It’s a new year, and whether you want to develop a new habit or try a big, adventurous challenge that pushes your inner limits, spending 30 days trying something new can be a fun spin on the typical New Year’s resolutions. Why 30 days? It tends to be more manageable and less overwhelming to make a 30-day commitment than to plan for an entire year, and it’s about half the time needed to create a new habit if you want to continue it through the rest of the year.
In his TED talk, Matt Cutts discusses his experience tackling a new activity over the course of 30 days and how he found that time became more memorable and his self-confidence increased as he moved from “desk-dwelling computer nerd” to someone who biked to work, wrote a book, and hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro. Developing a new interest can help you to learn more about yourself and connect with those around you.
Here are some ideas for 30-day experiments:
- Dabble in the culinary arts. Love the eggplant parmesan at the small family-owned Italian restaurant down the street from you? Wish you didn’t have to trek across town for some decent Pad Thai? Spend some time learning how to whip up some of your favorite dishes and desserts! During my 30-day cooking challenge, I discovered how to make spicy mango chicken curry, tasty turkey chili, a refreshing berry mint green smoothie, and various trendy salads in a jar. Experimenting with new recipes is a creative way to design your own go-to meals and signature dishes that you can share with your friends and family. Will you become the next Anthony Bourdain over the course of 30 days? Probably not, but you’ll find that cooking will become more intuitive and you’ll become more resourceful as you develop your own
unique cooking style!
- Launch a website. Get your creative juices running by building a new website to share your ideas, promote your business, or showcase your portfolio. Khan Academy and code academy offer online tutorials and interactive exercises for learning HTML and CSS to build and design your website from scratch. Or, skip the coding lessons and customize the themes and features of your website using a user-friendly online publishing tool, like Word Press.
- Spice up your fitness routine. Taking a kickboxing class at a gym near you or joining an adult sports league in your area can help to reinvigorate your fitness routine. If you’re on a tight budget and need some positive peer pressure to get moving, check out the November project or a running group in your area. For all the homebodies out there, there are a plethora of fitness videos available online if you prefer to learn yoga or Zumba dance workouts from the comfort of your home. The beauty of 30-day challenges is that you can customize them to fit your schedule, budget, and personal goals.
- Immerse yourself in a new culture. Instead of prepping for your next international adventure with a last-minute travel guide purchase from Amazon, get the most out of your upcoming trip by learning about the history, language, and customs of the country before your trip. Downloading an interactive language learning app like Duolingo, listening to a podcast like News in Slow Spanish, or checking out an art museum near you can be great primers for when you visit the country. Public libraries can also be gold mines for free resources to learn a new language, and some non-profit organizations, such as the Global Language Network, offer low-cost (<$99) courses in over 60 languages.
Whether you are looking to snap out of a rut or develop a new habit, 30-day challenges are an exciting way to add some new energy to your routine and implement sustainable changes in your life.