101 in 1001 challenge – September 2013 update

With a few months left to complete my 101 tasks in 1001 days challenge, I’m overdue for an update since the last one I posted was in January 2013. I actually got a lot done so far this year, but I realize some areas in my career and my finances still need attention. I’ve had to deal with a lot of unexpected distractions this year that threw me off focus, and I’m getting back into the groove just now. If I don’t get all of my 101 tasks done by the end of the year, I’ll put a new list together of specific items I want accomplished in 2014. When I see how much I’ve accomplished with this challenge, I’m excited to start something similar again when it’s over. Such a list really helps keeping me accountable.

The garden

cherry tomatoes

A few cherry tomatoes we managed to eat

5) Grow food plants in the garden (Spring 2013) (1/1) 
6) Grow food plants in the garden (Summer / Fall 2013) (1/1) 
8) Grow strawberries (1/1) 
Alright, so I’m glad I used the word “grow” for these three challenges, and not “eat”. I harvested very little this spring and summer because the many critters (bugs, lizards and squirrels) got to them first. I have tried so many things to secure my garden and still, nothing has worked. So if I’m going to waste water to grow things I won’t eat, I may as well grow flowers! This will be my new focus next year and I’ll ask the boys to help me pick something new every season. I bet we’ll enjoy bringing colorful flowers inside the house. Oh, and I’ll make sure the flowers I grow taste terrible. Believe it or not, I’ve seen the squirrels eat my roses before!

Home improvements
13) Patch the numerous small holes that decorate our walls throughout the house (1/1)
21) Redo the varnish on the bathroom vanity (1/1)
24) Repaint the walls of my dining room and kitchen in a color I like (1/1)
A few months ago, our HOA requested that I repaint all the wooden parts and a few other things on the outside of the house. I couldn’t argue much because they needed some repair and a fresh coat of paint. I took this opportunity to repaint the inside of the house too, since most of the paint was 15 years old and showing its age. Much of the old paint wasn’t washable so I could get the many stains off the walls. The dark and depressing blue paint covering the dining room and kitchen walls is now a light green. At the same time, I had the many holes in the walls and the damaged baseboards replaced, and I got the bathroom vanities painted too, since the fake varnish was very worn off. A much needed improvement!

Career / Finances
I’ve accomplished all of the tasks I had listed under the career category and yet, things are not exactly where I want them to be. So I’ve got a few new things on my personal list to handle before the end of the year and early next year. 2013 has been a year of losing good clients and finding new ones. Working in freelancing means projects fluctuate a lot. Now that my kids are both in school during the day, I hope to have opportunities for more clients. Our house has four bedrooms so I started renting two of them for additional income a few months ago. I have no intention to renew our current roommates’ lease when it expires early next year, so I’m planning to get new people in by then. That will help fund my super expensive health insurance premiums. :-)

My nature photography
35) Participate in the Project 365 – 2013 by posting new photos two to four times a week on my Facebook page and the Project 365 – 2013 Facebook page (108/156)
36) Post new photos on my Pinterest page 3 times a week (40/168)
37) Post three times a week to my new nature photography website (159/168)

39) Create new products for sale on my Zazzle store twice a week (2/112)
I’ve done a good job snapping new photos on a weekly basis, editing them and posting them on my nature photography website. I haven’t done so well posting on Pinterest but I think once a week would be OK. As for adding products to my online store, I haven’t done well at all so I need to dedicate more time to do that. I’m in urgent need of creating a 2014 photo calendar, so that will be a good way to start!

Family & Leisure
68) Take two family vacations (2/2)
We took two one-week vacations in two years. Not as much as I would have liked, but better than nothing. We’re fortunate enough to live in San Diego, where there’s so much to do as a family, even staycations are fun.

70) Make sure my oldest learns how to swim (1/1)
71) Make sure my youngest learns how to swim (1/1)
My kids are not great swimmers yet but they’re definitely on their way. I think they made great improvements this summer and we’ll continue to take swim lessons next summer.

Health & Personal Growth
90) Write three things I’m grateful for every day, for a month (30/30)
I realized that some days, this was an easy exercise, and others, I had to take a step back to uncover the good and ignore the bad. I don’t do this exercise in written form anymore but I often reflect on my day as I go to bed at night. I’ve also made an extra effort to thank people for their help or good deeds. It really goes a long way.

98) Perform 52 intentional / random acts of kindness in 2013 (40/52)
This has been an eye opening activity, especially as I’ve tried to get my kids involved. I am shocked to see so many people blatantly ignore the world around them, walking around with their blinders on and not caring a bit about others. I find it very disturbing, especially in a country that constantly claims how Christian it is… So I’ve returned lost items, picked up trash, let people go in front of me in traffic, given money to a friend in need, donated books, toys and supplies to my kids’ classes, held many doors, and given marketing advice a few times. Paying it forward is a great way to live.

100) Do some volunteer work (1/1)
I volunteered in my oldest son’s classroom all last year and I’m waiting for his new teacher to tell me when she needs me. I’m also volunteering in his brother’s class this year. Helping out a couple of hours a week goes a long way.

The Not So Good…
87) Take a relaxing bath once a week (0/93)
I really wanted to try this but I just can’t find the time for it at night. I could read in the bath but my bed is so much more comfortable, I’d rather read there. I think I’m going to trade this for meditation until the rest of the challenge, since finding time to meditate has been a challenge for me.

 88) Stop biting my nails (0/1)
I’m trying but it’s really hard to break a lifelong habit…

94) Go a whole day without saying no (0/1)
I think I can do this, as long as I don’t tell my kids the day I’m doing it!

 95) Not swear for a whole week (0/1)
I think I’ll change this from a whole week to a whole day and give myself a few days to accomplish this.

