We all need a fresh start sometimes and what better time of year to start than January 1? We’ve put together this list of New Year challenges that can actually transform your life!
A New Year is the perfect time to kick-start a new beginning and finally achieve the things you’ve always wanted to get around to.
Whether you’re yearning to learn a new skill, improve on your existing skills, better yourself as a person, or even overcome some obstacles, what better way to push yourself than with a New Year’s challenge.
Why take a New Year’s Challenge?
New Year’s resolutions are great; they not only encourage us to reflect on the last year and see what progress we have made, they also inspire us to change and make better choices for the year ahead.
But ask yourself this; how often do you achieve your New Year’s resolution?
Resolutions are too easy to break. No one is watching you or cheering you on, and there’s simply nothing on the line that drives you to accomplish them.
If you really want to achieve something real, a New Year’s challenge is the way forward.
A challenge has more urgency than a resolution and if you have a competitive side (like I do), challenges push you and make you rise to the occasion.
How to Prepare for a New Year’s Challenge
Preparing for a New Year’s challenge isn’t as simple as saying, “this is what I want to do” and then doing it.
These are the things that will help you achieve success:
- The reason people take a New Year’s challenge is to improve – either you want to save money, adopt a healthier lifestyle, etc
Whatever your reason, you need to remember that you have a reason.
Your reason is your motivation.
- Write your reason down and stick it somewhere where you will see it every day such as the bathroom mirror.
Or create a vision board so that you can visualize your final result and constantly remind yourself what you are working towards.
- You can also get a challenge buddy.
If you want to train for a marathon or learn a new language – those are great challenges to do with friends. By working together, you can easily motivate each other. You can also host a vision board party with friends.
Your friends and family can be the supportive cheer squad that empowers you to finish your challenge plan.
- If time is an issue, set an alarm on your phone every day and label it as ‘challenge time,’ that way you will never forget to do what you set out to do.
- Break your goal into smaller chunks (aka mini-goals).
If your goal is a big task, such as writing a book, you should set daily limits (like how many words you will write each day) that eventually add up to achieve your overall goal.
- Research says it takes on average 66 days to change a habit, but there are some who manage to kick bad habits in as little as 18 days.
So, if you want to make a change, we recommend choosing a challenge that lasts between 30 days and 100 days.
Now that you are mentally in the zone, let’s look at some popular challenge ideas for you to choose from!
30-Day Challenge Ideas
A 30-day challenge is a great idea for those wanting to try something new, different, healthy, or enjoyable, just for the fun of it.
Here are some popular ideas for 30 Day New Year challenges:
1. Give up buying coffee. Or give up coffee completely!
2. Go 30-days smoke-free
3. Make your own lunches for work
4. Declutter your house.
Choose a room a week and throw out all those unused or expired items.
5. Take a social media detox for 30 days
6. Give up sugar
7. Give up meat – or try Veganuary!
8. Make a new friend
Introduce yourself to others and start a conversation with someone new. You can also try online social apps like meetup.com.
9. Drink 2 liters of water a day
10. Create a law of attraction vision board
11. Try the Couch to 5K challenge
12. Take up a new gym class like Pilates or kickboxing
13. Learn a language using Duolingo
14. Learn to code on Codecademy
15. Create meal plans and stick to them
16. Weigh your meals and keep a diary of your daily calorie count
17. Give up a bad habit such as biting your nails
18. Watch every sunset
19. Read a book
20. Try intermittent fasting
21. Take 40-minute walks every day
22. Do 50 squats or sit-ups a day
23. Take daily vitamins
24. Do 10-15 minutes of yoga a day
25. Try and think positively and not complain every day
26. Start a new craft or hobby
27. Do one act of kindness a day
28. Tell someone you love them every day
29. Sing a song or dance every day
30. Spend one hour a day off your phone
100-Day Challenge Ideas
100 days is a long time. If you’re serious about making long-lasting positive changes to your life, then a 100-day challenge would be beneficial for you.
100-day challenges are for those who want to make long-term lifestyle changes to their life- like if you’re trying to save money, lose weight, or train for a sporting event for example. If you can stick it out for 100-days, you will already be a winner.
Here are some of our top 100-day New Year challenge ideas:
1. Start a piggy bank and put in all your spare change each day
2. Start a book club
3. Learn to do a handstand
4. Try to perfect your downward dog with flat hands and feet
5. Create a bucket list and try to cross off as many items as you can
6. Save a dollar a day
7. Meditate for 10 minutes a day
8. Start a herb garden
9. Do a weekly beach clean
10. Volunteer one day a week
11. Try 100 days of journaling
12. Study something or take a masterclass
13. Learn a foreign language
14. Draw a doodle a day
15. Find a new song a day
16. 100-day photography challenge
17. Create a blog
18. Write a book
19. Start a podcast
20. Write down one good thing that made you laugh or smile a day
21. Set a daily budget and stick to it
22. Conquer a fear
23. Learn an instrument
24. Start a fundraiser
25. Start a YouTube channel
26. Wake up at 6 am every day
27. 100 days of sweat
Go for a brisk walk, a run or pop in a HIIT exercise tape. The idea is to make sure you break a sweat every single day.
