Archive for the Challenges Category

How To Take A 14 Day Social Media Break – A Practical Guide To Reclaiming Your Time With Social Media Detoxing

How To Take A 14 Day Social Media Break - A Practical Guide To Reclaiming Your Time With Social Media Detoxing

Social Media DetoxIf you’re anything like me, you’ve been falling out of love with social media. That’s what lead me to take a break from social media. For some people, social media stresses them out, but for me I just couldn’t justify spending an average of 2+ hours of screen time on social media every day! That means we spend 6.9 years of our life on social media!

I don’t know about you, but life is too short to be wasting that kind of screen time on something that doesn’t add much value to my life. With this in mind, I decided to take a 14-day social media detox to kick this bad habit.

How To Take A Break From Social Media

How To Take A Break From Social Media

Taking a break from the various platforms can be challenging because we have built a habit around checking them constantly. Add to that, these companies have optimized social media apps to leverage your brain’s pleasure centers, giving you little hits of neurotransmitters that make you feel good.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, and many more all have a small army of neuroscientists and psychologists on staff to make you addicted to their networks. The more you learn about how they reinforce your behavior with their apps, the scarier it gets.

social media detox worksheets

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Social Media Detox

Calendar & Worksheet


I’ve put together a calendar and worksheet for you to do a 14 day Social Media Detox. Drop your email below and I’ll send it to you right now.

Social Media Break And The Benefits For Your Mental Health

Social Media Break And The Benefits For Your Mental Health

I think most of us reading this post are aware the impact social sites have on our mental health, but new studies have come out to confirm what we all feared to be true. While social media can be useful, we need to make sure we are using it in a way that’s right for us.

Phones along with social media have been studied to show they are a major problem that has been proven to impact our sleep, connections with our partner and even can contribute to anxiety.

For me the biggest benefit was gaining back my time. I spent an average of 2 hours per day of phone screen time, about half that being spent on social media. With the time I gained back, I used it to start going on walks and working out.

75 hard challenge

75 HARD CHALLENGE


Challenge yourself and see if you have what it takes!

Another benefit was connecting more with friends. Instead of scrolling on their feeds, I actually picked up my phone and called people. In most cases I’d set times for dinner, to grab coffee, and if they were far away, we’d just catch up.

I also made time to spend with my family, getting to spend time with them was a lot of fun, way better than sitting on a couch at home watching other people’s lives.

How To Break Your Social Media Addiction?

How To Break Your Social Media Addiction

You have to realize this is going to be difficult in the beginning, but after doing my extended break from social media I was surprised how quickly social media faded from my life. Once you get over that initial hump, I found I entered a positive feedback loop, where each time I said “no” I’d feel better and better about it.

To get over that initial hump I tried many things, but one thing really worked for me…

Add Pain To The Process

Add Pain To The Process

This is a hack I learned a long time ago when I wanted to stop drinking sodas. It seems counter intuitive, make things even harder for myself? Stick with me here…

I knew it would be challenging to stop drinking sodas, so at first, I said I could drink sodas with one caveat. I could drink soda; I just couldn’t buy a pack of soda for the house. What I could do is get in my car and drive to the gas station down the road and buy one bottle of soda to drink.

social media detox worksheets

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Social Media Detox

Calendar & Worksheet


Why did this work? Because I wasn’t denying myself the soda, I just added the pain of having to get in my car and driving to get it. Each time I wanted a soda, I had to weigh the hassle vs. how much I wanted it.

That leads us to how to add pain to the process of social media? The first step is to just delete the apps on your phone. Most of these social sites still have a mobile browser version, but it’s usually terrible and frustrating to use. That’s the beauty of this, you can still have your social media, it’s just a little painful to use.

After a few weeks of no social apps, I added a new rule: no social media on my phone at all, I could only look at it on a desktop computer. Since I’m not on my computer all day this meant I only went to Facebook when I had a purpose. As time went on, Facebook became less and less integral to my life.

Tips On How To Break A Social Media Habit

Tips On How To Break A Social Media Habit

While I found adding pain to the process to be the biggest help, there were some other details I rolled into my social media detox that helped me along the way.

Habit Breaking Tips

  1. Start breaking your habit with your phone, that’s were most people consume the most
  2. Use your phone browser, afterwards delete your history so you have to hand type in the address each time
  3. Set a timer when you do use it, start with 15 minutes, then each week reduce by 5
  4. Use apps to track your usage, most phones or RescueTime will show you how much you really use
  5. Remove shortcuts in your browser, phone, or computer to the sites themselves
  6. After you’re done looking at social media, take time to reflect on its impacts and usefulness
  7. Plug your phone to charge in your kitchen, not your bedroom
  8. Instead of messaging, call the person and have a conversation
social media detox worksheets

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Social Media Detox

Calendar & Worksheet


How To Replace Social Media During A Social Media Detox

How To Replace Social Media During A Social Media Detox

One other critical factor to this was, if I remove some bad habit, I need to try to replace it with something instead of just an empty space. In fact, to really overcome this, I had to intentionally add in multiple things to fill the void where social media was.

replace social media with booksWe go to social media and our phones when we have a down moment, when we are bored or don’t know what to do. I found myself reaching for my phone a lot when I was waiting on someone to arrive, when I was alone when a friend went to the bathroom, or when I was bored on my couch. Social media is a default pattern we use as a crutch.

I realized I was defaulting to this crutch and not thinking about them at all. And that was the problem, I wasn’t being intentional about my behaviors, which is not how I want to live my life. I want to live intentionally. To combat this, I decided to do a few things to replace social media.

Things To Replace Social Media

  1. Read a book: I bought a few books and placed them near my couch and in my car
  2. Gamify: See how long you can go without looking at your phone
  3. Call a friend: The point of social media, is to be social. Call a friend, don’t text!
  4. Go for a walk: bored? I just got up and went for a walk without my phone
  5. Listen to music: I made playlists, then set the phone out of reach
  6. Go for coffee: just sit and enjoy the coffee and the experience
  7. People watch: make up fun backstories for each person walking by
  8. Start a hobby: I picked up fly tying and boardgames
  9. Declutter: I used the time to instead make my house clean and tidy
  10. Take a class: It could be something fun or to improve your career

How Long Should I Take A Break From Social Media For?

How Long Should I Take A Break From Social Media For

My suggestion is to start with a two-week taper from social media, then after that take time to reflect on things. You really need about 60 days to break a habit, so I’d start with two weeks, then adjust to a new normal pattern for you.

Take this in steps, going cold turkey won’t work too well for most people. I’ve put together a calendar for you to break your social media habit for your first two weeks, plus a worksheet to help reflect on your detox once it’s all over. This will let you easily stop using social media and have a better understanding of negative impacts of social media had in your life.

Social Media Break Images

Social Media Break Images

Let people know you’re stepping away from social media. Making a final post helps communicate you’re taking a break for social media, but it also helps get the word out about the dangers of social networks in general. Below are images you can post on your own social media when you begin your detox. Right click and save the images, I’d appreciate you also sharing a link to this post when you do post so others can learn about how to take a break from social media too!

Get The Word Out! Share This Post To Help Others!

Right click and then choose “Save Image As” to download a full size image of each:


Facebook

social media detox facebook

Instagram

social media detox instagram

Twitter

social media detox twitter

Social Media Break Quotes For Your Posts

Social Media Break Quotes

In addition to your images, you might want to include a little bit about your break or give some inspiration to others. Here are a few quotes people used for their social medial announcement posts:

Almost Everything Will Work Again If You Unplug It For A Few Minutes, Including You

Less Scrolling, More Living

Temporarily Closed For Spiritual Maintenance

A Million Likes Will Never Be Enough If You Don’t Like Yourself First

Don’t Compare Your Everyday To Everyone Else’s Highlight Reel

Do More Things That Make You Forget To Check Your Phone

Work Hard In Silence. Let Success Be Your Noise

Your Worth Isn’t Found Here, It’s Found Out There, In Living Life

The Best Measure Of Success Is Being Better Than You Were Yesterday

Breaking Your Social Media Habit For Good

Breaking Your Social Media Habit For Good

Kicking the habit of social media is tricky, but it starts with the first step. After you’ve read this post, download the calendar and worksheet to start your first two weeks. These first two weeks are going to be challenging while you spend more time offline and do your social media detox. But in about 14 days, I’ve found most people get over the hump.

social media detox worksheets

Get The

Social Media Detox

Calendar & Worksheet


Once you’ve completed the first two weeks, take some time to reflect about your detox with the worksheet (also in the download). This will let you collect your thoughts about how social media impacts your happiness, mental health, anxiety and general wellbeing.

