My Insane 30 Day Challenge

junk food burgers fries
On June 1st I will start a 30 day challenge that could possibly reduce me to a quivering wreck! I am going to be testing my willpower with TEN different challenges.

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!

About Jamie

Jamie is a guitar teacher and writer who hates the typical 9-5 existence. After quitting his job to enter the world of guitar tuition, he created this blog to document his thoughts and struggles as he takes on societies norms armed with nothing more than his cheeky wit and undeniable charm - Give his Facebook page a like, add him on Twitter or follow his Google+ page and he will repay you with even more awesome words!


  1. Corina Christina says:

    Good Luck My Friend 🙂

  2. Dennis Fyfe says:

    LOL wow man. A suggestion for the “write something everyday” – write about your day-by-day experiences on some of these.

    I found your page through and I’m definitely stickin’ around.

  3. Taisha Aderson says:

    Good luck with that, I guess it’s going to be a hard one 🙂
    Taisha Aderson recently posted..pandoraMy Profile

  4. You sir, have inspired me to do the same. I will start 5 new projects in a 30 day period and document the results. Some of these things may become lifelong habits, some just temporary experiments. I’m going to do some brainstorming, write it out, and put it into action in the AM.

    A couple of the things you are wanting to do, I’ve been doing for a while and I’ll tell you it has dramatically improved my day-to-day life. No news, and no TV. I got rid of my TV entirely, I do everything on my laptop (Netflix & Hulu when I get the urge, which is rare), and mainstream news has never been my thing. I do independent research on my topics of interest. Yes, I’m out of touch with the people who talk about celebrities and nonsense all the time, but to be honest those aren’t my kind of conversations anyways.

    If you wish, I’ll post my objectives in a response.

    Either way, good luck to you with your own goals.


    • Hey Josh, go for it! No news is great isn’t it? It’s not so much the lack of celebrity knowledge but the fact none of the negative news like war, disease, recession and random deaths filter through so we remain almost ignorant to it all. Like living in our own little bubble where we get to decide how happy the world should be.

      Go ahead and let me know what you’re planning!

      I will be updating my progress in some form during the month too. It might be weekly updates, every 10 days, halfway or something but I’m taking notes every day so I’ll put something up soon.

      Good luck with it!

      • Hey Jamie,

        Thanks, hope yours has been going well — mine has! I started June 01, and have lost 20lbs since, am stronger than I ever have been, more cut, and way more energy. I had three simple goals with this one: Try to sleep at least 6 hours a day, every day (I’m an insomniac, and usually only sleep once every three days), workout for at least an hour a day (haven’t exercised in years, used to love it so wanted to get back into it), and manage money better. So far, I have slept every day (an average of 3.5-4 hours.. not 6, but better than none!), been working out constantly (I actually can’t stop now, I got addicted to that feeling again haha), and I haven’t spent any money on frivolous things so my bank account isn’t so angry with me now.

        Yes, no news is great news. You really don’t notice so much bad around you when it’s not constantly being shoved in your face. Makes your outlook on life a bit less bleak, and really helps with depression.

        How have you been on yours? Have you noticed any improvements?

        • That’s great stuff. 20lbs? You must have been carrying a hell of a lot of water weight. I have dropped an inch from my waist in the last 12 days or so, which is about 4lbs but then again, I am still eating a decent amount of calories. The lack of grain has made a massive difference though. My upper abs are starting to appear.. just.

          I agree about the news thing. I catch some headline when at the gym through the numerous TV’s but largely I haven’t a clue what’s happening and I like it that way.

          I will be putting up a halfway report in a few days with some pictures too so keep a look out for that.

          Keep it up, 18 days to go.

        • Also, I forgot to mention I had started writing again as well. I have written at least 2-3 songs/poems a day, every day since the start of this project. I haven’t done this sort of thing in 6 years, so it’s all starting to come back to me. Sometimes I’ll be at work and have to stop what I’m doing to write out a flood of inspiration as it comes to me, which is great. It wasn’t a main goal of this project, but something I had wanted to work on and it sort of took on a life of its own. I feel like I’m getting my “old self” back again, and it’s a good feeling. I get compliments daily, whether it’s about my physique or attitude in general; people are seeming to notice a happier, healthier me. Are you taking before/after photos of your 30-days?

          • It’s great isn’t it when you get back into something that you used to enjoy. It’s also amazing the difference a more positive attitude has on others. It’s so subtle put people pick up on it.

            Yeh I’m taking photos every week monitoring my progress.

  5. Day 12 Jamie … how is it going? 😀 I started reading your post and thought exactly the same : isn’t it much better going one challenge at a time. Apparently thats something you adviced by the past.
    Not following your own advice, I like this 🙂
    I’ve been holding 2 challenges on my blog , not at the same time, and even one by one it was pretty tough. Required a lot of willpower.
    Oh, one thing to exercise your willpower: running. At some point, your mind will tell you to stop, selling you that your body can’t run no more. But it’s not true, and that’s the moment you should use your willpower, shut up your little voice and keep on running. Warning, you might end up dead tired – I did it this morning and I did the last mile only with willpower!
    Next time you do a challenge, please let me know, I’ll try to participate as well – thats the beauty of a blog, that anyone can go along with you in your challenges.
    Nicolas Daudin recently posted..Positive Quote Of The Day : Let Your Smile Change The WorldMy Profile

    • I still do recommend one challenge at a time. This stupid idea of mine was just to see what would happen if I tried. I can tell you already that some things I am sticking to with ease (like no news or no grains) whilst other things failed miserably (like getting up at 6.30 and no TV). On the others I have seen massive improvements which is the whole aim!

      I actually like the Will Smith quote about running. Something like ‘when I get on a treadmill, I won’t stop until the other guy stops, I will die on that treadmill’.

  6. Have you posted a follow up? I’d love to hear how this challenge turned out. Hopefully you’re still going at it! Cheers
    BurgerBro recently posted..Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day in TampaMy Profile

  7. Hey Jamie,

    If you manage to stick to a few of your challenges you will become an efficient and healthy machine!

    I’ve done a few similar challenges myself and always failed before the finish line. I think challenges like these are a good way of seeing what something is like for a while but I don’t think it’s a good way of changing your behaviour as once the challenge is up you’re more than likely to go back to your old habits.

    I hope its going well
    Rhydian fairfax recently posted..5 Signs You’re Spending Too Much Time On Your ComputerMy Profile

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