My 2015 List of 100 Dreams

photo-343In 168 Hours, I recommended creating something called a “List of 100 Dreams.” This exercise, which was shared with me by career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine, is a completely unedited list of anything you might want to do or have more of in life. It’s like a bucket list, but most people don’t get all the way to 100 when creating a bucket list. The point is to really think about what you might like.

It’s been a while since I’ve written out a List of 100 Dreams. Five years, to be exact. So in the aftermath of recording my time for 672 hours, and thinking about what I’d like to do with my time, I thought I’d make a new list. Here it is. I welcome suggestions and ideas people have on fulfilling any of these!
Travel goals — this is always the easy part for people!
1. Revisit Australia
2. Do a really high-end safari in Namibia plus Botswana
3. Tuscany, Rome, plus Cinque Terra
4. Argentina, Chile, and other South American spots. Maybe a wine tour
5. Paris plus the French countryside
6. A resort vacation where there’s a camp for the kids
7. Do the “backpacking” trip through Central Europe I never did at age 23
8. Go to Portugal
9. Follow the old spice route (Asia to middle east)
10. Tour the national parks (have done some great ones, Yellowstone, Acadia…)
11. Camp and hike in New England peak foliage
12. Eat lobster by the sea in Maine (again!)
13. Road trip through southwest
14. Mackinac island and the way north Michigan shore
15. Do a tour of Oregon wineries and the Oregon coast (we did Napa/Sonoma)
16. Go on a Bach tour of Germany (maybe a choir tour…)
17. Eat salmon in Alaska
18. Stay in a California beach house on a cliff with an infinity pool
19. Greek islands with lots of seafood
20. Read the Conde Nast Traveler issues that are piling up to get more ideas (like I just remembered I should add New Orleans to this list)

Personal goals
21. Develop more knowledge of craft beers so I don’t always just order Blue Moon
22. Do a long, beautiful bike ride (not sure where yet)
23. Run all the way to center city on river trail
24. Set a new PR in half marathon
25. Do a chin up
26. Kids in bed by 8:30 – this is personal because it allows for personal time
27. Hit/maintain 125 lbs. I hit it today, but I think maintaining could be tough
28. Hire a personal chef for a while
29. Upgrade home decoration – some rooms look great. Others less so. I’d like to get some new art. Maybe Tanya Davis will paint more strawberries…
30. Really get into my garden, and expand its produce offerings
31. Find a favorite farmers market
32. Eat at a few more of the world’s top restaurants
33. Take good summer work breaks: swim in my pool solo, bike
34. Buy a smashing suit
35. Buy a speaking dress I feel amazing in. Maybe an M Missoni dress (seems like an easy thing to do but I don’t like anything from the collection this year and yet I am obsessed)
36. Commission new music, including a substantial a cappella piece
37. Visit an art museum monthly
38. Go to the library or book store monthly
39. Be part of a book club – one that argues from the text, please
40. Have people over or organize group outings
41. Take a yoga class. I’m already getting monthly massages, and yet I’m still a wee bit stressed
42. Join a choir where I am the least good member (I want it to be a challenging and very good choir)
43. Go on some sort of culinary retreat/camp. I’m writing a novel about an “institute for the domestic arts” and I want to attend such a thing!
44. Back up my photos, videos, documents. This is more of a “to do” than a dream.
45. Buy a swimsuit I really like

Professional goals

46. Get a better headshot.
47. Take a poetry class and write a book of poems
48. Publish a book of essays
49. Write another novel. Many more novels — like one every few years or so. Have you got your copy of The Cortlandt Boys yet?
50. Write non-fiction books that I desperately want to read
51. Scale up my blog as an actual media property. I want to do interviews, reported pieces, basically put more of my best stuff here
52. Do a writing retreat at the beach. Eventually, make a writing retreat an annual thing. Maybe a residency occasionally too.
53. Write a regular column for a big monthly magazine
54. Hit the bestseller list
55. Collect emails from people who tell me my books have helped them, and create a “happy file” of these testimonials
56. Get better at my keynote speech and actually market it. I’d love to do more big speeches!
57. Write more book reviews — maybe for a bigger outlet.
58. Find a great new writing/journalism conference to attend
59. Find a great new women’s leadership conference to attend
60. Go to random fun fodder-finding events like the MAKERS conference in CA I did in February 2014
61. Do more “power play dates” – combine kid time with networking time (only works for people with kids my age, but hey)
62. Write a children’s chapter book series with a writing partner
63. Get a blogging group/group blog project going. Maybe some bloggers I could meet in person too.
64. Join a mastermind group. Or find some more mentors. A close-knit group of amazing writers, ideally.
65. Write the cover story for a major magazine
66. Write something about the business of crafts (I keep cutting out articles with fodder)
67. Write something about food. Maybe the business of farmers markets…
68. Teach writing at a university – maybe just for a term or two.
69. Create strategic thinking time weekly to ponder ideas.
70. Start a philanthropic initiative related to writing
Family goals