After you’ve done the worksheet, set a plan of action for the next 30 days past that point. I suggest limiting your social scrolling to 15 minutes once a week. Then try once every other week. In the end, we don’t have to totally ditch social media, we just want to make sure it doesn’t get in the way of living life.

Good luck with your social media break!

Your Turn!

  • What tips do you have for taking a social media break?
  • Why are you going to do a social media detox?

Dopamine Detox – Fix Your Brain and Survive Modern Life With a Dopamine Fast

Dopamine Detox – Fix Your Brain and Survive Modern Life With a Dopamine Fast

dopamine detox
Recently I’ve been experimenting with doing dopamine detoxes, sometimes referred to as a dopamine fast. This started a little over a year ago, when I went on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. During that trip I didn’t have a phone, tv or internet. As a result, I was able to see the impact from the absence of technology; it was eye opening.

I was grappling with a difficult time in my life, having sold one of my businesses, I was lacking purpose and direction. I went from leading over 200 people, reveling in the chaos of break-neck growth, to the stillness of a lounge chair on the deck of an ocean liner, left only to contend with my thoughts.

Over the following months, the lack of aim left me spiraling towards a dark place. When I cleared away all the clutter and trappings of modern life, I started to see the impact of social media, phone notifications and the distractions of modern culture. That’s what led me to my journey of dopamine detoxing.

What Is A Dopamine Detox?

what is a dopamine detox

A dopamine detox is a practice where you remove low quality stimuli from your life and replace it with high quality stimuli. This allows us to rid ourselves of cheap fixes in order to build a meaningful and fulfilling life. By doing this we take advantage of the dopaminergic responses in our brains along with a host of other neurotransmitters, to build long lasting, purposeful experiences. Modern life has been optimized to lean on these neurochemicals in a way, I’d argue, that is unhealthy, or at least justifies examination.

The Science Behind A Dopamine Fast

the science behind a dopamine fast

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that a dopamine fast can have a positive impact in your life. Before we get too far though, let’s address the elephant in the room. The brain is a complex thing and while dopamine is part of this, it’s not the only factor that comes into play here. Dopamine is primarily in play with anticipatory pleasure and it could be argued other neurotransmitters play a larger role here. Calling this technique, a “dopamine detox” is a little bit of a misnomer, but not entirely inaccurate either, it’s the phrase most people use, so let’s run with it.

The Dangers of Social Media, Phones, And Modern Life

dangers of social media and modern life

Several years ago, I noticed a sinking uneasiness settling in around what social media, smart phones, the internet and modern life had become. It was a funny thing, because I’ve always been one who loves the internet and all things tech, I run this website after all! At first, I chalked it up to me “getting old” – at the ripe age of 30 at the time – but I was never satisfied with that answer.

That’s when a lot of studies started to come out about how suicide in teen girls jumped 300% because of social media and how phones and social media are leading to a rapid increase in depression and anxiety. The one thing that struck me the most was when Facebook’s VP of User Growth stated “I have tremendous guilt. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.” See the video of Chamath Palihapitiya talking about the negative impacts of social media.

dopamine detox course

ENGAGE YOUR MIND AND
ESCAPE THE CYCLE

DOPAMINE DETOX

30-DAY COURSE

The dark foreboding feeling about various elements of modern life was not misattributed. Instead, I realized it was a very real factor of contention. After much searching and collecting my thoughts, I’ve been led to dopamine fasting as my response to the real challenges I face.

The question then becomes, how do we get rid of negative things in our lives that give us those hits of dopamine we’re so easily drawn to? The truth is that it’s really hard. The reason for this of course is because modern technology is perfectly optimized to abuse our dopamine system.

This is the root of low-level anxiety and depression in today’s society and the very reason why these diagnoses are so prevalent. Over the past 20 years we’ve seen depression and anxiety rise dramatically and it’s alarming. Simply put, we built a society that provides cheap and easy hits of dopamine as leverage for commercial profits and the bill for the true cost has come due.

Does A Dopamine Fast Work?

does dopamine detox work

In short, yes. A dopamine detox realigns your mind by trading the pleasure found from shallow sources with pleasure from meaningful ventures that provide lasting contentment. While the neuroscience behind it is complex, the premise is sound: remove toxic elements in your life and edify yourself with positive habits.

How to Do A Dopamine Detox or Dopamine Fast

how to do a dopamine fast

First understand that there is no one “right way” to do this, each approach will be different for different people. This is because we each have our own crosses to bear and what does “it” for one person, might not be right for you.

Every part of modern society, social media, and our phones are optimized to give us the rewarding feeling of dopamine hits, but these are fleeting and surface level.

To make this a bit easier to understand I want to explain this with a conceptual framework I’m calling behavior “loops”. Essentially a behavior loop is a behavior cycle where we experience a trigger, we decide to respond to it with an action, that action triggers a response, and then that action is reinforced. We have “escape loops” and we have “engagement loops”.

Escape Loops: Shortcuts To Happiness That Leave Us Miserable

escape loops

Escape loops are essentially things in our lives that provide us with low value pleasures. They are characterized by a big hit of dopamine, that’s quick, easy and cheap to attain. The “loop” of escapes loops typically breaks down to something like this:

Typical Escape Loop


  • We become bored, anxious, unhappy or lonely – feelings from something unfulfilled in your life
  • These feelings bring with it a low-level stress and our cortisol levels start to rise
  • We feel the urge to resolve this and are faced with a choice: solve the root cause (which is difficult) or seeking an “escape” which is cheap and easy to attain and gives us the highest spike of dopamine
  • Feeling that hit of pleasure for this escapism, we start to rely on it, creating a dependent feedback loop
dopamine escape loop

Escape loops offer a way to side step the root cause of the problem and just skip to feeling good, even if it’s a shallow pleasure. We essentially sacrifice our future well-being by avoiding the real problem all for a cheap dopamine hit. Looking at it in this manner, it’s similar to how drug users operate: feel bad, instead of fixing the issue they seek a high, then come down to only feel worse. At its core, an escape loop is a self-sabotaging behavior.

Some examples would be: When we feel bored, instead of developing hobbies, we pick up our phone. When we feel anxious about a difficult conversation that we need to have with the person we are dating, we ghost them and move on to a new person. If we are miserable at work, instead of seeking a new opportunity, we have a few beers or glasses of wine each night to forget it all. Rather than going on dates to meet someone new, we pull up a website and watch a video to get off. Escape loops are different for each person.

Examples of Escape Loops


social mediacell phone alertsjunk fooddating appsvideo games

ASk Yourself These Questions

  • How do you sacrifice long term happiness for immediate pleasure?
  • What are the stories and mindsets that lead to self-sabotage?
  • What are you giving up by wasting time on low worth behaviors?
  • What are your go-to escapes?
  • What shortcuts are you taking?

Engagement Loops: Fixing The Core Issues For Long Term Contentment

engagement loops

Engagement Loops are essentially the opposite of escape loops. Instead of seeking quick hits of dopamine, we delay gratification to build a deeper and richer life for ourselves over time. If we don’t make this conscious choice, we fall into the trappings of modern society that have been designed to reward us in ways that are advantageous to those who want to capture our attention for their own benefit.

Engagement behaviors are often the difficult road, the things we know we should do, but don’t really want to do. I know after a long day, the last thing I want to do is leave the comfort zone of my home and hit the gym, meet up with friends or go on a date.

Sometimes the choices seem trivial: order a water or a diet soda at dinner. Our friend is a few minutes late, do we pull out our phone or take a minute to reflect on the day. The truth is, a good life is built on a strong foundation of small positive actions taken over and over again, it is the aggregate of these “trivial” things that actually make a good life. I once heard a top Olympic athlete say he visualized the little actions like laying a single stone, each one building his castle.

Typical Engagement Loop


  • We become bored, anxious, unhappy or lonely – feelings from something unfulfilled in your life
  • These feelings bring with it a low-level stress and our cortisol levels start to rise
  • We feel the urge to resolve it, so we reflect on the root cause and choose to do the difficult work of fixing it
  • After taking positive steps we start to feel better about our decisions, it is positively reinforced over time
dopamine engagement loop diagram

Engagement loops are difficult work that requires dedication and effort, but results in an outcome that is deeply meaningful. Engagement loops build lasting change that leads to a life worth living. After much reflection on this, I believe that engagement loops build fulfillment, answering the greatest question of them all, arguably the most important question: what is the meaning of life? Engagement loops are different for each person.

