Dr. Kristen Mitteness
Create and Conquer Your Own 30 Day Challenge
Have you ever wanted to make changes to your life but didn't know where to start? Maybe you weren't even sure if the changes were right for you. A 30 day challenge is a great way to test the waters. And unless you choose to try to not breathe for 30 days, chances aren't it won't totally make or break you. In fact, if you live to 75, doing something for one month is only .1% of your life. So no, eliminating sugar for one month won't make you immensely healthier, but it will show you just how much better you can feel. Our bodies are very resilient and can adapt quicker than we realize. Although big dietary changes might be extremely challenging at first, it's pretty amazing at how quickly we can notice subtle changes. But, your 30 day challenge doesn't have to have anything to do with what you eat! It could be related to your finances, fitness, mental health and more! In this Skillshare course, I will introduce you to the 30 day challenge, give you tools to create your own, a calendar to keep track of your progress, best practices for success and my favorite resources if you want to learn more.
Step 1: Find your why. If you don't have a reason to make a change, you won't make one. Dig deep. Why do you want to do this challenge? What are you hoping to accomplish? Is what you're choosing to do within reason and actionable? Come up with 3-5 reasons you are going to do this 30 day challenge. Want to read more about this? Try the book, Start With Why.
Step 2: Think small. Like, way smaller. So you have no excuses not to do it. Ideally, you will choose 1-3 things to do for 30 days and they will take less than 10 minutes. We naturally want to make big, sweeping changes, but they are typically not sustainable. I want you to be successful. And to be successful, you need to start small. Once you successfully complete the 30 days, then you can choose to (or not to) build upon that success. You will get much more out of doing 20 push ups every day than you will from doing 200 push ups once per week. Consistency will get you much further than doing something once in a while. Step 3: Write it out. There's just something that solidifies a plan when you write it down. While the "research" may be more like folklore, I am a huge fan of writing things down even if just for the purpose of improving the connection of the idea from your brain to your body. The 30 day tracker below has a spot for you to write exactly what you will accomplish each day for the next 30 days. Please use it!
Step 4: Track it. Yeah, that tracker that I was just talking about. After you write down your goal(s) now you can check off the box each time you successfully complete the task! It's like putting the sticker of accomplishment on the board in kindergarten. You're not that much different. Seeing your progress through the challenge will keep you motivated to complete the 30 days. Step 5: Be accountable. If you know your tendency based on Gretchin Rubin's Four Tendencies, this is helpful - it will enlighten you as to how you manage expectations. Most of us require some external motivation and accountability . That might look like recruiting a friend to do the challenge with you, telling all of your social media friends what you are doing or having someone check in on you daily or every few days to ensure you are staying on track. Most of us will be much more successful if we can recruit others in some capacity.
Step 6: Plan for road blocks. I wish the world would conspire to ensure your 30 day challenge is the most successful, but it might not. So, let's make sure we have a plan when things go sideways. If you are unable to do X, then I will do Y. For example, you have chosen to not eat refined sugar for the next 30 days. But, you have your nephew's birthday party on day 16. What will you do instead? Bring fruit to eat instead? Avoid the party all together? Leave before the cake is served? Start cleaning dishes to avoid being around the cake eaters? There is no right or wrong answer. We simply are looking for a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Come up with 3-5 scenarios that you may encounter during your 30 day challenge. Even if you come upon a time when you need to make a decision and you don't have a plan, because you have thought out these other plans, you will be better prepared. Step 7: Implement a reward or penalty system. If you eat your 6 servings of fruits and vegetables for 30 days maybe you can celebrate by going out for brunch with friends. Or, if you tank on day 25, you owe your brother in law $100. Sometimes the risk of losing it more motivating than the risk of winning. While this step is optional, it might make it just that much more fun!