101 Goals in 1001 Days

While I was working on writing the essays for Goals Week, I kept getting excited to define some of my own goals, and so I finally took the initiative and gave the “101 Goals in 1001 Days” meme a shot.

About “101 Goals in 1001 Days”

I first became familiar with the 101 Goals in 1001 Days idea at this posting at Get Rich Slowly, where I found out that this idea first came about on a site called Triplux, which offers these guidelines:

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past — frequently simple goals such as new year’s resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Goal Setting Tips

1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
2. Stay focussed. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.
3. Welcome failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.
4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.
5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.

There’s not really too much to add to that description, but I do offer up the following tips:

Realize that the list itself is an intermediate term goal. This means you should pace yourself carefully through this list. Work on things as they seem appropriate, but don’t lose sight of the overall goal of finishing the list.

Realize that such a list will be composed of challenging microgoals, short term goals, and medium term goals, and use that perspective appropriately. Different goals on your list may have different timeframes, different amounts of effort, and so forth. Don’t let the challenge of one goal make you think that they’re all unachievable.

Keep tabs on it. It’s easy to make a list like this and forget about it. Don’t. Keep it in mind and keep making updates to it marking your progress. It will make you realize that you really do accomplish things.

My 101 Goals in 1001 Days

I decided to create my own 101 Goals in 1001 Days list in order to codify a lot of little things I’d like to be doing in my life. Thus, here’s a list of 101 goals I plan to accomplish by Friday, January 29, 2010. I have printed these out and posted them in a few places around my house so I can keep an eye on them. I also plan on tracking my progress using this post, so if you want to see how I’m doing, check back here on occasion.

1. Actively run for church council
2. Actively run for city council
3. Actively run for school board
4. Attend 10 Toastmasters meetings (0/10)
5. Attend a blogging convention
6. Beat Chess Titans on at least level 8
7. Buy a house
8. Can at least twenty jars worth of homemade salsa (0/20)
9. Can at least twenty jars worth of tomato sauce (0/20)
10. Check the air pressure and appropriate fill the tires with air on all vehicles 20 times (0/20)
11. Collect 1,000 emails from readers describing how I positively impacted their life (0/1000)
12. Commit a random act of kindness that personally costs me more than $100
13. Complete step one of my investment portfolio
14. Complete step two of my investment portfolio
15. Complete step three of my investment portfolio
16. Construct a cookbook of tasty, healthy recipes for family distribution
17. Construct a digital photo album of family images
18. Construct a proper address book
19. Contact an old friend
20. Digitize my parents’ photo archives
21. Digitize our non-digital photo archives
22. Discreetly contact ten separate managers about the good work a specific employee has done (0/10)
23. Do 100 sit-ups without taking a break (best: 0/100)
24. Do 50 push-ups without taking a break (best: 0/50)
25. Do something visually interesting with my old New Yorker covers
26. Donate $10 to charity for each item on this list that I do not complete
27. Draft and get notarized a living will
28. Draft and get notarized a will that includes our daughter
29. Drink only water as a beverage for a year
30. Eat lutefisk five times (0/5)
31. Eliminate my higher interest student loan debt
32. Establish a twelve month emergency fund
33. Fly a kite with my son (and my daughter, if she’s old enough)
34. Fully complete my nonfiction book proposal
35. Get a significant mention of The Simple Dollar in Money Magazine
36. Get an AA rating or better on all 96 non-locked songs on DDR Max 2 (0/96)
37. Give my wife flowers ten times at random when she doesn’t expect it (0/10)
38. Go through my remaining belongings in the spare bedroom at my parents’ house
39. Go to a day game at Wrigley Field with my son
40. Host a beer tasting
41. Host a wine tasting
42. Increase my net worth by 25% in 2007
43. Increase my net worth by 25% in 2008
44. Increase my net worth by 25% in 2009
45. Install programmable thermostats in our house
46. Learn how to play duplicate bridge
47. Learn to play 20 recognizable songs on my D-scale harmonica (0/20)
48. Listen to every CD I own once all the way through (0/283)
49. Lose one pound a week (average) for a year (best: 0/52)
50. Make 25 straight free throws (best: 0/25)
51. Make a bullwhip
52. Make a chocolate raspberry trifle entirely from scratch
53. Make a great family Halloween costume for the first time my son goes trick or treating
54. Make a year’s worth of my own laundry detergent
55. Make fettuccine Bolognese entirely from scratch (including the pasta) that doesn’t make my wife gag
56. Make five birthday or Christmas gifts that the recipient would actually be happy to receive (0/5)
57. Memorize 10 poems (0/10)
58. Play 25 different board games (0/25)
59. Reach 100,000 RSS and email subscribers to The Simple Dollar (best: 8212/100000)
60. Reach 2,000,000 page views in one month at The Simple Dollar (best: 575K/2000K)
61. Read 25 of the National Book Award winners in fiction (0/25)
62. Read 25 of the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction (0/25)
63. Read 25 of the Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction (0/25)
64. Read 50 biographies (0/50)
65. Read a NIV-translation bible
66. Read aloud 1,000 complete books to my daughter, no overlap with #4 (0/1000)
67. Read aloud 1,000 complete books to my son (0/1000)
68. Read five books at the same time as my wife and discuss them with her (0/5)
69. Read ten books on marketing and try to apply the lessons to my persuasive writing (0/10)
70. Read the King James bible with apocrypha
71. Review a personal finance book each week (0/143)
72. Review a personal productivity / development book each week (0/143)
73. Run a marathon in under four hours
74. Shop each piece to a publisher at least once
75. Shop my book proposal to my agent contact list
76. Spend a day paying 25 people I know serious, heartfelt compliments
77. Spend a weekend preparing at least twenty meals to freeze
78. Spend five complete days just with my daughter (0/5)
79. Spend five complete days just with my son (0/5)
80. Start a 529 for my daughter and have the investments match that for my son
81. Take a self-guided yoga course
82. Take my son to a baseball game at Principal Park
83. Teach myself to speak French (Michel Thomas course)
84. Teach myself to speak Italian (Michel Thomas course)
85. Try absinthe
86. Visit 20 U.S. states with my wife and children (0/20 – excluding home state)
87. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
88. Visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
89. Visit the Smithsonian (any museum or exhibit will do)
90. Volunteer to help manage a local caucus for 2008
91. Vote at least ten times in public elections (0/10)
92. Watch 25 professionally produced documentaries (0/25)
93. Watch no television for one month
94. Watch the sun set, write all night, then watch the sun rise
95. Write a “to be read” letter to my wife, to my son, and to my daughter (0/3)
96. Write a diary for my daughter to have when she’s older describing our days together
97. Write a diary for my son to have when he’s older describing our days together
98. Write a handwritten letter to my ten favorite living authors, telling them how they changed my life (0/10)
99. Write handwritten letters to 15 people telling them how important they are to me (0/15)
100. Write twenty nonfiction pieces (besides The Simple Dollar) (0/20)
101. Write twenty short stories (0/20)

