Positive Changes: The 30-Day Challenge Revisited

Before Lent began this year, I blogged about my goal to give up caffeinated tea for 40 days. It was a modification on the 30-day challenges I had been tackling, and you can read about it in my March 5 entry. As a true tea aficionado, I wasn’t sure how well it might go, but I’m pleased to say that I came through it relatively unscathed – of course, not without a few caffeine withdrawal headaches in the beginning and a true yearning for yummy Earl Grey by the end.

What’s the best and worst image for a tea snob who must refrain from sipping her favorite drink for 40 days? A tea drawer full of the forbidden yummy goodness. It taunted me for 40 days and then rewarded me after Easter.

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This is my drawer of tea goodness in the kitchen. I avoided it for 40 whole days.

Coincidentally, just about the time that I started in on this new 40-day challenge, my co-worker (and close friend) put together an article at our office to encourage others to tackle 30-day challenges of their own. With my friend’s permission, I am sharing her article here (with some helpful links I dug up to help you implement her ideas!). If you like it, be sure to visit her blog. I just might have to try these challenges myself!

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Monthly Challenges to Help You Take Care of Yourself

Research shows that it takes 30 days to establish a new habit and that the most lasting changes will occur through small, measurable steps. Starting with the month of May, I’m suggesting some 30-day habits below for anyone looking to improve their self care — pick the ones you think will work best for you and stick with them for a full month.

May: April showers bring May flowers. Get out for a 20-minute walk every day this month. Just 20 minutes of outdoor exercise a day yields a wide array of health benefits, both physical and mental. Check out these seven benefits of regular exercise from the Mayo Clinic.

June: Healthy eating is easy when so much produce is in season. Make a resolution to eat healthier. Some ideas: Add vegetables to each meal, go meatless for at least one meal a day, or cut back on one unhealthy indulgence you regularly eat. I googled healthy eating and came up with this page to help out.

July: In the hectic day-to-day, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough. Take a few minutes each day this month to write down five things you accomplished — whether it was running an errand, keeping your temper during a difficult conversation, or making someone smile. Pat yourself on the back for the little things you do each day! Read these inspiring quotes about accomplishments.

August: Laughter is good for the soul. Each day this month find something that makes you laugh. Here are recommendations for online joke sites to help lighten your mood.

September: Sometimes we try to do too much and take on too much. Is there one thing you could get help with that would decrease your stress this month? Whether you need help with chores or projects or something else, use this month to practice asking for and accepting help. Read this wikiHow for advice on how to ask for help.

October: Research shows that gratitude has benefits for our mood and health. Choose one thing to be grateful for each day this month. Here’s a great idea: create a positivity jar!

November: Support a good cause. Many organizations choose November as their awareness month. Choose an organization to support, and set a goal to tell one new person a day about the cause that’s dear to you. Check out this list of awareness opportunities.

December: During the holidays, it can be hard to fit everything in. Getting enough sleep at night will keep you feeling more energized and calm. Schedule in enough sleep each night. The actual hours of sleep that an adult needs vary from person to person, so listen to your body. If you need help calculating how much sleep to get and when to wake up in your sleep cycle so you aren’t sleepy, visit the sleepyti.me bedtime calculator.

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