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A recap of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project

My 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge ends today.

The 101 list was an experiment to see if I would accomplish more than I would with New Year’s resolutions. I did. I figured that the longer time period and longer list of potential projects would allow me more flexibility in achieving the goals I had set forth. It also did.

I completed just over half of the items on my list, quite a bit fewer than I expected when I began the project back in 2008. What I didn’t expect, however, was to be dealing with a major life change just a year into the project. I was making very steady progress on the list until life got a bit more uncertain. Suddenly, many of the items I had placed on the list no longer made sense or were unattainable, and there were a bunch of new goals I had that weren’t included in the original list.

How I did

In spite of falling short of the original goal, I’m happy with the progress that I made. I feel like I accomplished a significant number of items that I otherwise wouldn’t have without the project. I found it to be a worthwhile exercise and I’m happy that I tried. I also learned a number of lessons along the way that might be useful in your own 101 Things project, should you decide to embark on one.

Making your own list

I found that putting together a 101 Things list is actually quite a bit more difficult than it seems. In fact, it can be challenging coming up with worthwhile items that you’re willing to commit to. I found that a good mix of easy and more difficult items helped to keep my motivation and focus during long span of the project. Between reaching the more difficult or complex goals, I could mark off a few easier items and feel good that I was making progress. I also recommend including some items that have been nagging to get done for longer than you’d like to admit. You’ll feel great when you finally sit down and get them done.

One of the most important things to consider when putting together a list is to make your items as measurable and achievable as possible. Don’t settle on unclear items like “get in shape” or “lose weight;” instead, focus on things that someone else could easily measure, such as completing a 5k run or losing a specific amount of weight. Otherwise, you won’t have a specific goal to shoot for and you’ll have no real way to measure your success when you’re done.

I’d also recommend including only achievable items. Stretch yourself, but don’t make items so difficult that you give up. This is not a listing of your dreams—it’s a list of goals that you want to meet in the next 2.5 years. And certainly don’t include any items that you don’t have control over, such as falling in love or getting engaged.

Substituting items

Realizing that things might change partway through the project, I started a substitute list that I appended to the original list. That way, I could add things that I wanted to pursue as goals. This was a good move, but I always felt a little like I was cheating by substitution so I also kept the original items on the list to maintain perspective. My total count includes substitute items.

Tell people about it

Another lesson I learned early was to tell people about your list. Having people occasionally ask me how the project is going provided some useful reminders. Posting it online and linking to it also helps to get the word out and keep you invested and engaged in completing the project. I’d also recommend posting yours on the Day Zero Project website (you can also find some inspiration on the site) and updating others on your progress.

What’s next for me

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to embark on a new 101 Things list, or if I’ll try something else. Given the amount of uncertainty and change in my life right now, I’m leaning towards focusing on a “33 before 33” list, then maybe tackling another 1001 day project next year.

Since I’m unsure of the fate of the original post on, I’ve repasting it below.

My 101 Things in 1001 Days list

Following the lead of others, I decided to forgo establishing any New Year’s resolutions in 2008, opting instead to start my own “101 things in 1001 days” project. I’m usually not big into the resolution thing to begin with, but recently I’ve been thinking much more about enjoying life and not letting it float past so quickly. The year deadline doesn’t appeal to me, and I think I may be able to mark off each item in the project’s allotted 1001 days.

After putting together a draft list several weeks ago, I decided to retro-actively set my official start date as March 1, 2008. It’s a little bit like cheating, as I’ve already completed two items before I got around to posting this, but in my defense, I only completed those items in the spirit of the project. Some items should be a piece of cake to finish (delete old hosting accounts, attend a hockey game) while some might take a little bit more focus and determination (buy house, travel outside the continental US). I’ll continue to mark off items as I complete them, and may also add a separate post about such occurrences. Anyway, on to the list:

My 101 Things in 1001 Days Project
Completed 55/101 items
Deadline is Nov 27, 2010

buy a second car
buy an ultralight sleeping bag or tent completed March 30, 2008
buy a new ASU jersey completed September 8, 2008
buy a new camera completed April 26, 2008
buy a new mac laptop completed April 19, 2008
buy new glasses completed July 6, 2008
buy ASU pantscompleted November 29, 2009
buy a scanner completed March 2, 2008
buy/make a hiking pin display completed April 4, 2008
buy a nice big HD television completed September 20, 2008

Learn new skills
learn how to grill a great steak
learn 5 new photographic techniques
take advanced GPS or GIS course
take NEPA course
cook a chinese dish
learn to identify five new desert plant species
learn to identify three new bird species

