My Year of 30-Day Challenges

Debbie Black is turning 30 next year, and wants to leave her 20s with a bang

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It was as I was downing a third Margarita celebrating my 29th birthday that the idea hit me. I wanted to do something monumental to commemorate the last year of my twenties and set the tone for feeling awesome at 30. As it turns out, ELLE is turning 30 too this year so it seemed the perfect idea.

Rather than this year whizz pass like every other, I've decided to set myself a series of 30-Day Challenges. I'm not one to back down from a challenge – this year alone I've done two Triathlons, I'm training for another, longer-distance Triathlon and then I will begin my training for another marathon – but these challenges would be more structured and focus on my mind as much as my body. I want to be the best version of myself I can be by the time my 30th birthday rolls around next year.

My friends think I'm a bit mad. They ask, 'Why would I want to ruin the last year of my twenties?'  But I don't see it like that. I have no qualms whatsoever about turning 30, it's just another number. And, as I'm not going to get married or have kids in the next year, I'm going to enjoy a year of pushing myself.

I haven't finalised all of the 30-day challenges I'm going to try yet – tweet me on @Deb_ELLE if you have an idea! But I have six that I'm sure about:

Write a novel

Aka, write 500 words every day (let's not go too mad, I'm still training for a triathlon and have a full-time job) - it will be a start!

Learn a new language

Rather, practise a new language for an hour every day. I should be able to make good progress, I think?

Be a vegetarian

As a long-time carnivore, this could quite possibly kill me.

Draw or paint a picture every day

I'm excited about this one!

Drop the caffeine

Approach me with caution during that month.

Learn a new instrument

Practise for an hour every day – any ideas? Guitar?

I'm going to kick-start my month of challenges by writing a novel. I know I'm not even going to get close to writing the length of a very short novel (over 40,000 words), or even a novella (17.5-40k words), but at least I'll make a start. Maybe I should just call the challenge, 'Write a novelette' - though it doesn't have the same ring to it…

I think the biggest challenge I'll face is finding the time to write 500 words every day – as I mentioned above, I have a full-time job and I'm training for a Triathlon. But I want to give it my very best shot. They don't call it a challenge for nothing. I think – hope – writing will become easier as the days progress but I can visualise myself staring at a blank screen for hours on day one, the text cursor flashing expectantly in my eyes…

I'm hoping that by the time I get through my year of 12 30-day challenges I'll feel like I put the last year of my twenties to good use. Because, let's face it, 30 is going to be a big party!

I'll be documenting how I get on here each month so watch this space!