28. Spend an hour a day in nature
29. Do 100 burpees a day
30. Increase your vocabulary and learn a new word a day
New Year Fitness Challenges
Looking back on the previous year, most of us will probably realize we could do with a bit more exercise.
If you are someone who wants to get in better shape or improve their strength, then a New Year fitness challenge would be ideal for you.
We would recommend trying a fitness challenge for 30-days (but make sure to include rest days every 4 or 5 days).
Here are some fitness challenge ideas:
1. Go for a 1 hour walk every day
2. Walk 10,000 steps a day
3. Complete the training plan for a race
4. Try the 30-day shred challenge
5. Do 4 rep counts of 20 sit-ups, 12 squats, 30-second plank, 10 push-ups
6. Create a ‘Get Fit’ bingo board
7. Enroll in a virtual fitness class
8. Do a YouTube fitness class a day
9. Ride a bike for 30 minutes a day
10. Take up swimming three times a week
New Year Weight-Loss Challenge
Losing weight is not easy, especially since everyone’s body is different. If you’re serious about losing weight, I recommend that you try a weight loss challenge for 100-days. Give yourself enough time to see results.
When embarking on a weight loss challenge, the important thing to remember is to set a small goal first.
Create a goal sheet or download a weight loss app. (FitnessPal is my favorite). Work out how much you want to lose and in how long. This will help you to set a pace and track your progress.
Remember to weigh yourself at the beginning of the challenge. It’s okay to not weigh yourself every day. I know it can be frustrating when you don’t see the results fast enough and it can tempt you to quit. A good option is to weigh yourself once weekly or every two weeks.
Here are some of our top New Year weight loss challenges:
1. The 5lb weight loss challenge
Maybe you want to lose 5lb, and then once you have achieved this, you can set to lose another 5lb. Don’t forget to celebrate every small win, maybe even with a virtual party with family and friends!
2. Go 100 days without snacking
3. Replace your regular tea or coffee with green tea instead
Green tea has a substance called EGCG which is said to help speed up metabolism and burn fat.
4. Try intermittent fasting
5. Go for a walk after every meal
6. Chew for longer
Research shows that eating slowly reduces calorie intake.
7. Wait 3-5 hours before your next meal for 100 days
8. Make sure to eat your five-a-day.
Eat two or three pieces of fruit and at least two vegetables a day.
9. Drink 2 liters of water a day.
10. Do one hour of exercise a day
11. Take time to be grateful each day
They say your mood affects your ability to lose weight. Those with high emotional stress are less likely to lose weight. Strong mind = strong body.
12. Make sure to get 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day.
Before taking on a weight-loss challenge, remember that there are hundreds of diets out there to choose from, so we recommend that you do your research, and consult your doctor or see a nutritionist about the best option for you before you start.
Remember, when trying to lose weight, it’s important to balance exercise and dieting.
Losing weight can be a slow process, so don’t give up and stay focused!
Challenges for Self-Improvement & Life-Changing Challenges
We all want to be a better version of ourselves, or at least we should want that. If you would like to transform your life, then why not challenge yourself with something life-changing?
Here are some of our top personal challenges for self-improvement:
1. Be more present
If you’re someone who finds themselves comparing their lives to others they see on social media, you might benefit from putting down your phone and trying to ‘be more present.’
2. Quit a bad habit that bothers you
Maybe you bite your nails, smoke cigarettes, or forget to brush your teeth every day. Make quitting a bad habit your January challenge!
3. Get up earlier
Waking up 1 hour earlier than usual can reduce your risk of depression by 23%, according to research.
4. Take on a challenge for charity
If you can’t decide how to change your life, remember you can change the lives of others. Remember, Christmas is the season of giving.
5. Write down all the things you are grateful for each day
6. Soak in the Vitamin D by spending more time outside
You’ve probably heard that vitamin D helps to regulate your mood and ward off depression. Sun exposure is the most natural form of Vitamin D, so it only makes sense that spending more time outside will improve your mood.
7. Run an essential oil dispenser at night
Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy and there is some scientific evidence that using essential oils can boost energy and improve your mood.
8. Embark on some willpower exercises
Willpower exercises are tasks that test your determination and self-control. These are exercises such as meditation, yoga, keeping a diary to track spending or calories, practicing mindfulness, and consciously putting in the effort to resist temptations.
If there are areas of your life that need improving, willpower exercises may help you to give up the bad habits and create some good habits instead.
So, what’s it going to be this New Year?
That concludes our guide on the top New Year challenge ideas that will help you to stick to your goals and ditch those meaningless New Year resolutions.
Don’t forget: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Do you have a favorite challenge? Let me know in the comments!