101 goals in 1001 days – a conclusion

On Wednesday April 4th 2012, I started a project entitled 101 goals in 1001 days. The idea of the project was to create a list of life goals that you want to achieve and then set a time constraint of about 2 and three quarter years in which to achieve them. New Year resolutions often are too short (not to mention the fact that they start in the coldest, darkest, most miserable time of year) and bucket lists are too open ended to actually knuckle down and Get It Done.

I love a project. What I loved most about this one is that you never sit still – there’s always something that can be done to bring you a little closer to getting the list complete, and it gives you plenty of ideas for bank holiday weekends!

In the beginning it was great, I planned and booked a trip (by myself) to Prague for that first weekend and then I cracked on with booking and starting the other goals. The first goal was to write a letter to myself, which I will post here.

Hello future self, past self here.

You’re currently 23 and on the first day of the 101 goals project. Right now you’re two months into working at Polymorph (you still find the mornings very difficult!) and you’ve just got back from Tenerife. You’re going to Prague this weekend which you consider to be the real start of the project. I hope you had a good time.

The lead up to the project was great, and choosing things to put on the list seemed very easy. It’s hard to know what things on that list aren’t going to be possible for you to do, but it’ll be interesting finding out, most importantly I am excited to see how you get on with scuba-diving, and living in another country. I think that would be amazing.

The main reason that I wanted to do this project was to enforce the idea that work isn’t everything, and that having a life that is rich and full is more important than slogging away making money for someone else. It’s too easy these days to get wrapped up.

I wonder if doing things from this list will make you calm down and slow down a bit. I sometimes get anxious and feel an overwhelming desire that I’m not doing enough with my life, even though when I put it into perspective I have done a lot of great things. I always say that I wish I could fast-forward life just so that I could see how it will turn out. Life isn’t like that though, and it’s important to realise that life is THE NOW and not THE FUTURE. I hope you’ve realised that.

You’re 26 years old. That’s a scary thought for me.  Every year comes by faster and faster and at the moment I am on the right side of 25 whereas you are not. But I bet you don’t even feel any different, and you shouldn’t, because you are still young (even if you’re not as young as me!).

I hope you are still being kind to people, especially your parents, and you have treated them well over the last two-and-something years.

The truth of it all is, I think it’s going to be time to open this letter in what feels like no time at all. I bet you even still remember the trouble you had with that last sentence, god only knows how to write “fly-by” into a sentence. I bet you are still the same as me really, it won’t matter that you’ve got a little older although I’m sure you’ll be shitting yourself about “sorting your life out”.

Don’t panic.

Everything will be fine.

Your past self,

Aged 23 and 11 months.

It was very interesting reading the letter again and it made me quite emotional really, a lot has happened since I wrote it (mostly for the better!) and being transported back made me realise how much has changed. So what’s my life like now?

I live in Manchester now in a lovely little apartment in Salford Quays, with my boyfriend Riz. We started dating at the end of 2012 after knowing each other for about 3 years (we used to work together) and it’s still going strong. I love him more than anything and I’m so happy and glad he is in my life. Career wise, I’m working for the BBC in MediaCity as an Android developer on the iPlayerRadio mobile team, who are an absolutely awesome bunch of people and working there is both challenging and fun. I think I have a good balance between work and play, I love my job but I also appreciate time away from it (they might argue that I spend a lot of time away on holiday!) and I’m DEFINITELY on the way to “sorting my life out”. I realise though that no matter what, there’s always something new that can come round the corner, and I don’t think I’ll ever be “sorted” but then again, who would want to be?

As for scuba diving, I’m doing a PADI Divemaster programme at the moment which is the first step into being a professional scuba diver. I’ve logged over 60 dives now, with dives in Mexico, Iceland, Greece, Wales, and plenty in the UK. It’s going really well and I’m hoping to sort out a few more dive trips for 2015.

Travel. Anyone that knows me will know that I love to travel and that I travel a lot. One glaring thing I missed from my 101 was “Live in a foreign country for three months“. When I started the project I had just come back from three months travelling around Latin America (see my blog about it here) and I was keen to leave the country again. It didn’t end up being possible, partly because I took a job with the BBC that I didn’t want to give up, but mostly because I realised that I could hold a job as well as travel, as long as it was timed right. It’s better to travel AND have money, right?

