When I was training for my first marathon, I told anyone and everyone exactly what I was doing. Any opportunity I had – whether they really cared or not – I was shooting off my mouth about my plans to run 26.2 miles.

“I’m running a marathon in February.”

“I’m training for my first marathon.”

“I ran 12 miles today – getting ready for next month’s Cowtown Marathon.”

I know a lot of people simply thought I was bragging and/or full of myself, but that wasn’t the case at all. (Not in this instance, at least.)

I was telling people in order to keep leverage on myself – I felt like the more people I told, the bigger idiot I would appear to be if I didn’t actually follow through and do it.

“I HAVE to keep going,” I would tell myself on those brutal 18-mile training runs. “I’ve already told half of Fort Worth that I was going to run this thing!”

The purpose of this blog post is to apply that same leverage.

I was recently introduced to a phenomenal activity that focuses on living life to the fullest. (At least that’s how I perceived it.)

It’s a very simple concept: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

When I first read about the project, I was intrigued – but definitely not sold. I started looking at other people’s lists and realized that a lot of them had done it wrong – or at least missed the point of the exercise.

You see, there are very specific rules:

• Tasks must be specific

• No ambiguity in the wording

• The result must be measurable OR clearly defined

• Tasks must be realistic, but also must be stretching (requiring some amount of effort to accomplish)

This is what I mean when I say people were doing it wrong:

“I want to be more disciplined” (Ummm….How exactly do you measure that?)

“Mop” (Yes, that is very realistic. Stretching? Not so much)

“Love my job” (Again, is that actually measurable?)

“Find a new smell” (My all-time favorite.)

There were some people who created complex equations – completely ignoring the instructions to make the tasks “clearly defined”:

“Go to church for eight straight Sundays, twice, three times a year.” (Huh?)

“Drink only one soda a week for three consecutive weeks, six times.” (Ummm…the SAT just called and they want their math problem back.)

Even though I turned into the “task snob” – and was somewhat disappointed with the rest of society – I started falling in love with the whole idea. I looked at the list as a road map to a 143-week, hold-on-to-your-hat adventure.

The instruction to “stretch yourself” made me smile.

I started making a list (just to test the waters) – No. 1, 2, 3..

The questions started to swirl: “Will I actually be able to do that.”

No. 12, 13, 14…

“Is that really ‘stretching’ myself?”

No. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30….

“Is it supposed to be this difficult?”

No. 55, 56…

“Am I really going to do this?”

No. 89, 90, 91…

“Why can’t I sleep?”

No. 100…

“Are there enough hours in the day to actually pull off that task?”

No. 101

There was no turning back. My list was done.

I challenged myself on some tasks. (No. 85 Meet the President of the United States).

I also slipped in a few simple pleasures that many of us take for granted (No. 47 Order a double scoop of ice cream).

I’m happy with my list and I’m excited about the amazing possibilities between now and May 4, 2011.

Now it’s time to apply the leverage…

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