Each year so many of start out asking, what is my “big goal” for the year. If you’re like almost everyone, once you’re a few weeks into the year, you forget about your goal and get back to your everyday life as it was. While I don’t want to discourage you from aiming to reach your big goal, (I still usually set one each year) – I recommend starting smaller and creating monthly challenges that will hopefully turn into an ongoing positive habit.
How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit?
Creating a new habit takes time. It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit and a total of 66 days for it to become an automatic habit.
And although that seems like a lot of time, that’s where my monthly challenges come in to help.
What Are Monthly Challenges?
Well, they are as simple as they sound. The monthly challenges can be anything you want them to be and they start on the first day of the month and end on the last day. Each month, you set out to either establish a new habit or try something new for 30 days (or so).
For me, I started these challenges in October 2018. Each month, I challenged myself with trying something new, establish better habits, and I even set aside a month for much-needed rest. If I like how the new behavior, activity, or skill fits into my routine, I continue it on for the next month. And after 2 months, I’m on my way to forming a new automatic habit.
Why Did I Wait Until April to Begin My Monthly Challenges?
In January, I was out of town with my family, and although I knew I wanted to complete monthly challenges again, I didn’t feel like the timing was right for me.
After the holidays, traveling on and off for two months, adjusting to new schedules and routines – I wasn’t ready.
I had created lists of things I wanted to do and accomplish, but I wasn’t sure what new habits or goals I wanted to work on. I decided to take some time off and start on April 1st, the first day of the second quarter of the year. This would give me time to settle into the year. Little did I know that March would be a month of change for the entire world. With all that is going on and with so much uncertainty ahead, now is the perfect time to start my challenges again!
How to Create Your Monthly Challenges
There are so many ways to go about setting challenges. You can set out and work on random challenges and try new things each month, or you create challenges that work towards a larger goal.
Create Fun and New/Different Challenges Each Month
When I did this the first time around, I wanted to try new things and form new habits. Below are a few examples:
- Drink 8 glasses of water per day
- Take time to practice gratitude
- Start a workout routine
- Read a book
- Knit a sweater
- Try a capsule wardrobe
- Participate in #memademay
Start with Your Large Goal and Work Backwards
If you want to work towards a larger goal, start by breaking out your goal into different steps. For example, if your end goal is to get in shape or lose weight – start by changing one thing in your routine for a month. After the month, reevaluate and see if you want to stick with that new habit and add to it, or try a new habit completely. Here are some ideas:
- Consume x oz. of water
- Walk x amount of steps each day
- Incorporate 1 additional vegetable into two out of the three meals a day
- Intermittent fasting
- Try a workout from home program
- Walk an extra 15 minutes each day (no matter the weather)
- Try a new food routine (i.e. Whole 30, CleanEatz)
- Meal prep: plan out your meals and prep for the week ahead of time
- Stop snacking after dinner
- Track what you eat
- Cut back X amount of calories each day (without going crazy)
- Take the stairs
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to starting monthly challenges again. I plan to blog about them along with share my progress on Instagram. I hope you follow along to get ideas and join me on this journey.
Come back tomorrow to learn what I’ll be working on in April. I’ll also be sharing some additional challenge ideas.