Sunday, 18 September 2016

101 Things in 1,001 Days: The First Year

Today marks 1 year since I started my first 101 Things in 1,001 Days list. I've been really enjoying it so far, though there are a few things I have learned and things I will do differently next time. I think I prefer this format to other goal-list-type things I have done before: like yearly goals, yearly themes or "30 Before Age 30". Of course, they are not that different, but I think the longer time period makes me feel less pressured. Also, 101 items is a good amount to cover all of my diverse hobbies and other things I'd like to do over the course of a few years.

I haven't completed many things from the list yet, but some of them are quite significant milestones that I'm proud of. I finished my conscript, which I'd been working on for nearly 20 years (blog post to come). I got a cat, and he's quite a fantastic cat! I unpacked all of my books, and made jam. I organised a party for a milestone birthday.

So far I have re-assessed the items on the list at least twice. I'm the kind of person whose interests change over time, becoming curious about new things and putting aside old ones along the way. For this reason, it's been important for me to take a flexible attitude and be willing to make changes. Otherwise I'd never complete the list! Not long after starting, I made a conscious decision to re-assess the entire list at least once every 6 months. I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of everything -- I just created a second tab to store these superceded ideas, as well as ideas for future lists.

For example, I'm no longer so interested in #50: Go Fruit Picking now that I have my own fruit trees to invest time and effort into. #93: Take my Mum to Womadelaide seems obsolete now, as I found out recently that she's no longer so enthusiastic about going. I originally put #44: Get A Massage Every Second Month as I wanted to take advantage of subsidised massages under my health insurance. It was going quite well until I found out that I can only have 3 per year, so I needed to re-think whether I was comfortable with that level of expenditure.

Aside from changing interests, there were a few things on the list that are probably no longer feasible for me to do. For example, #97: Visit the Open Gardens. The official Open Gardens scheme has closed down, though there are still private gardens to visit. #33: do NaNoWriMo was a dismal failure as November is an incredibly busy time of year for me. #53: Go Overseas -- might be more difficult to achieve now that I have a cat to care for.

⇒ Despite having the SMART Goals model hammered into me at work (Specific, Measurable, etc), I still put in several items that were vague and open to interpretation, such as #60 Have All The Basics Done In The Garden. At the time, I thought I'd go back in and list specific tasks that I wanted to do under that banner, but I haven't gotten around to doing that yet.
⇒ I wish I had put in more items that are one-offs and less that are "do such-and-such every month". While trying to develop regular habits is good, the 101 Things in 1,001 Days list is possibly not the best place for these. It's discouraging to look at the item on the list over and over, knowing you won't be able to tick it off until the very end of the 1,001 days.
⇒ Next time, I'd like to have more of a mix of big, small and medium-sized items. Having a good amount of small-sized items means that more items can be done satisfyingly sooner. One version of the Kanban workflow system from Japan classifies tasks into mouse, elephant and even blue whale sizes. It's a cute idea!

I've done several new things in the past year that aren't on the list, or things I've done before but never done them so well before. I saw a concert with music I love for the first time -- not just one, but two! I went to a fashion runway show. I changed my attitude to life and work which I think will serve me better in future. For the first time, I've started calling myself an Archivist. For the first time, I said to both friends and strangers, "I'm an artist." I've begun to realise more about my spirituality. And I've started a major new project which I'll talk about more in a future post -- when I'm ready! I think it's important to acknowledge these things which can't be conveniently written down in a list, or may have come along spontaneously but ended up being important milestones in my life.

Looking at my list and the items I've crossed off or are well into, gives me renewed motivation to continue. I'm looking forward to finishing it off and drawing up a new one, even though that's a long way off at the moment.


  1. I love how honest you are about your 101/1001 challenge! Are you substituting the items you are no longer interested in with others? I know the feeling, by the way, I kicked out about a third of my second list and wrote it anew at one time.

    1. aThank you! I know myself, and I know I'd come to hate the list if I didn't let it be flexible. Also life changes in ways you don't expect sometimes. I have some new things I want to work on, like writing a new zine, so I will add those instead.