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Changing your habits isn’t just for New Years! You can decide to create a new habit any time of year. 

We are entering the second quarter of the year and who even remembers their New Year’s Resolution at this point?! Creating change is hard and it’s even harder when we think about it over the course of an entire year. But changing your habits doesn’t have to just be for a new year, you can decide to create new habits any time of year and have them be successful. 

Why Creating New Habits Matters

What’s the reason we make resolutions in the New Year at all? To start, it’s an optimal time to get a fresh perspective, but it’s also a universally accepted time of self-improvement. Creating new habits helps us focus on the person we wish to become, whether that’s an avid reader, a regular gym-goer, or a healthier eater. Any new habit we create takes practice and a compounding effort before it becomes a part of our “new” way of life.    

We hope each year will bring something new into our lives and we’d like to try and be active in making that happen. We create resolutions to dramatically change our current habits and replace them with something we see as better. In theory, this is great because on January 1st, we are determined and energized to create change, but as the days and weeks progress, we find our motivation lacking. We revert to our old habits and laugh at our attempts at resolutions.

cropped image of a woman looking in a refrigerator

Why I Chose Monthly Challenges for 2022

Instead of setting one high-achieving resolution this year, that I would inevitably lose sight of, I decided to do monthly challenges. I was inspired by an article I read about “more & less” months for an entire year. 

The author created a new goal to focus on each month, but only for that month. The point of the exercise was to practice new habits and not be singularly focused on one big change. Many of the monthly challenges did create new habits for this person, but that wasn’t the overall goal. 

That article energized me with the idea of fully focusing my attention on one challenge each month. It isn’t a drastic change or insurmountable goal, like many New Year’s resolutions, but it is an opportunity for small changes that could compound over time.

Monthly challenges feel more sustainable than trying to do one thing for an entire year. I have been known to completely forget my New Year’s resolution by March and I saw this option as an exercise in self-discipline and an opportunity for continual growth. 

I believe it’s good to challenge ourselves now and then, to get a little uncomfortable with something new because it allows us to be evolving as individuals. 

If you’re as convinced as I was to try monthly challenges, I have a list of ideas for you!

Ideas for monthly habit challenges

  • A meal planning challenge: Challenge yourself to meal plan consistently for an entire month. This could be weekly meal plans made every weekend, or you could simply plan ahead for the entire month at once! We love this idea so much, we are hosting our own meal planning challenge in August at Plan to Eat! More details to come, but it will include a sweet giveaway package. 🙂
  • Stuck to a budget for a month: Make a spreadsheet, or try a budgeting app and then stick to a goal of spending less and saving more for a month! You might be surprised at how much you can save in only a month. 
  • Meditate daily: Or journal, or sit in silence for five minutes daily. Any of these practices can reduce stress and help you lead a calmer life. 
  • Follow a workout routine: Sign up for a monthly coaching program or join a gym with fitness classes and stick to a routine, of your choice, for a month. 
  • Try a new way of eating for a month: If you’ve ever felt compelled to eat less sugar, go vegetarian, or try paleo, doing it for a month is the best way to start! My January goal was to reduce added sugars and I’m glad I did it. I’ve since added some sugar back into my diet, but the challenge helped me be more intentional about my food choices. 
  • A daily creative habit like writing, drawing, painting, or practicing an instrument: I am always looking for a creative outlet, and unfortunately, it’s often the first thing to get pushed aside when life gets busy. Focus on creativity for a month to give yourself a reason to make it a priority in your life!
  • Work on positivity for a month: We can all get stuck in a negative mindset from time to time, but there are clear benefits to focusing on positivity. Positive thinking can lead to more creativity and better critical thinking! So take a month and try to reframe your thoughts with a positive outlook.
  • Organization/cleanliness: Take a month and “Marie Kondo” your life to experience the benefits of a tidy home!

Roni Vayre is a freelance writer and the Content Marketing Director for Plan to Eat. When she’s not writing, recording videos, or making episodes of The Plan to Eat Podcast, you can find her in the mountains with her husband and their English Mastiff, Animas. 

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