There are many paths through life: some easy and some hard. We all end up in the same place eventually, but what we do before we die is up to us and the habits we practice every day. Building strong habits is hard; change inertia. I overcame the resistance of getting started by breaking down habits and goals into 30-day challenges: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Memorize a Shuffled Deck of Playing Cards 🃏
Inspired by the book Moonwalking with Einstein I developed a Person-Action-Object (PAO) memorization system. For example, I represent the King of Hearts as Kevin Hart clapping his hands. By the end of January, I could memorize an entire deck of shuffled cards.
Zero Added Sugar 🍜
For February, I walked through the sugar desert: 28 days, no added sugar. Instead of munching on processed foods, I was more intentional with my eating habits, relying on complete meals and whole foods. I also discovered that sugar is added to many foods, including peanut butter, pasta sauce, and pita chips.
Meditate Ten Minutes a Day 🧘🏼♂️
I meditated for ten days out of 31: with a 68% failure rate. If I were to do this challenge again, I would arrange a designated meditation space and gradually increase the time spent meditating.
No Social Media ⚠️
Removing social media was relatively easy. By tuning out 'social noise', I could focus on the relationships that truly matter: the relationship with myself and those around me.
Run a Marathon 🏃🏼
On May 1st, I ran 26.2 miles through the rainy streets of Pittsburgh. Read this article for additional insight into my marathon experience.
Freestyle Rap For 90 Seconds Every Day 🎤
In the spring, I auditioned for Carnegie Mellon's premiere improv troupe. After being selected, I flopped during rehearsals. The only way to improve was to practice. Freestyle rapping was a fun and challenging way to improve my improv skills.
Write a Joke Every Day 😜
I love to laugh. Writing a joke every day allowed me to find the funny threads woven throughout the fabric of life.
The nondairy aisle and girls with nose rings go together like hummus and pita chips.
Cap Phone Usage at 25 Minutes Per Day 📱
Phones are like a leaky faucet: before you know it, your attention has been drained and you're left standing in a flood of trivial pursuits. I was inconsistent with limiting my phone usage, but this challenge forced me to be more considerate when interacting with the magic rectangle.
Stretch For Ten Minutes Every Day ✨
Stretching was my favorite challenge; I didn't miss a day. My body felt loose at the end of every stretching session, and my mind relaxed.
Write an Explainer Doc Every Day 💻
For most of 2022, I programmed a mountain of code. Writing helpful explainer docs helped others scale the technical mountain and contribute to my project (a digital wallet).
Plank For Two Minutes Every Day 📏
For November, I planked for a minimum of two minutes every day. Finally, on November 31st, I completed the challenge with a tough but rewarding five-minute plank: my first ever!
Write a Quote Every Day 🖋️
Most thoughts are worth a penny a piece. But there are some thoughts and quotes that are priceless. For December, I collected thirty-one quotes. Below each quote, I wrote a matching story from earlier in the day.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Churchill
Explore more ideas on the intersection of philosophy and performance.