As I prepare for 2019, my thoughts are already turning to the many dreams I have for the coming year. I want to learn how to swim, walk in Memphis, return to dance classes, and take a Disney cruise, among many other dreams. Some goals are simple, while others are complex—but most resolutions fail. Who needs that kind of pressure? For me, it’s easier and more practical to set goals when I have more time to bring them to fruition. So, when my friend first told me about the 101 Things in 1,001 Days list, I was instantly intrigued and decided to make one that starts on January 1st, 2019.
What exactly is a 101 Things in 1,001 Days list?
The 101 Things in 1,001 Days Challenge asks participants to complete 101 specific, predetermined tasks in a period of 1,001 days. It started with the Day Zero Project, an online community that describes itself as being for “people who love creating lists, setting challenges, and making positive changes in their lives.” Michael Green, the New Zealander who created the site, did the first list of 101 goals in 1,001 days in 2003. Since then, tens of thousands of other people have joined in with lists of their own, and it continues to grow.
I really enjoyed the process of making my list as I chose each thing I wanted to do. To me, the list represents the chance to relax and enjoy the planning of each goal. I can determine what I need to do to make each goal a reality, and also decide when the timing would be right to work on it. If I set a goal but don’t want to pursue it until 2020, there’s no pressure.
1,001 days is approximately 2.75 years. That’s plenty of time to pursue many, if not most, goals you may have. It also allows you multiple seasons to plan for outdoor adventures that rely on certain weather or just the right timing.
As the challenge has grown, people have chosen to have their own takes on the challenge, and you’re, of course, not obligated to any certain rules to make a list of your own. It doesn’t hurt to learn them before you break them, though, right?
If you want to stay true to the original criteria, the Day Zero Project states that tasks need to be specific, allowing no ambiguity about when something will be completed. The result of all 101 goals should be measurable or clearly defined. For example, instead of stating that you want to travel more often, you may set a realistic, attainable goal of going to a specific city or state.
The task should also be realistic and require some amount of work on your part. So you want to avoid saying you’ll go to the next town over if you commute there every day for work anyway—but you also want to avoid setting a goal of going to Paris if you know that you can’t make it happen.
Still, be sure to set your own rules. I’ve decided that every item on my list must be something that would likely make me feel good. Each goal also needs to be something that I look forward to doing. After all, the point of this kind of goal list isn’t to fill my days with dread and feel pressured. It’s to expand my world and introduce an even greater sense of fun to my life as I experience it. Think of this list in terms of how much it can enhance your life.
Plan to Succeed
One thing I love about the 101 Things in 1,001 Days list is that it’s easy to set attainable goals that I know I can achieve, although they do still require effort. When making your list, it’s also wise to make a small plan on how you can complete each goal. If it is something that will take a great deal of effort and stress, evaluate how much that goal is worth to you.
The format of this goal list doesn’t really encourage anything too outrageous, and it’s usually best to not include something that’s beyond your control. Still, it’s up to you because it’s your list. For example, I really want to attend another Taylor Swift concert. While I hope she does perform again within the 1,001 days of my challenge, that is completely out of my hands. But as a proud Swiftie, I’m going to include that on my list even though I don’t have any power over that goal.
On the other hand, many of the things on my list are largely in my control. I plan to re-read all of Alice Hoffman’s books, walk a 5K race, go to a vegan high tea, have a picnic in the forest, and celebrate a holiday I usually don’t. It’s pretty much up to me whether I make those things come true.
Tip: If you do a 101 Things in 1,001 Days list that starts on January 1st, 2019, it will end on Tuesday, September 28th, 2021. To me, that sounds like a date that’s far enough in the future to make most goals doable. Hving a tangible date and a definite set time frame can also inspire action—at least it does for me. If you want to choose another date to start your 101 Things in 1,001 Days list, the Convert Units website allows you to enter 1,001 days from any date and see when you will be ending your list.
Ultimately, the scope of yearly resolutions is too restricted for the goals that I’m setting for myself, but I love the idea of structure. So I will be using a 101 Things in 1,001 Days list for 2019 and beyond. I’m sharing my own list on January 1st and reporting on my progress on my website. I’d love to hear about your journey if you decide to join me on this challenge.