30 Day Challenges – How to Create New Habits in Your Life
Inside: Want to create new habits and implement new ideas in your life? It’s a good idea to try 30-day challenges! But how do you start and exactly how does it work? Here’s 14 examples on how to create new habits, bring positive change in your life and in just 30 days or less!
What’s a 30 Day Challenge?
Have you ever wondered how it is possible for us to fast thirty days of Ramadan every year, but so so hard to commit to completing our missed fasts or do the Sunnah ones..?
Well, that’s because in Ramadan, you know (before hand) how long you are fasting, when you are beginning, when you are ending, and that there is Eid at the end.
And this is the best example of a 30 Day Challenge! For 30 days, you are committing to showing up to do something intentionally.
How do challenges work in changing habits?
Let’s continuing talking about Ramadan as an example of 30 Day Challenges.
In Ramadan, we know we will begin fasting on 1st Ramadan. We also know when we will eat and break the fast, and we know that this is all going to be for just 30 days. It is sort of like running a marathon… you know the finish line. There are also many people who are doing the EXACT same thing all around the world!
Compare that to doing the missed fasts. You don’t know when you will start. There is just so much choice.
‘Umm… I don’t know, I can start this week I think. Monday and Thursday possibly, or wait… this week, I have the dentist appointment so next week for sure, I sill start.’ , you say to yourself.
Next week, your in-laws come visiting. The week after that Aunt-Flo visits. Then when two months later, when you do actually think is a “good day to fast”, you have to look up the right time to eat Suhur and well… ‘… may be when the days are a little cooler/shorter”, you say.
Think about it for a minute, if God had just said ‘fast 30 days in a year’ instead of ‘fast 30 days of Ramadan’ would we have fasted?
If we didn’t have specific instructions on how to start fasting and end it and then the exact timing to start and stop eating, would we EVER be this productive in Ramadan?
That’s the best example of how a 30 day challenge works. For habits to change we need challenges and to commit to bring change with such challenges we need to know:
- When we are starting the challenge,
- When we are ending it and
- For how long we will do this challenge.
There is just so magical about being challenged to do something. It is like we are fighting to win. To show ourselves that we can do it. It is the best example of self-motivation and forcing productivity upon ourselves. It is a challenge and everyone loves a good challenge.
30 Day Challenges are the best way to bring change in your life
There are many people who want to do things for self-development or productivity so they buy books or courses and sign up to challenges because they are free, or because they can afford to buy something for themselves, but then they can’t commit to finishing the courses or the challenges. Relate?
I am the same. I used to do this all the time and then later, I would beat myself up for it. So I made this switch to get out of this habit with personal challenges.
30-day challenges or even 7-day ones are the best way to boost your productivity, get things done and bring positive change in your life.
When you find yourself unable to focus, or you constantly procrastinating or feeling lack of motivation in completing stuff that you were initially so excited to work on, try this trick.
How to implement a new habit with 30 day challenges
I buy a lot of books and courses and behind each of my purchases is my intention to bring positive change in my life.
Change begins with recognizing that there is a problem. So every time I see something not working in my life or I feel the need to learn a new strategy in my life or business, I look for who is the expert on the topic.
I realized a few years ago that everything that I know is because I showed up for a few days. Like gentle parenting, routines, homeschooling my tots or even learning to crochet or tat-lace. So this made me wonder what if I intentionally set up these self-challenges myself instead of counting on others to do it for me.
There are three steps to how I ensure that I learn from every course and book I buy.
Step 1: As soon as I buy a course or a book, I get started right away.
I don’t have books waiting to be read on my side table. There are only books read, half-read or waiting to be implemented or referenced.
Step 2: I look for courses that have Accountability.
When ever I buy book or a course, I will ask if there will be a support group where I can show up and announce (often to total strangers!) that I have signed up to the course. If yes, this is the course I definitely want to do! Because when there are other people like you doing the same thing and in the same boat, it seems easier to get through it!
It is sort of like running a marathon. Who likes running miles by themselves? Ask anyone who runs and they will tell you it was a friend or family member who motivated them to run!
So, I always look for Accountability or Support Groups. I will introduce myself, share my intentions with them and also why I am there in the group. The buzz in the group keeps me motivated to trek to the end.
Step 3: I will give myself 30 days to implement what I have learnt after I do the course.
Look here, if you read a book or do a course and you don’t use the knowledge, you have just wasted all those hours and days. So, if I spent the money and the time on that book and course, I want to respect the author/coach and try what they say for some time.
After all, that person is an expert … I am literally standing on his/her shoulders and looking at my problem from their angle and implementing what they said will work.
Respect. That’s the keyword. Respect your time, the book (author) and show gratitude for the opportunity you have been given.
Examples of 30 day habit changing challenges
Let me give you some examples of things I have tried and how I implemented them.
1. 25 Motif Challenge.
Back in 2009, I wanted to learn to tat-lace. Tatting lace or Shuttle tatting is a art form that is practiced all over the world. I had signed up to this International challenge to try tatting 25 pieces in a year.
This was pre-Social Media era, so I started my blog Words n Needles just to share my progress. There were women from all over the world, speaking different languages. I was a total newbie and while making those 25 randomly chosen motifs, I taught myself to tat lace through books and conversations!