Examples of Engagement Loops


in-person connectionmeaningful intimacytake time to disconnecteat healthyintentional datingread a book

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Why am I feeling the way I’m feeling?
  • What are your go to escapes? What does that inform about what needs to be fixed?
  • Where am I abdicating responsibility?
  • Will future me benefit or suffer because of this?
  • What are my goals and what actions move me towards or away from them?

Replacing Escape Loops With Engagement Loops For Dopamine Detoxing

replace escape loops with engagement loops

Think about the challenges you face in life, the shortcomings you have as a person, and the long list of failures in your past. Analyze these symptoms and try to discern what the root causes are, these are the things you need to counter, because they are the things you try to avoid dealing with when you seek an escape loop.

I recommend focusing on one main escape loop at a time, but layering a few positive engagement loops to replace it. The reason for this being they provide a big hit of dopamine over a very short period of time, similar to how our brain reacts to narcotics.

Compare that to something like eating a healthy diet, at first there is not a whole lot of reward, but over a long period you see the benefits. It’s no wonder that getting a lot of “likes” on your latest social post feels better than getting dressed, driving through traffic, and paying $10 for a drink to have a conversation with someone you just met for the first time.; At first, receiving the “likes” feels better but the long term implications tell a different story.

It is for this reason I suggest you replace your worst escape loop with many engagement loops to have any hope of making the change stick. If we layer in these positive forces, their high-quality dopamine hits will overpower the cheap easy thrills of our vices.

Convert Escape Loops to Engagement Loops

dopamine detox escape loops vs engagement loop
dopamine escape loops vs engagement loop

What Are The Dopamine Detox Rules?

what are the dopamine detox rules

There are no hard and fast rules and it depends on how long you plan to detox. While it can be nice to do a deep detox where you totally cut things out, most of this might only be able to do this for a single weekend. I hold the belief that quick fixes fall prey to the same faults that surround our escapes.

24 Hour Dopamine Detox Rules

24-hour dopamine detox rules

Some people like to try a short 24 hour fast, though the impact of this will be minimal, unless followed up with a prolonged detox which strikes the balance of you needing to handle daily life while keeping the big offenders at bay. Here is a general list of rules for a 24-hour dopamine detox:

24-Hr Dopamine Detox Rules

  • No electronics of any kind (phone, tv, computer, video games, etc.)
  • No reading of books, newspapers or magazines
  • No sex or masturbation
  • No talking
  • No food (consult doctor, but drink water)
  • No music, podcasts, tv or movies
  • No Coffee or other stimulants

30 Day Dopamine Fast

30-day dopamine detox fast

Most of us can’t run off to a mountain top and live like a cloistered monk for several months, so we need to take a more measured approach and, if truth be told, this is going to be more effective. seeking a quick fix is an escape loop in and of itself!

Additionally, we need to be able to live and operate in society, we have to be able to contend with the pulls of modernity, so we must struggle to find our paths despite these things. To effectively replace negative loops, we need to slowly reinforce our new positive habits over time.

Start by choosing one of your bigger escape loops that feed your dopaminergic system in a negative way and define 3 engagement loops to replace it. Use the above questions about escape and engagement loops to determine what your particular burden is, think about how this impacts your life, then determine what positive actions should be used to replace it. For Example: if you dread your work, instead of complaining about it and drinking a few too many glasses of wine. Commit to polishing up your resume, set a goal to take an interview per month and when you feel the stress of work, instead of popping a cork, go outside for a walk.

You want to try to choose negative loops and positive loops that have symmetry to them. Understand the root cause of your discontent and dopamine seeking behavior, then develop a related counter to it. We want to train ourselves to recognize when we are reaching for that escape loop behavior and then replace it with one of our engagement loops. This gradually will disincentivize our negative behaviors and build a positive feedback loop for our good ones.

dopamine detox course

ENGAGE YOUR MIND AND
ESCAPE THE CYCLE

DOPAMINE DETOX

30-DAY COURSE

Each person should figure out which escape and engagement loops apply to their lives, because it will be specific to each individual. Here are some general tips I suggest during your 30+ day detox:

30 Day Dopamine Detox Tips

  • Turn off all the badge icons and notifications on your phone, set it to silent
  • Uninstall all social media, dating and work apps from your phone
  • When you’re doing work, close your email screen and turn off notifications
  • Try doing only one task at a time, avoid multi-tasking
  • Make sure you spend time outside each day
  • Try meditating, even if it’s only for a few minutes
  • Be present with your friends, family and romantic partners, put down the phone
  • Consider doing some journaling exercises
  • Drink water each day

Take these as suggestions, each person is going to need something different. Just be honest with yourself and realize that replacing these behaviors requires hard work, self-discipline and effort on your part.

How Long Does It Take To Adjust Dopamine Levels?

how long does it take to adjust dopamine levels

This is a complicated question, but in general it can take an average of 66 days to build a new habit. The brutal thing is that bad habits can take root much faster and it can take a long time to build good ones.

Dopamine levels change from minute to minute as our bodies react to the world around us, as I pointed out above, the title of “dopamine detox” or “dopamine fast” is a bit of a misnomer. We always have dopamine; it’s always reacting and too little or too much can be bad for our health. We shouldn’t really try to control our dopamine levels, just the behaviors we choose to engage with that might act as levers for dopamine.

Great Books To Check Out On This Topic

great books to read about dopamine detox

the molecule of more

The Molecule of More

by Daniel Z. Lieberman & Michael Long

how to break up with your phone

Break Up With Your Phone

by Catherine Price

habits of a happy brain

Habits of a Happy Brain

by Loretta G. Breuning

Your Turn!

  • Have you tried doing a dopamine detox, how did it go?
  • What escape loops are your cutting out for better engagement loops?

75 Hard Challenge – Rules and Guidance To Crush The Next 75 Days And Leave The Excuses Behind

75 Hard Challenge – Rules and Guidance To Crush The Next 75 Days And Leave The Excuses Behind

75 hard challenge

I’ve made it to the other side. Before 75 Hard, I was struggling to put words to a concept I had been circling on for years. Coming off the sale of a company I built from the ground up, I was utterly aimless, looking for the answers to big questions. The problem was, I was looking for those answers outside of myself, but the 75 Hard Challenge helped me dig deep and find them from within. Here is my journey with the 75 Hard Challenge.

What Is 75 Hard?

what is 75 hard challenge

The 75 Hard Challenge is a program lasting 75 days with a simple set of rules designed to build confidence, self-esteem, and grittiness through a no excuses challenge. The rules focus on self-development in a way that forces you to earn the traits you want to possess. You’ll undertake this 75-day challenge, following the rules carefully, but if you slip up even one day, you have to start all over again.

75 hard challenge

Build Confidence, Discipline and Grittiness

Get The

75 Hard

Tracking Sheet


What 75 Hard Isn’t – What most people get wrong

On its face, 75 Hard looks like a fitness challenge, a run of the mill program that will get you into shape. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You may notice the benefits of improved fitness, such as losing weight and gaining strength, but it’s not the main purpose of 75 Hard. The program is all about building the mental fortitude you need to set yourself up for a successful life.

This challenge is entirely mental. You are going to do difficult things because they are difficult, because they build grittiness. You don’t allow excuses to get in the way because they are all bullshit and, in the end, you’re only cheating yourself.

The set of simple rules are designed to challenge you in different ways. Some will be easy; some will be hard. Added up together, the sum of one day at a time for 75 days without compromise,, pushes you to become the person you strive to be.

Why 75 Hard Is Effective

75 hard effectiveness

Like I mentioned, the rules are simple, but the continual execution is the real challenge. Over the past few years I’ve learned the value of doing things that are difficult, because they are difficult in and of themselves.

It’s hard to really articulate why doing what is hard is such a powerful force, why it makes all the difference. I could say that challenging yourself builds character. I might say that if we don’t commit to continual improvement that we cheat ourselves. But all those descriptions feel like a platitude.

At the end of your days – and to some extent the end of 75 hard – you have to look yourself in the eye and take your measure. What will be the honest evaluation of the life you led, will you have reached your full potential or left some of it on the table?

75 Hard Challenge Rules

The rules seem pretty simple but they’re designed to collectively be a challenge. The real trial is starting over at day one if you slip up even once.

75 hard challenge rules

  1. Exercise twice each day for 45 minutes – one must be outdoors.
  2. Drink one gallon of water per day.
  3. Pick a diet and stick to it with absolutely NO CHEAT MEALS and NO ALCOHOL.
  4. Read a minimum of 10 pages every day of a self-development or business book.
  5. Take one progress photo each day.

IF YOU MESS UP, YOU START BACK AT DAY ONE!

