Creating Your Own “Day Zero Project” – And Why You Should!

There are many ways in life you can go about pushing yourself and your boundaries, finding new challenges and improving yourself. There are the always favorite annual goals, along with monthly goals and sometimes even weekly goals! There are bucket lists and “30 before 30” and the list goes on. None of these seem to quite do what the Day Zero Project does.

This project allows you plenty of time to achieve some pretty big goals (1,001 days), enough items on the list that you can feel okay including some small and/or silly items (101 things) and finishes soon enough that it doesn’t seem ridiculously far off (again, 1,001 days). All of these things combine together to form one of the most fun and challenging projects I have ever tried!

Those of you who have been with me for a while know how much I love lists and setting goals. But as you saw in this recent post, 6 months ago I decided to try setting goals in a bit of a different way!Creating a Day Zero Project

101 Things in 1,001 Days. It seemed like both a lot and not very much at all when I got started making my list. But even making the list was a challenge! So now I would like to take you through why I think you should do a Day Zero Project yourself and how I created mine!

Why I Think You Should Try Completing a Day Zero Project

  1. Push your boundaries.
  2. Makes you think about what you want in your life to look like over the next 2.8 years (and beyond!)
  3. You have long enough to choose some major goals.
  4. But not so long that you can’t see the “end” of the project.
  5. Enough items on your list that you can pick some silly or less serious items.
  6. Gives you an extra push to work on projects you have been putting off.
  7. 101 Things really pushes you to think outside the box – It’s harder than you may think to think of that many items.
  8. It can be the excuse you need to do those things you keep putting off for a later date!
  9. Increases your motivation.
  10. It’s fun!

Why 1,001 Days Instead of a Bucket List or Annual Goals

So why this instead of just your normal yearly goals? I definitely set goals for 2016, and I am working towards them. And they are related to a few things on my Day Zero list. However, I like that I can put silly things on my Day Zero list that I would NEVER put as a year goal (build a snowman anyone?). Also, there are things that I put on my Day Zero list that would be really overwhelming to try to accomplish this year. It’s just not in the cards right now.

Ok, so why not a bucket list then, if it’s out to make them yearly goals? Personally, while I like the idea of a bucket list, for the most part I don’t think they are helpful in actually getting you to accomplish anything. It’s too big, too open-ended for me. The idea of things I want to accomplish in my lifetime is interesting, but I’m not going to be actively thinking about and working towards those things on a daily or weekly basis. They aren’t always going to be on my mind. My Day Zero list is pretty much always there in the back of my mind, and I am regularly thinking of activities I would like to do that are on that list!

Getting Started

Keep it Possible

To even start working on your project, you have to have your list of 101 things. It doesn’t sound like a huge thing, right? We all have things we want to do, so thinking of 101 should be easy! And yes, I could have easily filled the list with all the incredible, out there things I want to do someday. But that’s not the point of the project for me. The point is to push myself, to try new things, to create improvements in my life. It’s not to create a list that is impossible to complete in 1,001 days.

So while I was working on my list, I kept that in mind. Travel the world?

San Ildefonso in Peru - amazing place, not reasonable for me in the next couple years
San Ildefonso in Peru

Probably not reasonable. Take a weekend trip out of state? A lot more likely, but still pushes me! (If you don’t understand why this is a push, I haven’t been on an actual vacation in YEARS, even for a weekend)

Waterfalls in Portland a few years ago
Waterfalls in Portland a few years ago

If you travel a lot and it’s totally possible that you could travel to 10 different countries and you want to do that, put it on there! Your reasonable and possible is not the same as mine!

My point is, I want to actually have the chance that I could finish every single item on this list, if I try hard enough.

Push Your Boundaries

The other thing I had to push not to do was to censor myself. This was more difficult than I originally thought it would be. Some items I listed I initially resisted putting down….some because I thought they were too silly and didn’t belong on a goals list (hello there snowman) and others because they scared me to put out there in the world. Or even admit them to myself that they were goals I have. Other items seemed selfish to put down, or, and this was a big one for me, a waste of money.

