January Challenge | Practice One Small Change, Every Day

Practice One Small Change

Over the years, I’ve learned that New Year’s resolutions and I don’t get along well.

Saying on January 1st that I’m going to do something (or not do something) for a whole year? 365 days into the future is too abstract for me; too overwhelming.

Instead, I find that taking on one-month commitments to make small changes works better for me. One month is a manageable chunk of time – and I can always continue on after that month if I want to. In fact, many of these challenges end up becoming lifelong changes.

(But, if I fall short, there are only a few weeks until I can be reinvigorated with a new month’s challenge!)

For example, my one-month grain-free challenge totally “clicked” for me last June — much to my surprise. I continued on, eating clean and feel great.

But then November and December hit. The last two months of the year are crazy for me with the blog; I was working non-stop and doing zero “self care”. Basically, I lost my healthy direction and have realized that I need a one month challenge to reset my compass.

So this January, I’m taking on that challenge; in fact, I’m taking on two.

Walking Challenge

First – I’m going to walk, every single day, for 10 minutes.

I know, you’re probably thinking: Really? What good is 10 minutes gonna do?

Cardiovascularly, it’s about 20 minutes shorter than the recommended amount. But for some reason, in this season of freezing cold days and mile-long to-do lists, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around a whole half hour of working out every day.

So 10 minutes it is. Probably once I lace up my shoes (or boots!), I’ll end up going longer than 10 minutes. But by telling myself it’s “only” 10 minutes, I can gear up for the challenge.

Especially exciting for me is that I’ve enlisted one of my children to walk with me. While I spend a lot of time with kids, it’s just that: Kids. Plural.

I’ve been thinking lately that I need more one-on-one opportunities — especially with my sons, who are a little bit older. With big kids, it’s so easy to let that direct connection slip, filling the space with other things.

Thats why every day in January, my son and I will walk together for 10 minutes.

Planks Challenge

And for my second challenge, I’m doing 30-days of planks. Again, this commitment requires just seconds every day, but it’s a great way to see immediate change.

To go from 20 seconds (trembling, sweating) to 300 seconds (STRONG!) by the end of the month — that’s the real deal.

Thanks to my friend Ann Lapin, I’ll be following this schedule from 30DayFitnessChallenges.com, starting today.

Who wants to join me in this January Every Day Challenge?

Pick something small — because when we make small changes, and practice those changes every single day, they add up to big differences in our lives.

Maybe it’s walking or planking, like me. Maybe it’s eating an extra serving of leafy green veggies. Or tracking your expenses every single day. Or making and sticking to a menu plan all month long.

Leave a comment if you’ll be joining me. Tell me what change you’ll be making – if you feel comfortable sharing publicly.

I’ll be checking in on the blog and on Facebook. I’m even going to work on a special giveaway just for my One Month’ers.

I hope you’ll join me in this one-month challenge. Happy New Year.


  1. You are inspiring! Walking “only 10 minutes” is brilliant. I imagine you will probably end up walking at least 30 mins. I know I always end up walking 2-3x longer than I initially think I am going to.

    • Mara Strom says

      For sure! Although with my walking buddy, I may not get too into the groove. (A worthy trade-off, though, I think.)

  2. Thank you for suggesting breaking down a huge resolution into something smaller…more attainable.
    I commit to one month of Weight Watchers. I have 60lbs to lose and that is overwhelming to me…..but saying hey I am going to stick to rhis plan for one month is exciting!

  3. That plank challenge looks ambitious — the increases are rapid and large. By comparison, runners are generally advised to add no more than 10% to their long run in a week — whether that means increasing from 10 minutes to 11 minutes, or 5 miles to 5.5 miles.

    Me, I plan to walk or do some equivalent exercise each day (not a lot), and either draw or write each day.

  4. My goal is to remember to take my vitamins and have milk everyday. Very small but doable and concrete, and it’s something I tend to not be so great at… Don’t want these bones getting soft! (Yes, studies have shown recently that they may not do all that much for us, but my doc says I should take them anyways until the data is fully in).

  5. I’m joining! I love the 30 day challenges you linked to. There are so many options! I have to find one that’s right for me. Too bad their app isn’t free and can’t be downloaded with my $5 credit from Amazon apps you posted about. Do you need the app or will using the website work just fine?

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