75 hard challenge

Build Confidence, Discipline and Grittiness

Get The

75 Hard

Tracking Sheet


Rule Clarifications

  • Exercise can be anything that meets your fitness goals, the point is to improve each day
  • There is not specific diet, you choose what’s right for you and stick to it
  • No “cheat days” or “re-feed days” you must stick to your diet 100%
  • You don’t necessarily have to count calories, but you do need to eat the foods prescribed in your diet
  • Water only counts if it’s just water. Coffee, sports drinks, mixes, shakes etc don’t count towards your water
  • You need to read your pages from an actual book: podcasts or audiobooks don’t count
  • A day is considered when you wake up to when you go to bed, not just a normal 24 day

Get The Full Details In The 75 Hard Podcast Episodes

75 hard original podcast

75 hard kettlebell workout

Here is the original podcast that started it all with Andy Frisella.


weight training for 75 hard

Here is a follow up podcast episode that clarified some things.

My Journey With 75 Hard

my 75 hard challenge journey

I had happened upon the MFCEO podcast with Andy Frisella near the end of the year, a time when I start to think about my goals for the coming year. I wish I could say it was something more intentional, but I wasn’t feeling energized about the year ahead. As Andy laid out the simple rules to 75 Hard, something clicked in my brain and I said “screw it, I’m going to do it”.

At first, I thought to myself that I’d start at the first of the year, which was a fair way off, but then I caught myself. I was thinking in a way that was exactly what 75 Hard was meant to fix. So again, I said “screw it, I’ll start tomorrow”. Little did I know, the joke was on me.

The First Days Of 75 Hard

ryan hikingThe next day I woke up to do my first workout, which had to be outside, and it was pouring down rain. Not only was it raining, but it was also only 33 degrees, just warm enough to not be snow.. I was totally soaked from the cold rain and damn near froze. Not going to lie, I cursed Andy’s name the entire time, but I didn’t make excuses and I got it done.

I went on doing my workouts, eating my keto diet, reading my books, drinking my water and taking my photos. Starting out, I think the worst was drinking a gallon of water per day. I was peeing every 20 minutes and my stomach felt so full, so often. I had already cut out alcohol and soda and replaced those with water prior to 75 hard, but I never drank this much water. It took me a full week to get used to drinking so much water.

For me the diet was the easiest part, which is probably the opposite for most people. Purely out of preference I don’t drink at all, haven’t for over a decade. I also had started a keto diet almost 2 years ago, so now it was simply a default behavior, not something new.

When Things Got Tough

My next challenge was when life threw me some curveballs and I had to still make it all happen. Remember that if you fail to follow the rules, you have to start back at day one.; There was no way I was going to let that happen.

The first challenge was realizing at 11 pm while I was on a date that I had only completed one of my workouts. Explaining to my date why I needed to go for a walk in the middle of the night was the first time I told anyone I was even doing this. I think mentally I wasn’t publicizing that I was doing the challenge, because if I admitted it to others, I was accountable.

I realized this was just another step in building mental fortitude: being accountable to those around you. Somehow, my date just rolled with the punches and decided to join me, despite the freezing cold temperatures and the fact that it was midnight.

The next challenge occurred while I was on a cruise to the Bahamas. While in the middle of the ocean, the water main broke on the ship and we were without water all day. I had only about 20 ounces of water in my bottle at the time. While the ship offered up free sodas to smooth things over, soda and other drinks don’t count. At 11:30 PM when the water came back on, I sat down with 108 ounces of water before me and started to drink.

Finally, the last major challenge I faced was on a road trip. I had gotten up really early to make it to my destination on time, driving all day. I was sitting in my car the entire time, not able to work out. I got to the hotel after midnight and the very last thing I wanted to do was work out. I seriously considered abandoning it all right then. Despite my brain screaming at me to just go to bed, I got on the treadmill at 1 AM and started running.

In the fog of my exhaustion I realized about 40 minutes in that my next workout had to be outside! I finished my first 45 minutes, read my 10 pages, then walked out the front door of the hotel at 2 AM to do my final workout. It was brutal.

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75 Hard Workout Options

workout programs for 75 hard challenge

The one thing that I really liked about this challenge was that it wasn’t dogmatic about what diet or workout regime you choose. Since this isn’t a fitness challenge, but a mental toughness challenge, the point isn’t to achieve some fitness ideal. It also meets you wherever you are right now, so you don’t have to worry about having to be a certain fitness level to start. This was great for me, having focused on diet for so long, I had pretty much not worked out for over a year.

You start where you are and just get it done. Most days I either did weights and then a walk for my second workout or went for a run, then my second workout was a walk. The only rules are they need to be at least 45 minutes each and one of them has to be outside, no matter what.

Workout Programs

darebee
Darebee – HIIT Workout Program

I like Darebee’s approach because it’s pretty straight forward and the resources are free. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a very effective approach for those who want to get in and out of the gym.


stronglifts
Strong Lifts 5×5

This is another very popular one that doesn’t have a lot of frills and is free. I like this one because it keeps it pretty simple, but he also includes tutorials with each of the recommendations, so it’s good if you’re just starting out.


reddit bodyweightfitness
Reddit’s Bodyweight Workout

Don’t have a gym, don’t have weights, now you don’t have excuses. Here is a program that you can do with just body weight. It’s from sub-reddit r/bodyweightfitness and is free.


p90-x program
P-90X

A classic, but also a pretty practical at home workout set. They include a diet program too, if you want it. Not free, but you can get it for $139 online from various retailers.

75 Hard Diet Options

diet options for 75 hard

Much like the workout portion, you can choose any diet you like, which is great because you can choose something that works for you and your goals. The important notes here are that you have to stick to it rigidly, you can’t do any cheat days and you can’t drink any alcohol regardless of what program you do.

Andy made the point in his talk that you don’t have to count calories, but you need to stick to the prescription of the diet you choose. Simply tracking what you eat has been shown to reduce your calorie intake by 20-30%.

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Diet Options

ketogenic diet
KETO Diet

Keto is a low carb, medium protein and high fat diet that focuses on mitigating insulin swings in your body. Personally, I do the Keto diet and have found it to not only to help me lose weight, but it also suits my eating preferences naturally. I’ve never been a big drinker, I don’t crave pasta or sweets like some people do, and I already ate many of the common keto foods before I even started.

I was looking to slim down, but also manage my insulin swings to keep up my energy. I’ve always been one to have big dips after lunch and it was cutting into my effectiveness. After doing keto for almost 2 years at this point, my blood tests are showing that keto is dramatically improving all my numbers across the board. I’ve almost stopped snoring, lost a ton of weight, my energy is up, and I enjoy what I eat.


whole 30 diet
Whole 30

Whole 30 focuses on eating foods that aren’t made up of a lot of ingredients. The idea is to eat clean whole foods that you can recognize. The basic rules are no added sugars, no alcohol, no grains or legumes, no dairy, etc. You aren’t supposed to weigh yourself for the 30 days either, just focus on eating clean and healthy.


dash diet program
Dash Diet – Counting Calories

This is another common one that really centers around eating healthier and counting calories. This diet has come under some scrutiny in recent years, but eating healthier and watching calories are never a bad thing.

75 Hard Challenge Book Ideas

75 hard challenge book ideas

Here are some book ideas for your challenge, the first three were the ones I read during my time. These books were in addition to the other books I read for fun. Each month I read about 5 books, so reading wasn’t a big deal for me. While I read I used these book darts to quickly mark things that I wanted to refer back to.

Book Ideas

the last safe investment

The Last Safe Investment

by Bryan Franklin

the coaching habit

The Coaching Habit

by Michael Staniar

radical candor

Radical Candor

by Kim Scott

big magic

Big Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

the e myth revisited

The E-Myth Revisited

by Michael Gerber

traction

Traction

by Gino Wickman

six thinking hats

Six Thinking Hats

by Edward de Bono

the 100 dollar startup

The $100 Startup

by Chris Guillebeau

leaders eat last

Leaders Eat Last

by Simon Sinek

75 Hard Results

my 75 hard results

For me I saw a decent drop in weight because I ate mostly the same while increasing the number of calories burned, my photos showed me lean out some, but I think the real surprise for me was in my heart rate. My heart rate has dropped by about 20ish bpm in my resting state and my recovery rate improved dramatically.

What used to be my resting rate, I could now achieve roughly the same BPM while doing a casual walk. I also dramatically upped my endurance while running. When I started, I hadn’t worked out in a very long time, I could jog around 4.5 miles per hour for about 10 minutes. Near the end of my 75 days, I was running at 6 miles per hour for 20 minutes AND my heart rate would almost fully recover in under 2 minutes.