Day Zero on a Budget

I have a hard time spending money on things that are not essential. I am better about it than I used to be, but it is still a struggle. And I’m not talking about irresponsibly blowing money…I’m talking about any money at all. So some of the items on my list are specifically activities that I have wanted to do for years but haven’t been able to justify to myself, like going to the opera or a play.

That being said, I don’t want you to think that you can’t do a Day Zero Project on a budget! I tried to pick a variety of items and costs, but notice that a decent amount of my items are free or very cheap! While I do hope to better my finances over the next 2 years, I didn’t want all of my items to require that to be completed. My suggestion would be to keep your list within your planned capabilities, whatever that may be. Again, I would not put travel the world on mine, because there is really no way I could afford that in the next 2 years!

One of my favorite pictures from one of my free items on my Day Zero Project - A year-long, once-a-month photo project at Ada Hayden Park
One of my favorite pictures from one of my free items on my Day Zero Project – A year-long, once-a-month photo project at Ada Hayden Park

Take Your Time

The last thing I want to point out is to make sure to take your time while making your list. I took around 2 weeks to make mine! That might seem like a lot of time, but along with all the stuff I talked about above, I really wanted to put thought into the items I listed. I wanted them to be things I really want, things that matter to me (yes, even the snowman). So I kept a running list on my phone and added to it as I thought of them. Don’t feel as though you have to get the whole list done at once!DailyEssentials

Go!

So now you have your Day Zero list and can start! I don’t have a huge amount of tips for this, as I’m still working through my own list. One thing I would say is to keep a copy of your list somewhere on hand. I actually have a couple different copies! One on my computer, one of my phone and one in a journal that is dedicated for the project! Each item on the list has a space within the journal for me to take notes, make plans and write my progress out. Now, you don’t have to do all these, or even any of these, they are just what works for me! But I would keep a copy somewhere easy for you to access when you are out and about so you can keep working towards the items on there!

Lastly, make sure you calculate your end date and write it down with your list! There have been a few times I have had to check mine to figure out when I HAVE to start an item by to complete it in time.

I really hope you think about creating your own Day Zero list, if you haven’t already!

Sara

Already doing your own Day Zero Project? I would love to check it out! Leave a link to your list in the comments below and I will include it in my next update!

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Life Lessons: The 29 Things I’ve Learned in 29 Years

birthday muffin celebrate 29 years 29 lessons

It’s my birthday! I might be freaking out a little! But…honestly not as much as I thought I would be. 🙂

Ok, this is something I’ve actually given a lot of thought to the past month or so. I turn 29 today….I think back to when I was 20 and what I thought life would be like in 9 years and this isn’t it. In fact, it’s not even close.

That’s not a complaint. I love my life! My family, Draz, my dogs, my home, this blog and all of the awesomeness related to that and so much more! Instead, it’s more of a realization that life takes some crazy and unexpected turns. Twists and turns that put me in a wonderful place in life that I could never have imagined at 20!

I’ve learned a lot along the way and still have so much left to learn! But here are 29 life lessons that I have learned so far! Some serious, some not quite so, and in no particular order, but I hope you enjoy all of them 🙂

