Way back last summer I wrote how taking part in a 30 day challenge is a great way to commit to a new habit – whether that’s starting something new or giving something up, it’s all the same as far as the brain is concerned.
While back then I suggested starting small to ensure that you remain committed, I’ve decided to ignore my own advice and to jump in headfirst.
Hopefully this will inspire some of you to do your own 30 day challenge and don’t worry if you have a busy lifestyle – I do too.
I work 15 hours a week excluding travel and I do a full time degree. Time is always available if you look in the right places. There is never a good enough excuse to not do something.
1. No alcohol
I’m not a big drinker by any means and I have nothing against it except it has a great way of ruining the contents of your wallet.
I recently had a big night out that scalped me to the tune of £80 (including taxi) and I’m sorry but that is ridiculous. The problem being the more you drink, the more you drink. I have that problem with chocolate biscuits too, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
This will be an easy challenge
2. No bread or grain
My new diet starts with eliminating some of the most pointless and unhealthy food types out there – grains.
This includes anything related such as pasta, bread, dough, rice (although I will occasionally eat brown rice).
I used to love pizza’s, wraps, chicken rolls but lately they have been tasting bland and leaving me with the feeling that I’ve suddenly grown twice the size. I hold a lot of water and these foods tend to be the biggest culprit. Am I intolerant to grain? I have no idea. I don’t feel any genuine discomfort except for a bloated feeling.
It will be interesting to see what will happen to my physique after 30 days of no grain based food.
3. No junk food (chocolate, crisps, biscuits, baked goods etc)
Now this will be a toughie.
I love junk food and rarely go more than 2 days without eating something in the above list. I have virtually no willpower when I open a pack of biscuits – EVERYTHING MUST GO!
Luckily I am a regular gym goer or this would be very bad indeed.
Alongside the elimination of grains, this will be a very interesting 30 days for my physique.
4. 3 hours of guitar practice every day
Even though I teach guitar for a living, I still feel like a bit of a fraud. 99% of my students are beginners or lower intermediates and I have been playing for 15 years so what’s the problem?
I just have high standards and I feel frustrated when I can’t quite pull off the ability to sweep pick. Of course that will mean nothing to most of you, but It’s no wonder when I barely practice these days, but that’s going to change.
This should be an easy challenge as it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while.
5. 2 hours of German study every day
I started learning German back in late 2009 and it was going great until the summer of 2011 when I inexplicably (semi) gave up. I don’t really know why as I felt I was on the verge of a huge breakthrough.
The other day I was stopped by some German holidaymakers who wanted to know where the beach was. Great I thought, I will just show them the way…
‘Wenn sie folgen der strasse.. errrrm’ (if you follow the road…)
‘Stadt centrum…errrm’ (city centre…)
‘Tut mir lied’ (I’m sorry)
It was so frustrating. I knew the words… I just couldn’t think of them. This gives me the kick up the ass I need to get back into it and hopefully 30 days is enough to get me back up to speed.
6. Some form of exercise every day
I already train at least 3 times a week, sometimes 5 times – usually down the gym although I have recently been running, (dodgy knee letting).
I am guilty though of missing training sessions for no reason other than a lack of motivation or just plain laziness. This will change and for the next 30 days I will do some form of exercise every single day.
It will probably be 5 days of weight training, 1 day outdoor running and 1 day a week I’ll go for a long walk of 5 miles or more.
7. No TV
I think about trying this all the time. It serves no purpose other than feeding that procrastination monster that resides in all of us.
To ensure that I keep to it I may just unplug the TV and hide it in another room. I actually spent 6 months back in 2009 without a TV so I know I can do it again.
This won’t stop me watching TV shows online or movies as they aren’t the problem. It’s having the TV on for no other reason than to override the deafening (but relaxing) silence.
Silence is great so it’s time to embrace it again.
8. Write something every day
Now that I have finished my main degree module it’s time to get back to showing a bit of love for this blog and to sharpen my ability to write.
The plan is to write an article every day. Some will be for this blog, some will be guest posts and some will be for various other reasons.
It’s just a habit I need to get back into.
9. Actively try to avoid seeing or hearing any news
The world sucks – at least that’s what we are led to believe if we watch or read the news every day.
Violence and conflict make for interesting stories and all the good things that happen are quickly swept under the carpet. I prefer it when I don’t know what’s going on in the world. Obviously the big news will always filter through somehow – but it’s the insignificant news that I want to get away from.
I don’t care about which celebrity starts a new diet. I don’t care about some random death. I don’t care about a potential new disease rampaging through my country (yes swine flu I’m looking at you).
Ignorance is bliss and it’s good for the mind.
10. Wake up at 630 am every day
The single most difficult item on my list… this terrifies me.
Thinking back, my most productive times were those where I woke up super early and made a start on my day long before the normal sane people woke up.
I haven’t risen to an alarm clock for almost a year so this will be interesting. Can I do it?
Part two is coming
I will of course provide an update at the end of June as to how I did with this challenge. I will write about the challenges that were easy, those that were difficult and most importantly, what changes I see with my own body and mind.
Hell, I may even provide a halfway post if things get interesting.
Also due to my writing every day challenge, you can expect to see a minimum of 3 new articles a week for the foreseeable future.
There will also be a site redesign soon, although it will come in stages. It’s time this thing looked a bit more professional.
I hope this inspires somebody to do something different next month. Let me know if it gives you any ideas!