Tip: To keep myself honest and not take it easy on my workouts, I made a rule near the start of 75 days: I had to one up whoever was on the treadmill next to me. I’d glance at their incline and speed, beat it, then push to run longer than they did. Obviously I couldn’t always keep up, but it pushed me. I don’t think most of them noticed… except one guy, I ran circles around him.

I had hoped to make more progress with my weight lifting, but about 20 days into it I hurt some of the ligaments in my elbow that required me to take it easy while it healed. That’s when I shifted focus to running, which let me still move forward.

Other People’s Results With The 75 Hard Challenge

I’m certainly not alone in this journey, here are a few before and afters that people have posted.

before and after 75 hard
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be a Bud Light girl forever. But water ( sometimes with flavor) is my only drink (besides coffee) these days. . . Here’s a little behind the scenes on how these 2 women, although both me, are no where near similar. . . Top: December 2018 Unhappy. Trying to mask my anxiety & depression with food & alcohol. Full of self pity. Not taking responsibility for why my life was sucky. Was a miserable bitch to everyone around me. . . Bottom: February 1, 2020 Genuinely happy. Controlling my anxiety & depression with exercise & healthy foods. Have taken control of my life & realized I was the reason my life was sucky. Spread positivity & smile as much as possible. I’d say I’m a freaking joy to be around these days!

follow @_cortney_brown_

no excuses 75 hard challenge
If you’re postponing #75HARD for after #Thanksgiving DINNER or after the holidays or after the 1st of the year, I have a message for you. YOU DON’T REALLY NEED CHANGE! If you’re not even ready to jump in right a way in the inception state and get excited to start RIGHT F****** NOW, it wouldn’t work … you will quit. You are still MENTALY SOFT. The MOST important part about this challenge is commitment. Commitment to yourself , that you will not give up on yourself , that you care about yourself to “have yourself’s back” and love yourself enough to show up for YOU!

follow @professionalproblemsolver

75 hard complete
#75HARD COMPLETE!! * So Friday, September 6 at midnight my 75 days were up. I started this journey back up after failing back in February on the first attempt. * What you see in these two pictures are a physical change but what you can’t see is the mental change that took place during these 75 days. * I was the type of individual who would care what people thought. * Who wouldn’t get out of their bubble because of some dumb reasoning in my head. * Who would procrastinate and say “I’ll just do that tomorrow.” * Who thought they were too busy to start something extra to better themselves.

follow @nickmay121

75 hard routine
I am willing to… Get up early and do my morning routine. Go outside no matter the weather and do a 45 min workout. Pass on the chips or fast food and eat a macro balanced diet and track every bite. Work my 8 hours then come home and do another 45 min workout instead of watching tv. Drink a gallon of water. No alcohol. Enrich my mind with daily reading, podcasts and audible books. Visualize my future life. Take a 5 min cold shower. Write down a gratitude list and 10 dreams as if they have happened. It starts with that question. What are you willing to do to get all the things you say you want?

follow @denaespinosa47

my75hardchallenge
When John told me about this challenge he wanted to do I told him it sounded ridiculous. Stupid. Unrealistic. Then after a couple of days of him not changing his mind on it, I decided I might as well do it with him. I started out with the plan of doing 30 days or so, then quitting if it got too hard. And here I am, 75 days later. The truth is- it did get hard. But we stuck it out together. I’m glad it’s over. But it was worth every one of those 75 days. Before: 176 lbs, 21.4% body fat After: 154 lbs, 13.5% body fat #75hard #75HardChallenge

follow @marquileland

Want To Try The 75 Hard Challenge?

Ask yourself this: at the end of the 75 days, will you feel that you’re better or worse for doing it? We all know the right answer, but we don’t match our behavior with what we know to be true. Don’t wait to start, start tomorrow.

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Your Turn!

  • Have you tried 75 hard, what was your biggest challenge?
  • What excuses are you making?

Jump Start Your Journal With A 21 Day Journaling Challenge – 50+ Thought Provoking Journal Prompts

Jump Start Your Journal With A 21 Day Journaling Challenge – 50+ Thought Provoking Journal Prompts

jump start your bullet journalIf you’re anything like me and have a million thoughts swirling around in your head, you probably want to get some of them down on paper, too! For me, journaling is a way to process and make sense of things. It allows me to articulate my thoughts and feelings on any number of things in my life.

You might want to keep track of a busy schedule, find time to work in some daily creativity to your life, be better organized or work towards a goal. Many people want to keep track of things like gratitude or meditation. Maybe you’re trying to build a new habit, like exercising. You could keep a yoga journal or track your progress as you get in shape. Whatever your purpose is, you can tailor your journaling challenge to meet your needs.

What Are The Benefits Of Journaling

what are the benefits of journaling

For me, writing is a way to work through my thoughts and articulate my feelings around something that’s been on my mind. The process of writing helps me define, distill and put words to things I may be feeling, but not able to readily identify.

Journaling has been shown to improve mental health by bringing intention into our lives. A practice of journaling – like a 21-day journaling challenge – brings clarity, improves emotional intelligence, builds mindfulness, increases gratitude and strengthens self-discipline. Simply put, by committing to taking time for yourself through journaling, you’re investing in yourself.

How Do I Start Journaling

how do i start journaling

It’s important to first get a clear idea on what you hope to achieve from starting a daily journal habit. It could be a goal you are wanting to achieve, it could be solving some pain point in your life, or it could be to reconnect with yourself. Whatever it is, take a few minutes to think about it and define what success is going to look like for you.

bullet journal printable designsOnce you know your direction, you can determine the smaller, daily steps you need to accomplish that will lead to your larger successes. You’ll want to take that bigger goal and break it down into simple little actions that you can do each day. No matter how big your aim is, find the simplest thing that you think you can realistically do.

The key here is to orient yourself in a general direction and figure out the first step. It’s important to realize that even if you have missteps in this process, you’re at least making forward progress. If you fail over and over, you’ve discovered multiple ways of knowing what not to do. The benefit of making mistakes is having more data to show what doesn’t work and pointing you in the direction of what does.

People will sometimes get in their own heads about figuring it all out or having all the answers, only to give up. Just start, even if you do it badly, you’ll still be ahead of doing nothing.

From there, use some of the prompts I have provided here for you as a starting point. Tweak them for your purposes if you need to, but the main goal is to just put your pen to paper and write. Even if you decide to write about not knowing what to write about, it’s a start!

How To Do A 21 Day Journaling Challenge

how to do a 21 day journaling challenge

Once you’ve laid out your goals, get a journal and a good pen to write with, I’d suggest coming up with a few go-to questions and writing prompts you can always fall back on. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, set aside all other distractions and begin to write.

Leuchtturm 1917 notebook
bullet journal pens

A Few Basic Journal Prompts To Get Started:

Use these basic journal prompts to get started journaling if you don’t know where to begin.

Basic Journal Prompts

  • What’s the big thing you need to get done today?
  • What is one thing that you can’t stop thinking about?
  • What do you want more of in life/career/love and what do you want less of?
  • What would make this day or week a great day/week?
  • What guilt am I carrying around with me, how do I address it?
  • Create a list: What are 50 things I love?
  • What’s something that bothers you and what are different ways you could fix it?
  • What are 5 things you need to let go to move forward?

Different Types of Journal Challenges You Can Try

different types of journaling challenges

The nice thing about journals is they are super flexible. You can treat it like a diary, set it up like a bullet journal, or have it be purpose driven. Here are a few different types of journal challenges you can try out, feel free to try a few!

Daily Journaling Challenge

daily journaling challenge

This is a great place to start if you’re just getting into journaling. You can morph into whatever you want and can try some of the specific journaling exercises below to see what works for you! All you have to do is grab your journal and pen and then start writing a few pages at a time. Start with 5-10 minutes each day, but if you’re on a roll, go with the flow.

It can be a good idea to block out time on your calendar each day. Many people like to journal in the morning to set intentions, clarity and focus for their day. If you’re like me, I like journaling right before bed to take all the ideas swirling around my brain and get them on paper. This lets me address them head on and allows me to fall asleep more easily with a calm mind.

Daily Journaling Prompts

  • I couldn’t imagine living without these things…
  • If a younger version of myself were to see me, they’d call me out on ___.
  • I feel most energized when I am doing ___
  • Create a word cloud of what your ideal self would be, summarize it into three rules to live by.
  • What is getting in the way of being happy or reaching your goals, what part do you play in that?
  • What are the ways you could build more meaningful connections with friends, family and love interests?
  • What things do you say you’re going to do, but ended up not? How can you improve your say-do ratio?
  • What are things you like to do that others are willing to pay for; how could you leverage that?
  • What’s one project you’d like to spend more time on, why is it important? Bullet out 5 steps to make it happen.
  • What’s something that you’re not doing out of fear? How would you deal with the worst-case scenario?
  • If your house were to catch on fire, what 10 things would you save from the fire?

