The following guidelines are just suggestions. If you already do some of these things, substitute another action — something different from what you do normally through the course of a month.
Follow this primer for a month, then come back and tell us how/if your life changed for the better or not!
Day 1: Take a picture of yourself.
Don’t smile if you don’t feel like it. Your going to want to look back at the end of the month and see how you’ve changed.
Day 2: Start a thought journal and continue it for the entire month.
Start a word file on your computer or buy some cheap journals from a discount store and record your thoughts when you first wake up in the morning. Make sure you date each entry, including time of day for looking back on later.
Day 3: Pay a friend, family member, or coworker a compliment.
Kindness has a way of coming back to those who dish it out on a regular basis!
Day 4: If you watch more than an hour of television a day, substitute another activity in place of one of those hours.
Television warps the soul and stifles creative thoughts altogether.
Day 5: Curb a bad habit you’ve been contemplating ridding yourself of and do it for the rest of the month.
They say it can take up to 90 days to form new habits. Maybe you’ll be the exception and do it in a month. Booze, smokes, coffee — your choice.
Day 6: Talk to one stranger per day for the remainder of the month.
Time to start venturing outside your comfort zone. They might not all reciprocate, but practicing starting conversations and dealing with rejection will definitely lead to an improved you in the coming weeks.
Day 7: Commit to avoiding news/gossip media for the next three weeks.
Yet another soul-rotting, depressing way to spend your time that will help you become a new you by the end of the month.
Day 8: Resolve never to lie to yourself or anyone else until the month’s over.
Better yet, stop doing this altogether! Getting caught, feelings of dread and guilt — you’re going to do things differently from here on out.
Day 9: Do something you’ve never done before.
You only need to do this today to complete the challenge, but doing this for the remainder of the month certainly won’t kill you.
Day 10: Find a niche social media site that caters to a new interest you’ve been meaning to explore.
Dogs, blogs, guns, movies, cooking, rock collecting, vampires — whatever interests you.
Day 11: Schedule a special trip for some time in the near future.
Make sure you book reservations so you’re committed. Go somewhere in driving distance, or book a train or plane trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Don’t let budget get in the way. If you can’t afford Australia or Egypt, go somewhere close to you that doesn’t cost much.
Day 12: Do something that you know will end up in laughter.
You can head out to a comedy club, or just watch a free comedian or comedienne show on YouTube.
Day 13: Walk somewhere you’d normally drive to.
Hey, you gotta start somewhere. If you’re really active already, go out and try a new exercise: yoga, dance, aerobics, CrossFit, weight training — start moving more.
Day 14: Pick a random band you’ve never listened to on iTunes or Spotify and listen to them.
Pick a new one every day for the rest of the month.
Day 15: Replace a non-water beverage with a glass of cold, clean water.
Also do this for the remainder of the month.
Day 16: Commit to fight procrastination with with every breath you take.
When you have to do something and find yourself slipping away from it and doing something else in it’s place, force yourself to get back on task. No excuses!
Day 17: Replace one negative thought with a positive one.
Just once through the day when a negative thought pops in your head or leaves your mouth, turn it around and make it a positive. If you’re feeling extra spry, try to do this with every negative thought you have. Do this for the rest of the month.
Day 18: Set your alarm for 4 am and get up no later than 4:05 am.
Take ownership of your time. Extreme leaders like Jocko Willink attribute much of their success to this one single discipline. If you can do this once on day 18, you can probably keep it up for the next twelve or thirteen days.
Day 19: Change the signature on your email or tagline on your social media profiles.
If you use something boring like “Regards,” change it to something inspiring like “Wishing you the best day ever” (my personal signature by the way). Make it say something that lets people know a new you is coming out.
Day 20: Attempt contact with someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time.
Pick anyone. Maybe a friend you’ve lost touch with — or someone you have unresolved issues with. Keep trying to get a hold of them for the rest of the month. Make it impossible to ignore you.
Day 21: Pick up a non-fiction book and start reading it.
You’ve got a little over a week left in the month to finish it. Really focus on absorbing the material — take notes like you’re back in high school writing a book report for English class.
Day 22: Change your surroundings.
I’m not encouraging anyone to pick up and move to a new home, city, or country, but by all means… At the least, clean up your house and move some things around. Rearrange your desk or entire office if possible.
Day 23: Get a pet or buy a (new) plant.
If you’ve always wanted to get a pet, what’s stopping you? Even a hamster can make for an interesting companion. For plants, read this and pick one or several from the list. Don’t forget to water!
Day 24: Do your level best to wake up and meditate for ten minutes.
Check out apps like Calm or Headspace for guided mediation sessions. It doesn’t always happen for everyone right away. Try to do this every day for the rest of the month and see how you feel about continuing at the end of the month.
Day 25: Don’t talk for the entire day.
If this falls on a day which you cannot-not-talk, swap this day out with another day. The discipline most people need to accomplish this feat will rejuvenate the mind and potentially change how you view the conversations you normally have.
Day 26: Download Duolingo and pick a language.
It’s free to learn and works great. We’re at the tail end of the month, but you’ve made so much progress, why stop making changes now?
Day 27: Don’t spend any money at all today.
Don’t even think about anything that requires you pulling out your wallet.
Day 28: Start a vlog or blog talking about what you’ve done in the last month and how it’s effected you.
The last thirty days have been all about enacting change and stepping outside the confines of a life that isn’t fulfilling you currently. This step forces you to step just a little further outside.
Day 29: Find something you think is beautiful and take a picture of it.
Then make it the screensaver on your phone or PC. Make it a habit to always stop and appreciate whatever that thing is whenever you look at it. Make it a habit to change this now and again, even after the month is over.
Day 30: Don’t eat anything today.
Fasting is a great way to clear your head and become more present. Once the clock strikes twelve midnight, you’ll no longer be obliged to do anything different, if you don’t want to. Fasting will help keep your mind clear so you can make a good decision tomorrow pertaining to who you’re going to be moving forward.
If you’ve made it this far, why stop? Keep that momentum going and continue to improve who you are!
Main Image Credit: Victoria Nevland/Flickr