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How To Create A List of 100 Dreams

Have you ever created a List of 100 Dreams? It’s a great way to reflect on things that bring you happiness and joy and make more space for those things in your life. A List of 100 Dreams also helps us be more intentional and thoughtful about how we live and consume. Read on for more about how you can create a List of 100 Dreams to help find your happiness and live a more intentional life.

A few years ago, when our boys were very young, my husband and I felt we were in quite the rut. Life was boring, consumed too much by the daily grind of working and parenting young children. The excitement of life was getting lost in the mundane and the obligatory.

It’s ok for life to feel mundane sometimes. A life of constant excitement and energy would be overwhelming. The mundane gives us space for rest and reflection. But at the time, we needed to create a bit more space among the everyday for things to which we could look forward.

Buried in banal days, we decided to make a List of 100 Dreams. I’ve always been fairly intentional about setting goals but really loved this idea as a framework for setting intentions both large and small for the direction of our lives.

I found the List of 100 Dreams in the book 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam. She used the list to encourage readers to be more intentional about how we spend our time. The book is about how we have 168 hours in each week, and that’s more time than we might realize to create exciting and fulfilling lives. Instead, we spend too much time scrolling and squandering away hours doing things that don’t really matter to us.

Why Create A List of 100 Dreams?

A List of 100 Dreams does much more than become a series of line items on a piece of paper or stored in a note on our phone. A List of 100 Dreams connects us with our priorities and passions.

List of 100 Dreams For Intentional Living

While the List of 100 Dreams felt relevant for us five years ago as a framework for climbing out of the work and parenting rut, I think it works well to also help each of us create a life of more intention. Living without intention often leads to waste and excessive consumption. Developing a List of 100 Dreams can help us identify what matters most so we focus our time, energy, and resources on the pursuit of those priorities.

List of 100 Dreams To Pursue Eco-Friendly Living

Thoughtful and intentional living might not be the most “flashy” or “shiny” aspect of eco-friendly living, but it’s certainly a deep tenet of a more conscious lifestyle. As we think about how to live a more eco-friendly life, a List of 100 Dreams can be one tool that helps us establish guardrails, guidelines, and benchmarks against which to assess lifestyle decisions and consumption choices.

With these guardrails or benchmarks in mind, we can ensure that we spend our money and time on goods, services, and experiences that are consistent with our goals. We make fewer aimless or impulsive purchases without purpose.

Identify Trends and Themes With The List of 100 Dreams

The List of 100 Dreams also helps us reflect on our priorities and see trends or themes in what matters most to us. If we gravitate toward lots of goals about one part of our life and very few about another, it’s likely an indication of which aspects of life are most important to us and provide us the most joy or fulfillment.

For me, as an example, my List of 100 Dreams from 2015 and 2016 each had very few goals related to my professional career as a CPA. I took notice of this as did my family. I remember my Dad asking me specifically about this gap and wondering what it implied about my long-term future as a CPA.

At the time, I still had a steady career in public accounting. However, I knew in my heart it was an indication that my career as a CPA was not lifelong. Putting this list to paper helped others see this as well.

This was one of the first indications that I was ready to move on from my job, though it was another five or six years before I actually took the leap and left my fairly cozy and well-paying corporate job. At the time, the job served me well and supported a lifestyle that I enjoyed, thus making it a valid reason for continuing in a professional role despite it not being my passion.

As I revisit my List of 100 Dreams in 2020, having just quit my public accounting job a few months ago, it’s insightful to see that my List of 100 Dreams from five years highlighted the writing on the walls long before I planned to depart my firm.

My lists from 2015 and 2016 also included several goals related to the development my this blog, travel with my family, and a variety of eco-friendly living desires. Over the last five years, these activities have provided me some of the most joy on a day-to-day basis. I suspect if you create a List of 100 Dreams, you may find that themes and trends emerge that prove helpful to you as well.

What Do I Include On My List of 100 Dreams?

Dreams are yours, so they can be anything you want. Your dreams can be big and broad like ‘Buy a House’ or ‘Travel The World’. They can be as small as ‘fix the broken lock on our front door’ or ‘replace the battery in the car key’. You may have many mid-tier goals like ‘start composting’ or ‘grow herbs on the windowsill’ or ‘read aloud to my kids each night’.

As you create your List of 100 Dreams, let your heart lead the way. Don’t edit while you add items; just write. If it feels important or worthwhile, just add it. Don’t judge your goals for plausibility or validity or likelihood of completing. Just add them.

You’ll need each and every one to get to 100, so just trust me on this and add it to the list. You can always edit later. But chances are that if you want to write it down, it’s worth a line on your list.

Also, your List of 100 Dreams is not a list of things to be completed in the next year. It’s a list that includes both short-term and long-term goals. Be sure that you don’t limit your Dream to those that must be completed in a defined amount of time.

