a 30-day challenge a month challenge

And here we thought one 30-day yoga challenge was just that, a challenge. Meet Danne, a Natick, MA educator and 30-day challenger extraordinaire. Seriously – Danne’s been completing a one-month challenge (or “Lent” as she calls it) every month for the last four years.  We couldn’t help but ask her to dish the deats on what she’s been up to (and secretly hoped her dedication would rub off on us too).

one goal at a time, one month at a time, for a whole year

As Sophia from the Golden Girls would say...Picture it: Boston, Massachusetts. It’s a cold December night in 2008. A discouraged 25-year-old-girl in the midst of a quarter-life crisis is sitting down to write her New Year’s resolutions. This last year has been kind of a letdown and she can’t seem to shake the feeling that she isn’t making any notable progress on her goals—on the things that really matter most. After scribbling down an intimidating number of resolutions, the hopelessness starts to settle in. “How can I actually expect to get anything done with such an overwhelming list?”, she wonders. That’s when the epiphany hits: Why not create a hybrid between a New Year’s Resolution and the concept of Lent; one goal at a time, one month at a time, for a whole year. And just like that, a blog (and lifestyle) was born.

12 months of lent

Having grown up in a Catholic household, I’m no stranger to practicing Lent in the more traditional sense. With my blog, 12 Months of Lent, my goal is to take Lent’s underlying concept (personal sacrifice and dedication for a set period of time) and use it to push myself towards making headway on my goals. Each month, I assign myself a different challenge, or “Lent”, to complete with the intention of living a more purposeful and fulfilling life. The best part? It works.

rising to the challenge

So, what type of challenges do I take on? Well, I spent a month picking up every piece of litter that I came across, another month not making any trash (it’s much more possible than you think), a month attempting to become a diehard Red Sox fan, a month getting rid of 100 things a week and other months committing to much simpler tasks, like writing in my journal each day, taking more photographs and doing more yoga.

the good, the bad and the ugly

Favorite Challenge:
"Sixing" was a challenge where I limited my wardrobe to only six items (totally amazing and especially awesome for travelling).

Hardest Challenge:
Attempting to eat the government’s daily-recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Epic fail.

Most Dreaded Challenge:
The 21-Day Dietary Cleanse. It was pretty tough to be psyched about going without my beloved pizza and Pinot Grigio for three weeks.

what’s the point?
People ask me all the time why I do these funny challenges in the first place...what’s the point? The answer is simple: it’s become second nature—a habit, a positive ritual that impacts my life in the best way possible. Four years in, and I honestly can’t picture my life without it.

Are you challenging yourself to do anything this month? Check out Danne’s blog for inspiration. Also, keep your eye out for her coverage of Wanderlust Vermont right here on our blog next week!

read more related posts:


Brilliant idea. Not sure I could stick to it though.

Comment by Caroline Meszaros — June 14, 2012 @ 11:01 am

Thanks! This sounds intriguing. I’ve dong 30 day challenges but not for an entire year!

Comment by KatieMc — June 14, 2012 @ 11:10 am

I LOVE this idea! This is exactly what I need in my life right now to force myself to accomplish so many of the “little things” that I need to focus on and change. Great idea ~ thanks for sharing!!

Comment by Summer — June 14, 2012 @ 11:15 am

Super inspirational! Love this concept! Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Ashlee Piper — June 14, 2012 @ 11:28 am

What a great idea! Seems like you would continually be moving forward in your life, 30 days at a time. And if you blow it, well, the next challenge is a few days away. I love this and will pass it along to friends.

Comment by Jennifer — June 14, 2012 @ 11:29 am

that’s amazing, truly an inspiration! my first goal should be making a goal and sticking to it. YOU ROCK danne!

Comment by Jacqueline — June 14, 2012 @ 11:30 am

On August first I will have gone 365 days without buying anything new!!!!

I HAD TO disconnect my ego and sense of self worth with my ability to BUY!

The ground rules are:

From August 1st 2011- August 1st 2012 I will not purchase any NEW items. New meaning 1st time use, off the shelf goods. This will apply to all aspects of my life, including gift giving.

What I need to find 365NCC style:
- All clothing for myself, my husband and my 2 girls.
- All accessories (jewellery, watches, etc.)
- Footwear (excepting running shoes, see below).
- Cooking/Kitchen Tools (pots, pans, utensils, etc. That means NO Ziploc reusable containers from the grocery store.)
- Furniture and home decoration items.
- Back to school goodies (backpack, binders, etc.)
- Gifts for others.
- Kid supplies (toys, games, etc.)
- Craft supplies (what can’t you make out of reused goodies, this includes canvases for painting.)
- Vehicles

What I can buy new:
- Personal hygiene items (no used toothbrushes here).
- Undergarments.
- Running shoes (for the health of my feet and knees while running) BUT ONLY running shoes…
- My Husband may buy clothes for himself new, but I will not be involved, nor will I use his exception to get new things.
- Consumer goods that run out (IE: paper, pens, paint, etc.)
- Electronics (not really a electronic person but I think it may be useless to buy a used camcorder, find out it is garbage and then buy another one, sometimes a good first investment saves waste too.)

