There are plenty of 30-day fitness challenges in the media. Here at Second Nature, we know that exercise is just one of the many factors that can impact your health. So, we created a 30-day health challenge, that will help you keep in check with healthy habits.
We stress on our programme that the best way to build habits is to tie them to ‘triggers’ in our daily routine. For example, practising deep breathing for 2 minutes every morning after you make your bed, where the trigger is making your bed. When our daily routine changes, even slightly, we might struggle to keep up our healthy habits.
Although disruptions to our routine can negatively impact habits we already have, other research suggests that big life changes can present a unique opportunity to establish new habits.
We created this challenge back in April when we were all in a quarantine routine, but we decided it might be more helpful to go live with the challenge when everyone is going through an adjustment – returning to a level of normality after lockdown.
Hence why we’re releasing a 30-day challenge in July, which actually has 31 days! You can use the last day of the month to practise a habit you’ve enjoyed the most, or simply have a day of relaxing.
Welcome to our 30-day healthy habits challenge! All of the habits are based on the different aspects of health that the Second Nature programme focuses on, including mindset, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and motivation.
Each day of the month there’s a different healthy habit for you to try.
Day 1 – Mindful Eating Challenge
Mindful eating has been shown to help increase the satisfaction during meal times and prevent overeating. Mindful eating is also a fantastic coping strategy for emotional eating, boredom eating, and binge eating.
Watch our mindful eating video here and join Bari as she leads a guided chocolate meditation and discusses the importance of mindful eating. Bari is a Registered Dietitian and social strategist here at Second Nature.
Day 2 – Hydration Challenge
Today we challenge you to drink 2L of water over the course of the day. Keeping hydrated is incredibly important for concentration, energy levels and can help with feelings of satiation.
Consider putting a reminder on your phone each hour to drink a glass of water, or have a glass of water before each meal.
Day 3 – Salsa Challenge
Today is about trying a new activity to get moving and have fun. For example, you can find our beginners salsa video here. If salsa isn’t your thing, check out our recommended exercise playlists on YouTube here.
Day 4 – Sleep TEDtalk
Today is about focusing on the importance of sleep. Watch this inspirational TEDtalk for the science behind sleep and some key tips.
Day 5 – Carrot Challenge
Today we challenge you to use the ‘Carrot Test’ if you feel like stress eating. Before you reach for food in times of stress, ask yourself, ‘am I hungry enough for a carrot?’. This can help separate physical hunger from emotional hunger. If you identify you are eating out of emotions, what other coping strategies may you use instead?
Day 6 – Share your non-scale victory
It’s important to remember that the number on the scale is not always an accurate indicator of improved health. In fact, taking notice of other changes, such as mood, sleep, energy, how your clothes fit, exercise capabilities etc. are a greater indicator of progress. Write down your non-scale victory of the day or week.
Day 7 – Record 3 daily gratitudes
Recording your gratitudes can be an instrumental habit to rewire your brain to think more positively. The benefits of a positive mindset can transcend into other areas of your life, such as professional, social, and overall wellbeing.
Day 8 – Eat 10 different vegetables
Today we challenge you to eat 10 different vegetables. It’s important to remember that variety is key to ensuring you have a wide range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. To help ensure you get in all 10, you could opt for a vegetable omelette at breakfast.
Day 9 – Bodyweight workout
Today is another exercise day! You can find a fun beginners bodyweight workout here with one of our Health Coaches Tom. Alternatively, use this day to find some time to dedicate to your favourite exercise.
Day 10 – Read before sleep
To help improve your quality of sleep, today we challenge you to read for 20 minutes before you go to sleep. As many of us scroll on our phones before bed, reading is a great way to reduce screen time and blue light exposure.
Day 11 – Take a walk in nature
Researchers at Kings College in London found that connecting with nature was associated with reduced levels of stress & higher levels of mental wellbeing. Today we challenge you to take a walk in nature.
Day 12 – Set a personal goal
Today we challenge you to spend 5 extra minutes working on a personal goal! It can be anything you’ve been putting to the bottom of your to-do list for a while.
Day 13 – Meditate for 3 minutes
Today we challenge you to do a 3 minute guided meditation (you can listen here). We recommend taking notice of how you feel before and after the meditation.