Guess I’d better get busy.

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58 thoughts on “101 Goals in 1001 Days

  1. kev says:

    That’s quite a list!

  2. My comments:

    #4 – One of my close friends is active in Toastmasters. He’s been prodding me to join. When I reduce my “day job” hours, I plan to.

    #6 – Do you play chess seriously? What’s your rating? I haven’t played competitively in over a decade, but I was once wasting many hours (and dollars) at this. Hm. I sense a blog entry coming on…

    #35 – Oooh. I like that. I’ll have to work toward it, too.

    #51 – !?!??!??!

    #101 – Wow. This one is ambitious.

    Great list, Trent. I wish you the best on it. Remember what I told you in chat: print this list out and refer to it often. For the first month, mine was tucked away on my blog, and I didn’t refer to it. I lost a couple weeks not focusing on my goals…

  3. mh says:

    Great list. If I were to make one of my own I would certainly hijack a few of yours, but life’s too variable now for such ambition. Best of luck!

  4. alex says:

    I think organization will be key to monitoring your list and keeping yourself working towards it. I am going to try to organize my 101 goals into categories (e.g., personal, financial, family) and then post it some place online where I can check in and strike through those goals I have accomoplished.
    I have been using google docs, but if anyone knows of a better way, I’d love to hear it.

  5. losh says:

    Great Idea,

    Can you explain what “to be read” letters are? Thanks,

    Losh

  6. Yee says:

    I’d like to start of with, I really like your site. It’s the first thing I check when I get to my office – and get my coffee.

    I’ve known the 101 things in 43Folder 4 months ago and started my own version in my blog.
    I have to say, it really make me focus what I have wanted to accomplish all these times. Instead of wasting time watching TV, checking my work emails or hanging out w/people just b/c I have nothing to do – I now use those time to do things that I wanted to do. And every single time I do so, I mark it off my list (on blog and on my list that I put on my wall). And I cant describe how efficient it is, and how much stuff you get it done (and less time to waste on things you dont really care). So for the past 3 months, I have already force myself to accomplish 14 things, and hopefully get 1/2 of list done by end of this year.

