The 30 Day List

I really enjoy listening to podcasts. Over time, I’ve racked up a few ranging from game design and theory, all the way through to fitness and personal finance. I’ve recently really enjoyed listening to Listen Money Matters (thanks for the tip, Patrick!), a podcast about personal finance.

During an episode I listened to a few weeks ago, the concept of a 30 day list was mentioned, as a way to curb impulse buying. The premise is, if you want to make a purchase, place the items on a list and ignore it for 30 days. Once 30 days are up, revisit the list and see if you’re still interested in making the purchase. If you are, go ahead and plan for it. If not, you know it was just an impulse purchase. I did this a few months ago without even realising it, when I had a sudden urge to purchase the (then new) Nintendo WiiU while attempting to summit Lion’s Head on the hottest day of the year, in 2013. Clearly, this was an impulse purchase, as I’m not a huge gamer anymore (yet I love Nintendo games!).

Why not apply this concept elsewhere?

I recently got to thinking, “why not apply this concept to other areas?”, such as goal setting or exploring ideas for new products and startups. When you have an idea, make a list and add the idea to it. Define a period of time and, after said duration, revisit the list. If you’re not keen on the idea, don’t proceed. This is a great way to evaluate new startup or product ideas, as well as ensuring you’re constantly reminding yourself of the ideas you’ve had in the past.

The converse affect

The converse applies here as well. Add items to a list and begin right away. Every X days, revisit the list and see if you’ve stuck to your goals or not. This approach can apply to fitness and personal development goals, as a way of reminding yourself of the core goals you set out to achieve in the first place. A great tool for this approach is (formerly called Lift), which I’ve been using for a while now and check every day to ensure I’m sticking to my targets.

Have you experimented with the idea of a 30 day list? I’d love to hear your feedback and your approach.


  1. I just love this idea… and it’s so simple. My wife and I are the worst with this when planning short overnight trips. What sounds good one evening of chatting, well, by the next day, time to go in and cancel that reservation. Going to have to give this a try for sure 🙂

    1. Let me know how it goes, Bob.

      I’m currently trialling this with startup ideas I have. Make a list, review it later, see what still appeals to me. 🙂

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