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Saturday, February 5, 2011

30-Day Personal Challenge

I guess everybody has activities they would like to do that they start and then give up - sort of like New Year's resolutions. For me, it's doing crunches etc. I mean to do them, do them for several days, and then it sort of tails off. There are certain types of exercising I like (for example, basketball) and other types I don't. Crunches fall into the latter category.

Like most men, 30 seconds doing crunches is probably my most profitable use of 30 seconds.

To combat the inevitable crunch inertia, I set up a 30-day personal challenge - 100 crunches/day for 30 days. I started with 4 sets of 25 and alternate between the basic simple crunch for the first set and the bicycle-type leg-pumping type of crunch for the next set. It  takes all of 2 minutes plopping down on the floor to do a set. I throw in a plank from time-to-time and have a set of dumbells near by that I do 1 set of either curls or standing rows, alternating every other day. All of this takes longer to explain than to do. I'm on day 17 of the challenge and it's becoming a habi,t and I'm pleased to report it is making a difference in that most challenging anatomical area for men as they age.

Now I know some of you are thinking that this is piddly and that you have elaborate programs that would put this to shame. I know some of you are thinking that 30 days is not long. This is all somewhat true, but the point is to carry it out. Guess what? Now I'm averaging about 160 crunches/day because it is easy to do 40 in a set. The same is true with the curls as I've gained strength.

 30 Day Financial Literacy Challenge

Let's shift gears, and look at this from a financial literacy perspective. You and I run into people who want to gain financial literacy, but finance and investments is not their cup of tea. Speaking for myself, my idea of a good time is reading Kiplinger from cover to cover or working on portfolios. For some, that's not their idea of a good time. How can the 30-day personal challenge help these people who don't especially enjoy financial topics?

Here is a link titled "Money 101: 40 Financial Lectures to Prepare You for the Real World" produced by Accredited Online Colleges. Many of the lectures are videos. Some are by Salman Khan, who Bill Gates once said was his favorite teacher. Others are TED talks which are presentations from some of the nation's top thinkers and writers. If you like to learn and you haven't seen these two sources, you are in for a real treat.

The 30-day personal challenge is to watch one lesson per day - your pick. The preferred approach would be to move among the various categories so you gain exposure to different areas.

Hopefully, like my crunch challenge, the personal finance/investment odyssey will extend beyond 30 days.


  1. Can I suggest: We Don’t Know What Makes Us Happy (But We Think We Do). And I hope you'll blog about your thoughts on each video!

  2. This is a great use of time, but I doubt many people will do it; hopefully, this doesn't sound too negative and is proven wrong. It takes a lot of work to build a great habit, especially when you don't find it fun! If people don't think this is interesting enough to hold their attention, I suggest they move to a different teacher of financial literacy in the same way that if you really despise one exercise (i.e. crunches), perhaps you should switch to another (planks).

  3. @MoneyCone That is a good suggestion. I will look through the videos and pick some to comment on - another good thought.
    @Shawn I don't know Shawn, to me it sounds pretty easy to spend a little time each day to learn something that could be life altering - and only for 30 days. What is not good is when people make up their mind to learn personal finance because they are wallowing in credit card debt or totally confused about investments and trot out to Borders (actually that won't be for long), pick up the book with the most attractive cover, read 15 pages and then put it aside - having in fact wasted their time.
    To me it is like getting people to make a small commitment to save over a period of time and hopefully having it turn into a habit.
    And actually the videos have different presenters.