We have a list of goals, we think most of them align, now what do we do with this list? Easy! We get to work on them with a quickness in a conscious clear cut way. This is the fun part, the research stage to your process.
First, you may ask yourself why are we doing this stuff? I thought we were just going to be traveling around looking at cool stuff together. Well we can, there are totally lots of those types of posts coming down the line. But in reality, you will get bored of watching other people live their life (or you won’t because our current generation seems addicted to reality TV). But I digress! (again!) What the 104 Project really is about at its’ core is making positive changes to your life in a conscious way. We may have stumbled upon our purpose and joy in life, but that is not to say that will be everyone’s joy in life. One thing we really enjoy is being an inspiration to people. We have been told by friends and family our “little project” inspires them to get out and see their own community, try something new, maybe take a road trip to that National Park that’s been three hours away for the past ten years. If we just sat back and said here is our Project and did nothing else, we would be doing our readers a disservice in the inspiration department! Plus, we always love to hear how others have taken what we have done and made it their own. Everyone has their own way of thinking that comes from their background, experiences, culture, education, and a myriad of other influences. We want to be inspired too! We want to hear your ideas, your successes and your stories! There are now over seven billion of us spinning on this giant blue marble, hurdling through space faster than our brains can comprehend. That is a lot of stories to be told and a lot of perspectives to see the world from. So in an effort to help guide you to your own 104 Project, we want to give you a road map to help define what you want to do. If you want to just copy our Project and make some tweaks to suit yourself go ahead! By all means please do that too! This is meant to be both fun and inspiring, and maybe you will find the inspiration in the fun!
So back to our goals. If you are unclear on what you would like to do for your 104 Project, this little exercise should help shed some light on the matter. Let’s start with a mid-range goal you had in mind. Maybe you want to get back into a hobby you had when you were younger, maybe you wanted to try a new hobby but are unclear. Maybe you wanted to travel more, do more good in the world, spend more time doing the art you love, really anything. It could be something as simple as lose some weight. Are you walking around with a spare eighty pounds? That sounds like a good mid-range goal to me! The idea is to be specific. Now do any of your short term goals help support this mid-range goal you have chosen? They should if you did your homework and looked to see if each level of goal aligned with the one below it. One of your short term goals could have been to exercise three times a week (or even start exercising!), that would definitely help support your mid-range goal of losing 80 pounds. Maybe you had another short term goal of reading more books each month (or any!), you could listen to books on your walks, jogs, or biking excursions! Maybe another short term goal (or even mid range goal!) was to travel more. You could easily look up local parks in the area to take some day hikes, walk the dog, ride your bike around, walk the beaches, maybe try to join a local tennis or soccer club at one of these venues. That would definitely help support the mid-range goal of losing 80 pounds! Now you can see why trying to align the goals was so important! You can knock out more than one goal while working on the others! During this portion, you can do some research into various ways to meet your goals. For example you could try doing 104 exercise classes in a year, what classes would you be interested in taking? You could shoot to do 104 minutes of exercise a week. You could try cutting each meal by 104 calories, go nuts with ideas! You could also research different ways to meet those goals such as switching to a plant based diet, joining local gyms that offer a variety of group classes, or maybe you want to do 104 kickboxing or yoga classes in your area. The point is to do a little research to see what your options are before narrowing down HOW you will reach your goal and what counts towards your project. Maybe you do 104 Zumba classes and then switch to 104 Pilates classes. Totally up to you! The point is to do the research now so you have a road map in mind.
Side note here: We didn’t have a conscious goal in mind when we started our 104 Project. Not even close. In fact we had the inklings of it long before we even got formal about it, giving it a name and an actual numerical goal. We just started doing things that made us feel better and brought happiness to our lives. We stumbled upon a purpose and joy, and if you do that great! If you haven’t stumbled across that yet, or are having problems with setting out specific goals right now you can still continue on! Do not fret! You have plenty of time to find yourself and develop your own 104 Project. Heck you could make a project to find your project! We are lucky in that our 104 Project has remained relatively unchanged since it’s formal inception about ten years ago. We left it open enough to grow, but specific enough to still be measured for success and keep us motivated. Should we need to change the “rules” in the future or create an entirely new 104 Project for ourselves we have plenty of experience to rely on.