 96) Spend a whole weekend without computer or internet access (0/1)
I SO want to do this before the end of the challenge. but it’s hard because I spend part of my Saturday working on my freelance projects, when I don’t have the kids with me. I think I’m going to change it to “spend a whole Sunday” and try it for 2 or 3 of them. Could you do this?

If you have a personal list of projects for this year, how well are you doing?

24 responses to “101 in 1001 challenge – September 2013 update

  1. Well, I’m glad you were able to sneak a few cherry tomatoes away from those lizards! I still love your jar of good things that happened idea. I bet that’s getting full by now. It’s so hard to get all the things done that we want to do. I hope you’ll get more relaxing in!

    • Actually it’s the darn squirrels who eat my tomatoes, stuffing their cheeks with all of them because they run away!
      You’re right, our jar of good things that happened in 2013 is getting pretty full. We added a lot of things to it this summer. I can’t wait till we open it at the end of the year and go through every item. I think that jar of good things is the BEST thing that happened this year because of the great memories it holds. I’ll definitely do a post on it early next year to share our experience.

      • That’s funny – I’ve never heard of squirrels or lizards eating tomatoes! It’s nice that you’re feeding the wildlife there. It sounds like looking through that jar sounds will be a great way to celebrate the end of the year and the new year!

      • Lizards will eat almost any plant growing in the garden. The smaller and more tender, the better. So I have a hard time even getting past the seedling stage. As for squirrels, they literally eat ANYTHING. Fruit, vegetables, leaves, flowers… What drives me nuts is, there’s just as much food on the other side of my backyard wall, but they’ve just figured out my place is the free buffet where they don’t have to lift a finger to get to the food. Did I say I really hate squirrels? :-)

      • Hahah! Feeding those squirrels sounds like another random act of kindness, especially if you hate them. :) I just heard something funny about lizards – that they communicate with push ups.

      • Yes, that was a very random act for sure! And not one I want to continue! Yes, lizards do push-ups, trying to impress you or scare you off. They always crack me up when they do it to me. Yeah, I’m really scared… You can search for lizard push-up on YouTube. I bet there are plenty of videos.

  2. I think it’s great that you do this. I hold myself accountable to my work-related issues, but I don’t set goals for other things. You set a good example. :)

    And no, I do not think I could go a weekend without computer access. Well, okay, I suppose I could. But I wouldn’t like it!

    • I like the idea of this list because it allows you to include things that may not fit on any other lists, like “sing in the rain” (which I have a hard time doing here because it rains so little!). And the project goes on for two and a half years, so you don’t have to squeeze a huge list within a month or a year and long-term goals have a fit.
      I think I’m going to try the one-day without computer/internet access. We’re probably going on a day trip this weekend and that would be a great opportunity to do this. I’ll still use my phone for GPS (I don’t want to get lost!) but no texting. And I’ll bring my camera to capture some memories but I won’t look at them as soon as we get back or post stuff on Facebook. And no email for a day. I think it might be liberating. Or I might feel anxious, haha!

  3. It’s nice to cross things off our “To Do” lists . . . whether the stuff is fun or career oriented. Enjoy the continued challenge.

  4. Wow…you are one accomplished lady. I feel for you on the nail biting one. I want to stop so bad, but not bad enough, I guess. I keep finding myself with nubs and wonder, “When did I bite those off?” Grrrr.

    • I think that’s what my problem is, I don’t even realize I’m doing it most of the time. It makes it hard to stop, doesn’t it? Honestly, I think some habits are a lot worse so it’s worth trying to stop, but I won’t give myself too much grief if I don’t get this one right.

      • That’s how I feel. Sometimes when I’m somewhere where I know others might notice my hands, I’m a little embarrassed and wished I’d stopped already…but most times I don’t think about it. I am always grateful I never picked up drinking or smoking though…since I suck at quitting nailbiting. At least that’s a cheap, inexpensive addiction.

      • Very true, it could be a lot worse. And I wouldn’t call it an addiction, but rather a habit. I read a wonderful book on habits a few months ago and there was a strategy to stop biting nails (by breaking the habit and replacing it with something else). When I’m ready to try this, I’ll get the book again and figure out how to really do it. It’s just low on my priority list right now!

      • I know I can stop. About 10 years ago I stopped for almost 2 years, and then a stressful situation came up and I started biting again. So now to figure out what to replace it with. Chocolate is yummy, but I’d rather not be 500 lbs by eating chocolate every time I bite my nails.

      • Haha, that would be a terrible habit to pick up! And I think that’s my problem. I haven’t figured out something good enough to replace it with. Yet.

  5. You have accomplished a great deal! You are sensible to change the challenges that aren’t working. I have done the same thing.

    I like your number 98.

    Although it wasn’t a challenge of mine, I am almost completely unplugged on Sundays, and I feel better for it. I check emails when I get up and just before bed, but no more than five minutes both times. I don’t miss it for one day.

    • I’ve been enjoying the random acts of kindness because I’m going beyond what I (and others) would normally do in any given situation. It’s always good practice to be more aware of others and their needs.
      I think I may try to unplug this Sunday. A whole weekend is too much and I need to do work on Saturdays but I really think one day would be a good thing.

  6. Your motivation to make the 101 task and the ones you accomplish inspires me so much. The last two years I took a huge financial leap by dealing with credit cards and debts, took control of what I eat and lost 35 pounds…change how I see life with my family, took a vacation , simplified as much as I can, pursue happiness that comes from a contented, peaceful heart, focus on family and the love I share with them, work on faith. It’s not easy but baby steps a day at a time for as long as it takes. Wishing you and your family all the best.

  7. That’s a lot of goals and a lot of accomplishments!

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