How To Create A List of 100 Dreams

  1. Let Ideas Flow Freely – Just Start Brainstorming & Writing
  2. Reflect on Themes and Trends That Appear
  3. Ask Yourself Specific Questions To Prompt Goals & Dreams
  4. Include Small and Large Dreams
  5. Group Similar Dreams Together
  6. Let The List Simmer
  7. Add Goals Over Time

There is no perfect way to create a List of 100 Dreams, but here are a few steps to consider to help create your complete list. After creating my own list and doing this exercise with members of my family several times, the first couple of dozen dreams are typically pretty easy to add. They are often broad or big goals that can be expensive or hard to achieve. They are fun and aspirational.

The next dozen or two dozen goals start to become smaller in scale and more achievable in the near-term. This is helpful because it provides some opportunities for immediate action. When you accomplish a few smaller goals, you also begin to create momentum to work toward the larger goals.

About halfway through the list, many people struggle to get to 100 items. Creating a list of 100 dreams is quite hard, but this is by design. Reflecting on goals and dreams beyond the obvious and aspirational “own a house” and “travel the world” types of goals gives us clarity about the things that really matter. This is the part of the list that provides guidelines and guardrails for daily life.

As I listed out above, the following seven steps can help you create a List of 100 Dreams. However, this is just a framework, so use it as a starting point and make this process of creating your List of 100 Dreams your own.

1. Let Ideas Flow Freely – Just Start Brainstorming & Writing

Grab a piece a paper and pen. Open a note on your phone. Whatever writing method works for you, give yourself a space to start creating a list that you can use for now and return to later. Also, make sure it’s something you can save for many months down the road and to which you can refer to periodically.

Now just start writing out whatever goals and dreams pop into your head. Some will be rather obvious. Write them down and keep moving.

Don’t judge your dreams as you consider them. If you really want to pursue them, don’t worry about the likelihood that you can actually achieve them or that other people will approve of them. This list is for you, and it’s intended to include dreams that are both achievable and aspirational.

2. Reflect on Themes and Trends That Appear

When you get stuck, reflect on the goals you’ve already written down. Do you see any themes? Are there several goals related to the same aspects of your life (kids, a job, a hobby, travel, etc…)? Do you have other goals related to those popular topics, especially goals that might be more specific and actionable in the near future?

Alternatively, do you see any areas of your life that are largely missing from your list of goals? As I mentioned above, I had very few goals related to my professional career. If you have a gap, is that because you simply forgot about it and have space for more dreams? Or did you miss it intentionally and it’s an indication that that part of your life just isn’t as much of a priority for you?

Let this reflection on trends and themes in your List of 100 Dreams be a starting point for additional goals related to your favorite areas that bring your joy and fulfillment.

3. Ask Yourself Specific Questions To Prompt Goals & Dreams

At this point, you may have run out of quick ideas and goals to jot down on your list. Consider starting to ask more specific questions to dig into your priorities. The list of questions to think about is endless, but here are a handful of questions that might spark more big and small dreams to add to your list.

  • What makes me happy?
  • Where do I hope to be in five years? Ten years?
  • What do I do that creates a sense of flow?
  • What will I wake up early to do on a regular basis?
  • What makes me feel really great?
  • Who are the most important people in my life and how do I like to spend time with them?
  • Is there anywhere I want to travel?

4. Include Small and Large Dreams

Your list should include both large and small goals. As I mentioned above, some of the large, aspirational goals will come to you quickly. They’re probably goals you’ve thought about for years. But in many cases, those aren’t goals you can act on today or this week or this month.

Be sure to include smaller and more actionable dreams that give you bits of joy throughout the day. These smaller goals may also be stepping stones toward the larger goals and dreams on your list.

The smaller goals not only help you make headway toward your bigger goals, but they also feed progress more generally. Small wins earned by accomplishing your near-term goals build energy and momentum to work toward the larger ones that seem farther away and more out of reach. Small goals and little dreams are just as valid and fulfilling as the big ones.

5. Group Similar Dreams Together

As your list grows, reorder your list and start to group similar goals together (to the extent it makes sense). This helps make your List of 100 Dreams more meaningful in a few ways.

First, an organized list helps you see how smaller goals build toward larger goals. When related or similar goals are grouped, you can create further dreams that breakdown your bigger goals into pieces you can “check off your list” over time.

Second, an organized List of 100 Dreams also reinforces the areas where you have gaps. This step is, in a way, documenting the high-level thought process you did a couple of steps ago to identify trends and themes. It will help you find areas to reflect on to create new dreams in the important areas that weren’t necessarily top of mind in your initial brainstorming session.

6. Let The List Simmer

You don’t have to add 100 dreams to your list in one sitting. I added about 50 or 60 dreams to my list in a few hours. However, you’re not likely to think of every important dream in one sitting. Over time, things will pop into your head in the most unexpected moments. As the list simmers in your mind and your heart, leave space to add more goals that come to mind.

7. Add Goals Over Time

I let my List of 100 Dreams simmer and took almost two months to finally complete it. Don’t feel like it’s a race to the end. I may sound like a broken record, but creating 100 goals is not easy. It’s difficult by design so that you can really contemplate the smaller, everyday goals that will feel meaningful day in and day out. Expect that it will take some time to complete this exercise and add goals over time.

When Should I Make A List of 100 Dreams?

