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30-Day Challenges

Eat fresh fruit for snacks.
Eat fresh fruit for snacks.

Picking up a healthy habit is surprisingly difficult. You might know it's important to get regular exercise and eat healthy, but all those things you MUST do, can seem overwhelming.

A client I had a few years ago summed it up perfectly. He said, “The only way to stay healthy is for me to do all these things forever. I'm not ready for that level of commitment. I just want to do something that will fix my problems now, so in a few months I can go back to doing what I want.”

Every time that client wanted to lose weight, he followed a program that helped him drop 30 to 50 pounds. But it was a diet he hated. Once the weight was off, he celebrated and quickly returned to his previous habits. In less time than he spent taking the pounds off, he put all the weight back on again.

His fear of making a “forever” commitment is understandable. But that's often the way healthy choices are presented. Make this change now and keep doing it for the rest of your life. Stop doing it and you'll fail.

That's when I decided to try something different. I offered him a 30-day challenge. The only catch is that for each challenge, he had to do something he hasn't done before. Instead of starting a program with no end in sight, we were going to do things with a 30-day expiration.

For the next two years, every program was built around 30-day challenges. He learned new eating habits, workout ideas, ways to reduce stress and how to get more sleep. By constantly trying new things, he was able to figure out ideas that worked for him and discard the stuff that didn't. Each challenge expanded his options and gave him new tools to be better.

Eventually my client discovered new exercise routines he enjoyed. Healthy foods that taste good. He changed his most damaging habits into behaviors that would help him look and feel better.

You can do the same thing. Here are some 30-day challenges to try.

Get up and walk somewhere for 15 minutes. If the weather is bad, do it inside. A friend of mine with a serious Tik Tok addiction, now only signs on and watches while he's walking in place. Another friend that was getting bored with her walk, downloaded an app for her smartphone that identifies plants. As she makes her rounds, she picks one new plant she doesn't recognize and has the app teach her about it.

There's an app called Blinkist that will summarize popular books and read them to you in about 15 minutes. You can listen to their free selection daily, or pay a little more and choose from hundreds of titles in their library.

Is too much tech causing a problem? Then disconnect from all tech for an hour every day. Turn off your phone, shut down your computer and turn off the television. Do something that quiets your mind. If all that seems too drastic, try limiting yourself to no more than 10 minutes of social media a day.

Start your day by writing down five things you're grateful for. You don't have to come up with new things every day, they can be the same every morning. The idea is to remind yourself of the positive stuff in your life. Then end the day by writing down five things you want to accomplish tomorrow.

At five random times throughout the day, exercise for 1-minute. You can do jumping jacks, squats, crunches, pushups or burpees. Pick something that will challenge you and fit it in. Get random exercises at QuickFitFive.com.

Change one meal a day. Figure out which one is the most problematic. Maybe you're eating a donut for breakfast, fast food for lunch or a pizza for dinner. Replace your worst meal with a better option.

Go to bed on time. Schedule time to take 7-8 hours of sleep. Set an alarm to remind you of bedtime so you don't get lost binge watching TV.

Make three meals a week, entirely out of vegetables. If you're a vegetarian, find two new vegetarian recipes a week to make. For those of you who rarely eat vegetables, cover at least half your plate with vegetables. An alternate idea is to pick out one new vegetable a week you've never tried and prepare it for a meal.

Reduce the amount of weight you're lifting for an entire month. Concentrate strictly on proper form and range of movement. Make sure you know the precise muscles each exercise is supposed to be targeting. At the end of the month when your form is good, you can start increasing the weight again.

Set the table like you're expecting company, every time you eat. No more mindlessly munching while TV reruns are blaring. No more snacking while standing in the kitchen. Food is something you need to pay attention to and savor. Make it special and become more aware of what you're eating.

Don't buy anything new for a month. Then go through your house and collect things you don't use or need anymore. Arrange to donate them to friends, family, a local charity or try selling them online. Free yourself from some of the clutter you're surrounded by.

Pick out one country a week. Every day learn at least two things you didn't know about that country. Make sure you know how to find that country on a map.

Eat fresh fruits throughout the day. Ever notice how cereal companies show bowls of their products with berries sprinkled across the top? It doesn't just look better, it is better for you. A piece of fruit is also a great alternative when you want something sweet.

Do something special for someone in your life. It doesn't have to be a spouse. You can do a family members chore they hate, help out a neighbor or do something extra for someone at work. Do it just because it feels good to do something nice.

When you've run through these ideas, go online and search for “30-day challenges.” There are hundreds of things you can try.

Call for a FREE Consultation (305) 296-3434
CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

Updated 12/24/2020