A List Of 30 Day Challenges You Can Start Today

30 day challenges

When I’m stuck and disgusted with my life…or bored and afraid of the future…or unhappy with all my choices….

this is what I do. I have to do it.

I don’t want to be in a rut. We only get one of these brains and it run out in about 80 years, give or take.

But it has to be fun!

I want to always move my life in the direction that fascinates me. I want love to be my GPS.

I want to do something where the end goal is a surprise until I get there.

I made a list of 30 day challenges. Some of them I’ve tried. Some of them I’m trying now. Some of them I tried and failed.

I’m always in some experiment. Some challenge.

Some are related to career or money. Some are related to just living a better, happier life. Nothing wrong with “better” and “happier”.

Often the best way to find flavor in life is to seek out the sweetness in it.

A strawberry on a cloudy day is sometimes enough.


A) HUG one stranger a day. Not as easy as you think, despite the many benefits.  I am trying it. It breaks down all of my shyness, my awkwardness, and it gives the benefits of touch.

B) NEGOTIATE once a day. At a Starbucks? Ask for 10% off, for instance. Negotiating is not about “being tough”. It’s about figuring out what your value is.

C) DO STANDUP COMEDY once a week for a month. This breaks down every conception I’ve ever had about who I am, and what it’s like to go in front of a bunch of strangers and make a total fool of myself.

E) LIVE ONLY IN AIRBNBs for 30 days. I’m on my 21st month and it’s been great. Maybe this will change. I’m always open for reinvention.

F) RETURN AN EMAIL to someone from 10 years ago that you’ve never returned. Do this every day for 30 days. You’ll be amazed how grateful and happy you make people. One time someone bought me “jamesaltucher.com” for my birthday. I didn’t respond to his email for four or five years. Finally I wrote back, “ok, I’ll take it”. We’re good friends now. AND I am the proud owner of “jamesaltucher.com”

G) PLAY every day. In last few days I’ve played basketball, ping pong, poker, virtual reality games, etc. “Play” is the way we prepare for the disasters in life. We go into tense situations…and we have fun solving them.

H) GIVE AWAY 10% of your income this month. But not to charities. Just to random homeless people or as extra-large tips, etc. You will have at last 30–50 individual moments of charity you are not used to.

I) PUT YOUR SHOWER ON EXTREME COLD for at least 4 seconds at the end of the shower. This is supposed to be very healthy. But for the first few days until you are used to it, VERY hard to do.

J) TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH A DAY and put it on Instagram. I did this for a month about a year ago. I’d try to find the most interesting person I could find, photo them and interview them. It’s hard to go up to people!

K) WRITE every day. I’ve been writing every day since 2002. The great thing is, if you write 1000 words a day you have enough material for about 6–8 books a year. Because of this “challenge” I started so long ago I’ve written 18 books (13 bad books, one ok book, 4 good books).

L) THE NO COMPLAINTS CHALLENGE. Probably the hardest challenge on this list. Simply don’t complain for 30 days in a row. Whenever I try doing this I realize how often my thoughts settle on complaining thoughts. This exercise is like a training ground to notice-then-deflect those complaining thoughts into something more productive.

M) COME UP WITH ONE APP IDEA A DAY. Then spec it out, put it on Freelancer – Hire & Find Jobs and see if people bid to do it. Yesterday I spec-ed out an app for people who are “Going Steady” (the app deletes all the dating apps on your phone). I put it on Freelancer – Hire & Find Jobs and then wrote about what happened next (on my FB page).

N) WRITE A BOOK IN A MONTH. Think of something you love, write about it every day for 30 days, then upload the result to Amazon and self-publish it as a book. It doesn’t matter how long it is. For instance, if you love TV, write about a different favorite TV show every day and what you learned from it, then title the book, “Everything I Know about Love I Learned from TV”.

