July 24th, 2011

Complex on top of complex

Mission 101

On May 25th, 2007, I embarked on an incredibly ambitious yet kind of stupid project called Mission 101.

The idea is, you make a list of 101 things you'd like to accomplish. You have 1001 days to do them. (That's a little less than three years.)

It sounds like a fantastic premise, and it is. You've got a huge span of time to do stuff, and who doesn't love lists of things they can cross off and feel accomplished? It's also pretty handy to have a list reminding you of the stuff you want to do.

But here's the problem I personally encountered with the project: You can change a hell of a lot in 1001 days. A hell of a lot. I found that as I went along with my project, stuff I wanted to do at the start became irrelevant, or my overall goals changed. I also discovered things I wanted to add, but all 101 slots were full. I gained new hobbies (guys, did you know how much stuff you can do with a hula hoop?), met new people, changed jobs, lost jobs, lost friends, all that stuff that proves you're actually living your life as opposed to just stagnating in a puddle of boring. The stuff that's supposed to happen. The naturally occurring lifey stuff.

About halfway through the project I decided if I ever did it again, I would only come up with a handful of things to go on the list, things I genuinely wanted to do instead of things that I thought sounded cool at the time because I was scrambling for another twenty things to get to 101. And I would add to the list of 101 slowly and gradually over the course of the project.

Well, I went and read through some of my friend's posts and saw a few of them are currently doing Mission 101. My original list expired on February 15th, 2010, a day I did not notice passing and did not acknowledge because I'd already given up on my list. Funnily enough, after going back through that original list of things, it turns out I accomplished some of them after all without even thinking about it. Most of my goals, however, lay abandoned. (According to what I actually bothered to track, I finished a whopping ten of my goals.)

Now, the project has its own website where you can create your list, peruse other people's lists, and generally keep much better track of the whole project rather than trying to sift through pages of html code to edit your original Livejournal post.

So I'm picking up Mission 101 again (officially starting on Monday), because I need some solid goals to focus on. For now, there are only four things on my list. I'm hesitant to add too many goals at once, and I only want to add goals I genuinely want to accomplish, regardless of how noble the intent of setting a goal like "lose seventy-three pounds while simultaneously reading every book published in America and swimming the English channel without eating any meat or ice cream" might be. The point for me, this go-round, is to actually get things done.

Things I can cross off my list and feel accomplished. Here's my current list of four.

Wanna try it too?