    P.S: One of my goals is to get my family and myself to reach our financial goals – which i am to achieve for the longest time. Now that it’s on my 101, I’ll definitely try my best and push myself to caring more of my finances!

    Thanks for putting all these time and effort into this site. IT really give people some new ideas and thought of waht to do with their finances.

    Yee

  7. Tubaman-Z says:

    Trent,

    Excellent idea and great list. I’ve had a few “life-goals” that I’ve been pursuing intermittently over the years (sky-diving – check, black belt in a martial art – check, scuba certification – not there yet), but the mix of large and small(er) goals on your list is really interesting.

    Re:

    30. Eat lutefisk five times (0/5)
    I’ve lived in and around Norwegians since 1992 (in SE MN) and have managed to avoid this delicacy. :-)

    53. Make a great family Halloween costume for the first time my son goes trick or treating
    Growing up my parents always made the costumes for my sister and me. I made our daughter’s 1st Halloween costume. It was a pumpkin costume made using a pattern for a simple jumper and orange sweatshirt material. She was a preemie and thus using even the smallest pattern size meant that it was good for 2 years.

    65. Read a NIV-translation bible
    My wife has done an annual read-through of the Bible the past 2-3 years. I’ve taken it on myself this year. As I have about a 40 minute round-trip commute, I’ve found that listening to the Bible on CD Mon-Fri and then reading on Sat/Sun is quite effective. There are lots of reading plans out there, I’m using a chronological plan that is interesting (http://www.backtothebible.org/index.php?&option=com_guides&category=12&Itemid=75).

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. HardwareGuy says:

    I got tired just reading that list.

    I wish you success in completing your goals!

  9. Deena says:

    How the heck can a person keep track of 101 Things without dedicating one’s whole life to simply accomplishing the tasks? Wow! I think I might try something a little more manageable for me…50 tasks in 1001 days. I know, doesn’t have the same ring to it, huh!

  10. kyle says:

    Great list. I’m going to make my own now.

    My only concern is:

    81. Take a self-guided yoga course

    If you’ve never taken yoga with an instructor, you may want to do that first – as you could injure yourself by not doing some of the poses correctly.

    Best of luck in your attempt to achieve all the goals.

  11. Kimberly says:

    Awesome list! I especially like how it’s a mix of serious and lighthearted, complex and simple goals. I think I’ll try this, although I might list things I want to do before I graduate college instead of 1001 days…

  12. Mike says:

    Great list! I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work!

  13. Andamom says:

    Great items here… I’m not going to comment on any one of them in particular — but in general I like the premise.

    In 2004, when heading from Paris to London through the Chunnel, I started creating one of these lists with my husband. Our goal was to list the myriad of things we wanted to do when returning home to NYC. Many of these things were big ticket items — like getting our daughter into a good middle school, buying property, investing random $, and so much more… But, other items were about wants — learning how to create chocolate candy shapes, researching more information about the Medici family, and traveling to other specific locations.

    Upon returning, I printed out the list. Our thoughts, interests, and plans have brought us in various directions since then. We have achieved a considerable amount — and not all of it was accounted for in the list.

    Sometimes, life just flows and it is important to flow with it. For example, I never accounted for my stepmother passing on and taking over responsibility for my father in a nursing home — nor the art show that I held for him recently. But, I still go back to that list to see what else I can do.

  14. dwlt says:

    @alex: You could try Toodledo (www.toodledo.com).

    This is a really interesting idea, and one I think I will dive into over the weekend. Best of luck on your goals!

  15. Katharine says:

    Money saving tips for numbers 87, 88, and 89:

    The Smithsonian and the Met have “recommended donations’, so those are both free, but MoMA is $20 per person! However, if you go with someone who has a museum volunteer card, and you show it at the membership desk, you’ll both get in for free! Museums take very good care of volunteers, regardless of where they volunteer. I’m a big art fan, and I save so much $$ with my volunteer card!

  16. EdTheRed says:

    Re: 87, 88 and 89

    Been there, all are incredible! A suggestion: The Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)…the U-Boat exhibit alone is worth the price of admission.

  17. Rob says:

    I love how “Try absinthe” makes it onto a list with “Run for church council”. Haha, best of luck to you man.