Now back to your 104 Project! If you are struggling with a goal to work on at this point, how about just trying to pick something you find fun! Do you like to paint? Maybe try to do 104 different canvases? Maybe 104 sales of your artwork in a year or two years? Maybe try 104 new techniques or 104 different art classes? The possibilities are endless, so you can see why having a goal in mind helps give you direction. Say for example your long term goal was to buy a home in the next five years. Your mid-range goal was to work on your art and start the process of being a commissioned artist and your short term goal was to get formal art classes under your belt. Ok that helps narrow down things a bit for your 104 Project. Maybe generating 104 art master pieces just for the sake of it isn’t practical when you could save the money you spend on supplies to buy a home. Maybe doing 104 techniques isn’t a good idea because you have a solid foundation and people already appreciate your style, so spending time doing that 104 Project may not be helpful either. This is an example of how the various levels of goals can help fine tune what you want your 104 Project to look like and what will dictate whether something counts towards your 104 Project. Let’s use the weight loss example above to dictate how we will start a 104 Project.
One of your long term goals might be to run a half marathon from end to end without stopping. One of your mid-range goals might be lose 80 pounds and your short term goals could be to eat healthier or try new foods, or even travel more in your area, or just be more active in general. Lets see an option for building a 104 Project that suits you!
You could try a 104 Project where over the course of 104 weeks you set out an action plan to do things according to what you have listed as goals, such as eating better or getting out more. Maybe you could say each week you will try 1 new food, walk/jog/bike a 5k at least twice a week, and also this works on losing the 80 pounds. So you could have a 104 Project to lose 80 pounds in 104 weeks! Now within that 104 weeks, in order for a week to “count” you may have to set up some rules for yourself. This could be something like having a food journal where you write out each week what your new food was, and maybe list the not-too-good-for-you foods that you successfully avoided. Maybe you download an app that will help track your food and exercise routines each day. You could join a virtual race club and walk towards bling and say you are going to do 104 virtual races! The idea is to set up guidelines so your chosen activity is measurable towards your end goal. In our 104 Project, we must be together for an activity to count, we cannot go off and do something with friends and count that as part of our 104 Project together. That is just one of the rules we set up for our own 104 Project. Bonus, since it is our own 104 Project, if we decide to change that rule in the future we are free to do so, but until then, he’s stuck with me and I’m stick with him!
Back to our example of losing 80 pounds as your 104 Project. Now you could say each week that you counted as part of the project, maybe you get some sort of reward for making it through each week and having it count. It could be something small, like you reward yourself with a small treat, or maybe four consecutive weeks of sticking to the project you take a small trip for a quick overnight, or you have one huge meal you wouldn’t normally eat. Just make sure the reward doesn’t undo the work! You can decide how you want to set up your 104 Project. I suggest writing down ideas as you come up with them, and tossing out ideas that no longer work with any subsequent ones you like better. You will also learn somethings along the way too. For example you may decide that 104 weeks was too generous a timeline and you really want to shoot for 80 weeks, then by all means go for it! Trust me after two years of doing something, that will be your lifestyle, so it won’t stop after the 104 weeks are through! Maybe you decide to drop the one new food from every week to one a month because it is getting too tiresome to come up with new food every week. Or you drop the whole new food thing all together, and just cook what you deem healthy. Try not to be so stringent that any small bump in life makes it impossible to get a week completed, and too broad that not a lot of effort needs to be made in order to complete the task (and potentially not make your goal of losing the 80 pounds). As your fitness level improves, maybe altering the time you exercise or what counts as exercise will change too. Once walking 2 miles seemed daunting, a year later you can easily jog two miles. Holding yourself to the standard of only walking 2 miles three times a week is no longer a challenge. So allow the rules to grow and change as you need them to keep yourself motivated. Again, this is your project for yourself and your family. You could even get them involved and say that you want the whole family to go for that two mile walk twice a week! That’s the beauty of the 104 Project, you can change it to suit your needs as they evolve and grow, and also include others should you choose to do so!
Here are some tips for establishing the guidelines for your very own 104 Project:
- Make this fun and personal to you and your family. If it isn’t fun you probably won’t stick with it for long. This is not meant to be a chore!
- Choose a project that aligns with your goals, your morals, and what you enjoy as a person, or the person you want to become. An introverted person is not likely to enjoy being a singer on stage, so don’t choose a project that would put you in uncomfortable positions (unless that is your goal!).
- Come up with some guidelines to dictate whether or not that activity or length of time counts towards your project. Make them measurable, actionable, and reasonable with everyday life. Allow for some built in flexibility, but also enough of a challenge to make the change you want to see
- Just start with something! Even if the final project is very different from where you started, the key is the get started. You can’t do anything until you start your 104 Project!