If you have a blank piece of paper, a pen, and 20 minutes to spare, I invite you to try the following experiment. Think of it as an excuse to put off those Saturday chores!
A few years ago, I came across an article written by Nora Dunn, promising “100 ways to change your life”. Skeptical, but curious, I scrolled down and ended up trying it.
The results were illuminating, inspiring, and even humorous. Give it a try!
Step 1: Clear all distractions: turn off your celly and your telly. Shut your door. Settle into a comfortable chair or climb in bed (because some portion of a Saturday afternoon should really be spent in bed anyway).
Step 2: Grab pen & paper: Set a timer for 20 minutes (I realize that might mean turning that celly back on; just make sure it’s on silent!)
Step 3: Go! Here’s the fun part. Write down, as quickly as you can, 100 things you want to do. Today, tomorrow, 70 years from now – it doesn’t matter. Think of people you want to meet, places you want to see, goals you want to accomplish, stories you’d eventually like to tell.
Forget for a moment that some things in life are impossible and let yourself dream big! After a while, your brain will slow down and might come to a complete stop. Keep going until that timer goes off, and write down whatever pops into your mind, even if it’s impossible and/or doesn’t make sense.
Step 4: After 20 minutes: put down that pen! Take your list, and simply tuck it away somewhere for a day, without reading it. No peeking!
Step 5: Wait one day: Now, patient one, you can take a look at your list. You might be surprised at what you see! I certainly was. I saw goals I had no memory of writing or even thinking, ranging from very doable (42. “give blood”) to impossible (85. “give up chocolate”). Some made me laugh (51. “sushi”). Some were extremely personal (those stay between me and my list!), while others were surprisingly inspiring (65. “fail but try again”).
As Nora emphasized, the point isn’t to develop some kind of mega-bucket list, but is instead an exercise in opening up your mind and taking a peek inside. It’s a reminder of the potential our lives still hold for us. And not to get all sappy, but it’s a reminder of what’s really important to you – not what your family, friends, and society expects from you.
Plus, it might be interesting to look back onto your list a few years from now (if you can hold on to it that long!) You may even get the satisfaction of checking off a few goals by then.
“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
-Alice in Wonderland
Feel free to share how it goes for you – was anyone surprised by their results?