How to Use Fun Challenges to Form Good Habits

Have you ever thought about doing a 2-week or maybe a 30-day challenge? There are plenty of fun challenges out there. Some help you get healthy, while others help you build a good habit or break a bad habit.

Challenges are a good way to expand the perimeter of your comfort zone. If you feel stuck in a rut, a fun challenge might be just the right thing to get you out of your comfort zone and on a more adventurous path.

Plus, it’s always good to try to better yourself.

As a midlife woman who has graduated from the chaos of kids, I am now able to rekindle self-priority. I want to discover new things that will add an element of fun to my life, help me be more productive, or help me feel better.

Fun challenges are the perfect way to start that discovery process.

A key word I’m using is fun, because I think challenges should be fun!

Challenges can be done by yourself or you can opt to invite others to join the challenge. Having a support network might not only help you have more fun with your challenge, but having friends around you may help ensure success.

30-day challenges: do they really work?

Another way to bring an element of fun to your challenge is to vary your routine. For example, if you’re challenging yourself to walk, run, or bike, then vary your route. Come up with ways to make it fun!

Finally, don’t let doubt hold you back from doing a challenge. If you can’t complete it, then so be it. But if you doubt you have what it takes and don’t even try, then that’s real failure that teaches you nothing.

Believe in yourself and take action toward your goal. Don’t be afraid to tackle a fun challenge that could help you learn some valuable life lessons.

Learning From Challenges

There are a lot of good reasons to try challenges, and very few reasons to not give one a try.

You might find that something just isn’t for you. On the flip side, you might learn how to overcome obstacles, feel happier or more fit, or find a new joy.

To mentally prepare yourself to be successful with your challenge, jot down the reasons you want to do the challenge. Review it often so if the going gets tough you’ll be reminded of your motivation behind the challenge.

Also, it will be interesting to compare what you thought you’d get out of the challenge compared to your actual take-always.

Overall, challenges will help you change your thoughts about what you can and can’t do.

Outcomes of My Challenges

I wear a FitBit and there’s the option of inviting your fellow Fitbit friends to various challenges. A while back, inevitably every weekend someone would create a Weekend Warrior challenge. I love a fun challenge and the competitor in me had me sometimes literally marching around the house just before midnight.

Although the Weekend Warrior challenges had me a little obsessed with my steps, in the end I had gotten more exercise. It got me moving more and I had a more healthy weekend routine.

Several months back I did a 30-day walking challenge . Walking is a good, healthy activity that I enjoy, and I wanted to push myself to hit the recommended number of daily steps. So for 30 days I walked at least 10K steps per day.

I did it, but I was never so happy when those 30 days were over! Glad I did it and it felt good, but it’s not a habit I care to hold myself to every single day. But it was good  for me and now I know that I can fit 10k steps in even on my busy days. (No excuses anymore!)

Women Sharing Their Challenge Stories

Bettering a Relationship: A friend of mine made it for 45 days without arguing with her husband, and is on day 60 for not arguing in front of their children. She realized the impact it had on their children and I admire her for challenging herself to think twice about what she said and how she reacted. (Thanks for sharing, KT.)

My sister-in-law Linda immersed herself in raising her children and she is an awesome mom. Once the kids left the nest, Linda amazed me again by embracing empty nest hood. One thing she does for herself is various challenges.

Mothers and daughters after doing a 5K challenge
Linda and me with our daughters after doing the Color Run 5k. Exercise, family, and fun…it doesn’t get any better than that!

Here’s a look at a couple of her challenges and her thoughts when she looks back:

30-Day Biking Challenge: Each April Linda does this challenge and I quietly cheer for her as I read her daily FaceBook posts that help her be accountable. April has some very blistery spring days, and there were plenty of days that she braved rain and cold. One year she decided the sleet made it too dangerous to ride, but jumped right back to it when the weather cleared.

I always admire Linda’s determination and how she didn’t let unpleasant weather keep her from accomplishing her challenge. When reflecting on her biking challenges, she said it “helped me overcome the idea that weather has to be perfect in order to ride.”

30-Days of Gratitude: For this challenge, each day Linda posted on Facebook her gratitude of the day. She recalls, “I think it’s important it is important to let people know that you care about them and you are grateful they are in your life. I made sure to write more than just who or what I was grateful for. I was specific about the person or activity, and how it added to my life.”

What did she take away from her gratitude challenge? Linda said, “I often think back on my gratitude journal, especially when I’m feeling blue or things are not going well. The only this I wish I had done differently is to write it in an actual journal. That way it would be easier to look back on.”

Fitness challenges using YouTube: My daughter has been really committed to her fitness challenges and I’m really proud of how she has been sticking with the program and has noticed she has gained strength. Here’s what she has to say about her fitness challenges. (Thanks, Jamie!)

