It’s common to set financial and fitness goals at the start of each month as you look for ways to improve. You might want to drink more water, earn a promotion, or start a new side hustle for some extra income. However, trying out a new habit, or breaking an old one, can be hard to stick to without a little motivation. Plus, it takes an average of 66 days to implement a new routine.
One way to combat these obstacles is to gamify your goals and set fun achievable challenges for yourself. Here are 35 monthly challenges to inspire you to build routines one day at a time.
From tracking your spending to building your career, we have a few challenges for you to try. Keep reading or skip through each section to see which you’d like to take on this year.
Budget Challenges to Spend Less and Save More
If you’re saving up for a big purchase or want to build your savings account, a 30-day no-spend challenge can put you on the right track. To reset your financial goals, or test your spending habits, try one of our budget challenges below.
1. Zero Eating Out
On average, people spend over $2,000 on takeout food each year. Avoid the financial burden of eating out by trying your hand at cooking. Cook, eat, and drink at home for every meal of the month. Delete all your food delivery apps and fill your fridge with affordable, healthy snacks to cure any sudden cravings.
2. Track Your Spending
You may not know where your money goes every month. If so, you’re not the only one. Sixty-five percent of Americans don’t know how much they spent last month. To be mindful of your money, start tracking your money on a daily basis. Create an account on the Mint app and link all your cards and accounts. Check your account every morning to see which categories cost you the most.
3. Try a No-Spend Month
Test your spending habits with a no-spend month. Using our printable, list expenses you will need for the month — food, gas, and bill payments, for example. Then, cut unnecessary purchases out of your budget for 30 days — such as takeout coffee, retail therapy, or home supplies that rack up a hefty bill.
4. No Retail Shopping
If a no-spend month seems too aggressive, try cutting out just retail shopping instead. Glitz and glam are appealing until your savings accounts suffer. To build your savings or invest more, cut out all unnecessary retail purchases for 30 days straight. To easily track your spending habits, navigate to the “This Month” tab of the Mint app.
5. Pay In Cash Only
Limit spending temptations by only carrying cash so that you can only spend what you have on hand. Consider cutting up your credit cards or leaving them at home when you go out for drinks, coffee, or shopping with loved ones. You won’t have to stress about overspending after returning home.
Career Challenges to Grow Your Experience and Salary
If you’re settled in your career, you may be itching to grow your resume. And to help you get comfortable with thinking out of the box, put yourself up to a new challenge. To start building new skills and redirect your focus at work, try our favorite challenges below.
6. Avoid Social Media While Working
The average person spends 144 minutes on social media a day. When this time cuts into your working hours, it could steal your focus and hinder your career growth. Instead of scrolling through your feed, direct your attention to more valuable tasks at hand — work. Silence your phone while working and leave it in the other room. Continue to build this habit during working hours to refine your focus and avoid social media impulse purchases.
7. Meal Prep Your Lunch
It’s easy to get swept up in work tasks — especially when working from home. You may frequent your desk more than you do a kitchen table when eating. This feels more productive, but studies show that eating at your desk actually hinders your productivity. Boost your creativity by stepping away from your desk for a budget-friendly home cooked meal for 30 days straight.
8. Make One New Connection a Week
Growing your professional network can lead to new opportunities. Learn key lessons from industry leaders or start a business with those that share the same goals as you. To grow your professional relationships, connect with people online or through networking events each week. Challenge yourself to reach out to a new connection each week for a month straight.
9. Work Breaks into Your Daily Routine
Breaking up your workday boosts your focus and productivity. You most likely find your creative ideas come to you while working out or relaxing at the end of your day. Take a 15-minute walk each day to clear your mind and brainstorm innovative ideas. If you don’t enjoy walking, try stretching or meditating to get your creative juices flowing.
10. Read a Chapter of a Book a Day
Reading is a great way to learn something new and expand your vocabulary. However, you may find yourself pushing it off when your schedule overflows. Make time for reading by adding it to your daily morning routine. Wake up 20 to 30 minutes earlier than normal to read a chapter of a book. This can help you feel more productive and ready to outperform yourself at work.
Side Hustle Challenges to Build Your Portfolio
Break out of your routine and make extra money with a side hustle. You could grow your expertise, build your resume and savings, and open the doors to a new career. Consider starting a new side hustle each week.