Yoga Journal Challenge

yoga journal challenge

While you’re journaling, you might also want to give yoga a try too. Many people who want to add more intention into their lives like to journal and do yoga at the same time; it’s a nice balance of mind and body. I know many yoga instructor certification courses suggest adding daily intention into the mix to help reflect on the process.

Take 15 minutes each day for three weeks to journal about your thoughts and feelings that come up during your 21-day yoga challenge. Journaling can be directly about your process of getting into yoga or it could be wide open as a way to process things to have a more wholistic approach.

21-Day Yoga Journaling Prompts

  • What does balance feel like in your life?
  • How do you recognize when you’re in “the flow”?
  • Where is your focus: on the journey or the destination?
  • How can you best serve your future self?
  • How do you express your creativity? How can you foster that?
  • What things bring energy to your life? What things take energy away?
  • What do you need to be more present in your life?
  • What is your ideal life? What things bring you closer or further from that ideal?
  • What are three words you want to characterize your life? Write about each.
  • Who are the people in your life that you’re grateful for and why? Be specific!

Bullet Journal Challenge

bullet journal challenge

A bullet journal is a great system to organize your thoughts, goals and habits. What I like about the system is that it’s both flexible for many needs and structured in a way to keep the chaos manageable. Start the process by setting up your bullet journal index, key and number your pages: I show you the basics of bullet journaling here.

Each day you will create a daily to-do collection page, then spend some time building out the rest of your bullet journal with purpose built spreads that support your goals. If you’re not sure what to put in your bullet journal, check out my post about how to choose what pages to include in your bullet journal.

Once you’ve got your layouts finished, start with some daily reflections and journal on some of these questions. Then, add it to your index. If you’re feeling really motivated, create a habit tracking page to mark each day you journal!

21-Day Bullet Journal Setup


21-Day Bullet Journaling Prompts

  • What are your top priorities this year? Bullet out 5 steps each to make them happen.
  • What things get in the way of achieving your goals? Brainstorm ways to address them before they happen.
  • What are the biggest nuisances in your daily life and what could you do to fix them?
  • What’s the difference between your actions and your intentions? How could you close that gap?
  • What is a favorite memory of yours, what lessons can you pull to apply moving forward?
  • What’s the best job you’ve had and what’s the worst one? Write about the differences and how to spot them.
  • What types of experiences do you want to have in your life, what about them makes them meaningful?
  • What’s an idea that’s consuming you right now? Journal about that idea.
  • What’s an area of your life that could be improved? Brainstorm about how you could make progress there.

how to start a bullet journal

Daily Gratitude Journal Challenge

daily grattude journal challenge

If you’re like me, it’s helpful to focus on what is good in your life as a way to stay positive. I once heard a saying “Was it a bad day or was it a bad five minutes that you milked all day”. That really stuck with me because I think my life has a lot going for it, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in the one little thing that didn’t go my way. Having a focus on gratitude can help fix that.

Take 5 minutes each day to just reflect on all the good things that happened. You can journal about what the good things were, how they made you feel and why you are grateful for them. You can also try out some of the prompts below. Consider adding in a mood tracker, which can be helpful to give you an objective view on how things are going.

21-Day Gratitude Journaling Prompts

  • Make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life.
  • Write a gratitude letter to someone important, even if you don’t send it.
  • Take time to reflect on things you take for granted, what are they and how can you recognize them more?
  • Why is a habit of gratitude so difficult? What could we do to change that?
  • When everything goes wrong, what do you fall back on? Write about that.
  • What kindnesses have others shown you and what did they teach you?
  • What failures are you grateful for? What lesson was learned from them?
  • What went right when you really needed it to? Write about the experience and how that felt.

21 Day Meditation Journal Challenge

21 day meditation journal chalenge

Many of you know introspection has been a big part of my journey through life and that takes a willingness to be alone with my thoughts. Meditation is a great way to settle my mind when I need to be in the right head space for important work in my own life or in business.

There are many great resources on how to meditate, but realize that journaling in and of itself is a form of meditation. You can reflect on your meditation went the thoughts that tried to push their way into your mind while doing it. You can also meditate for 10 minutes and then start to journal with a clearer mind.

21-Day Meditation Journaling Prompts

  • My favorite way to spend my day is ___. What lessons can I take and apply from that?
  • Make a word cloud of words that you want your life to embody. Summarize them into a single sentence.
  • What are the things that bring me back to center when things are stressful or not going my way?
    Make a list of what is enough for you.
  • What was one of your life’s biggest mistakes, what lessons can you take away from that?
  • What are three things you could do to live a more fulfilling life?
  • What rules should you set to determine when to say yes or no to something?
  • What words do you need to hear from important people in your life?

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Journaling Challenge

how to get the most out of journaling challenge

Taking just a few minutes to journal each day will bring a lot of intention and clarity to your life. Putting down the phone, switching off the TV or breaking from your busy day to spend a moment on self-development and discovery each day can have a huge impact for little investment.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your time journaling:

  • Try to take a step back and challenge your assumptions and self-limiting thoughts
  • Defend your time for reflection, make it a priority and guard it well during the challenge
  • If you don’t know where to start, start badly to build momentum
  • Remove barriers and excuses to building a journaling habit before they come up
  • Calendar time each day to make it a priority

I hope that was helpful to kick starting your journaling habit. Doing a daily challenge can be a great way to build meaningful habits into your daily routine. So, grab your journal and get writing!

Your Turn!

  • What tips do you have for people just starting out?
  • What prompts do you like to write about?

30-Day Declutter Challenge: Go From Stressed To Clutter Free Fast + Free Calendar

30-Day Declutter Challenge: Go From Stressed To Clutter Free Fast + Free Calendar

30 Day Declutter Challenge

I’m a big fan of bite-sized challenges to kick start new behaviors and a 30-day declutter challenge is a great (and practical) way to make a tidy house happen. I want to break down how to do this 30-day challenge and then give you tips to make it stick. Because the last thing you want to do after you declutter your home and work hard to clear away the clutter is to fall back into old habits.

NAVIGATION

Everyday Clutter Zones
Problem areas for decluttering
tackling tough clutter
clean sweep

By the end of this 30-day declutter challenge you’ll be able to:

  • Declutter your home in 30-days with easy steps
  • Stop stressing and bring some order to your messy house
  • Learn some practical tips to declutter your home
  • Keep your home clean, clutter-free, and organize long term

Why Does A 30-Day Declutter Challenge Work?

Why Does A 30 Day Declutter Challenge Work

A declutter challenge is an easy step by step process that gives you one simple thing to do each day. Focusing on one little thing each day makes it easy, but after 30-days, it adds up to a big change. It can be overwhelming to think about cleaning your whole house, but if we break it down into smaller parts, it’s much easier.

How Do I Motivate Myself To Organize My House?

How Do I Motivate Myself To Organize My House

At the end of the day, there is one thing that will actually make you successful when it comes to decluttering your house and getting organized: Action. You don’t need to have the answers, you don’t need to get it all right, you don’t even need to know the best way to start decluttering, you just have to start.

You’re going to have some missteps, you might accidentally toss something you’ll need later, or you might put it away to realize it wasn’t in the right spot. But here’s the thing, you’ve made forward momentum. There will be some of you who read this post with aspirational intent, but it’s the people that get up from their computer after reading this post and just start that will actually make it happen. Even doing it badly is better than not doing it at all.

Where Do I Start Decluttering?

Where Do I Start Decluttering

A lot of people get all worked up when they think about getting rid of stuff and declutter a whole house or apartment. Something about the process makes them jump to the most extreme case. Don’t get bogged down with what you think are going to be the most challenging parts or overwhelmed by the entirety of your whole home.

My best piece of advice is: Start Small and Start Easy. Don’t take on the largest mess in your home right away and don’t start with difficult things to throw away like sentimental items. Start in one small place and things you have zero qualms getting rid of.

refrigeratorFor me, it’s the fridge. It’s a very small space and I don’t have to worry about sentimentality when I toss that third jar of mustard in my fridge that expired long ago that I never really liked anyway. Many people will start with their fridge, the bathroom vanity, a nightstand or their junk drawer (you know you have one). These are places that are a limited scope and don’t carry a lot of emotional work with them.

