I don’t know what about this article got me to whip out a notebook and start jotting down all my dreams, but it did and I’m hoping it gets you to do the same :)
It’s titled “How To Invest In Yourself ” and was written by a dude named Jon Westenberg who I now really REALLY want to share a beer with. In a nutshell, Jon gives you a framework on how exactly to accomplish all those goals that seem so illusive to us for one reason or another. A bucket list of sorts, only with the game plan behind it so you actually MAKE PROGRESS with your list.
And it’s literally only 4 seemingly simple steps:
- Write a list of 100 things
- Create a skill chart
- Take immediate action
- Schedule how you’re going to spend your time to make it all happen
We’re only gonna focus on the first part today since it’s the phase I’m currently in myself (and let’s be honest, it’s the most fun one!), but I hope you take a few minutes afterwards to read the entire article in full so we can ride the journey together :)
But I gotta tell you – coming up with 100 things you desire is a LOT harder than it looks! And really sends you down a mental bender with every item you jot down.
Which is good.
The point isn’t to just dump everything out and start checking them off – it’s to figure out what you actually WANT out of this life and what you’re willing to fight for. Is it more money? Success? Love? Adventure? Something else entirely? What do you always wish you could do/get/go?
It’s about digging deep and really figuring out what we want instead of letting the world dictate it for us while stuck on auto-pilot. Jon says this process takes about two weeks of constant tweaking, reflecting, and literally carrying the list around with you every day until you’re finally happy with it.
And I believe it. It’s only been a few days since I started my own list and I’m only at #26!
Here’s what it looks like so far:
(The covered areas are names of people/places in my life – with the 2nd two spots being my kids :))
If you can read my chicken scratch up there, you’ll see a mixture of goals on it: small ones (leave a $100 tip for coffee), large ones (build a home from scratch!), easy ones (using cash only for a month?), fun ones (hopping on the next random flight out!), silly ones (visit Downton Abbey), and more longer-term goals that need much more attention than the rest (reaching financial independence).
A few of these are somewhat new over the past couple of years, but a majority have been on my mental list for a decade or two and have just never been prioritized enough to get to. Which is why I like this article so much – it forces you to stop and figure out not only *what* you want to work towards for real this time, but *how* you’re going to make it a reality! Even the wildest dreams of ours is do-able if you have your entire life to work towards them, right??
Something else this gets you to do is *appreciate* what you already have too. Sure you can always have more awesomeness in life, but the fact it took me 2 hours to just come up with these 26 items means I’ve already got a LOT of what I truly want already! The next 74 items or so (or hell, even 3/4ths of these up top) are all just gravy if I end up pulling them off in the end. As cliche as it is, I’d die a happy man if my time here comes to an end anytime soon. And most importantly, as a father.
Which leads to the third reason to start tracking your dreams better: You’re reminded of all the accomplishments you’ve already made! When I was stuck around the 9 or 10 mark I started going through old journals and blog posts here to see what I’ve listed out in the past (check out this one from 2010!), and realized that many of them I’ve since accomplished. Like say, having kids, becoming a full-time blogger, learning how to juggle, finally launching our podcast, and one of my personal favorites – growing a killer beard! *Tips hat*
So I started recording those down too, just to make myself feel better :)
You’ll also see a “Maybes” list there as well… These are things I’m not quite sure are worthy of being on the list yet, but intrigue me enough to think about adding later. Like learning how to meditate. I feel like everyone who does it SWEARS by it and are obsessed with how much stress it helps cut, so perhaps it’s worth giving an actual shot for once instead of lame-o attempts whenever I’ve randomly sat still for like 2.3 seconds trying to master it? (And totally failing?)
Again though, all part of the process of whittling down your list so you can start building up the plan around it. Which is really the key takeaway to all this. Not only to figure out what’s truly worthy of your time in your life right now, but to then start working on things bit by bit as the days go on. So even when we don’t cross any of the goals off the list one year, at least we’ve got a handful of them humming in the background as we’re inching closer!
I liked what Jon said towards the end of the post ;)
When you want to accomplish anything, the best way to do it is to stop dreaming. To focus and treat it like a project you’re being paid to do. A project that your job depends on. A project for the biggest a**hole you’ll ever work for — yourself.
Everyone dreams, but those who take action gets the gold. And why not prioritize ourselves more than we tend to do? Who else is going to do it for us?
So if you like this sorta stuff, your mission this week is to *start your own* 100 Things List and see how it goes throughout the week. Add stuff to it, delete stuff, sleep on them, ask your best friends/boyfriends/dogs if you’re missing anything, think about what’s truly worthy to be on there, and then once you’re comfortable with ’em move right away to steps #2 through #4.
You can check out the article again here – a must read!
Then make sure to keep us updated over time :) The list is really only for you, but nothing wrong with a little accountability, right? Tell us some of your dreams so we can ride along and encourage you!
I think the biggest game changer for me this time around will be keeping this list in my pockets once completed*. This same dude does exactly that himself and says it’s a constant reminder of what he wants out of life. Not a bad way to stay motivated, eh?
*Your list will never be truly complete, of course, since you’ll always be swapping in new items and getting rid of old ones, but keeping it updated and in your day-to-day activities can only give you a better shot at accomplishing them. So I do hope you join me!