2. Learning calligraphy?
More recently, I have been learning Arabic Calligraphy through an online course. The course is 16 weeks long so I challenged myself that I will write at 7pm every day 5 days a week for 15 minutes.
Tried it for 30 days.
(Please note that the links to books below are affiliate links. I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you chose to buy through my link.)
3. Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
This is another challenge that I recently tried. I wanted to embrace the 4am lifestyle after my business coach convinced me that 4am in a magical hour that boosts one’s confidence.
So, I gave it thirty days to see how it will change my life. I woke up at 4am, and tried my best to implement as many steps as I can, including showing up at the gym at 7am many times! (That is after sending three kids to school!)
For accountability, I had joined Hal’s groups but couldn’t find Muslim mothers, so I created my own WhatsApp group inviting my friends and community. I was able to complete 30 days. (Still need to write a post on that!)
4. Anti-Inflammatory Diet, anyone?
The challenge was to read the book and applying the menu for 30 days of while also learning new recipes to see if it will work. (Yes, I cheated through the day many times but I showed up each day!)
My Accountability buddy was my husband. (We both fell in love with the anti-inflammatory super herb Kale!)
5. Juice Dieting for Liver Cleanse:
7 days of half-day fasts and juicing. The longest 7 days in my life… but the result was amazing!
My Accountability buddy was my sister! Glowing skin and better moods later, we agreed we’d do this regularly. (We didn’t… we need another challenge!)
6. 7 days of listening challenge
This idea was through the book Ikigai -The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia.
The challenge was to practice intentional listening with my teenager. This was in order to connect with him better. I read that screen time addiction is either for connection or communication. I was convinced my son was looking for communication.
So, I showed up at 9pm everyday to ask open ended questions while I just sit and listened to my teen. (I took up macrame knotting to keep myself distracted so I don’t reply back to him while he is talking.)
Didn’t need an Accountability buddy… my son was doing a great job of showing up by himself when I didn’t come to see him. (100% recommend the challenge to mom of teens!)
7. 1-Ayah Quran Challenge:
A few years ago, I wanted to get back with reading the Quran everyday. I had little children (toddlers) at the time and it seemed impossible that I can read the Quran daily.
My best friend had invited me to this challenge on Facebook. I was to tag five people and share an Ayah with them every day for 7 days. The other people would do the same. We completed and created a viral challenge. Recently, I converted that challenge to a family challenge. If you are interested in establishing a Quran habit with your family, do join us at the link here.
8. 100 Recipes in a Year Challenge
A few years ago, my family was super bored of eating at home. In order to bring back the joy of home cooked meals and teaching my children the love of trying new food and appreciating different cultures, I embarked upon trying 100 new recipes in the next 365 days.
My husband always says: ‘Everything can be eaten once.‘ It’s after you have tried something, that you can decide if it can be eaten the second time. So we made this rule and implemented it with the challenge.
Every Friday, I cooked a new recipe for lunch. To make this even more easier, we set a monthly Cuisine theme. We tried 12 Cuisines and so many new dishes added to our favorites!
9. 50 Books in a Year Challenge
In 2016, I decided I would read 50 books in a year. My youngest was 2 years old at the time and after four kids, I felt like I had lost my “sharpness”. I decided I needed to read books and learn new things and at the same time do something extra-ordinary just for myself and nobody else.
It was easier than I thought because I didn’t give myself any genre to read. I was reading children’s books, self-help, parenting, hobbies and ebooks of all sorts!
I completed the challenge much before the year end and you know what I learnt…? I love kid-lit.
Some more Habit forming Challenges
I offer a lot of resources on my blogs. Here’s a list of some more challenges that help in implementing new habits in your and your family’s life.
1. A-Z of Akhlaaq Series
In 26 days teach your children 26 Islamic Manners. The articles are free on the blog at the link.
If you’d like some worksheets, we have them at the Muslim Kids Resources Bundle.
Muslim Kids Resources is our library of digital products (ebooks, worksheets, kids activities, crafts, etc). It is a one-time fee and you have access to all resources for life.
Ages 3-12 years old.
2. Quality time with kids.
You know the importance of doing activities with your children. You know how important it is but you wonder how to make time or go about it. Our Calm Confident Children’s Bundle has a 30 day calendar plus ways to implement the plan in your routine. Everything you need for kids 3-9 years old.
3. Read with Kids Challenge.
This is a challenge to read with kids. 7 days of becoming an expert on not just reading books with your children but also how to help them fall in love with books and make it a life long habit.
Ages 0-15 years!
4. Fix your mom routine in 30 days:
My Productivity Course for Muslim Mothers. If you want to be productive, have more time for yourself amidst managing your home and kids, this can change your life forever.
You know hustle is not good for your mental health or your family relationship. Try this routine for 30 days and then come back and tell me if I changed your life or not.
Works whether you are a stay at home mom, homeschooler, WAHM or work outside.
5. Complete Menu Planning Solution in 3 Days
Do you forget what you have in the fridge until it goes bad? I made this Printable Fridge and Pantry List to meal-plan easily.
It’s a 3-day challenge and it helps me keep track of the groceries that I have in my fridge and pantry. It also helps me use up everything that I have before it goes bad or expires. It’s game changing!
So now, that’s 14 examples of 30-Day challenges for Muslim mothers that can help you through self-development, productivity and parenting! What will you try?