Once you’re done with one, try another place. Each time you finish try a little bigger space. Then start to tackle things you might have more to process emotionally around. What you’re doing here is building your “decluttering muscles” so when you get to tougher stuff, you have a practiced history to lean on.

There may come a point where you only have the really sentimental stuff or things that are wrapped up with a ton of emotions. But since you took this measured approach, even if you stop right there, you can look back at all the meaningful progress you’ve made; you came a long way!

How To Do Your Daily Declutter Challenge

How To Do Your Daily Declutter Challenge

Each day check out your free printable calendar that you can download below. Try to do this at roughly the same time of day to help build the habit. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get to work.

At the end of the time take a moment to consider the progress you made in that area and over the previous days of the challenge. If you’re feeling motivated, don’t just stop at 15 minutes, but commit to doing 15 minutes each day.

DECLUTTER CHALLENGE CHECKLIST

  1. Check your declutter challenge calendar
  2. Set a timer for 15 minutes
  3. Declutter for the full time
  4. Reflect on the progress you’ve made
  5. Keep going if you’re in the zone!

Tips To Make Your Declutter Challenge Successful

Tips To Make Your Declutter Challenge Successful

Here are some things that will make your time decluttering a bit easier and ensure success at the end of your 30-days. Use the calendar as a guide, tweak it to suit your situation and needs.

Start where it makes sense for you. Each of us have our own flavor of clutter. Start with things that will be easy to declutter and are common problem areas for you.

Even if you don’t know where to start, move towards action vs inaction, even if you do it poorly you’ll be ahead of not doing anything at all.

DECLUTTER CHALLENGE TIPS

  • Don’t try to do too much at one time
  • Take time every day to maintain
  • Take before and after photos
  • Start with the easiest areas first
  • Have a bias towards action
  • Declutter first, organize second
  • Be honest with yourself

30-Day Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 Day Declutter Challenge Calendar

This 30-day challenge will help you declutter your house from top to bottom. Working a little bit each day you’ll move from room to room to make it all happen. Below is the 30-day declutter challenge checklist and calendar laying out what you need to do each day, but feel free to make some modifications so it works for you. I’m also going to break down each day with some added resources for you to check below, so grab your calendar and keep reading!

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 1 – Fridge

First day of a declutter challengeStart with this small area and toss out everything that you don’t like, is expired or you have multiples of. Condiments are a place we hang onto things too long. Most of what we use day today is a small fraction of what we have in our fridge door. Worst case you toss something you need and have to buy it again down the road, so be very heavy-handed here. While you’re at it wipe down the whole fridge.

Day 2 – Kitchen countertops

Decluttering your kitchen countertopThe kitchen the center of the home for many, which also means it becomes a place where a lot of things get placed down. Take a few minutes today to not only clean things up, but look at them. Why are they ending up there and not somewhere else? Do they have a place they should be? Should you designate a place for them? What practical steps can you take to stop the flow of these items BEFORE they happen.

Try to spend a few minutes each morning cleaning this area, it’s the beachhead for your decluttering for your whole house, so hold strong here to set the tone for the rest of your decluttering!

Day 3 – Landing Zone

Making sense of the landing zone for your stuffWhen you walk into your house, most of us have a place we drop our essentials: keys, wallet, phone, mail, purse, etc. If you just drop them on the counter or don’t have a designated place, take time today to set one up. It should be a purposeful selected place that is only for this, is out of the way to keep things neat, but easy to drop when you walk in.

Take a look at what you always have with you and what gets dumped right away when you walk in the door. If you have keys, set a single hook that makes it easy to see if your keys are there or not. For your phone, consider a charging stand or wireless charger. When you get mail, how should it be sorted (I do trash, to do, to file). Your purse might get hung or just a designated spot to drop.
For me I keep a minimalist everyday carry setup, so I don’t have a lot. I have a small nook that I purchased a small tray to put things in and I have a mail sorting station.

Day 4 – Front Closet / Mudroom Area

Clearing the clutter from your front closetIf you have kids this is managed chaos at best. Take time to think about what really needs to be there and what might be cut out. You want just the bare essentials here, too often people will use an article of clothing once, but it stays hung up there for months. A whole array of shoes litters the floor, but you most likely only have 1-2 go-to pairs. Cut things down to items you use every day, anything else that gets used occasionally should be removed and stored away elsewhere.

This lets us cut down what we have to organize in the first place. For a kid you might have a backpack, a lunch box, a jacket and shoes. Designate a specific hook or nook for each of these (ex: jacket hook, lunchbox hook) for each kid. Set a pattern to place each thing in their respective place, if they just dump and run, bring them back to do it correctly to reinforce it. This way you can quickly scan to see that little Johnny is missing his lunchbox.

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 5 – Cleaning Supplies

Organizing cleaning suppliesPeople have a lot of cleaning supplies when you only really need a few essentials to make it all happen. You want to reduce things down to the very basics: An all-purpose cleaner, a glass cleaner, and a disinfectant. That’s it! You can choose to make your own, but I just use store-bought. I get the generic brands of Simple Green for all-purpose, Windex for glass and mirrors, and then a bleach spray to disinfect things. From there I have a few microfiber cloths, a textured sponge, a razor blade scraper, and a scrub brush. Start with those, toss the rest and if you need something else buy it later.

Day 6 – Medicine cabinet

Arranging your medicine cabinetAs a guy my medicine cabinet is pretty lean. I only keep a few core things, but I know for women this is a more complicated matter. Focus on things that you use every day and things you love. Most women have a few go-to looks, so toss the makeup that doesn’t get used for those.

Here is what I keep, use this list to keep just the bare essentials and customize to you.

Minimalist Medicine Cabinet

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen Sodium
  • Ancetaminophen
  • Cough Drops
  • Decongestant
  • Antihistamine
  • A Few Band-aids
  • Q-tips
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Anti-acids
  • Sunscreen
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Razor w/blades

Day 7 – Night Stand

Straightening up your nightstandYou start and end your day in your bed, so let’s get this cleaned so you can kick things off clutter free. A night stand is one of those places that ends up collecting a lot of things. Look at what is there now and try to understand why it got there. Figure out what the core essentials are for a night sleep and consider thinking about keeping your phone outside the bedroom.

Day 8 – Junk Drawer

Cleaning out your junk drawerA junk drawer is a place for things without a place. Let that sink in. Either it’s not worthy of a designated place or it isn’t getting a place it really deserves. Both are undesirable. We tend to toss things in here that we are saving “just in case”, that are useful for “something”, or we haven’t taken the time to find a place for. Take some time to be an archeologist on your junk drawer, fix the underlying issues and clean it out. Consider adding a drawer organizer so you can segment the items in there going forward. Use your “junk drawer” as a place for things without a place, once a month go through it and toss it or find a place for it, regularly clearing it out.

Day 9 – Socks and Underwear

Sorting socks and underwearIt may not be for everyone, but many years ago I went to a single type of underwear and a multiple of identical socks. This lets me have some uniformity with things, I stopped wasting time matching socks and it lets me rotate underwear and socks easily. When things start to get worn out, I buy a whole new set, toss out the old and replace with all new.

Most people have their favorites or things they wear most days. In general, I suggest cutting out everything else. If you don’t love it, toss it. If you have something that you don’t like or something that bothers you about it, replace it now. The cost of most of these things isn’t high, so be pretty heavy-handed here.

how to embrace a minimalist wardrobe

Day 10 – Linen Closet

Thinning out the linen closetGo through and toss out the things that are getting worn out or maybe don’t fit the beds you have. If your linens are running thin, consider doing a clean sweep and buying all new bed sheets and towels; from time to time it’s good to start totally fresh. Try to only have 2 sets of linens for each bed: one on the bed, the other in the wash or waiting.

Day 11 – Laundry Room

Laundry room organizationGo through all your cabinets and drawers, toss things that you haven’t used or just adding clutter. Focus on things you use daily or weekly, toss things that are used rarely. Go through you cleaning products here and pare down the bare essentials. If you have time, consider what bothers you when you do laundry, take the time to fix it now.

Day 12 – Desk

Straightening up your office deskThis might be the first big challenge for some of us. What I suggest doing is taking your paperwork and sorting into three piles: to do, to file, to shred. I give more tips about how to declutter your office here and how to maintain a simple office in this post.

Once you’ve pulled out all the papers in the office, next I want you to use what I call “the box method”. To start get a big box and go through your entire desk and put everything in that desk into this box. Put the box in a closet somewhere for 60 days, set a calendar reminder for two months out. Don’t leave a single thing on your desk except your computer, keyboard, mouse and a lamp.

