Tags: weakness

the torch-ginger

101 in 1001

Forever is composed of nows.
Emily Dickinson


Over nine months ago, I told the world that I would write a list that, in a process of incremental victories, would change my life.

Finally, on November 19th, in the earliest hours of the morning, listening to zordac's near-apnea, I wrote my list in a ten-inch, spiral bound school notebook (my current think-pad of choice).

The list is this: one hundred one things I will accomplish in one thousand one days. 101 in 1001. These items can be modest or they can be monumental. These tasks can affect just one person, or millions.

I know that my attitude and goals will change over the nearly three years that list is supposed to take, so I will allow myself to change some of the items. I can take any item off the list but only if I put one of equal difficulty and significance in its place.

I am including this on my LJ profile page and after a few days will put this entry at the top of my journal. Encouragement is always welcome; questions about why any item deserves to by on my list are also welcome. Please let me know if you choose to write your own 101 in 1001 or anything with a similar agenda.

My list is very personal. Many of my choices may seem unimportant, superfluous, and wasteful. Some acknowledge, unblinkingly, my most embarrassing weaknesses. All are things I have talked about doing without actually doing. They may not change the world, but doing these things will change me.
My 101 in 1001
1. Write this list.
2. Finish building Clay Canvas website (gratis, for a company I adore).
3. Learn to ballroom dance. - Took one class in Dec. 2008, will take more when another event calls for it.
4. Go out specifically to ballroom dance in public.
5. Finish curtains for living room. - Finished April 2009, added sheers to the list to go under them.
6. Complete one original piece of artwork.
7. Complete one original piece of artwork per month for three months.
8. Complete one original piece of artwork per month for six months.
9. Showcase artwork in a local arts and crafts festival.
10. Showcase artwork in a traditional art gallery.
11. Sell one piece of original artwork.
12. Learn to sing an Irish drinking song.
13. Learn to sing at least three Irish drinking songs.
14. Have a dress up portrait photography day.
15. Paint a studio photography background.
16. Make softboxes for studio photography (again).
17. Maintain a day sleep schedule for one month (with fewer than two off days).
18. Maintain a day sleep schedule for three months (with fewer than six off days).
19. Maintain a day sleep schedule for six months (with fewer than twelve off days).
20. Maintain a day sleep schedule for one year (with fewer than twenty-four off days).
21. Host another murder mystery party.
22. Write my own murder mystery scenario for at least ten players.
23. Write/script a dark, spooky, one-shot larp for three to six players.
24. Sweep/vacuum floors once a week for one month.
25. Sweep/vacuum floors once a week for three months.
26. Make dust ruffle Velcro attachment for master bedroom.
27. Paint the master bedroom.
28. Organize my office as a clean, flexible art studio, sewing room.
29. Touch up paint in living room and dining room.
30. Make/build canopy for master bed.
31. Get a job (small or big to supplement my self-employment income).
32. Help Jimmy pay off dining room table and chairs (must be completed by Nov. 2009). - Jimmy did this without my help; I need to add something to replace it.
33. Pay off credit card. - No more debt except student loans, March 2009
34. Get health insurance.
35. Keep kitchen clean for two weeks.
36. Keep kitchen clean for one month.
37. Keep kitchen clean for three months.
38. Visit both sides of my extended family at least six times a one year period.
39. Write a will, a living will, and last wishes and burial information.
40. Exercise every other day for two weeks.
41. Exercise every other day for one month.
42. Exercise every other day for three months.
43. Exercise every other day for six months.
44. Buy an alto or tenor recorder, hang drum, or other simple instrument.
45. Learn to read music.
46. Learn to play three songs by heart on the recorder, hang drum, or other simple instrument.
47. Play in a large main event poker tournament.
48. Hang artwork in the living room.
49. Hang artwork in the dining room.
50. Design and build/or have built a sideboard and cabinetry in the dining room.
51. Decorate guest bedroom.
52. Make curtains for master bedroom.
53. Make curtains for dining room.
54. Make curtains for guest bedroom.
55. Sew/drape another Halloween costume next fall.
56. Finally set up a Christmas tree.
57. Host Jimmy's family for a holiday celebration. Thanksgiving 2008
58. Host my family for a holiday celebration.
59. Learn to belly dance. - In the works! So far, I look ridiculous.
60. Design and build a website for my work and/or creative pursuits.
61. Trim hedges and shrubs in the early spring.
62. Write a complete outline for a novel or web comic.
63. Spend two hours per day for one week working on novel or web comic.
64. Spend two hours per day for two weeks working on novel or web comic.
65. Go to a storytelling convention.
66. Participate in one political demonstration.
67. Take a tap dancing class.
68. Color (or have colored) my hair a deep shade of red (similar to Debra Messing's).
69. Volunteer for one hour.
70. Volunteer for one hour per week for one month.
71. Design and apply full back henna tattoo for Tiffany.
72. Organize tools on sun porch.
73. Keep bedroom tidy for one month.
74. Keep bedroom tidy for three months.
75. Keep bedroom tidy for six months.
76. Get married? - Engaged June 18, 2009, wedding within a year or so.
77. Get pregnant? (If I choose to do this, it will be at the very end of the 1001 days).
78. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for two hours.
79. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours.
80. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours every day for a week.
81. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours every day for a three weeks.
82. Go without playing any pointless online games for one week.
83. Go without playing any pointless online games for two weeks.
84. Go without playing any pointless online games for one month.
85. Spend one week helping Grandma with her family photo project.
86. Attend a Renaissance Faire or Celtic Festival.
87. Save $1000.
88. Save $5000.
89. Save $10,000.
90. Go for one week without doing the tapping/syllable-counting fidget thing.
91. Lose ten pounds.
92. Lose twenty-five pounds.
93. Lose fifty pounds.
94. Lose seventy-five pounds.
95. Grow poker bankroll to $2500. - In progress.
96. Post a thoughtful entry in Livejournal twice per week for one month.
97. Post a thoughtful entry in Livejournal twice per week for three months.
98. Make a t-shirt quilt.
99. Complete (at least with a sketchy outline) my unfinished travel diaries.
100. Sort and organize my travel diaries and memorabilia.
101. Plan and go on another vacation with Jimmy.
I have also divided my 1001 days into trimesters. Deadlines help. My 1001 days started November 19th, 2008.
  • The first trimester will last 333 days and end on Sunday, October 18, 2009. I will be thirty years old.