So to recap travel, I’ve visited the following places in the last 1001 days:

  1. Prague, Czech Republic
  2. Brussels, Belgium
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. Kenya (three week safari visiting several parks)
  5. Madrid, Spain
  6. Paris, France
  7. Barcelona, Spain
  8. Rhodes, Greece
  9. Italy (with my dad, we visited Venice, Ancona, Recanati and Verona)
  10. Central Europe (surprise trip from Riz, we went to Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava and Prague)
  11. Mexico (month long trip travelling from Mexico City to Cancun)
  12. Iceland

I’ve missed some goals that I’m pretty gutted about. Some were frustratingly close to being finished as well.

  1. Learn a song on the piano/guitar” – Riz bought me a piano for Christmas 2013 and I have been practicing and can get a little tune going but I’m nowhere near the point where I’m any good. I’ll keep at it though.
  2. Learn sign language” – I ended up finding it difficult to find a course that wasn’t a college course, so I did try and teach myself from online materials but only got as far as the alphabet.
  3. Volunteer at a hospice” or “Volunteer in a local community“. I’m somewhat ashamed to say, I never had enough time to commit to either of these.
  4. Carve something out of wood” – gah! I was whittling a christmas ornament but never got it finished. Turns out whittling is hard.
  5. Grow a bonsai tree” – I really tried with this one, my friend Bex bought me a kit but the seeds never germinated, so I bought more but they never germinated either!
  6. Write a short story” – I did a Futurelearn course in writing and got the beginnings of a story nailed, but it kind of tailed off towards the end as I needed to get the assignment handed in.

Now is the time to hear the actual conclusion of the project!

I completed 71 out of 101 goals.
My most expensive goal was “Go on Safari“.
16 of those goals cost me over £100.
18 of those goals were free.
10 of those goals cost me £10 or less.
In total I spent 65 days completing goals (averaging 24 hours per goal).
My average rating was 4.4 out of 5.

Would I do this project again? YES

Goal complete: 100 day updates

This is getting a bit meta now..

I made a Google document to keep track of the goals I had completed, with the name of the goal, cost, time taken, and rating of the goal. I realised too late that I should have put the date of completion as well. It was still useful in case I forgot anything.

The updates themselves were on the blog but I found that I couldn’t be bothered writing them. I wanted to highlight things like the ‘most expensive goal’ and the overview of ratings. The problem with it was that the results were cumulative and didn’t really change that much and it mostly just required me to change a few figures and post again.

http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-100/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-200/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-300/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-400/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-500/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-600/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-700/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-800/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-900/
http://carriehall.co.uk/blog/day-1000/

Day 1000

One day to go technically, but I’m giving myself a fortnight of ‘injury time’…

Total goals complete: 67

Cost

Most expensive goal: Go on Safari
Cheapest (not free) goal: Make a random recipe from a cookbook / Make a Herman friendship cake
Free goals: 18 – Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over, Keep a “My day in six words” diary for a month, Read Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, Donate blood, Go jogging twice a week on average for three months, Raise £250 for charity, Pay off parents, Create a portfolio website, Do a tour of London sights, Do a cookery class, Host a poker game, Write at least 20 TripAdvisor reviews, Do some sort of public speaking, Complete a Coursera course, Watch 10 of my favourite childhood Disney movies, Have someone couch surf at my house, Learn to open my eyes underwater

Total cost of completed goals: £8384
Average cost per goal: £127

Time

Most time spent on a goal: 408 hours – Go on safari
Least time spent on a goal: 5 mins – buy a meal for a homeless person 
Total time spent on completed goals: 65 days 
Average time per goal: 24 hours

Ratings

5 star goals: 40
4 star goals: 16
3 star goals: 9
2 star goals: 1
1 star goals: 1

Am I on target to complete it? NO :-( 

Goal complete: Cenote diving in Mexico

The main reason behind my recent month long trip to Mexico was to dive in the cenotes. I only heard about them when I last visited Mexico back in 2011 and they sounded great. This time round I dived three cenotes, Dos Ojos, The Pit, and Tajma Ha with Luis from Happy Manta, who was an amazing dive guide.

They were all fantastic and very different from each other, the Pit is a deep sinkhole and dropping through the sulphur layer was unlike any dive I had done before. Dos Ojos was a shallower dive but had incredible stalactites and columns, even some catfish. Tajma Ha was a little bit of both, once again it was wonderful.