Then when you sit down to do something, if you need something that was in your desk, go to the box and pull out that single item. If you need a pen, get only one pen (might as well make it your favorite pen!). If you need to staple something, you can get the stapler, use it, then put it in your desk.

At the end of 60 days, you’ll have only the core items you need in your desk and nothing else. Go through the remaining items to double-check nothing super important is in there, then toss it all.

Day 13 – Bedroom closet

Bedroom closet organizationThis is another big one, so set some more time aside for this one. Most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe, meaning 80% of your clothes you don’t actually wear. I suggest you make three piles: to keep, to donate, to toss. Then go to town sorting. Realize this is a journey, not a destination, so make a solid effort here keeping only what you wear and love, but realize too, this is the first of many cleanouts.

how to embrace a minimalist wardrobe

how to build a capsule wardrobe

Day 14 – Toiletries, Makeup, and Shower

Simplifying your bathroom suppliesI’ll be honest here; I’m a guy and I don’t get all that goes into women’s morning routines. I’ll just say this: Think about each item you have, consider your wants vs. needs, and question everything. I have one bottle of shampoo, one bottle of body wash, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and nail clippers.

Day 15 – Car

Cleaning stuff out your carCars are a place that can collect a lot of stuff, if you have kids, this is doubly so. How I do this is I bring my trash can out and remove all the trash that might have collected there. Then I pull out everything and put it into two piles: keep in car and things that need to be put back in the house. I grab all those house items and put them away where they go right then.

Then I’ll declutter, toss and organize what I want to keep in the car. One thing I’ve started doing is things I use every day in my car, those go in my center console storage. The rest get neatly organized into a small bin that gets put in my trunk. This lets me have the things I need, but not get bogged down in the items I have to have in my car, but are rarely used.

From there I make it easy on myself, I drive down to a local car wash/vac and have them clean it. Bonus: grab a coffee while you kick back and watch them clean your car, you’ve made it halfway!

Day 16 – Garage – Part 1

Organizing the garageHere is a big one, most likely the biggest on this list. An astounding 23% of Americans can’t even park in their own garage because they have so much junk.

Because this is such a big challenge, I’m going to give you three whole days to work on this. Consider doing these days on a weekend because it’s going to take some time. Start with taking a photo of your garage as a “before photo”.

homeowner garage stats

For this I’d start with three piles: keep, toss, donate. Get one big box of black garbage bags and one box of a different color. Black trash bags get tossed; the other color gets donated. If you are in a house with two cars, when you fill a bag, put it right into the car until its full. One car for donation runs and the other for dump runs.

Day 17 – Garage – Part II

Clearing junk out of the garageContinue your progress clearing things out. When you’ve pulled out everything and sorted, make your final runs to the dump and donation location. Then I want you to come back and take your keep pile and go through it one more time. Ask yourself critical questions about each item. Are you really going to use this in the next 6 months? What stories are you telling yourself about these items? Are you keeping this item out of guilt because how much it cost, was it a gift or other hang up?

Day 18 – Garage Part III

Garage maintenanceToday is about bringing it all back into the garage and organizing it. Take a step back and really question what you’re about to bring back in and keep. The trick here isn’t to organize your clutter, it’s to reduce the items you have to organize in the first place.

I’d set yourself up with some good shelving and storage containers, and label things clearly. I’d suggest trying to use a uniform container and one or very few sizes, this will make things look very orderly and keep it organized too. Put things that you don’t use often up higher and things you’ll use a lot in easier to reach places. Don’t stack things so you can’t get to them easily and try to only put containers one row deep.

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 19 – Maintenance Tidy Up

Guide to tidy up your houseYou had a big few days with the garage. So today go around to all the places you’ve already gone through and do a quick maintenance tidy on them. This will help keep your momentum going!

Day 20 – Kids Toys

Donate unused kids toysGo through and remove broken toys, toys that are no longer age-appropriate and items they haven’t played with in a long time. Donate where it makes sense.

Day 21 – Kids Closet

Sorting through kids closetFollow the same rules you learned with your own closet. Use the lessons you learned from your own experience to teach your kids in this moment. Involve them in the process.

Day 22 – Outdoor/Patio

Clear out outdoor patio spaceGo through your outdoor space and tidy up. Clear out dead plants, unused pots, and clean up outdoor furniture. Clear out your flower beds, coil the hose properly, rake leaves and fix whatever bothers you. Consider calling in a professional power washer for the house and deck, often these cost $200-$300 for the whole house and make a big impact.

Day 23 – Purse/Daily Bag

Decluttering your purseAnother place where things just naturally collect. Go through and clean out your bag, get down to the bare essentials. Take this time to think about the things you have in your bag, , magazines and replace things that never worked well for you or you didn’t like. Consider how you could better organize the items in your bag or purse with smaller pouches, reserving the main pockets and organization for only those things you use every day.

Day 24 – Family Room

Family room cleaningTake time to tidy up, remove things that collect there. Toys are big offender here if you have kids, so take the time to pare down again on toys if you can. Think about what messes are made, why it happened and how you could prevent them before they happen.

declutter your home room by room

Day 25 – Magazines and Books

Toss old magazinesGo through and make three piles: keep, toss, and donate. If you have a pile of unread books consider setting a goal of reading 10 pages each night to start making headway.

Day 26 – Powder Room

Tidy up powder roomTidy up the room, clear out the vanity of extra stuff, and consider adding a setup of your basic cleaning items right there for easy use. If you have extra time today, do some maintenance tidying in the previous areas.

Day 27 – Kitchen Pantry

Sorting out the kitchen pantryMuch like the fridge, go through items and toss things that your family doesn’t love or are expired. The pantry is a place where a lot of things that we used once to make a single dish and never again end up. Pare down your spices to a basic collection of your favorites. Here I’d suggest being pretty aggressive with toss (or donate) items because the cost of replacing is pretty low, so a mistake isn’t a big deal here. Focus on things you use every week.

how to stock a minimalist kitchen

Day 28 – Food Storage Containers And Pans

Use food storage containersEvery time I go into someone’s kitchen, I see them have a lot of pots and pans, but they often have their favorites. Saying things like “eggs stick to that pan” or something that signals it’s not really working well for them.

I suggest a small soup pot, a large soup pot, a good 8” pan, a 12” pan, a Dutch oven, two baking sheets, and a casserole dish. Keep those things and donate the rest.

For food storage containers I’d suggest something a little drastic. Toss everything. The problem people run into with storage containers is they have mismatched containers that don’t nest and they then have to go find a matching lid. If you stick to only one container type, every container will fit every lid. They then will also neatly stack in your fridge every time.

Then go find one container you really like and buy 10-20 of them. I found a great container that was pretty cheap so if it got funky, I could toss it without much guilt. It’s a decent size to hold a fair bit, but small enough so I can take with me if I want to pack a lunch in it.

equipping a minimallist kitchen

Day – 29 Kitchen Final Sweep

Declutter Challenge Kitchen cleanupYou’ve tackled the fridge, counters, pantry, cleaning products, landing zone, pans, storage containers, and spices. Now let’s round out the kitchen with a final declutter from top to bottom. Plan to give yourself a little bit more time today to get this done.

Start with re-tidying everything you’ve already done to keep it going. Now tackle any outstanding areas in your kitchen. Use your three piles to sort and if you’re really hung up on something, try the box method sparingly. Consider the items you use every day or weekly, the rest should be a candidate to get rid of or at the very least find a place to store them out of way and off the countertops. Be judicious about what makes the cut to have a home on top of the countertops, aim to have very few things on the counter.

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 30 – Final Push

Final push to decluttering your houseAt this point, there isn’t much you haven’t touched in your home. Think about things that you might want to do a second sort on to declutter a bit more, do those first. Now go back through the above list and do a quick tidy on all your previous work. Finally, tackle any extra things that aren’t on this list.

Take the time to really round out the whole 30-days, even if you have to work an extra day or two. You’ve come so far, finish strong!

How To Make Your Decluttering Stick For The Long Term

How To Make Your Decluttering Stick For The Long Term

Now that you’ve done so much work, we want to maintain it. I’d suggest you take before and after photos so you can remind yourself where you came from and how much better it really is to be on the other end of it.

  • Build a habit of maintenance tidying each day
  • If you keep cleaning up the same mess, ask why then fix that
  • Involve others you live with and gain buy-in, build their habits too
  • If something bothers you, take five minutes and fix it right then
  • Take a step back and question items in your space
  • Calendar times to clean up and tidy monthly
  • In 6 months, do another 30-day declutter challenge for a deeper clean

 

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Your Turn!

  • What tips do you have from your own decluttering?

30 day declutter challenge post