Easy self-improvement challenges that will make your life slightly better.

idea_machine_by_silentbeforethestorm

 

Listen, nobody wants to be told that they need to get their shit together, by anyone but themselves. I personally love undertaking challenges in order to create new and healthy habits. It’s important to ensure that your good habits always outweigh the bad and to recognise when you might be headed down a bad habit path. I have picked some challenges I personally like and may have taken myself, and condensed them for you so that you can get back to watching reruns of Orange is the new Black within the next 7 minutes.

Boosting Creativity: The Idea Machine challenge

(James Altucher explain this challenge in his blog)

I am fascinated by this challenge and personally took it about two years ago. If you are not creatively stimulated on a daily basis, your creative powers will never grow. It works the same way as training a muscle in the gym. You need to stretch your creative mind in order to create the habit of creative thinking. The challenge makes you sit down and write down 10 ideas a day, focusing on one topic/theme. Some past topics I have used are:

  1. Ten ways to reduce my spending
  2. Ten ways to slow down,
  3. Ten new hobbies to try,
  4. Ten ways to cut down on sugar.

You get the idea. You typically run out of ideas when making lists around number 6 or 7. The goal isn’t to have fantastic ideas, which is what your brain wants you to believe. The logical part of the brain wants you to only come up with “good” ideas, the trick is to ignore that and get comfortable writing down anything you deem acceptable within the theme you are writing about. Those last few ideas will stretch your creative mind and that is where growth happens. I would recommend doing this for three months before you see some real change. I personally already saw changes after only one month. Even though its been two years since I took this challenge, the benefits are still very clear as I brainstorm blog posts.

Ideas benefit different areas of your life, from getting ahead in your job, to starting your own business or creative venture. Many managers also appreciate when employees go beyond their normal responsibilities and come up with new ways to make the team stronger or the work more efficient. There are entire departments dedicated to strategizing or coming up with ideas for companies (dream job, am I right?).

Personal Finance: 52-week money saving challenge

(This challenge was originally launched by bankrate.com, a finance and banking website)

This is a great challenge for those who can’t save money if their life depended on it. If you are like me and continually spend all of your hard-earned salary on music events, books, over-priced vinyl and craft beer, than this challenge is the best way to get used to saving money on a monthly basis. The idea is that you put money on your savings account each week, increasing this amount by one dollar/euro each week consecutive week.The first few months will seem easy as you are only putting a few dollars away, but gradually you will get to the later months where you will be saving $100 to $150. The strength in this challenge is that is eases you into it. At the end of the year, you will end up with $1,378, which seems like very little, but it is $1,378 more dollars saved than you would otherwise. That means you can buy a used Ferrari within 100-150 years, assuming medical advancements keep up with current trends and you get to live that long.

If you are still confused about how it works, let me demonstrate:

Week 1: 1 dollar

Week 2: 2 dollars

Week 3: 3 dollars

Week 52: 52 dollars

You get the point.

You could expand on this challenge by keeping it going after the new year. Adjust this based on your income. If you don’t have very much extra money left over after your fixed costs each month, then it wouldn’t be a great idea to put away too much into savings. Adjust accordingly.

I would love to hear about some of your favorite good habits and challenges, leave a comment.

Adios readers,

Niels

 

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