29 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

  1. I don’t know what it means to actually feel like an adult. I’m still waiting for that one.
  2. Parents are people too and pretty awesome to hang out with!
  3. No one actually has life all figured out.
  4. Not everyone will like you or needs to…and you don’t have to understand why.
  5. Be present for the moments of everyday life. It’s amazing.
  6. Reach out to those that you care about, even if you’ve lost touch.
  7. Drive slower!
  8. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.
  9. You can like who you are while still trying to improve yourself.
  10. Push your comfort zone!
  11. Don’t expect life to follow your plan.
  12. Be unapologetically you – be honest about who you are and what you enjoy in life.
  13. Try to put a positive “spin” on things when you are having a bad day/interaction/moment/whatever.
  14. Be silly!
  15. Take care of your body – it’s worth the time.
  16. Take care of your mental health too – it’s just as important as your physical health.
  17. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
  18. Find things you truly enjoy instead of things that just fill time.
  19. The best dates and/or moments don’t have to cost much, if anything.
  20. Quality over quantity – applies to much of life!
  21. Don’t procrastinate – it NEVER helps.
  22. Be spontaneous (at least occasionally).
  23. Smile often.
  24. Be kind to others, even when you don’t feel like it.
  25. Make sure you sleep enough.
  26. Try new things often!
  27. Give yourself a break – you can’t do everything.
  28. Always make goals and strive towards meeting them.
  29. Cut the negative thoughts and self-talk.

So that’s some of the things I’ve learned over the years. So aren’t surprising and a few took me a long time to learn. Some I still have to remind myself of. But either way, I am so excited to see how this year goes! I think that 29 is going to be an amazing and transformative year for me! (And I am so excited to share it with all of you!)

What are some of the things that you have learned over the years that have surprised you or been harder to learn? I would love to hear your thoughts!

And don’t forget that the Jewelry Giveaway ends today at 8 pm CT, so if you haven’t entered yet, hop over and get your entry in!

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Sara (1)

 

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My Journey to Happiness and What I’ve Learned Along the Way (Plus 50 Things that Make me Happy!)

Happiness. That elusive feeling that we search for, strive for, wait for. According to the Merriam-Webster, happiness is defined as

: the state of being happy

: an experience that makes you happy

Full Definition of HAPPINESS

obsolete :  good fortune :  prosperity

a :  a state of well-being and contentment :  joy

   b :  a pleasurable or satisfying experience
For the purposes of this post, I am focusing on the regular definition, along with part 2 of the full definition.
Happiness is a topic that has been coming up a lot in my life lately, from many different sources. There was a replay of a podcast on TEDRadioHour focusing on happiness and a few from OnBeing that were very happiness-centric. Then of course there are the upcoming holidays, which definitely get me thinking about happiness and the quality of my life. A post that first really got me thinking about happiness both in life and in myself came from this Instagram post and is what really got the idea for this post going.
Screenshot_2015-10-19-08-38-14~2
This is a lesson I have really learned over the past few years. When I was in my younger 20s, a lot of my plans for life…well, they didn’t go exactly as planned. Not even close. It took a long time for me to pull myself out of the emotional hole that I had found myself in, had allowed myself to wallow in. Even longer for me to realize that not only could I be happy again someday, but I could be happy now.
I didn’t have to wait for a new plan or figure all of the pieces beforehand. I could figure out how this new life was going to look and take joy in the life that I had. Building this new life on the basis of joy, of contentment, has been one of the most difficult and rewarding things that I have ever done. And I’m not even close to done or ever really will be done. Building this life is a journey, one of discovery and exploration. I look back at that unhappy, confused and lost girl and don’t even recognize her. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that girl was ever me.
My life may not look anywhere close to what I expected it to at 28, but I am so much happier for that fact than I ever could have imagined. And so, with that, here are some things I have learned about happiness along the way:
  • Don’t wait for happiness to find you. You can find happiness in small things and those things do add up.
  • Along that same line of thought, don’t put your focus on someone else making you happy. That feeling is fleeting if it comes from external sources. I know we have heard it all before, but happiness, at least lasting happiness, comes from within.
  • Make small, manageable goals for yourself. Then go out an achieve them! The feeling from meeting those goals is awesome and can help a lot, especially if you have been having a hard time finding any happiness lately.
    • This is something I did frequently and still do on a regular basis. Large long terms goals are great, but when you are at a place in your life where you are struggling, they can feel more crushing than uplifting. For myself, I had to take myself out of those big goals that were overwhelming me and focus on small things I could do that day. There was a point where those goals were just as simple as shower and cook myself an actual meal.
  • Routines can help a lot! My daily routines center me, give me some normalcy and security, and help me to at least accomplish basic things each day. They also allow me to adapt better to sudden changes and be more spontaneous!
    • If you have a really hard time setting up daily routines, check out FlyLady! I know that some of her early baby steps can seem silly or unimportant, but they really do work! This site and community helped me to graduate college and to keep myself together when my life was falling apart. I don’t follow my routines as strictly as I did then, but the ones I learned there still form the backbone of my daily routines now. And whenever I feel like I need to reset my routines I go back through the baby steps!
  • Make time for yourself! I know, we all have heard this before, but it really holds true and can be so difficult to do. This can be taking the time to workout, read a book, or really anything.
    • Tip: Think of a few things you really enjoy and set aside time to do at least one of them on a regular basis. I’m not talking about the things we do almost out of habit that are enjoyable…I’m talking about the things that really brighten your day, make your week, etc. The things you love!

