Making a list of 100 dreams was harder than I thought

Typically at the beginning of each year I make an uber list of my goals for the year. These were always things within my control that I wanted to do within the next year. This year, I decided to do something else first. I decided to make a list of 100 dreams.

Making a list of 100 dreams is a technique recommended by author and time management expert Laura Vanderkam that she credits to career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine. As Ms. Vanderkam describes it,

The idea is to create a completely unedited list of anything you might want to do or have in your life. These dreams can be as profound as winning a Nobel Prize, or as mundane as keeping some really good dark chocolate-covered caramels in the house.

100 dreams is a lot, but the idea is to stretch, to really think about things you want to do beyond the obvious things. Additionally, the 100 dreams don’t need to be achievable within the year.

Ms. Vanderkam acknowledges that you might lose interest in some dreams before you complete them. As you complete items or your priorities change, your list will evolve. You can see how Ms. Vanderkam’s list transformed from 2010 to 2013 to 2015 to 2017.

Making a list of 100 dreams seemed like an interesting exercise. I always feel like there are so many things that I want to do it would be nice to keep track of them. I figured I’d use my list of 100 dreams to develop my 2018 uber list, which would include some of the more easily achievable dreams and some baby steps that might get me closer to some of the more ambitious goals. I figured making a list of 100 dreams would be fun! I didn’t realize that making a list of 100 dreams would be so hard!

I barely made it to 10 dreams when I already started to run out of steam. I focused and made it to around 50 on my first day of working on the list. It took days for me to get to the end. An idea or two would come every few hours. I actually sat at 99 for a day, wrote something down, crossed it out, and wrote something else in as dream 100. I’m still not happy with that one. Maybe I should make my 100th dream be to come up with a decent 100th dream. *sigh*

Despite the struggle, I am glad I did it. I put in writing some things that had only been in my head, and I realized some things about what I really want from life. (Spoiler: I’m not as ambitious as I thought.)

No, I’m not going to share my list of 100 dreams. Being dreams, some are personal or potentially embarrassing. I’m sure I will reference individual dreams every now and then, particularly if I achieve them. Stay tuned!

There were definitely themes in the dreams I came up with:

  • 18 dreams are related to writing or having my writing performed or published,
  • 13 dreams are related to other creative ventures,
  • 12 dreams are related to travel,
  • 12 dreams are related to organizing my house/life,
  • 9 dreams are related to professional development, and
  • 8 dreams are related to fitness.

The rest of the items are miscellaneous aspirations like having a Pittsburgh sandwich named after me at Jerry’s Sandwiches in Andersonville or owning a pinball machine.

Again, I don’t expect to achieve all the things I wrote down by the end of 2018. I do hope that this year I may be able to achieve some of them and edge closer to a few others.

Do you think you could come up with a list of 100 dreams? Let me know if you try!

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