Maggie Fogg is a style-savvy Toronto-based writer and marketer. After studying fashion, Maggie worked in the lifestyle industry for several years, but left her role as a Toronto-based marketing director for an indie beauty brand to pursue her passion for travel and style abroad. In the past year, she's visited 22 countries across four continents, as she writes about style, design and wellness trends from around the world.
January is typically a month where we declare bold resolutions, crafted with the intention to draw us closer to our goals and bring more order to our day-to-day lives. But, it’s equally as common for those resolutions to fall by the wayside once the New Year’s glitter is gone, right?
How do we keep the momentum going and find inspiration to pursue our best selves throughout the year ahead? Start by setting yourself up with a self-improvement challenge next month. We’ve gathered a list of our five favourite monthly challenges, read on for a better YOU by the end of next month.
1. The Whole-30 Clean Eating Challenge
If ‘clean eating’ was on your list of resolution for 2018, this one’s for you. From tummy troubles to fitness plateaus, your diet has everything to do with your health and vitality — but diagnosing where the problem lies, and which foods are ‘triggering you’ has become incredibly complex. Are you eating too many carbs? Is dairy the culprit? Are your portions off, or is it all the hormones in your meat? If you’re overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
Where to Start: The Whole 30 Program is a strict, no-nonsense method to get to the bottom of food sensitivities, while simultaneously sending you down the path of a healthy and balanced meal plan, designed to yield you many positive results. You’ll be cutting processed food, dairy, sugar, grains — and gulp, alcohol — from your diet for thirty days, but the benefits are tenfold, including more energy, better skin and weight-loss for most users.
Disclaimer: the program doesn’t immediately end at 30-days. As with all elimination diets, the intent is to gradually and independently re-introduce each food group that may be a trigger for you in order to effectively determine which foods are rubbing you the wrong way.
2. A 30-Day Yoga Challenge
Whether you’ve got an established yoga practice, or bringing more Zen into your life was one of your 2018 resolutions, consider a 30-day yoga challenge to take your practice to the next level — or to simply undo some of the damage your desk-job is causing to your joints.
Where to Start: Many local studios offer a one-month unlimited class pass for new members, but if you’re more of a homebody, check out an online yoga challenge. Do You Yoga offers a 30-day challenge with 30 days of 12-15 minute videos for free!
3. 30-Days of Self-Care
There’s been a noticeable shift towards conversations around self-care, which we fully welcome! How can one be expected to perform all the time, pursuing impossibly high standards, without ever recharging our batteries — or acknowledging and reflecting on your triumphs and opportunities for growth? Too often, we’re trained to keep pushing ourselves to do more and focus all of our energy towards caring for others; if this sounds like you, shift gears and considering caring for yourself over the next 30 days.
Where to Start: A self-care challenge is the perfect time to choose your own adventure and create a list of activities that you don’t usually have time to enjoy. This could range from taking a bubble bath to creating a happy playlist on Spotify. If the thought of creating a list of activities to spoil yourself feels too indulgent, check out Mind Body Green’s Self-Care Guide or this 31-day Challenge to Your Best Self from Popsugar.
4. A 30-Day Minimalism Challenge
If you haven’t heard someone in your circle talking about minimalism, chances are good that you’ve been living under a rock. The practice of intentionally living with less promises freedom from unwanted clutter and stress. Instead, offering up room to breathe, and a space to shift your attention to meaningful things like purpose and relationships. While minimalism generally brings peace and a strong sense of relief, you have to wade through some muck to get there. The muck in this case being all of the clutter you’ve amassed in your life over decades of accumulating material possessions.
Where to Start: To kick off your minimalism challenge, we suggest watching Minimalism: A Documentary, created by two gents that call themselves The Minimalists. From there, you can embark on their 30-Day Minimalist Game which involves tossing one item on day-1, two items on day-2, three items on day-3, and so on. Over the course of the month you’ll toss almost 500 items. If that seems like too serious an undertaking, there are more subdued gateway challenges to the minimalism lifestyle, like this one from The Culture Trip.
5. A 21-Day Gratitude Reflection
One of the most recognized ways to find more satisfaction and meaning in your life is to practice gratitude. When ticking through your to-do list, how frequently do you reflect on all the wonderful people in your life and things to be grateful for? Rather than dreaming of a warm-weather getaway to get through the dreary months, consider slowing down to smell the roses that each day has to offer and reflecting on all that you have to be grateful for through the act of journaling daily.
Where to Start: The Huffington Post recently featured a refreshingly straightforward 21-day challenge (hey, you could even make it 30 days!), where participants will reflect on three things they are grateful for at the end of each day. Deceptively simple, right? Although it feels like it, the results of practicing daily gratitude are incredibly powerful.