10 Exciting Ways to Challenge Yourself This Month

High fives all around.

By Michelle Nash
Emma Goodwin, Surfrider Malibu hotel

As the days at home start to become one long quarantined blur, many of us are searching for ways to stay motivated, productive – and engaged with life! Whether you’re still trying to adjust to WFH life, navigating a tough job situation, or balancing having the kids at home, the struggle is real right now.

While we don’t always need to be in “self improvement” mode, it’s important to recognize the small wins in our lives — even those that normally go unnoticed.

Success can mean something as simple as completing a puzzle, getting 8 hours of sleep, or finishing a novel. In fact, research shows that a simple sense of daily progress is the most important factor in keeping us motivated. So as we all adjust to this new reality, we’ve put together a list of 10 mini challenges to help us all keep growing. No need to tackle all 10 at once; our hope is that you can adopt some of these simple habits at your own pace and turn your small wins into major victories.

Follow along on Instagram as we stay motivated with these throughout the month – and we’d love to hear which of these you’re trying out!

dinner party setup at the home of shelley klein armistead, partner of Gjelina group, at home in Malibu

1. Totally unplug for one entire meal a day. Just be present. 

It’s hard not to scroll on social media, catch up on emails, watch TV, or text friends and family while at the table. And while it’s important to remain connected right now, mealtimes are a great time to practice mindfulness and limit multi-tasking. By leaving your devices in the other room you can reap the benefits of mindful eating like increased satisfaction and gratitude for your meal, lower stress levels, and a lesser likelihood of overeating. 

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

2. Make something artistic – start a sketchbook, get crafty, or make a collage.

Remember when collaging was a thing? Whether it’s a simple craft or an artistic masterpiece, there are many therapeutic benefits to doing things with your hands. Hands-on work has been proven to relieve stress and boost mood by tapping into our natural human instinct to make things. Getting lost in an activity and allowing your mind to wander can also expand your imagination and stimulate creative thinking. So grab whatever materials you have on hand (magazines, newspapers, old books, photos), some scissors, and glue and get in touch with your inner middle-schooler. 

3. Drink 1/2 an ounce to 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh — every single day.

Let’s break that down. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, it is recommended that you drink 70-140oz each day, depending on your lifestyle. Pro tip: fill up a large water bottle in the morning and keep it handy all day. You can even add in fancy spa water enhancements like mint, cucumber, citrus, or berries, and refill throughout the day until you’ve reached your goal. Hydration has endless benefits, including increased energy, a more vibrant complexion, and improved sleep quality. 

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

4. Write a handwritten note to someone you’re missing due to social distancing.

We’re all feeling isolated right now, and it’s the perfect time to send a little snail mail to someone you miss. There’s still something special and sincere about a handwritten note. I’m sure it’ll mean more than you know. 

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

5. Download the 1 Second Everyday app, and record a picture or video each day. 

This app collects a video or photo on your phone each day and combines your memories into a mini movie. Whether it’s your morning breakfast, your pet, a selfie, or the sunset out of your window, anything can work here. Just set a reminder to take at least 1 pic or video each day and let the app do the rest. You might find that all of your days, even the ones that seem insignificant, have something to remember. 

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

6. Enjoy a daily afternoon stroll without your phone.

For those who can safely spend time outside right now, going for a walk is one of the best ways to relieve stress and boost overall health. Plus, getting moving after a meal helps with digestion and can speed up your metabolism. Leaving your phone behind also increases focus on the present, allowing you to approach the second half of the day with a refreshed mindset. 

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

7. Take an online stretching class. 

There are so many amazing online resources for at-home exercises, but don’t skip the stretch! Stretching increases circulation and blood flow, which boosts mood and improves posture and flexibility. 

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

8. Cook something you’ve never made before.

Time to break out those recipe books and use the ingredients you have on hand to whip up something new. Cooking is one of the most meditative activities you can do at home. It eases the mind, boosts creativity, and brings people together. Plus, you get a reward at the end – AKA your meal. You could try making these delicious brussels sprouts tacos, or find inspiration from your fave restaurants and imitate that dish you miss the most. 

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

9. Write down 3 things you’re feeling grateful for at the end of each day.

Many of us are realizing the things we can tend to take for granted on a regular basis: hearing a friend’s laugh from across the dinner table, joint snack runs with our co-workers, or even just hugging a loved one. Gratitude is a powerful tool in promoting well-being by prompting us to reflect on the things, big or small, that bring us joy no matter what’s going on.

10 ways to challenge yourself this month

10. Go meatless for one entire day a week.

There are many known benefits to the vegan diet, including reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and less impact on the environment. When you focus on eating a more plant-based diet rich with vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and nuts, you may be surprised that you don’t even notice the absence of meat at all.


Comment and let us know if you’re trying any of these, or other little challenges at home this month!