The list above is just a few things that I have learned over the past few years. While I know none of them are particularly new ideas, they are ones that I had a really hard time fully understanding or internalizing. Sometimes we can here those “life lessons” so many times but they don’t really click until much later. That was how these lessons were for me.

Now, to finish this post off, my 50 things (in no particular order) that make me happy. This is inspired by this post from Brey over at Ordinary Adventures. If you haven’t checked out her blog before, you should definitely head over there! She has so many awesome posts!

  1. Date nights with Boyfriend
  2. Getting greeted by our dogs when we get home
  3. Cooking a new recipe
  4. Spending time with my parents and extended familyDSCN0224_picmonkeyed
  5. Creating a new mosaicDSCN0051
  6. Making a new piece of decor for our houseDSCN0453
  7. Working with my dad on the house remodel (he does most of the work, but I like to pretend I’m a help :-P)
  8. Curling up with a favorite book
  9. Reading a new book
  10. When I’m writing a blog post and it’s just flowing wonderfully
  11. When I get a like or comment on one of my posts or pictures
  12. Working with my camera
  13. The smell of Lemon Garlic Chicken cooking (This smell just takes me back to my childhood)
  14. Watching our dogs play
  15. Seeing the house slowly coming together
  16. Watching a favorite TV show
  17. Watching Disney and Pixar movies
  18. Listening to jazz
  19. Horseback riding
  20. Hiking in the woodsDSCN0640_picmonkeyed
  21. Seeing a play liveIMG_2202
  22. Pretty much any time I’m hanging out with my momDSCN0420_picmonkeyed_picmonkeyed
  23. Cuddling with Boyfriend watching movies
  24. Making fused glass jewelryDSCN0480_picmonkeyed
  25. Going to bed with freshly washed sheets
  26. Listening to podcasts
  27. My workouts DSCN1222_picmonkeyed
  28. The BBG community on Instagram
  29. When I get a new hairstyle down
  30. Getting a haircut and style
  31. Doing hennaDSCN0281_picmonkeyed
  32. Watching my flowers growDSCN0931_picmonkeyed
  33. Growing my own vegetablesDSCN0590_picmonkeyed
  34. Cooking with vegetables and herbs from my garden
  35. My new craft space
  36. Watching the leaves turn in the fallDSCN1208_picmonkeyed
  37. Petting my dogs
  38. Cleaning my house
  39. New workout clothes
  40. Changing out decorations as the seasons changeDSCN0841_picmonkeyed
  41. Taking a walk with the dogs and BoyfriendIMG_2170
  42. Playing MarioKart
  43. Trying new foods
  44. Seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time
  45. Making new friends (made even more exciting because I’m not great at this)
  46. Seeing my physical capabilities improve as I work on my fitness
  47. Wearing my favorite pieces of jewelry
  48. Dressing up for a date night with Boyfriend
  49. Traveling
  50. Yoga practice

What lessons or truths have you learned about happiness so far in your life? What things make you happy?

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