished today – even the small things like brushing your teeth!
- Take a nap
- Do 3 acts of kindness throughout the day
- Pay for the person’s order behind you
- Make a grocery list before you go shopping
- Write yourself a love note from YOU
- Visit a new park and take a walk
- Do an activity from your childhood that you loved (tag, hopscotch, monkey bars, etc!)
Don’t forget to snag your free e-book for the full 100 30 day challenge ideas!
—-> GET YOUR E-BOOK HERE! <—-
Be sure to share your own DIY 30 day challenge with me by posting on your Instagram stories or feed and tagging me! (@no.food.rules)
I hope you love this DIY 30 day challenge ideas list! I think challenges are so much fun and they really satisfy our desires for connection, ambition and hopefulness in a truly healthy way… if done correctly! In my membership community, The SociEATy, we do challenges often for this reason! And to help really enhance the intuitive eating learning process!
Have more challenge ideas? Comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
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This blog post was written by Colleen Christensen, RD and researched and written with the help of Amy Sharn, MS, RDN, LD.