  18. Peggy says:

    Great list — I just have one question about this one:

    91. Vote at least ten times in public elections (0/10)

    Do you mean ten separate elections, or ten races, combined? Because where I live, even including primary and general elections, there’s no way I could get to ten elections in less than three years (even in a presidential election year).

  19. Patrick says:

    #85 might be difficult here in the states… Absynthe is illegal in its pure form. There are several countries in Europe where you can find it, and you can sometimes ship it here.

    Your other goals are very ambitious, but there are no single goals that are impossible. Some may be more difficult than others, but if you keep your list handy and actively work toward accomplishing these items, then they can all be done. Best of luck to you!

  20. Lawrence says:

    Give up #70

    do # 73

    time better spent.

  21. imagreenze says:

    Great post Trent! I’m getting my list together this week.

  22. Lutefisk five times? Isn’t one punishment enough? Isn’t being in the same room with lutefisk for an extended period an accomplishment in itself? Great list and thanks for the inspiration!

  23. Michelle says:

    Trent: A bunch of (belated) questions…

    How did you create your list? Was it a struggle to get to 101, or did you start with 200 and whittle it down? What would you have done if you had only come up with 90? What do you think you will do if you only achieve 100 of them?

    I’m thinking about doing it myself, but I’m almost afraid to start…

  24. Samantha says:

    Well, your list has inspired me to do the same. (Although I only have 75 goals, but still). Good luck with your list!

    Samantha

  25. Jason says:

    Great idea! I’ve decided to try this myself!

  26. Christine says:

    25. Do something visually interesting with my old New Yorker covers.

    A friend of mine had stacks and stacks of New Yorker mags. She took off all the covers of had them (somehow) glued & varnished and made into her diningroom floor. It looked great when it was finished.

  27. guinness416 says:

    This list inspires me to compile one, to great success so far. Any updates?

  28. Laura says:

    #52- If this is as good as it sounds, please post this recipe!

    Your list is very interesting- I’m going to try it too. I recently started a nonprofit as a way to truly work in the fields in which I am passionate. I think this will help me focus.

  29. John Jackson says:

    Good list with one exception. Watch no television for one month. I need to watch my sports, so that won’t happen lol.

  30. Jean Calderon says:

    RE: #78 & 79
    Spend 5 days with each of your children in almost 3 years? Not nearly enough!
    It would be worth it to give up half your goals to do this as often as possible.

  31. Marta says:

    So how are you doing on the goals? Any updates??

  32. cllslp says:

    Absinthe is once again bing sold in the US.
    Four labels (Lucid, Green Moon and two from Kübler) have been approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau this year. Each contains such an insignificant level of thujone that all are said to be thujone-free, which, by government regulations, amounts to 10 parts or less per million.
    http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/life/20070928/dd_absinthe28.art.htm

  33. Sara says:

    I linked to this post in one of my own:

    “After reading this post at The Simple Dollar (one of my favorite PF blogs), I made my own list of 101 Goals in 1001 Days”

    http://livingfortheblueworld.blogspot.com/2007/12/personal-finance-and-personal-fitness.html

  34. David says:

    You are a brave soul indeed, sir, for #30.

    I consider myself a “hardcore” Norwegian-American, and I can’t stand the stuff. There is not enough butter in the world to make it edible!

    What’s worse? My grandfather LOVES it and makes sure to eat it often and in front of me :)

    Fantastic idea, I’m going to start on my own!

  35. nina says:

    89. Visit the Smithsonian (any museum or exhibit will do)

    I totally forgot about that place!

    Trent, if you’re planning to be in Los Angeles anytime during your 1001 days, you might want to check out the Griffin Park Observatory (The sky show’s pretty awesome), The Getty, and/or Hammer Museum.

    #96 & 97 are great!

  36. Carrie says:

    When are you going to update your progress?

  37. Chris says:

    This inspired me to create one (http://christophogo.blogspot.com)

    You can count this as one of your emails from readers about how you changed there life if you like :p

  38. Christina says:

    So how’s your progress–I know from reading the past few months you’ve accomplished parts of several items!

  39. brooke says:

    Hi Trent,
    As a frequent reader but first time poster I had to chime in. Nice list! I just finished a +100 page family cookbook and I have to say it was one of the most rewarding projects of my life. We had a family reunion over the fourth of july in 2008, so in January, I sent out 40 letters to my cousins, aunts and uncles and asked them to send me their family favorites or new favorite dishes by March 31. I had 34 people contribute from 1 to 6 recipes, and then I divided them up into apps, soup and salad, main courses, and desserts. I formatted them in Word on a half sheet of paper so teh book would be small and compact and not 8.5×11. NOTE–If you really plan on doing this and would like advice, contact me, I have plenty! I then took it to Staples in late June, had it printed and bound with a table of contents and thank you message from me, and they were an absolute hit with my family! I highly recommend it!