11. Start a Blog (and Post Once a Week)
Have something you’re passionate about? Reading, writing, working out, or crafting may come to mind. Write about it and make passive income through blogging! Challenge yourself to create a blog and publish one new post a week. Brainstorm 10 ideas before creating your website and sign up for an affiliate program. Use this outlet to express your creative side while making money.
12. Walk Dogs Once a Week
It’s always nice to break up your day with a nice walk and fresh air. If you enjoy frequent walks, turn it into a side hustle. Sign up for apps like Rover to connect with dog parents who need a helping hand. Once you’re signed up, set a monthly dog walking goal. Start by walking dogs once a week and work up to two or three times a week.
13. Try a New Side Hustle Each Week
Blogging, dog walking, or Ubering could already be side hustles you’ve tried. To broaden your side hustle interests, look for additional ways to make money from home. Renting out your spare room or driving for a food delivery service could be of interest to you. You could find your next career venture and make some extra money in the meantime.
14. Sell Your Clothes Online
Your old prom dress, suit, or boots you wore once may be taking up space in your closet. Get rid of the old items and make room new ones by getting rid of sentimental clutter. Sign up for apps like Poshmark, The RealReal, and thredUP to sell your used items. Each week, clean out a new area of your home. For example, one week you declutter your closet and the next you declutter your shoes, coats, and dresser.
15. Start a YouTube Channel
Share your passions with a virtual crowd! You could record, edit, and upload how-to, fashion, educational, or vlog styled videos on YouTube. Challenge yourself to upload once a week, on the same day, and at the same time. Over the course of the month, you may foster a new community of followers that share the same interests as you. Once you hit 5,000 watch hours, you’ll be able to earn ad revenue on every video.
Lifestyle Challenges to Start Today
The simplest changes can make big impacts in our daily lives. Drinking one more glass of water could energize you, and cooking dinner at home can help you reach your savings goal. To add a special touch to your weekly routines, try a lifestyle challenge.
16. Take the Stairs
Moving your body helps you stay productive, increase your happiness, and produce more energy. You may be able to beat your afternoon slump by taking the stairs over the elevator. Boosting your mood and decreasing any brain fog can help deter emotional spending habits as well.
17. Drink a Little More Water
Water is great for every part of your body, but it can be hard to keep up with your water intake. To get back into the habit of drinking a healthy amount of water, make it a fun challenge. Every day, try and drink one more glass of water than you did the last until you reach your daily goal. You’ll likely feel fresher, less hungry, and more energized.
18. Try a New Workout At Home
There are various free workout programs right at your fingertips. To save yourself a gym membership, do your workouts at home. Set up a workout area in your living room, spare room, or on your balcony. Research different home workouts on YouTube and carry them out every day. On days you’re sore or rundown, try a yoga session. On other days, test out a high-intensity training video.
19. Clean Up After You’re Done
Having a clean living area feels as if you have your life figured out. To keep your home clean, put everything away after use. For instance, test yourself by cleaning your dishes right after you use them for a full month. Take it a step further by making your bed every morning after you get up.
20. Cook a New Recipe a Week
Test your cooking skills. Instead of going out to your favorite restaurant or ordering in, challenge yourself to cook a new meal at home each week. Try your hand at making your favorite sushi, pasta, or a Mediterranean dish. Continue to practice these skills to learn new recipes and enjoy eating in more often.
Additional 30 Day Challenges
There’s a challenge for everybody — you just may not have found the exact one for you. Keep reading to see which of our monthly challenges are your favorite. Then, mark your calendar and invite your friends to compete in a monthly challenge with you.
23. Make your bed every morning
24. Future self journal before work
25. Wake up 30 minutes before you have to
26. Try doing 30 days of random acts of kindness
27. Eat one more serving of vegetables at every meal
28. Take daily bubble baths
29. Give yourself daily facials
30. Stay calm and meditate every day
31. Write a letter to someone new every evening
32. Sit at a table to eat for every meal
33. Take a photo of something that makes you happy every day
34. Walk 10,000 steps a day
35. Swap soda for sparkling water
Put yourself and your spending habits to the test with a monthly challenge. You may be more in-tune with your budget and more intentional with your spending by the end. These lifestyle changes can help you contribute more money towards debt payments or your savings for a house. Before you know it, you’ll be checking off your 2021 goals with a few monthly challenges completed.