I was amazed by the formations and sights that are inside these beautiful freshwater caves, and I would love to return some day soon.

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Goal complete: Open my eyes underwater

For some people this is so easy that I imagine a lot of people won’t understand why I have it as a goal. For me it’s been something that I’ve never been able to do, opening my eyes for a moment has always been followed by severe pain which takes me a minute or so to recover from. Whether it’s in the sea or in the pool, this has always been the case.

Until now! Riz and I managed to find a freshwater open cenote on our recent holiday to Mexico where I was able to swim with my eyes open for the first time ever.

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Day 900

Total goals complete: 63

Cost

Most expensive goal: Go on Safari
Cheapest (not free) goal: Make a random recipe from a cookbook / Make a Herman friendship cake
Free goals: 17 – Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over, Keep a “My day in six words” diary for a month, Read Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, Donate blood, Go jogging twice a week on average for three months, Raise £250 for charity, Pay off parents, Create a portfolio website, Do a tour of London sights, Do a cookery class, Host a poker game, Write at least 20 TripAdvisor reviews, Do some sort of public speaking, Complete a Coursera course, Watch 10 of my favourite childhood Disney movies, Have someone couch surf at my house

Total cost of completed goals: £8279
Average cost per goal: £131

Time

Most time spent on a goal: 408 hours – Go on safari
Least time spent on a goal: 5 mins – buy a meal for a homeless person 
Total time spent on completed goals: 63 days 
Average time per goal: 24 hours

Ratings

5 star goals: 36
4 star goals: 16
3 star goals: 9
2 star goals: 1
1 star goals: 1

Am I on target to complete it? NO :-( 

Goal complete: Go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

A few years ago I went to the Edinburgh Fringe with some friends and I loved it. Every year since I’ve been trying to arrange to go again but failed, usually because I try to arrange a shared apartment with a group but we either run out of time or people drop out.

Riz and I went alone this year and stayed in Euro Hostel Edinburgh. It was great, close enough to all the action yet remained (reasonably) cheap.

We saw some great shows, including

  • David O’Doherty
  • Trainspotting
  • Showstopper – The Improvised Musical
  • Tim Vine

Goal complete: Swim one mile

Last year I started doing some open water swimming and loved it, so this year I made a bit more effort to get into it. To help get some motivation, I signed up for the Great Manchester Swim, a one mile swim through Salford Quays. Training was easy as this is only minutes away from my flat, and as it wasn’t a terrible distance, I did a few training mile swims in there as well.

My auntie Janet and her friend Janine were also doing the race so on the morning of the race we all got ready at my flat. Everything was on our side except the weather. The night before I was woken up by a terrible thunderstorm which carried on until the morning. We had a brief interlude of rain whilst we walked over to the starting line, and by the time we’d done the warm up I was more than ready to get into the water. Normally I’m nervous at the start of races but this was the first time I felt totally prepared. When the buzzer went, I launched myself in the water and swam pretty quickly past a lot of people (only because I’d cheated and started from the back!). I slowed down a bit due to a lot of people in the water but finished in about 38-39 minutes.

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As ever, my mum was the support and she brought along my auntie Sylvie who was still struggling after an operation she’d had on her foot. They stayed out in the rain with their umbrellas and deck chairs, soaked through the skin, yet still following us round the course and cheering for us. I love these two!

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Goal complete: Knit someone a gift

For Christmas my friend Maxine got me a knitting kit to knit my own tea cosy. She’d been knitting herself for a year or so and was really enjoying it. I thought instead it might be nice to knit her something for her birthday, so I decided on a scarf as it was difficult but achievable. Little did I know just how long it takes to knit a scarf, when you’re doing purl stitch on 5mm needles. I missed her birthday (February) but eventually managed to give her the finished product, right in time for summer..

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Many thanks to Natalie Cannell for helping me to cast off!

Goal complete: Complete a Rescue Diver course

Let’s do a quick recap on my diving career so far..