I recently completed a 30-day yoga challenge (30 Days of Yoga Challenge by Adrienne on YouTube). I wanted to get into yoga to become more flexible to help with my HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and strength training workouts. I started adding 20-30 minutes of yoga to my workout routines.

There were some days when I worked out and didn’t feel up to yoga, so it took me longer than 30 days to complete this 30 day challenge. However, I didn’t let that make me feel bad! I still finished and felt accomplished.

Here’s the day 1 video of Yoga With Adrienne 30-day challenge:

How Many Days Does It Take To Build a Habit?

Wouldn’t it be great if you committed to a 30-day challenge and then ba-bam, you established a great new habit that will be easy to continue forever more?

You might have heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This was first presented by a plastic surgeon named Maxwell Maltz in his book, Psycho-Cybernetics. However, rather than being based on experimental studies, it was based on his personal experience with his patients. So while the 21 days to build a new habit works in some cases, it is basically a myth.

According to science-based facts, it might take a bit longer for your body to adopt a new habit.

In London, a research study published in the journal “European Journal of Social Psychology” showed that its 96 research participants took 66 days to get used to the new habit. In some cases, depending on the type of habit and the person, it took longer.

Good news! They also found that if you miss your activity one day, it doesn’t affect the habit building process. Whew! So make sure you have fun with challenges and don’t get too obsessed if you must miss a day.

Two women having fun

How to Get Started with a Fun Challenge

Think about something you’ve always wanted to try.

  • What do you want to explore?
  • Is there something you’d like to remove from your life?
  • Would it benefit you to do something to increase your productivity?

Decide if you want to do a personal challenge or if you want to invite others to join the challenge.

Tip for success – get accountability:

  • Linda’s method of posting on Facebook each day made her REAL accountable. People commented with encouragement and would have been asking her questions if she stopped posting.
  • Have a friend or sister be your accountability buddy.
  • Use a Fitbit to document your progress.
  • Journal each day about your challenge progress to keep yourself accountable.

Believe in yourself and visualize yourself accomplishing your goal. Expect that you’ll be successful in your challenge.

Pick a challenge and begin the change.

Challenge Ideas

Need help with ideas? Here are a few to get your creative juice flowing on which type of challenge is  right for you.

Select the number of days that fits your personal goals. These ideas can be done daily or, for example, 5 times per week. Choose whether you want to do a 2-week, 30-day or some other time period for your challenge.

There are no rules here, so just start with something…anything!

  • Couch – 5K in 30 days
  • Yoga (use my favorite free yoga series on YouTube)
  • De-clutter your home one drawer/closet/shelf per day
  • Eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and/or vegetables
  • Drink more water
  • Go to bed or get up 15 minutes early
  • Reduce tv time
  • Reduce social media time
  • Stop drinking soda
  • Journal (use my free journal page post above)
  • Pray
  • Meditate (learn how to start meditating)
  • Do random acts of kindness or say something kind (more kindness ideas)
  • Smile at a stranger

It’s time to just take action to do something new. Stop talking about what you want to do and just do it. Find something you always wanted to do, get motivated, and try a fun challenge!

Who knows, at the end maybe you’ll have a new hobby or joy that you’ll want to carry on in your life. You might find that you can do a lot of things you didn’t know you could do. So now you know how to use fun challenges to form a new habit. In a comment below, let me know what fun challenges you are thinking about doing or what you’ve learned from previous challenges!

Photos of people doing healthy challenges

12 Replies to “How to Use Fun Challenges to Form Good Habits”

  1. Really good challenge ideas! I think the refraining from arguing is a great challenge. Learning to rephrase and watch the tone of voice can be life changing. Biking in April is perfect to get into the summer mode. I think I am going to try a walking challenge. I also have a Fitbit and need to get into a good cold weather routine. Thanks for the motivation.

    1. Hi Julie, thanks for your thoughts.As winter is coming fast, I need to think of a challenge that will keep me moving.

  2. Love this — so inspiring! I love the picture of you moms and daughters after that race! Priceless. You’re right, not every challenge has to be awful and grueling. Some can be fun. Great post.

  3. One of my favorite, most humorous, but most enlightening scenes I’ve ever watched was in What About Bob when the phrase “baby steps” was repeated over and over again in front of the bus. The constant repetition stuck with me, and now it’s in a way one of my mantras. When things seem challenging I tell myself, baby steps, how about one day, how about two? I’m most productive with this mentality! Great post!!

  4. This is fabulous! Even though the contractors are now done, we are STILL (!) trying to put our house back together after our May flooding. I was doing well for awhile with settling/unpacking one little thing each day (some days not-so-little), but have lost momentum. Hopefully this can help me get back into it so we’ll be ready for holiday guests come December!

    1. Yikes! That had to be horrible to go through flooding. Sounds like a big challenge to get through all of the tossing of ruined items and getting everything back in order. Glad you’ll be ready to relax for the holidays.

Comments are closed.