101 Goal Challenge: The First 3 Weeks

It’s been 3 weeks since I started the 101 goal challenge, and so far, I’ve made a bit of progress on some of my goals. Here’s what I’ve done:

  • In order to remind myself regularly about working towards my goals (in case my dorky notebook and color-coded Evernote list aren’t enough), I created a survey in Google that requires me to check off, each week, which goals I worked on and what I accomplished. It’s basically a serious of check boxes for each set of goals (financial, writing, cultural, etc.), with a few fill-in-the-blanks for website visitors, Twitter followers, and the like. I then set up a Google Calendar event with an email reminder, so every Sunday night at 10:00, I get an email with a link to my survey, asking me to track my progress. As I complete the survey, my answers are tracked in a spreadsheet, and I’ll be able to see how much progress I make in any given week  as well as through time. Check it out on the right.
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  • I went through the lists of the award-winning books to choose ones I plan on reading. I set up a separate Amazon.com wishlist for the Kindle version of the books I found most interesting. You can check out my wishlists for the National Book AwardPulitzer Prize, and Modern Library’s Best Non-Fiction. I also have a wishlist for books I want in general, which includes personal finance and business books.
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  • I downloaded a few books that were either public domain or super on-sale to my Kindle.
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  • I read Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, a beautifully written book about a black family in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. Highly recommended.
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  • I flipped through my husband’s 1001 Best Films book, starting at the back (more recent films) and made a list of 25 films I hadn’t seen that I thought would be interesting. I excluded films that my husband has seen and didn’t like, but included some that he thought were good. Two major chains here, the Virgin Megastore and the Fnac, have regular sales on DVDs, 5 for 30€, so I put the list on Evernote on my iPhone so I can look at it when I go by these stores.
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  • We watched Borat online. I was not impressed. I had never seen it because I didn’t think I would like Sacha Baron Cohen’s humor, but this year, I saw trailers for his new film, The Dictator, and when we went to see it at the theater, I thought it was hilarious. I watched Borat with an open mind, but ended up not liking it very much.
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  • Last week, my husband and I took a trip to Switzerland to meet up with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and sister, who had gone on a vacation surrounding my uncle’s conference. We decided ahead of time that each city that we actually explored and spent a minimum of 2 hours walking around in would count towards our list of places visited. We thought that in general, restricting the “new places” category to ONLY countries was going to make hitting 15 in 3 years very difficult. I realize that I probably should have made this item more ambitious, as we ticked off 6 new cities during our trip: Lucerne, Zurich, Brunnen (where they make the Swiss army knives), Bern, Geneva, and Chillon (where there’s a beautiful castle). Although we also stopped in a town called Weggis (it’s pronounced like Veggies, not like Wedgies :-) I did not include it in the list because we stayed for less than an hour, and it was raining. We did see a rainbow there, though, and got delicious cheese. I also did not include Nyon, where we had dinner twice because my aunt and uncle were staying with friends there. We went to their home, went to a restaurant, and parked our car there to take a boat on Lac Léman, but did not actually visit any monuments in Nyon, so it doesn’t count.
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  • While on vacation, I had sporadic internet access, but I did work on making a list of blogs I’d like to write guest posts for to promote my website Paris Unraveled. To do this, I read articles on the sites, check out the About page, follow the site on Twitter and Facebook, and check the site’s Alexa and traffic ratings. The goal is to get 50 good sites, geared to college students or under-30 travelers, who might be interested in learning about studying abroad (or traveling and living cheaply) in France. So far, I’m up to 19 blogs that I’ve fully vetted and that I think may be good matches; I also have a few that I haven’t fully vetted, and a list with some that are definitely NOT good matches.

 
I think I’ve gotten a pretty solid start to my 101 goals list. My last day at my job is July 31, and my boss has me working hard up to the deadline. I think that for the first few days in August, I’ll be relishing freedom, making plans for the next few months, and jumping headfirst into writing and developing content for my website.


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