Thursday, March 31, 2011

30-day Challenges

Matt Cutts
"30 days is enough time to build a habit"
- Matt Cutts
About a month ago on one of my favorite blogs I read about a recent TED talk regarding self-improvement through 30-day challenges. I showed it to my wife who thought it was a great idea. Then a few days later we tried to find the post and could not find it. We tried Google and searched the archives of blogs we frequent but no luck. Today I tried Google again and found it. When an idea becomes popular it will rise in Google ranking so it pays to retry.

The talk was by Matt Cutts, who heads Google’s Webspam team, at TED University. The presentation is not online yet but Matt keeps a blog on the topic at

The first entry is June 2009,
30 days is enough time to build a habit. Last month, I started trying to walk 10,000 steps a day for 30 days. I didn’t walk 10K steps every day, but I did keep at it until I’d walked over 10K steps for at least 30 days. In the process, I discovered that walking to the grocery store can be a relaxing way to unwind and get some exercise. I’m just now wrapping up an effort to not watch any television for 30 days.
Each month Matt sets a new personal challenge. They have included:

- Biking to work
- Reading 15 books in 30 days (he managed 12). His wife tries to read 50 pages every days and loves it.
- Not using Microsoft software (find alternatives to everything MS, can you tell he works for Google?)
- A digital cleanse, no twitter, no facebook, no email outside of work
- No iPhone
- Write a novel in 30 days
- meditate 10-15 minutes every day
- 30 days with no caffeine
- 30 days with no sugar. Matt says, "That was hard. My wife and I did this one together and it was the roughest."
- get my finances in order
- Take a picture every day
- A new word a day

Future ideas include:

- 30 days as a vegetarian.
- read the Bible (or the Qur’an) in 30 days
- 30 days of trying to learn to play guitar.
- try one new thing a day for 30 days.
- draw something everyday for 30 days.
- try polyphasic sleep for 30 days.
- go 30 days spending as little money as possible.
- learn as much of a new language as possible in 30 days.
- no complaining
- learn to sing

Bottom Line

We're going to try this at my home. For April we have picked home improvement. A task everyday to clean-up or straighten the house and prepare the garden for spring planting. We recently had some interior rooms repainted which led to changing the furniture arrangement, different items hung on the walls, and disorder in all the other rooms where stuff was put while the living room was painted. We hope that the house will sparkle by the end of April.

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