Home organizing/decluttering
seriously organize the garage
get rid of the ford taurus completed August 2009
clean out file cabinets
donate or sell my button maker completed May 8, 2008
declutter my office
organize football memorabilia completed October 5, 2008
scan my favorite old photos
ditch my CDs completed October 6, 2008
set up a password management system completed April 26, 2009
scan all nps passport stamps completed October 24, 2008
organize/declutter hiking gear completed September 2008
donate another computer completed October 6, 2008

travel to the east coast
travel outside the continental US
visit at least three new states completed July 2008 roadtrip
travel to an ASU away game
rent an RV
visit 20 new NPS units completed July 2008
visit Ft Bowie National Historic Site completed Winter 2010 roadtrip
collect 25 passport stamps (renewals OK) completed July 2008 roadtrip
visit the north rim of the Grand Canyoncompleted Sept 2010
stay overnight in the White Mountains completed 4/20-5/1/08

go kayaking completed June 27, 2009
go on a backpacking trip of at least 3 nights
hike 25 new trails in the state 9 down
hike the backcountry of the Superstition Wilderness
visit 5 new wilderness areas in Arizona completed 2 (Bear Wallow, Pusche Ridge)
lead a Sierra Club hike (not a monument)
go camping with friends completed 4/30-5/1/08

New habits
learn to wake up earlier/get up early >25 days in a single month
consistently use an inbox for more than a month
get eight hours of sleep for at least 23 days in a single month completed May 2009
establish a morning routine
take at least 3 steps to significantly reduce our environmental impact 2 down (reduce waste by using reusables, buying only green electricity and reducing usage)
develop a regular stretching routine
improve my posture

transition to completed October 5, 2008
figure out how to use my desktop computers with my mac complete January 27, 2009
fully complete the switch over to mac completed September 2009
make a decision about all of the domains I own
upgrade the RAM on my iMac completed Mar 2, 2008
become more proficient in using my iphone keyboard completed
make a new avatar for myself completed April 5, 2008
create an online file storage/backup system
organize computer document files/folders
flesh out vacation listing completed October 12, 2008
develop reference or file/note management system on mac completed July 29, 2009
delete old hosting accounts completed October 5, 2008

get married completed July 15, 2008
get involved in a new nonprofit Completed May 1, 2008
contact three old friends from high school Completed August 11, 2008
re-enroll at ASU
write something meaningful
make flickr’s explore with one of my own photos
publish something
post 15,000 pictures online
“make” a birthday gift for friend or family member
write a personal manifesto
keep a hiking and outings log
count, log, and scan all of my nps passport stamps
make 3 new friends that I see regularly completed July 2009
participate in Pat’s Run

attend a hockey game completed October 23, 2009
bowl another 250+ game
visit Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza
attend camp tontozona no longer possible
watch 10 “classic/old school” movies (Done: The Candidate, Godfather, Soylent Green, Fahrenheit 451, Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, Deliverance, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Taxi Driver, 2001: A Space Odyssey)
take a photographic tour of the city with flickr group
watch a meteor shower completed November 17, 2009
read at least one book from my bookcase that I haven’t yet read completed December 5, 2009
read Walden
surprise Kim with a nice weekend away
write my own list of top lifehacks

lose 15 lbs completed August 2009
complete a 5k run
max out my dental insurance completed April 21, 2008
get tooth fixed completed April 21, 2008
go one week without sodacompleted
write out a will/last testament
payoff all but one credit card
start/consolidate my investment accounts
buy my own home

Bonus/substitute items
refinish cedar chest gave it away
backpack at least 20 miles on a single trip
visit either Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, or Boston completed December 30, 2009 (NOLA)
save $5000
tour ASU’s football facilities completed November 28, 2008 (thanks Jerry!)
go completely paperless (bills, financials)
find solution for grill equipment
buy framed ASU/Sun Devil Stadium photo completed November 8, 2008
put together a home inventory
create a digital archive of important files and add to safe deposit box
scan and post hiking patches
buy Pat Tillman jersey completed November 8, 2008
redesign completed December 24, 2008
re-establish a regularly scheduled event with friends completed
complete a daily self-pic for six months completed July 2009
launch a blog & write consistently for at least three months
Go on a kayaking/canoeing trip of at least one night completed September 28, 2009
Attend a home 49ers game

5 thoughts on “A recap of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project”

  1. Wow – Impressive! And honestly, if I don’t put it on a list, it doesn’t happen… AND, if I can find a way to cheat, I will. 🙂 Best of luck with all your new prospects.

  2. Hey Scott. Nice list, I hope you get them all done.
    You forgot to add learn how to make a good western omelet. Bowl another 250+ game, forgettaboutit. ;-p
    I noticed down near the bottom of the list you have an item completed but you didn’t cross it off.


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