  • The second trimester will last 334 days and end on Friday, September 17, 2010. I will be thirty-one years old.

  • The third trimester will last 334 days and end on Wednesday, August 17, 2011. I will be thirty-two years old.
the torch-ginger

Improving Willpower

This is an excellent article in the New York Times.

In quick-list form:
  • Willpower functions like a storehouse. When used for one task, it is depleted and therefore unavailable for future tasks within a certain time period. — Conclusion: save your willpower for when you really need it and avoid situations and activities that will diminish your ability to concentrate before you have to do something important.

  • Willpower is also related to blood sugar. — Conclusion: Take time to eat something (real calories, not diet soda, not that this is a problem for me) and relax between tasks. Recuperation is a necessity for success.

  • Like a weak muscle, willpower can be improved over time through working to achieve one completed goal after another. — Conclusion: Don't spread your attention out over several tasks. Choose one or two tasks and focus on those things until completion.


  • This may seem obvious for many people, but explained altogether, it really helped me to understand how willpower works, and, more importantly, how to tweak a few routines throughout my day (and year) to improve my willpower.

    Excerpt:
    Focusing on success is important because willpower can grow in the long term. Like a muscle, willpower seems to become stronger with use. The idea of exercising willpower is seen in military boot camp, where recruits are trained to overcome one challenge after another.

    In psychological studies, even something as simple as using your nondominant hand to brush your teeth for two weeks can increase willpower capacity. People who stick to an exercise program for two months report reducing their impulsive spending, junk food intake, alcohol use and smoking. They also study more, watch less television and do more housework. Other forms of willpower training, like money-management classes, work as well.


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