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How 30 Day Challenges Helped With My Personal Growth

It takes about 18 to 254 days to create a habit. And after 30 days, I feel better than ever before. 

As summer comes to an end, and we start to enter the cooler and busier times of fall, I look back to when days were hotter, held indoors, and consisted of self growth. 

This past summer, the summer of 2021, was one for the books ― nothing but productive. I made it through my freshman year of college and I only now understand the rarity and thirst for a break. But regretfully, I took summer school and traded in half my summer for a chance to get ahead in prerequisite courses (6/10 experience ― please avoid it at all costs if you have the chance). 

So, that brings me to July, 31 days in the month to make the most out of what’s left of my summer. Now subtract one more day because summer school for me ended on July 1st, but who’s really counting. I was itching for something to do with myself for the next month, my last month before I have to deal with deadlines and late night studying.

I wanted some personal growth. And for this reason, I took three things that I enjoy and wished I could do more of, and turned each of them into a friendly month long challenge. Here’s how it went: 

Fitness Challenge With Blogilates: Hustle To The Muscle 

Fitness. Exercising ― the one thing that I couldn’t see myself going through with. I’ve never really been an athletic person and would always brood over P.E. in high school. But this time was different, I wanted to sweat and not be such a ‘couch potato’ and I needed to get moving. 

I wasn’t going to commit myself to a gym membership, so I looked to YouTube, hoping to find a fitness routine that wasn’t too advanced. Then I found Blogilates. It was right up my alley and it did take a while, but by two weeks in, I was actually enjoying myself. I learned that with each passing day, my body was feeling and, to be completely honest, looking great. My mind also seemed lighter and any stress that I was experiencing before was irrelevant. For that, I’m glad that I pushed myself, but at the same time nourished myself.

Journaling: A Clearer Mind Is Always Kind

The Lalagirl Writing In Notebook
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I love to journal. I love that when I journal there’s no judgement or pressure to show it to anyone. It’s just for me. So, this wasn’t a hard challenge to start because it’s one that I won’t fathom about. Though, looking back at my earlier journal entries, they all were so negative and I didn’t like it. I would only write when things were hard or when I needed to rant to myself. And I don’t want to look back again in a couple of years and read about how miserable I was with problems and worry that 1. wasn’t that good for my mental health and 2. only lasted for a millimeter of a moment in my life.

I challenged myself that I would journal for 30 days, everyday ― good and bad. Then, at the end of each day, I reflected and wrote an affirmation for myself to use the next day or the week after or years later where I would re-read these all back to myself. It was amazing to go back at the end of the month to read and reminisce. I had a clearer mind and learned that journaling shouldn’t be just to remember the hard times, but also to remember the little details of fun and memorable moments that I wouldn’t trade in for the world. 

Wake Up To See The Sunrise Challenge: Mornings Like Never Before

I’ve always thought of myself as a morning person. But I’ve come to realize that my parents, who wake up at 4AM to get ready for work and be out of the house an hour later, are the real ‘morning people.’ Usually, on a typical summer day, I would wake up around 7AM, lay in my bed till 8AM, and then go out to the kitchen to make breakfast. By then, the sun’s already brightly shining while I still have a tangled fluff of bed hair to clean up. 

That’s when I had the idea of waking up to see the sunrise. From where I live, I could easily see each sunrise come up from behind the line of houses that slightly blocked my full view of the horizon. At first my parents were very confused when I woke up with them, but I knew I wasn't going to any of it. It was beautiful. My mornings were never the same and I grew to love waking up super early and starting my day more productively than ever before. 

I recommend that everyone tries at least one of the three challenges that I made for myself because if anyone's looking for any sort of way to grow as an individual this will definitely change your perspective in life. Well, it did for me and I hope it does for you too!

Aubrey is a second-year student majoring in Public Health and pursuing a minor in Biology at UH Manoa. Being born and raised on the island of Maui, Hawaii, she aspires to help others, focusing on community outreach and underrepresented minority health. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, journaling, and going on picnics/watching films with family and friends.
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