  40. Café Chick says:

    You have got some really ambitious goals on your list. You’re right in saying that compiling the list is, in itself, an intermediate goal, as many goals sound great after an initial brainstorm, but need revising pretty soon afterwards. All the best!

  41. Lou says:

    Awesome list! I’m definetly taking some tips from this.

  42. I thought all these goals were going to be wealth centred. Kind of refreshing that they aren’t. I am currently making a list on my entrepreneurs blog of the 30 things I want to do before im 30. Haven’t published it yet but will in the next couple of weeks

  43. Onaclov2000 says:

    Trent, I have too began to compile a list of 1001 things (It’s alot harder then I thought it would be), needless to say, I am using an excel spreadsheet, a nice thing about excel is I can use the function =DATE(2011,4,28)-TODAY() and it tells me how many days are left until the 1001 days are up,I did some number crunching and I think (I may be wrong) but 1001 days is approximately 2 years 38 weeks and 4.5 days, which is where I got the 4/28/2011 number, I estimated that I would begin on August 1st. I think it will be nice to see the days left as a motivator.

    –Onaclov

  44. Melissa says:

    I was so taken with this article that I jumped into doing it myself. One of my goals was to write a blog, so I’m writing a blog about my 101 goals project. I referenced your site and gave you and triplux credit. Your list was very inspiring!

  45. Melinda says:

    Hey Trent, isn’t it time to update the list and let us know how you’re going? Particularly since you mentioned “Keep it in mind and keep making updates to it marking your progress.” :-)

  46. Faye says:

    I’ve always been a long-term goal setter. In fact, when I was in third year high school, I made a list of my career goals and taped it to my study desk.

    It never left my desk until the last weeks of high school when I had to clean out for the summer. I threw it away and thought I lost it forever. Turns out my mom kept it for me.

    During my college graduation, my mom presented to me the yellowed paper and told me to check off what I have finished.

    Just graduated with a Master’s degree in Nursing. Ticked off another one on the list. This time, I’ll make another list. :)

  47. richie says:

    Thanks Trent. To help you with #11:

    This list has got me motivated to write my own list and get going over the next 1001 days to hit my 101!

    I’m sending this to my wife too!

    Thank you thank you!

    R

  48. Melissa says:

    I’d love to know how you’re doing on your goals. I have a friend that has done the same thing and I’m really impressed with how she’s coming along.

    Maybe put your list in the sidebar and cross off the ones you’ve accomplished??

  49. Sharon says:

    How did you go with #93. Watch no television for one month? This was one of my goals too. I found it impossible until I gave my TV away. That was December last year… it’s now October, and I still don’t own a TV. It was liberating and I don’t miss it, except to watch movies.

  50. Sandra says:

    Just for those of you who may not have found it yet, here is what happened with the 101 goals in 1001 days: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/02/11/the-fine-art-of-abandoning-goals/

  51. Krista says:

    #11- I put this on my blog…you have totally effected my life positively! Thanks for this!

  52. Carrick says:

    I’m sorry, I gotta comment on the lutefisk one, too: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I love that this is a goal, as if it’s difficult to accomplish–which it is!!
    Are you Swedish or Norwegian or something? I’m just curious as to the reason behind this. I’ve only had it twice or so–my mom is third-generation Swedish–and I once asked a girl actually from Sweden if she had it all the time or something, and she was like, hell no! She’d NEVER had it!! Funny how the remnants of old traditions are stronger here, having been cut off from the Old World…

  53. Jacki says:

    How fun! I stumbled upon this when I was looking for fun free things to do over the summer and I got to add some more to my list. Thanks for the great ideas! Thanks to you I’ll be having a jam packed summer for a low cost!

  54. Valerie says:

    How is your progress going on this list, Trent? I’m working on putting together a modified list… “101 things to do before I turn 30″ which happens in about ~800 days. I guess I better get to work!

  55. Pam says:

    I have been inspired by your list and may eventually do a 101 list, but for now have begun a short-term one – 31 goals in 301 days. It seems like a great way to push myself to get some of those items I’ve been procrastinating on off my to do list. Day 1 was yesterday, and off I go… Thanks.

  56. Manish says:

    Hi I would like to ask how much or how many of the above said list you have acutally completed by this time?

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