August 2011: PADI Open Water course with JAWS Glossop.
November 2011: First dive as a qualified diver, doing the Altitude Speciality in Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
December 2011: Diving in Utila, Honduras. Completed the PADI Advanced Open Water here, the PADI Wreck Speciality, and the PADI Enriched Air Speciality. Left Utila with 18 dives in total.
2012: Fun dives in Tenerife and Anglesey, 5 dives in total
2013: 4 dives this year, including Greece and the Blue Planet Aquarium shark dive.
2014: PADI Dry Suit Speciality with Aquatech in March, where I then decided it was time to do the PADI Rescue Diver course. In total I had done 30 dives.

The course is very demanding, it requires first aid training our of the water and lots of situations in open water which you are expected to respond to. There’s the obligatory book and dvd, and the some extra open water skills, but then the course can be run in a variety of different ways.

Topics include:

Self rescue
Recognizing and managing stress in other divers
Emergency management and equipment
Rescuing panicked divers
Rescuing unresponsive divers

Unfortunately for me, I was very ill on that weekend so my head wasn’t totally in the right place to take it all in, but I got through it OK and was certified! We were diving in Capenwray quarry which is a great place to learn as it is interesting but also very controlled and safe.

Goal complete: Do a pole dancing class

To complete this goal I enlisted the help of Groupon, and got a voucher for six sessions of pole fitness at Pole Sessions in Worsley. The sessions were tough – the first session had me in agony and covered in bruises until the following week, and they got progressively harder.

It’s a great way to keep fit, you use all the muscles in your body whilst having fun at the same time, and there’s a real sense of accomplishment when you realise you are hanging upside down holding onto a pole with only your thighs.

Recommended.

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Day 800

Total goals complete: 58

Cost

Most expensive goal: Go on Safari
Cheapest (not free) goal: Make a random recipe from a cookbook / Make a Herman friendship cake
Free goals: 17 – Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over, Keep a “My day in six words” diary for a month, Read Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, Donate blood, Go jogging twice a week on average for three months, Raise £250 for charity, Pay off parents, Create a portfolio website, Do a tour of London sights, Do a cookery class, Host a poker game, Write at least 20 TripAdvisor reviews, Do some sort of public speaking, Complete a Coursera course, Watch 10 of my favourite childhood Disney movies, Have someone couch surf at my house

Total cost of completed goals: £7339
Average cost per goal: £126

Time

Most time spent on a goal: 408 hours – Go on safari
Least time spent on a goal: 5 mins – buy a meal for a homeless person 
Total time spent on completed goals: 55 days 
Average time per goal: 23 hours

Ratings

5 star goals: 32
4 star goals: 15
3 star goals: 9
2 star goals: 1
1 star goals: 1

Am I on target to complete it? NO :-( 

Goal complete: Build a ship in a bottle

When I was growing up we had a lot of nautical themed things in our house, including a large ship in a bottle in our hallway. I don’t know where it all came from and I don’t think my dad is actually as obsessed with these things as I once thought. Anyway I always liked the idea of doing a ship in a bottle but I wasn’t that bothered about having to buy all of the tools.

One day I was getting the ferry over to Liverpool and noticed a ship in a bottle kit. Perfect! Or so I thought until I started to implement the steps. The problem with the kit was that it was mostly pre-drilled, except for the bits that are really hard to drill. There isn’t a list of required tools either so I would sit down to do some work on it and quickly realised the stuff I have around the house wasn’t up to the job.

On the other hand, because it was a kit it also meant that it wasn’t AS complicated as most, and therefore didn’t even look that good in the end. The £10 kit ended up costing me about £35, and a lot of wasted time hunting down specific things that I had to buy for it.

The worst part about it was that a few days after I built it I came home to find the neck had smashed off without any reason. Oh well, it is what it is.

Goal complete: Have someone couch-surf at my house

You may remember back in 2012 when Leyla and I went to Finland and couchsurfed for a few days with some students in a big house in Helsinki. We had a great time and our hosts were really nice, and I wanted to return the favour by hosting some couchsurfers of my own.

I’m living in an apartment in Salford Quays and have a spare double room so it’s great for people wanting to visit Manchester. I wasn’t advertising the room for long before I started getting requests.

The first ones that I could host were Tereza and her friend Karol who were living in Cambridge but originally from the Czech Republic, they are currently working as au-pairs but looking to start University this year so were coming to Manchester for an open day and to look around.

They were lovely girls to host, I was quite busy for one of the days but they were busy at the open day, we managed to have a meal together though and chat a little about Manchester.

Here are the reviews we left for each other on couchsurfing..