Since then I have had MORE SIMPLE ABUNDANCE flow into my life than I could have ever dreamed of….it is BY far the best thing I have ever done! Wha thave I achieved in this time
- debt freedom!!!
- lost 20 pounds
- gained ability to run 15k
- less anxiety
- calm center
-…the list would be crazy long.

p.s. where will I be on August 1st 2012- LULULEMON!!!!!! CAN’T WAIT TO BUY SOME NEW TRAINING CLOTHES :)

Comment by LIz — June 14, 2012 @ 11:38 am

You are speaking to my in my own language! This is a Mad Awesome idea – I am so excited to get started .. VERY inspired!

Comment by lee @simpleehealthy — June 14, 2012 @ 11:49 am

@Liz – Wowza! That challenge sounds so cool – I’m really impressed. Good luck with the last month! Let us know what you’re first new purchase is :)

lululemon blog editor

Comment by Allessia — June 14, 2012 @ 11:50 am

@Liz – WOW!! You rock …and you completely deserve new Lulu training clothes on 8/1!!

Comment by Melissa — June 14, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

LOVE IT! I’m inspired, and going to check out Danne’s blog now. WOOHOO! Let’s check off those goals!

Comment by Kate — June 14, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

LOVE THIS BLOG! I’m definitely following twelve months of lent from now on. Thanks so much for sharing Lulu!

Comment by Elle — June 14, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

Once I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit. (Since then I’ve seen 28 days elsewhere.) When I saw that I wrote myself a list of good habits I wanted to develop. Then I wrote myself a calendar appointment every 3 weeks to start a new habit and continue it everyday for 3 weeks. And I’ve stuck to quite a few of these habits!

What I’ve been doing definitely reminds of what Danne has been doing. I think I might try something like her challenges because it seems some of her challenges are just more fun :) Maybe I’ll alternate challenges with habits to break up monotony.

Comment by Jen — June 14, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

I absolutely LOVE you’re “Sixing” challenge. I’ve done something like that and like you I found it really great for traveling. :) Mind sharing with us what was a key staple versus what you realized was not?

Comment by Aleksandra S — June 14, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

I loved the month where you gave away money! The new one is also awesome,can’t wait to hear more about Grammie.

Comment by Tiffani — June 14, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea, Well I have already picked my first month of challenge. I love the picking up garbage one. I often pick up garbage and see so much that I do not have the hands to pick it all up. I will say, next time I should bring a bag. Which I forget to do. Next month I will have a bag with me at all times.

Thank you so much for your inspiration and being a teacher and Leader to everyone you come in contact with in person and here on your blog, everywhere.

You go girl. I hope each day you Laugh often and Love much!


Comment by Cindy Ross — June 14, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

what an overwhelming response of warmth and positivity! thank you all so much for your kind words and for reading, and please, let me know if you take on any challenges of your own, I’d love, love, love to hear about it.

xoxo Danne

Comment by Danne — June 14, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

amazing, at the beginning of the year i was thinking to do a 30day challenge for one year and blog about it. but i never did. great inspiration.

Comment by manon — June 15, 2012 @ 5:47 am

My sister also does these, one of them was to leave Facebook for a month but her toughest was to not complain for thirty days – she guest posted on my site about it.


Comment by Ayngelina — June 18, 2012 @ 11:31 am

Yes! I am so inspired I had to blog about it today! I already have a list started- just trying to pick what to do first for July- check out the blog and I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you sooo much Danne for the inspiration!!

Comment by Anna-Marie @ Beauty and the Beets — June 18, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

Aleksandra S: For Sixing, I found that the best staples were a black tank top, a black dress, leggings, and a good pair of jeans. Other than that, it was all about fun jewelry, scarves, and shoes to dress everything up.

Comment by Danne — June 19, 2012 @ 6:49 am

Love this article! The yoga studio I teach at runs a 40-day challenge every year and I needed inspiration to tell my students about it. Thanks!

Comment by Stephanie Labay — July 8, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

I love this idea! I have done a 30 day workout challenge before but hadn’t thought to apply it in other ways. This would be a great way to define habits that I want to create or break.

Comment by Amber — July 16, 2012 @ 8:08 am

Oh my goodness I love you for this idea! GREAT idea! Thanks for inspiring and challenging all of us!

Comment by Darcy — September 9, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

I did this a few years ago. Most people fail at one resolution after a month, so why not try to do 12 resolutions over the year? It worked really well for me because the goal was always changing. I didn’t get bored or tired or doing any one thing. Plus, I got a whole lot of things done, helped a lot of people, and made some new habits too. Way more productive than the “I’ll lose weight” for a few weeks in January “resolution”. Though it isn’t my plan this year, I’ll surely be doing more of those in the futures.
My resolution this year is to eat completely sustainable seafood.


Comment by Kelcee S. — February 2, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment