101 Things to do in 1001 Days: Small Dreams into Reality

18 January, 2017

There are many different ways to make your dreams a reality. Stretching ourselves to make changes in our daily lives, planning and sharing our dreams are all part of the process. Thank you to Stephanie Pearson for sharing her experience with us.

101 Things to do in 1001 Days: Small Dreams into Reality

"There are many different ways to make your dreams a reality. Stretching ourselves to make changes in our daily lives, planning and sharing our dreams are all part of the process. Thank you to Stephanie Pearson for sharing her experience with us." - Betty-Anne

I was in a funk. I had just broken up with a man I had loved; I felt battered and bruised and closing another chapter of my life that pulled me farther from the social expectations of getting married, making babies and buying a home. I felt like a failure because these goals are so ingrained in the fabric of young women’s lives that we forget they’re not for everyone. Or, alternatively, they can be part of a future plan but they may not be available right now.

For me, the frustration was that they also required someone else. As a planner and an  independent woman, I refused to stagnate in moving forward because I was single. I was going to do some cool things and I didn’t need a romantic relationship to do it.

A friend introduced me to the concept of the 101 Things to do in 1001 days several years ago. She had struggled with the routine of her life back in Ottawa after returning from working and travelling overseas. She found, through her list, that there was plenty of adventure right here in front of her. Her experiences were inspiring.

1001 days is a little shy of 3 years. My approach to the list would challenge me in lots of different ways. I had goals that were sometimes silly (#47 Enter a Scrabble tournament), habit forming (#10 Give up Facebook for a month), skill building (#44 Crochet a Granny Square, #55 Surf) or facilitated travel (#5, #6, #12, #15, #20, #46, #61, #80, #81 etc).

The brilliance of the length of the 101 Things in 1001 Day project is that it allowed me to financially plan for bigger goals while encouraging me to commit to a date far earlier than “someday.” Bucket lists, that have become increasingly popular encourage you (subconsciously) to push back trying new things to “I’d like to that before I die.”

This simple challenge invites you to seize the day. Today.

Creating a separate 101 List account through my online banking meant that I was able to set aside money each paycheck to facilitate my projects. This account became “fun money” and a guilt free way to access my financial resources that were usually factored into my weekly budget. Scallops finally on sale at the fishmonger? Looks like it’s time for “#59 Cook scallops at home.” A quick transfer of funds and, voila, another goal off the list.

I set out my goals and journaled my experience with the delightful Day Zero project (my list is here). This helped me to share my goals with others who found it fun to help me accomplish these little victories. It was exciting to check off “in progress” and “done” as I achieved so many of my intentions. Furthermore, academic research says if it is written down, the goal will be more likely to be accomplished. And, boy, did I accomplish.

I loved this experience. I found myself changing my daily patterns to include different opportunities. I wasn’t bothered by the goals I missed; I was wholly invigorated by the new challenges and skills I was learning as part of my adventure in making my dreams a reality.

Postscript:  Most recently, I've made the dream of owning a home in my favourite part of Ottawa a reality. Thanks to Betty-Anne's help in beginning to plan for this over 15 years ago, I have been able to achieve this goal independently.

 Written by Stephanie Pearson