What is a 30 Day Challenge?

A 30 Day Challenge uses the power of gamification to push you towards your lifestyle design goals. Over a period of a month or so, you set yourself aims to achieve by the end of day 30.

I first got the idea of doing a 30 Day Challenge on a trip to Japan in 2023. In order to get the most out of foreign country lifestyle design, I set myself a number of aims to complete within a month of my stay in Japan.

By the end of the month I’d met every aim I set out to achieve and the trip was transformative. Not only did I see improvements in areas of my life in the country as a result of the challenge, I had a heightened experience of nomadic life in Japan that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

While it was fulfilling to reach the goals I’d set for myself during the challenge, the real fulfillment came from the daily journey the challenge made me undertake and less from the results. As the saying goes, life is about the journey, not the destination.

When we do extended travel or nomading abroad, it’s very easy to fall into a routine of complacency, going about our daily affairs under the rubric of touring or nomadism. Our holistic lifestyle goals that we were working on pre-travel risk falling by the wayside in place of sightseeing, relaxation or remote working.

A 30 Day Challenge refocuses our attention on maximising our experience in another country by setting aims to pursue in multiple areas of life while abroad. Rather than being a solo traveller that lulls around a few tourist hotspots, you’ll master the knack of experiential travel in all kinds of places in a short period. Rather than being a lonely digital nomad typing from a cafe, you’ll become a social butterfly forming new circles within weeks.

A 30 Day Challenge is a power pairing of personal development + foreign country lifestyle design in one meaningful time frame. It’s a great way to kickstart your time abroad in a manner conducive to getting the lifestyle outcomes that you want.

A 30 Day Challenge can be carried out in any location although much of the thrill derives from seeing how quickly you can have a desirable lifestyle in a new place in the world. For that reason, most challenges are oriented towards slow travellers, digital nomads or newly arriving relocators.

However, even if you aren’t travelling or relocating you can still undertake your own 30 Day Challenge from your current base. The central focus is on improving your lifestyle and undergoing a transformative process during the month which you can do wherever you are.

30 Day Challenge Journey

How to do a 30 Day Challenge

A 30 Day Challenge begins with knowing what you want to achieve. It starts from setting your goals.

When you’re in a foreign country for the first time, everything is new and you’ll have a lot to take in. It can be overwhelming to know what to do.

A 30 Day Challenge keeps you focused on the aims that are the most impactful on your lifestyle abroad. By specifying the key areas of life that you wish to work on for a month, you’re selectively concentrating your attention on what matters most due to the inherent time constraint. This is a crucial part in achieving a well-set goal.

It’s easy to let fluff enter the equation when we’re roaming overseas. We can lounge on the beach for too long or splash out on some unneeded souvenir. Yet when you’re in the midst of a challenge, you don’t have time for the superficial. The challenge act as an Occam’s Razor that trims away excess baggage not conducive to your favoured lifestyle.

So how do you decide on what goals to set?

First things first, write down any major aims you have that you want to achieve by the end of day 30. Everyone of us has instant priorities that come to mind that form a huge part of our motivation to visit a country in the first place. For example, you might want to learn the local language through immersion, visit a special site related to one of your hobbies, or make new friends as rapidly as possible.

To prevent a lopsided focus on only one aspect of your time in the country (for instance a person hyper-focused on learning the country’s language), it pays to have aims for other areas of life too.

One way to reach clarity on these is by examining your interest metrics. Once you have a handful of interests that you want to spend your time and effort on, you can begin to form more concrete goals around them.

For example, an interest metric of ‘Recreational activities’ could be turned into a goal of “Join a recreational activity group or club”. An interest metric of ‘Creative potential’ could be used to make a “Collaborate with other artists on a project” goal.

Many of the goals will crossover into multiple areas of life as the ones above do. The goal about collaborating with others in a field isn’t just about pursuing an outlet for a passion, it also serves a social purpose of mingling and networking with others.

Naturally, other times you’ll need to be explicit about setting a goal for a particular area of life. If you’re an expat fresh of the boat in a new town, it’s easy to place your attention on settling in at work and your local neighbourhood at the expense of your dating life. Effort towards relationships can wait goes the assumption of many newbies (a very common yet dangerous belief in the modern world). But if you make a goal to go on a date or several by the end of the month, you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make with your love life abroad.

As a rule of thumb, ensure you have goals under the major lifestyle segments of health, wealth and relationships as part of your 30 Day Challenge. This will maintain an holistic balance within your lifestyle design efforts.

Of course not all your goals should take 30 days to complete. You might have ones that can be done within a day or two. Others might take a fortnight while the rest may only be achieved if ticked off for thirty days in a row.

What matters is that you’re clear on the timeframes you have to commit towards these goals as soon as possible and that they remain realistic to achieve whilst pushing you towards higher aspirations.

30 Day Challenge Aspirations

Bonus tip: MoSCoW Prioritization

If you think your set of challenges could do with further prioritization so that you know what to tackle sooner rather than later, the technique of MoSCoW Prioritization can come in handy. This is a categorisation system that separates the absolute musts from the less important tasks.

I used the MoSCoW Prioritization technique to order my sightseeing locations and day trips during my trip to Japan as part of my 30 Day Challenge. With a plethora of researched locations beforehand, I was unsure about whether I’d be able to visit and see all the sights I wanted to. Before landing I prioritized the most desirable locations under the ‘Must Have’ and ‘Should Have’ categories across multiple cities and left a few time challenging ones under ‘Could Have’.

The system worked like a charm. Since I’d favoured the Must Have and Should Have sites first, I learned what remaining time I had for the less vital sights within a couple of weeks and fortunately still had enough time to fit all the Could Haves in. If instead I’d chosen to visit any of the places in any order haphazardly, it’s likely I would have missed out on visiting a few of them over a month.

For simplicity, you can set your 30 Day Challenge goal related to this as “Do ‘Must Haves’ and ‘Should Haves’ on MoSCoW prioritisation framework” or just “MoSCoW prioritisation framework” and then create a separate list for what you’re prioritising. This will keep your core challenge list of aims streamlined instead of bombarded with a bunch of sites or individual items.

30 Day Challenge Prioritization


The 30 Day Challenge is a game-changing tool that uses the power of goal setting to help you maximise your travels in a new country or get off to the best start possible as an expat. It’s the ultimate way to gamify lifestyle design so that you can make tangible inroads into your desired experiences in a foreign country.

A 30 Day Challenge includes the major goals we want to achieve during our time abroad but makes them of paramount importance with a deadline to reach them. It also broadens the scope of your goals enough so that you don’t become caught in a lopsided trap of a single pursuit in your early days in a country.

You can use the concept of interest metrics to hone in on additional goals you wish to achieve. Having goals that encompass the lifestyle areas of health, wealth and relationships will keep you balanced.

You can also compliment your challenge further through MoSCoW Prioritization. This framework will help you keep your challenges ordered over the 30 days.

What are you waiting for? Make your own outsized lifestyle design outcomes happen by starting your #30 Day Challenge!

For extra results, share this post with other people you know to inspire them, this will also give you accountability towards your 30 Day Challenge. I’d love to hear about how your challenge is going so feel free to contact me about what you’re up to or if you have any burning questions you want answered.

Bonne chance!

PS. If you have a few months abroad, consider doing a 90 Day Challenge. It’s similar to a 30 day one but is the ultimate lifestyle design project.