Improve Your Life in 100 Days

A well meaning friend sent me a link to an article on the

I should have just clicked on the article about “Seven Reasons Why Bentos are Good for You” or “7 Ways to Make Commuting Suck Less” but the link pointed me to “60 Small Ways to Improve Your Life in the Next 100 Days.”

60 ways and 100 days is a lot of changes.

Unfortunately, I am a compulsive To Do list maker and always ready to start another campaign at self-improvement.

The article’s author is Marelisa Fábrega. She blogs about creativity, productivity, and getting the most out of life over at Abundance Blog. She has a book “How To Live Your Best Life – The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List”.

Maybe if I lived with Marelisa, I would put be better at doing what my To Do lists tell me to do. I’m excellent at making the lists. Not great at completing them.

The appealing thing about the article is that I agree with the premise that “you don’t have to make drastic changes in order to notice an improvement in the quality of your life.” Small steps, taken consistently, for 100 days will show results. So, what might I try between now and September?

You might want use a calendar and just use one of the categories. How about a plan to do a little bit of decluttering every day? Day 1: Declutter Magazines, Day 2: Declutter DVD’s, Day 3: Declutter books…

I actually got a start on that when I boxed up 6 cardboard boxes full of books from my collection and donated them for an environmental center’s book swap day. Check one off the list of 100.

Or, you might choose the 100 days to happiness calendar. Write down 5 things that you’re grateful for each day, or make a list of 20 small things that you enjoy doing, and make sure that you do at least one of these things every day for the next 100 days. You want little things like eating your lunch outside, calling a good friend to chat, taking time to read each day.

One suggestion is to “keep a log of your mental chatter, both positive and negative, for ten days.” This one sounds anti-happy to me. “How many times do you beat yourself up during the day? Do you have feelings of inadequacy? Are you constantly thinking critical thoughts of others? How many positive thoughts do you have during the day?” Sounds like therapy. Yes, you’re supposed to spend the next 90 days changing your emotions for the better by modifying this negative mental chatter. Good luck.

Maybe you’re one of those people who rips through a good book over the weekend. I am not. In fact, I have gotten so much slower and much more distracted in my reading since my English major undergraduate years. So, a plan to pick a book that requires some real effort and concentration (though that already sounds like work) and read a little of it every day with a plan to finish in 100 days, sounds doable to me.

Here’s another one that’s doable for some of you. “Set your alarm a minute earlier every day for the next 100 days. Then make sure that you get out of bed as soon as your alarm rings, open the windows to let in some sunlight, and do some light stretching. In 100 days you’ll be waking up an hour and forty minutes earlier than you’re waking up now.” I’m not a morning person. I don’t want to wake up 100 minutes earlier. What I need to do is go to bed a minute earlier each night. Too many nights of post-midnight reading, watching and writing.

There are others: learn something new each day (You better write them down so you don’t forget what you learned.) There are a group of financial plans: Create a spending plan and track every cent that you spend for the next 100 days to make sure that you’re sticking to your spending plan. Scour the internet for frugality tips, choose ten of the tips that you find, and apply them for the next 100 days. Go to the grocery store with cash and a calculator. Pay for everything with paper money and keep any change that you receive. Then, put all of your change in a jar and see how much money you can accumulate in 100 days.

Track how you spend your time for 5 days. Note the ways in which you regularly waste time. Set a time budget to limit those things like no more than half-an-hour for television, or social media sites, such as Facebook, or video games.

Record every night what happened that day. A business-like diary. What did you accomplish? What went wrong?

What went right?

Of course, there are the obligatory health suggestions too. Reduce your caloric intake by 175 calories a day for the next 100 days, you’ll have lost 5 pounds in the next 100 days. Push yourself to eat five servings of vegetables or three servings of fruit of every day, or pick the one food that constantly sabotages your efforts to eat healthier and go cold turkey for those 14 weeks.

I actually started up again on the idea of wearing a pedometer and walking 10,000 steps a day. The only problem is that most of my walking during the day is too slow to really make much of a difference.

My wife would probably like the work on your relationship section. Write down something positive about your partner every day. Create a scrapbook of all the things you and your partner do together during the next 100 days. At the end, give your partner the list and the scrapbook you created.

This is not creating a Life List (not crazy about the Bucket List label). But just to rub it in, Marelisa has already crossed off 50 things from her personal life list including: Visited the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt; Took a cruise down the Nile and visited Abu Simbel; Graduated Cum Laude from Georgetown University; Got her J.D. there too; Passed the New York Bar (on the first try); Lived in Florence, Italy for a year and learned to speak fluent Italian; Visited Shakespeare’s birthplace; Got deported from Malta (Was that really on her list? I think she’s adding things along the way.); Saw the Mona Lisa; Rode in a horse-drawn carriage in New York; Saw the cherry blossoms in full bloom in Washington, D.C.; Achieved second-degree Reiki, the Japanese technique for channeling healing energy; Published a popular blog and created several sources of income online.

Don’t you feel a bit guilty and inadequate?

I may just start a list of things to accomplish if I live to be 100.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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