The idea for this is not a new one but is potentially an excellent one. It’s something I’ve been aware of people doing and that I’ve thought of doing myself in the past but it came back to my attention following seeing this video that a friend posted on her facebook wall:
If you don’t want to or can’t watch the video, it’s a short talk by Matt Cutts (an engineer at Google) at a TED conference essentially saying to try something new for 30 days.
This got me thinking.
It could be good fun/interesting/rewarding to set some 30 day challenges. It’s just a month. We could do the 30 days and revert back to normal after or maybe continue with whatever it is for longer/forever. It is also the right amount of time to instil something as a habit (or remove a habit!).
Ok, I’d say the most recent research and middle-of-the-range figure for habit forming says about 66 days on average… so around half way there!
One of the things that struck me about the above presentation is the speaker’s line:
“Instead of the months flying by forgotten…the time was much more memorable”
Quite powerful don’t you think? If you think about how easily time just slips by. You have your routine and nothing really happens…you go through the motions. Work, TV, leisure, socialising etc., all follows a general pattern and you never really achieve anything of note or make any discoveries or quantum leaps in your existence. Time drips by, and it does so all the faster as you get older…and you say “ooh where did all the time go” and “I’m in the same position I was 5 years ago” (or worse off!).
Now imagine you did something new each month for 30 days. It could be every month or once in a while. That month would take on far more meaning, more significance, you will be more present and you will have improved in some way. You may want to continue with whatever the challenge was…it may even change your life! At the very least it could be a fun experiment, you’ll learn a little and consequently grow a little.
It’ll certainly jazz things up a little, which is after all what we want, isn’t it?
Matt also mentions that his self-confidence grew, he became more adventurous (in the challenges and in life). He also points out that if you want anything badly enough, you can do anything for 30 days.
One case study Cutts mentions is writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That’s around 1600 words a day. Very doable. It won’t be great but you will have achieved it. You would have the basis there and there’s nothing to stop you continue working on it if you so wished (you may have no desire to do this challenge but it just serves as an example of what can be done).
So, what am I suggesting?!
What I’m thinking is doing a challenge each and every month for 12 consecutive months…1 year. 12 different things…a 1 month challenge wrapped in an overall 1 year challenge. Some big, some small. Some things I would like to do, some that could just be good to do anyway…some what we’ll simply call an ‘experience’.
I would like to do this myself just to see how far I can come in a month with a given thing and also how far that takes me over the year…both with the individual challenges and as a human being. Built on together the effects would be exponential.
But I don’t want to do it alone, I want you to join in. Yes YOU! I think it would be great fun and more of a communal thing if we all joined in. We could either just do our own challenges and report back on them. Or what could be quite good fun is if we all did the same thing at the same month. We’ll probably end up with a combo of the 2…people joining in the group ones as and when and sitting out/doing their own when it suits.
So what could we do? Lets get some ideas on the go…
Possibilities could include:
- Food – vegetarian/veganism, cut out sugar, dairy
- Eating patterns – how many meals/size
- Drink – cut out alcohol, caffeine
- Sleep patterns, siesta
- Exercise – a specific challenge, working out twice a day/in the mornings
- Instruments – I fancy learning the guitar for a start
- Take up a sport – swimming, tennis, martial arts
- Learn a language
- Dancing – take up breakdancing
- Write a book, comedy script
- Start a business
- Lose weight, bulk-up
- Cooking – learn/make a recipe a day
- Meditating, yoga, tai-chi
- No internet, facebook, TV
I say we start September [edit: any month! Basically, the following one to when you’re reading this 😉 ]. Best month as it gets the summer out the way with its various shenanigans. It’s when everyone is back to the routine of work/uni etc and before it gets too in the depths of winter and Xmas and all that lot. September is the unofficial New Year at FF.
It also gives us a chance to rally some support and willing participants. The more and crazier the better. Anyone can join in when they want. We can have a vague outline of what we are going to do and adapt as necessary. We can assess the situation at the end of each challenge and at the end of the year.
I will update the blog with my progress every few days and include those who want to be included.
Doing these challenges in this way helps with focus too as that thing becomes your priority for that month. Each month is something new and exciting. You can never get bored, short enough time to keep it fresh and not drag, long enough time to make an impact. Perfect.
As Matt Cutts put so well:
“I can guarantee you the next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not so why not think about something you have always wanted to try…and give it a shot, for the next 30 days”
Lets do it!
- For all 30 day challenge related posts click here