Day 14 – Cook a recipe with cupboard staples
Today we challenge you to look into your cupboard and be inspired! If you’re on the programme, you can check out the ‘cupboard staples’ in the recipes section of the app.
Day 15 – Morning yoga
Use today as an opportunity to start the day with some gentle yoga. You can find our morning yoga session with our health coach, Augusta, here or our recommended yoga playlist here.
Day 16 – PMR video before bed
Today we challenge you to try PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) before you go to sleep! PMR has been shown to reduce stress levels and help calm your mind. Additionally, PMR has been shown to help with insomnia. You can find a recording here.
Day 17 – Call a friend or family member
Speaking with family and friends can help to reduce your stress and help you feel connected. Today we challenge you to call, FaceTime, or Zoom someone for a chat.
Day 18 – Read motivation article
Today we challenge you to identify your current intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. These may have changed recently so reassessing them is important. You can find a link to the guide here.
Day 19 – Body image challenge
Today’s mindset challenge is focused on body image and appreciating your body for all the amazing things it does for you. Find a reason why you’re grateful for your whole body or a specific part. For example, I am grateful for my arms because they help me hold my loved ones.
Day 20 – Batch cook a recipe & freeze for later
Today we challenge you to batch cook and freeze! Having healthy and homemade meals in the freezer is great for when you lack time or motivation to cook.
Day 21 – Kid friendly workout
Today is another exercise challenge. We challenge you to do a fun workout with your kids (or pets!) if you have them. If not, grab a friend or partner and complete a quick fun exercise together. You can find our kid-friendly workout here.
Day 22 – No caffeine after 1pm
Caffeine has a half-life (the time it takes for your body to get rid of half of the stuff in your system) of six hours. So, if you’ve had coffee or tea in the afternoon, say around 4 pm, half of it will still be in your system near bedtime, say around 10 pm. Today’s sleep challenge is about giving your body enough time before you sleep to get rid of the caffeine.
Day 23 – Start the day with a to-do list
Today we challenge you to make a to-do list of the things you want or have to accomplish this week. Having things written down can help you feel more organised and less stressed. Once you write your to-do list, you can assign strategies for each task! Lists are also great for accountability.
Day 24 – Reflection challenge
Sometimes the best way to regain lost motivation is to reflect back to the mindset you had when you first started this journey. Today we challenge you to read through your first journal entry in the app (if you’re on the programme) or reflect on the day you started this 30-day challenge. What has changed since? What do you still wish to accomplish?
Day 25 – Distorted thought challenge
Throughout the programme, we discuss how to record distorted thoughts. For example…
‘If I eat one bad food, I might as well just continue eating poorly because I have failed’
‘I may have eaten too much, but I can still choose balanced food for the remainder of the day. My value or worth is not determined by the food that I eat’
Today we challenge you to reword a distorted thought!
Day 26 – Cook a recipe with your kids
Today we challenge you to bring kids into the kitchen and help them learn to cook! If you’re child-free, grab a friend, partner, or pet and challenge yourselves to bake something delicious together. You can find our cooking with kids video here.
Day 27 – Chair exercise video
Chair exercises are great for those who have limited mobility, or for those that find themselves sitting in front of a computer. Do these exercises in between your work tasks, or use the chair as an extra layer of stability for your workout. This exercise routine is great for all ages. You can find the workout video here.
Day 28 – No screen time 1 hour before bed
Today’s sleep challenge is about reducing screen time before bed, which can negatively impact the quality of our sleep. You might find this easier if you leave your mobile phone or tablet outside of the bedroom overnight.
Day 29 – Breathwork challenge
Today we challenge you to participate in a breathwork workshop to reduce stress and calm the mind. You can find the workshop here.
Day 30 – Set your next goals and motivations
Today is the final day of the 30-day challenge! We challenge you to end this series by setting new goals and intentions. Hopefully, this challenge has reinforced some key learnings and healthy habits. What do you want to focus on next? If you’d like, you can share your next focus with us on Instagram at @secondnature_health.
I can see myself doing all these activities except the one about “a fun workout with your kids (or pets!) if you have them.” I get enough stink eye looks from my two cats without THAT. Perhaps I’ll substitute “Nap with your pets”. In any event, I’m printing/saving this challenge for August 1st. Thanks!!