71. Raise kids who can eat in restaurants
72. Take more family photos: every 6 months at least! My baby is coming into peak cuteness time!
73. Become more of a children’s book connoisseur, and upgrade our selection – which will encourage me in my goal of reading more to my kids.
74. Run a race with kid #1 when he’s a little older (he’s got plans for us to do a marathon when he’s 16 or 17)
75. Make and decorate a doll house with my kids — likely my daughter, but if the others are into it that would be awesome
76. Take my daughter to American Girl Place. I’m not sure if that’s a dream or is contractually required when raising a little girl.
77. Create one-on-one adventures with each kid at least once a quarter
78. Create smaller one-on-one interactive time weekly.
79. Maintain and expand my sitter portfolio — I need to follow my own advice on this.
80. Help my 5-year-old learn to love reading and writing. He’s almost there, and it’s so cool to watch a child decode things for the first time.
81. Encourage each kid to take on projects. My 8-year-old has been reading the “Who was…” biography series books, and he created a timeline as part of a “Who is Laura Vanderkam?” project he chose to do on his own, which I find hilarious, partly because of what he thinks are highlights. Like he wanted to put that I went to a Jane Goodall speech on there, and also when I interviewed Ashrita Furman.
82. Get the kids to sing in a choir
83. Don’t shy from taking family trips. The memories are worth the annoying parts. In the rearview mirror, going to the Netherlands during tulip time was really cool, even if it was sometimes stressful in the moment.
84. Go on regular date nights, sometimes to creative things like jazz clubs or sports games
85. Do an in-home date night dinner at least every other week
86. Chaperone more field trips. Maybe even like a week-long church mission trip when the kids are older!
87. Pick strawberries and apples yearly. We did strawberries the other day. They were so good, and even better with home-made whipped cream on them!
88. Write love notes to each family member

Other stuff that occurred to me after I got the first 88

89. Buy more fresh flowers for my kitchen
90. Take more walks, with the kids when I can. My 8-year-old went on one with me the other night and held my hand the whole time, which was so sweet, and poignant, since I suspect he will refuse to do that within the year.
91. Find some more great blogs to read and some more good websites too.
92. Sit out on the porch whenever I can. I’m doing better about getting out there in the morning with my coffee.
93. Get better about thinking through opportunities I could create for people. I forget how many people I know sometimes, and my brain doesn’t always work that way, but when I do try I do decently.
94. Keep going with my time log. I’ve now done 6 weeks straight! Data data data!
95. Play the piano more often
96. Become a regular somewhere (restaurant, coffee shop, etc.)
97. Start a regular strength training session, maybe with a trainer
98. Invest in some start-ups (we are doing this! Also some start-up non-profits too)
99. Consciously create “perfect days” — where I pack in lots of things I love to do
100. Have one of my novels made into a movie. Then I might actually watch a movie!

If you create a List of 100 Dreams, please leave a link in the comments! Or just give me your top 5.

If you like my blog, you might also like my book, I Know How She Does It. Pre-order by June 2 and you can join my book club, with perks including an autographed book plate, excerpts, and access to two book club webinars around launch. The first will be on June 2, so don’t miss it!

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8 Responses to My 2015 List of 100 Dreams


  1. Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing your list – I definitely got a few ideas from you. I wish you luck in your dreams! Here’s my list, I add/subtract fro this every year, but it’s grown past 100: http://galactickim.blogspot.ca/2014/12/life-goals.html

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  7. Luke says:

    Hey Laura,

    What great idea, my list is here:

    http://lukemcgrath.co.uk/100

    Luke

  8. Scott says:

    Don’t be so sure about travel being the easy part. I’d like to see parts of the UK, but since the destination is only a part of the journey (the rest being airlines, TSA/CATSA, hotels, …), travel isn’t generally a Dream (unless we’re meant to include Nightmares in the Dreams).

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