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Day 700

Total goals complete: 53

Percentage complete: 52%

Cost

Most expensive goal: Go on Safari
Cheapest (not free) goal: Make a random recipe from a cookbook / Make a Herman friendship cake
Free goals: 15 – Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over, Keep a “My day in six words” diary for a month, Read Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, Donate blood, Go jogging twice a week on average for three months, Raise £250 for charity, Pay off parents, Create a portfolio website, Do a tour of London sights, Do a cookery class, Host a poker game, Write at least 20 TripAdvisor reviews, Do some sort of public speaking, Complete a Coursera course, Watch 10 of my favourite childhood Disney movies

Total cost of completed goals: £7254
Average cost per goal: £136

Time

Most time spent on a goal: 408 hours – Go on safari
Least time spent on a goal: 1 hour – Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over
Total time spent on completed goals: 52 days 
Average time per goal: 24 hours

Ratings

5 star goals: 30
4 star goals: 14
3 star goals: 8
2 star goals: 1
1 star goals: 0

Am I on target to complete it? NO :-( (but I have got loads in progress which are going well)

Goal complete: Learn Spanish to a conversational level

It’s hard to know where to draw a line with this. I’ve done a lot of Pimsleur in the past, especially before my trip to South America, and more recently I’ve completed some courses with a teacher in Manchester. We’ve gone into quite a lot of detail about grammar which I feel has given me a deeper understanding of Spanish which is what I wanted. The only way to be properly fluent is to spend a long time in that country, which I don’t foresee happening in the near future.

 

Goal complete: Go to the cinema by myself

Some people think that going to the cinema alone is really weird. Personally I think it’s a great way to spend an evening and I can’t believe that I hadn’t done it before! I think these goals are making me a more “well rounded person”.

I went to watch Wolf of Wall St – most people I knew absolutely raved about it and it had been out for a while so there wasn’t too much risk of the cinema being really full. It was as good as people had said, and it wasn’t too weird being alone for it.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

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Goal complete: Watch 10 of my favourite Disney movies

Goal change alert. This was originally ‘Watch a Disney musical theatre production’ and I was planning on watching The Lion King, but my mum kindly reminded me that I’d seen it in Paris a number of years ago.

The films I rewatched (in no particular order)

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An American Tail (1986)

This was released before I was born but it was one of my all time favourites. I still cried when the little mouse got reunited with his family

 

 

 

MV5BMTI5NTI3OTAyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg3ODkxMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR3,0,214,317_Hercules (1997)

Who puts the glad in gladiator? HERC-U-LES!

 

 

 

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The Aristocats (1970)

I hadn’t ever realised the full story of this one, butler tries to kill cats and kittens so that he can inherit a fortune when his mistress dies? Sinister.

Abraham deLacy, Giuseppe Casey, Thomas O’Malley. O’Malley, the alley cat!

 

MV5BMjAwMTExODExNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjM2MDgyMTE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_The Jungle Book (1967)

Another surprisingly old film but one that I watched over and over as a kid. We even named our cat Bagheera.

 

 

 

MV5BMjE2MjI0NjQ3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk5ODczMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_Robin Hood (1973)

AKA the best Robin Hood film.

 

 

 

MV5BNzQ3OTU3ODA3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzYwODk3OA@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_Peter Pan (1953)

Classic Peter Pan – kidnapping kids so that they don’t have to grow up.

 

 

 

MV5BMjAwNzA3NTk0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzkyNDEzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR8,0,214,317_Lady and The Tramp (1955)

Aww, I’m not a big fan of dogs but this is sad. When I have kids I’m not going to ignore my pets like stupid Jim Darling.

 

 

 

MV5BNTAxMzY0MjI1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTU2NTYxMTE@._V1_SX214_Little Mermaid (1989)

Wow, a 16 year old girl leaves her family to run off with a total stranger that leads a totally different life (i.e. he has legs, she doesn’t). Pretty bold move Ariel.

 

 

 

MV5BNTI4ODQ1MzAzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzU4NzMxMDE@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_Aladdin (1994)

I loved re-watching this and realising that there’s themes of arranged marriages and mentions of Islam that were totally lost on me as a kid.

 

 

 

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The Lion King (1994)

OK I lied when I said no particular order. I saved the best ’till last! This film is brilliant from start to finish.