The 30 Day Challenge
This page contains an overview of my 30 Day Challenges. Please click on the challenge titles above to see more about that specific challenge.
What are the 30 Day Challenges all about?
When we want to make a change in our lives or our businesses, we tend to think of the big picture - of the great shift that we will see. We focus on the future results that we will have achieved, but the smaller, moment to moment steps we will need to take to get there are fuzzy and vague.
There is a problem with this. By focusing our energy on the future results instead of the small, actionable steps we can take each and every day, we lose sight of what it really takes to be successful.
Cal Newport referred to this problem in his book ‘Deep Work’ as the difference between ‘lag’ and ‘lead’ measures. The ‘lag’ measures are the ones we spend our efforts on - for example, if we are trying to excel in our career, we are likely to focus on whether or not we receive a promotion. The problem with focusing solely on these measures is that by the time we have received the results, it’s too late to make any impact upon them.
‘Lead’ measures, on the other hand, provide us with constant feedback. They are 100% within our control, because they happen in the moment - for example, to lose the weight we must focus on what we choose to eat for breakfast or whether we bother to go to the gym today. The ‘lead’ measures are the ones we tend to overlook, but they are the true key to success - the ‘golden ticket’ to change lies within them. The ‘lead’ measures are the building blocks of the ‘lag’ measure - when we nurture them, over time we will create monumental success.
Change in it’s simplest form is a new habit or set of habits - the conscious decision to behave in a different way in order to improve our lives or businesses. And the better we are able to consistently behave in accordance with the ‘rules’ of our new habits, the more often we are succeeding in our ‘lead’ measures.
When implementing a new habit, the first 30 days can make or break our success. This is because within 30 days we can expect to see a greater level of automation in our behaviour - before this time, our new habits are carried out very consciously, and often with great effort. Once we break through this automation ceiling, it is much more likely that our new target habits will stick for good.
That’s what my 30 Day Challenge is all about - implementing a new habit over the course of 30 days, to show what can be achieved with a little focus and consistency. My hope is that these challenges will inspire others to do the same.
Here are the rules of the 30 Day Challenge:
- The challenge must be about one single behaviour change. Laser-like focus is required if we are to give our new habits the best chance of sticking.
- Clarity of motivation. There must be a rock solid ‘why’ for the challenge. In other words, the resulting impact of success must be linked to something of great value to us.
- Clear identification of reminders, routines and rewards. In order to change a habit, we must first understand it. Habits occur in 3 stages - first, there is a trigger (e.g. getting home from work) which is followed by a routine (e.g. pouring a glass of wine) which in turn triggers a reward (the wine relaxes us after a hard day). By identifying the trigger, we can consciously replace the routine and reward (e.g. we replace the wine with a 10 minute meditation session, which gives us the relaxation effect without the calories!).
- Daily journalling. Taking the time to reflect on our progress daily enables us to learn from our successes and failures as we go. This is turn allows us to hone our skills and make small changes to our behaviour if required. I’ll be doing this via social media through my Instagram and Facebook pages.
- Accountability. By sharing our challenge with others, we make an external commitment to change. This makes success far more achievable.
- Plan for success. In order to make success easier to obtain, we need to be organised. Creating an environment that makes success inevitable is critical. For example, if we revisit the glass of wine after work habit, we would not have any wine in the fridge in the first place.
- Focus on the process, not the results. We will of course identify what our lag measure is, because this is the overarching indicator of success (for example, to lose 10 pounds in weight). But once this is identified we must put this to one side and focus all of our energy on the lead measures (e.g. to replace our post-work wine with meditation) and enjoy the process of change. If we have set ourselves up properly for success, the results will inevitably come.
I hope you enjoy following my challenges - you can follow my progress on Instagram and Facebook where I'll be posting every day. I’d love to hear about the challenges you are taking on too!