In October (2015) I did a personal retreat weekend inspired by my own life?s events and a friend?s blog post about her life audit. As part of my personal retreat weekend I made a list of 100 wishes for my life, writing each wish on a separate post it note.
Before starting this exercise I was a bit intimidated. 100 seems like a lot, and I?ve heard that people typically top out around 30. The early intimidation made early in the exercise a bit more challenging, and then I picked up speed and actually ended up surpassing 100 wishes.
Something I observed about this exercise is that how it feels will depend on what?s going on in your own life. I think had I done this exercise a year ago I would?ve felt more jovial and inspired by the exercise and had 1,000 wishes to record. The timing of when I did it was immediately following a series of chaotic events during my summer and fall, so I felt a bit beat up and honestly, had lost sight of a lot of my vision for my life. That feeling inside of me was part of my inspiration to do this exercise in the first place. To reignite the flame and re-inspire the many things I want to experience in life.
The 100 wishes exercise is one I think is healthy to do once per year and to do with a potential life partner (i.e. significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, whatever your label of choice may be) because it?s important to find out if you have similar wishes for your life. Not all of your wishes need to overlap, but a healthy dose can ensure your compatibility and direction of your lives together.
I think the exercise could also be fun to do with a close group of friends, siblings, or parents even. Here?s my full list of wishes. Skip ahead for what I did after the initial brainstorm?
My full list of 100 wishes
(in no particular order)
- Eat lobster in Maine
- Stand up for myself
- Improv4 me & others
- Help others
- Inspire laughter
- Surf in Costa Rica
- Bike in Tuscany
- Say how I feel
- Meet Tina Fey
- Start a fund of sorts
- Hold a 5 minute conversation in Italian
- Inspire others to burn their fears
- Go to Hawaii
- Host SNL
- Start a foundation
- Build a house on Mackinac Island
- Do 30 (real) push up without stopping
- Publish my memoir
- Be a good friend
- Horseback ride on the beach
- Publish a video that gets >1000 views
- Travel to southeast Asia
- Live in another country
- Create a verb from a noun
- Be well read
- Inspire & empower others to create & do
- Collaborate with Venetia
- Tell interesting stories
- Do something so great for the world, that someone creates my wiki page
- Lead a team of >24 people
- Create a comedy cooking show
- Go to Australia
- Take more comedy writing classes
- Have my writing published (by someone who isn?t me)
- Create something global
- Do an unassisted headstand
- Relax in Bali
- Generate $100 million in wealth (not for me; in general for the world)
- Inspire & empower health
- Collaborate with a comedian I respect (Mindy, Amy, Tina, etc)
- Own an orchard
- Travel the world with someone I love
- Launch paleo gelato
- Fall in true love
- Complete a triathlon
- Travel abroad with my siblings
- Help others grow & eat fresh food
- Start an improv troupe
- Opaque yoga
- Mentor & inspire young girls
- Hike Machu Pichu
- Ask a stranger on a date
- Follow my heart
- Visit Finland
- Try new things
- Kiss someone I meet for the first time
- Horseback ride in the mountains
- Pay off my student loans
- Learn from a visionary leader
- Ask questions
- Experience what it?s like to work >200 person company
- Travel abroad with my mom
- Buy land in another country
- Date & build meaningful connections
- Work globally
- Develop passive income streams
- Visit castle in Ireland
- Convince people what I?m doing is big
- Innovate in a broken industry
- Buenos Aires dancing
- Visit chocolate farm
- Tell people how I really feel
- Live on/near the beach for a month
- Look good naked
- Be the best daughter, sibling, family member I can be
- Be proud myself, my life, my work
- Believe in myself truly & authentically
- Invest in farms
- Visit Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Banff)
- Turn ideas into reality
- Make enough money to support myself & my family
- Talk to strangers
- Write another book
- Take care of my health
- Work on/stay on a ranch
- Be asked to speak at Stanford Entrepreneur Series
- Make a living doing what I love
- Play the chess game I created
- Get asked to speak at a well-known conference
- Learn to catch & cook fish
- Learn to produce better videos
- Visit Iceland
- Create/work with a global brand that touches the lives of world
- Write a love poem & give to a stranger
- Teach a college class
- Cook new recipes
- Make a positive impact
- Go on a trip with my closest friends
Wishes!A pile of wishes!
After making this list I split it into categories?
First, dividing the list into two categories: things I control, things that I don?t fully control. In other words, is the wish something that I need someone else in order to complete? This is important because some of these wishes involve other people, and though I can influence, I can not control other people. For example, one of my wishes is to collaborate with my friend Venetia. If Venetia doesn?t want to collaborate with me, then it may not be worth beating my head against a wall to achieve that wish. Rather, I can amend it. Perhaps to collaborate with someone else, or to support one Venetia?s creations.
The next way I categorized them was by timeframe. The wish is either something I can do every day (or regularly), in the next year, in the next 10 years, in my lifetime. Here?s how mine broken down:
As you can see, by categorizing my wishes in this way, I start to see a timeline of wishes and possible action steps naturally fall into place from looking at this table.
Next, ask why?
The next step of this exercise is to ask the question WHY? Why these wishes? What is it about these activities, behaviors, goals, and so forth, that makes them important to you.
Considering the exercise of writing down 100 wishes is meant to be fast, firing out whatever comes to mind, the process of asking WHY is incredibly useful in determining which of my wishes I really cared about, and which I could live without. When I asked myself WHY I better understood my motivations behind the wish and actually ended up paring down my list to half the length it was originally. One way I filtered whether to keep it or not was by asking myself ?Is there another way to achieve this WHY?? If there were other ways to achieve the WHY, I tended to take it off the list, or if the reason didn?t seem real enough (e.g. for outward appearance or superficial reasons).
I recommend this activity to others and I also recommend sharing your wishes. Sometimes they are deeply personal. That?s ok. There?s something magic that happens when you share your wishes for your life. Other people can start to help your wishes come true. For instance, one of my wishes is to visit Australia. Well, I have friends that live in Australia, and now they know that it?s one of my wishes to go there. They could offer me a place to stay or to show you me around during my visit (hint hint), making that wish a lot more achievable & encouraged.
To make it easy, I created this template for doing your own ?100 Wishes? exercise. So no excuses, go for it! Write down your wishes for your life.
Life is short, so get wishing!