Start Now! 🙂 There’s no bad time to create a List of 100 Dreams. You don’t need a lot of time to get started. Set aside fifteen or twenty minutes to open the note or grab a piece of paper and pen. Write down whatever comes to mind and stop as needed or when you get stuck.

Revisit your completed list once every year or two. You may also consider taking another look at your list if you have a major life event like a marriage, a baby, a new job, or a big move.

I bet you’ll find that a lot has changed. Many goals will no longer be important to you. Also, you will have accomplished many of the goals on the list, and it’s always rewarding to see tangible progress in our lives.

I made my first list in 2015 and then redid my list in 2016 when we moved from Chicago to Philadelphia. I set some goals in 2018 on a corkboard and made a list of 19 goals for 2019, but I didn’t come back to my List of 100 Dreams for a while. Having recently left my corporate job to focus on family, this blog, and WasteWell, I felt it was a great time to take another look at my List of 100 Dreams.

As I expected, many of my prior Dreams don’t really apply any more. I’ve either accomplished them or outgrown them (which is totally normal). After all, we all are changing as time passes and life’s circumstances evolve.

My 2020 List of 100 Dreams

So what does my List of 100 Dreams look like today? I’ve included many of the goals below (in no particular order, though I intentionally put my family goals first).

The list is not exhaustive. Some of my Dreams are personal and not things I prefer to share publicly. Also, my list is ever-changing. I’m not sure I’ll ever have a “finished” List of 100 Dreams at any given point in time.

I’d love to hear some of the things on your List of 100 Dreams. Have you every tried to make a List of 100 Dreams or done a similar exercise to help you be more intentional about lifestyle choices you make?

Family

  1. Teach my boys to cook (I’ve already taught them how to bake basic items, so now it’s on to cooking)
  2. Pay for our kids to go to the college of their choice
  3. Hug my boys at least once a day
  4. Attend most of the boys sporting events
  5. Have annual family photos
  6. Read 20-30 minutes to my boys each day
  7. Continue to foster a love of the library in each of my boys
  8. Encourage my boys to be curious and inquisitive
  9. Travel with M and the boys
  10. Volunteer with boys once per month
  11. Have a monthly date with my husband
  12. Complete a 5k as a family
  13. Make soft pretzels from scratch

Honestly Modern

  1. Have 100,000 monthly visitors to the blog
  2. Replace my corporate income with Honestly Modern and WasteWell income
  3. Have at least three solid income streams for the blog
  4. Complete the Mediavine RPM Challenge quarterly for the blog
  5. Increase Honestly Modern site speed to at least 90 (out of 100) on average for the blog
  6. Earn enough with Honestly Modern to hire a Virtual Assistant
  7. Attend a second blog conference in person (first in July 2015); either Mediavine or Alt Summit (once pandemic restrictions are lifted, of course)

WasteWell Composting

  1. Have 500 WasteWell customers
  2. Host educational classes about composting
  3. Add services to help people set up compost bins, get started, answer questions
  4. Start an advocacy program for composting in schools
  5. Make WasteWell business cards
  6. Get WasteWell featured in at least 3 local publications

Personal Health & Wellness

  1. Remain fit and at healthy weight for foreseeable future
  2. Stop biting my nails
  3. Feel physically strong
  4. Shop local whenever possible
  5. Spend zero dollars at Amazon
  6. Host school read-a-thon to raise money for the boys’ school
  7. Help my sister launch IEP & Me
  8. Quarterly photography walk by myself
  9. Complete the 365 project (365 project.org) – a photo a day for a year
  10. Complete the Gratitude Challenge for November, a first step toward the 365 Project
  11. Make sangria
  12. Attend a Ted Talk in person

Home & Garden

  1. Buy substantially all food from local farmers
  2. Grow full crops from our garden
  3. Have an orchard
  4. Have chickens
  5. Use the local goat service to clean up our property
  6. Finish a screened-in porch addition on our house
  7. Move a wall in our house for better flow to my office
  8. Have a consistently clean office
  9. Finish the basement in our home
  10. Use local contractors for all home ownership work
  11. Repaint most rooms in our house
  12. Wallpaper and decorate the main floor bathroom with only secondhand items (except wallpaper)
  13. Organize and decorate my office (secondhand only)
  14. Redecorate living room with only secondhand (except couch)
  15. Finish screened in porch with only deviant l secondhand accessories

Travel

  1. Take boys to Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania
  2. Attend all four tennis Grand Slams (Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, and Australian Open)
  3. Visit 10 National Parks with my family
  4. Live abroad for 6-12 months (when kids are older)
  5. Take each of my sons on a solo trip, once every other year
  6. Organize a trip for the boys to fly alone to my parents’ house one week each summer
  7. Go to Grand Canyon
  8. Go to Yellowstone
  9. Go to Glacier National Park
  10. Take boys to Little League World Series
  11. Annual trip with me and my husband
  12. Trip to French countryside with my husband
  13. Do a quarterly weekend trip with my husband
  14. 2 weeks in Spain with my husband
  15. Take the boys to the San Diego Air and Water Show
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