O) EXERCISE EVERY DAY. 30 minutes at least. See how you feel after 30 days. Do I do this? Not really. Although if I’m by myself I try to breakdance for half an hour. In private!

Ok, this is a good number of challenges to start with. If you can even do one of these I guarantee your life will change.

At the very least do this:


Your idea muscle needs to be exercised, like any other muscle. Do this for a month and you will become an idea machine.

Even further, write down ten ideas to help others and send the ideas to them.

This will make you an idea machine and a networking machine. You will meet people and create opportunities.

Creativity + Networking + Humility = Massive success. That’s what this exercise is about. I know whenever I am at rock bottom, this is my first step up the ladder.

Don’t think of these thing as challenges. Think of them as beginnings.

  • Alex Biles

    This is really inspiring! I also love the simplicity of this post. I have thought about doing so many different challenges to get out of my comfort zone. The hardest parts for me are committing and taking action. I decided that I will absolutely start a challenge on my birthday next month 6/21.

  • Jathan Clark

    I have done 30-day challenges for years and I have never regretted a single one. I’ve always learned at least several new things and often surprised myself in the process (for example, after doing cold-water meditations I learned that the skin’s hot/cold mechanism can sometimes be tricked into feeling the opposite sensation). Great ideas for challenges – I mean, beginnings :-)

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  • mighty mouse

    Living in Airbnb for 30 days and then what? Go back to your apartment?
    Many people have alternative lifestyles, living completely off-grid, but I really don’t see the point of doing that. Anyone who opens their wallet can rent an Airbnb. Making a complete shift of lifestyle is the real challenge which many of us never do.

    Come up with one app idea a day? Is it really that easy to come up with a good idea for anything on a regular basis? Is everyone Edison? Ditto for writing. Your colleague, the guy who wrote the 4-Hour Workweek, encouraged everyone to quit their jobs and blog. And the result is thousands of shit blogs – many of which repeat the same mantras. Not to say your advice is bad. It’s just not that simple.

    What about conspiracies, James? I read one of your posts that you were ridiculing people who think the Moon landing was a hoax. Do you think people should spend time looking up such conspiracies?

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    • All4U

      Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt

  • James Buechler

    Great ones.

  • All4U

    I love this idea. I may not try all of them, but a certain amount of stepping out of your comfort zone is empowering, self-esteem building and just plain fun. James, I like that you constantly push your boundaries to get the most out of life. You’ve successfully created a brand by being yourself and sharing your experiences with the world. As mighty mouse pointed out – not everyone can comfortably do this, but we could all try at least one. Kudos

  • Brilliant stuff, James – as always. I’m printing this one out so my kids read it. Oh, and the copies I bought of “40 Alternatives to College” – my 16-year-old has decided to read it and use its premise to support an aural presentation at school on an important societal issue. Woo-hoo!


    This makes me think of something Jim Rohn said which was so good I had to write it down: “The greatest value of discipline: self-worth, self-esteem. People are teaching self-esteem these days but they don’t connect it to disciplines.” In other words, we need to get some discipline: https://goo.gl/QLd7iI Thanks for the article and the great podcasts.

  • Wow, didn’t have too much expectations for something new here, James. But I really like some of these suggestions and wrote a few down. Hug a stranger? Really like that one. Something I have no issues with ?

    N) WRITE A BOOK IN A MONTH, damn, I should have done that a long time ago ?

    I actually began something new yesterday. Traditional Mongolian intuitive archery. I’ll combine this as a mindfulness practice, and consider adding it into my Mastermind group.

  • Jordan Proudfoot

    Thank you SO MUCH James for the “Write Down 10 Bad Ideas Each Day” to improve my creativity and become an idea machine! This has made a hugely positive impact on my daily life as I can always come up with more ideas than I even have time to execute! Anytime I get in a rut, I just go through this practice and I then have actionable ideas of how I might improve my situation. The nice bonus is that these “Bad Ideas” start to become decent and even good ideas after some practice! Thanks again!

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