Today I am on day 535 of my Day Zero Project. That means half of the project has passed already! Only 466 days are left until the end. Holy cow! Time to start panicking! I’m not even halfway my goals! Gulp. Okay, let’s not panic. Instead, let’s look what I have achieved so far. Because I might not be halfway my goals, but I did achieve a lot thanks to this project already. Things I had never even dared to imagine when I started.
This update is a very special update. Not the regular monthly thing. Since I am over half of my project time, in this post I will talk about all the goals I have achieved so far, and all the awesome extra experiences this Day Zero Project has given me so far.
Make my project work!
Although I haven’t actually completed any of these goals yet, one of my goals in this category is one of my biggest achievements so far; blogging about every goal I have completed or am struggling with (#3). This Day Zero Project has made me a blogger. Without this project, i don’t know whether I would be writing every day now. This goal, this whole list of goals, made me start doing what I love every day. It also helped me build a portfolio as a writer, which is a huge deal, considering I want to earn a living as a writer. I am making my project work, but even more so, my project is making me work!
I would have loved to tell you that my website is up (#5) and I that have a box full of business cards (#4). But it’s all still in progress… I don’t exactly know why. It might be my fear not to launch the perfect website, or the fear of having a website but not attracting any clients. Which both is stupid, because without a website I will definitely not attract any new clients. Well, not any clients that don’t know me, that is. Because I did have clients. I achieved my goal of having my first five clients (#6)! These were all clients that either knew me, or had someone promote me. I have written plays for a theater group, video scripts and subtitles for a media company, even more subtitles for a dog school, I’ve edited job applications and translated philosophical texts. I’m not earning enough to make a living yet, but I am certainly establishing myself as a writer. I will get there!
I have also attended a webinar lately (#8) on how to write a powerful company website (how useful!). And let’s not forget the beautiful portrait photos Anni Galamini shot of me for my website and social media (#7). That’s 50% of the business goals in the pocket already!
I am always eager to learn, so it is not surprising that this category contains a great deal of my goals. In retrospect, learning a new language, a new instrument, a couple of new crafting skills, a new vocal skill and some other miscellaneous skills might have been a tad too ambitious. Oh and let’s not forget I also planned on completing two years of law school. How much time did I think I had? Looking back onto this category, it seems foolish to ever have thought I could manage all of this in 1001 days. Or is it?
I mean, 1001 days is almost three years. Completing two study years and learning some additional skills isn’t too much to ask for in three years time, is it? Maybe I should have started sooner. Or maybe I will be able manage to complete these goals after all. To be fair, I never mentioned I wand to become a professional sewer or win prices with horse riding. I just wanted to learn the basics. That’s doable! I should focus more on these goals from now on!
I already created a study plan for my two years of law school (#10&11). There’s still enough time left to do these goals, if I start taking this more seriously from now on and actually plan my study days well.
I also want to schedule some time each day to learn Italian (#22). I had started that goal 1,5 years ago, but somehow I forgot to keep track of it.
Those are the two major goals of this category. If I’ll nail them, the rest should be easy! And let’s not forget I did complete tree goals in this category already; I learned how to play the guitar (#16), I practiced my French (#21) and during this month I am following seven (!) workshops (19). I will blog about those workshops once I’ve done them all, but I can tell you now they are about stage make-up, anime drawing and dog massage.
And let my creativity flow
I’ve completed one goal in this category; paint on a canvas (#29). I’m actually very surprised I haven’t completed more already, as I love being creative. I did make some progress on a few of the other goals as well. I started my sketchbook of zentangles (#23), I uploaded two new videos of me singing (#24), I wrote a story for a contest (#26), found a few letters of the alphabet (#33), created a denim bag and made some clay ornaments for Christmas (#30).
I have definitely been doing stuff! But I made almost all of my goals in this category long-term ones, which means I have to do spend more time on these goals before they will be completed fully. I am regretting this a bit now, as I think I have too many long-term goals on my list. That can be a bit demotivating at times. But with a bit of dedication these goals should be of no problem. Let’s not forget I love being creative!
Work on my inner self…
This category resulted in me bringing my YouTube channel back to life. I had already posted some videos since learning how to play the guitar, but now I had found a new purpose for my channel: sharing creative videos. My first creative video was a pocket letter tutorial, which actually completed goal #39. Looking back on it, it was way too long and I could have narrated it a lot more interesting, but it did inspire me to do more creative videos. I decided to take my creative journey even further.
I noticed my Wreck This Journal had collected dust for a few months, which was a shame, as I loved the book very much. I also loved watching people create their pages on camera. So why not do that myself? This way I could work on my goal again while inspiring others to be creative in the process. So last month I created a flip through of the pages I had done so far and since then, I’ve uploaded two videos in which I create new pages on camera. I love doing it! Somehow it feels more okay to spend a whole day crafting if I actually do it with a purpose (a purpose other than just relaxing). My videos are currently two to three weeks apart, but once I am a bit more skilled (read: faster) in the editing process, preferable with a better editing program, my aim is to post weekly videos. If you like my videos as much as I love making them, you can visit my channel here to subscribe.
Fun fact: my Wreck This Journal resulted in me having a lot of pen pals right now! I thought it would be fun to exchange some mail with some other Wreck This Journal enthusiasts, so we’d have some stamps for the stamp page. That’s all. Just stamps. It got a little bit out of hand though and currently I am pen palling with over 15 people. And I love it! I couldn’t care less about the stamps (they’re still nice, but it’s not my goal to collect them anymore), but I love all the personal stories we share and the little gifts we give each other. We even have a pen pal community on Facebook (guess who’s one of the admins) which feels like a second family. And all of this because of one simple goal about wrecking a book.
Aside from my YouTube fever, this category has brought me some other very valuable things. The most important goal here probably is the selfie challenge (#36). I challenged myself to take a selfie every month. Not because I’m so vain, but because of exactly the opposite: I had very low self-worth. I thought I was ugly and called myself names (such as fat pig). Bullying yourself is probably the worst kind of bullying. I mean, how can you ever beat your nasty, bullying self? Well, in my case, selfies were the solution. I wanted to find the beauty in myself. I wanted to be able to see the good things other people saw in me. And these selfies did exactly that. Recently I wrote a more elaborate post on this. If you missed it, you can read it here.
I have also written down 101 things I like about myself (#38), which was super difficult to do, but it was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done. It is such an awesome feeling to be nice to yourself, to think of the things you’re proud of instead of the things you fail at. To be this positive about myself was kind of new to me and it was an elaborate feeling. I’d recommend this goal to everyone.
I’m also progressing in my Q&A a day. Every day I have to answer a question. It can be about my day, about my current life or about my thoughts on something. I am now in the second year of the book and it’s really fun to compare my answers to those of last year. I haven’t changed much yet, but I can already see some minor changes in my answers. I can only imagine how it will be in four years, when I will be answering my last year of the book. It’s a real journal if you want to keep track of your life without spending an hour each day writing about it.
And my outer self
The biggest goal I am working on in this category is trying to lose 30 kg (66 lbs, #40). It’s also my biggest struggle. I was on a roll during the first few months, but after a while it got harder and I had a few setbacks. I am still recovering from those now. I seem to be on the right track again though, so I hope I will manage to keep up with it now. Losing the full 30 kg will be a lot harder now, as I had hoped to have lost 15 kg by now instead of the 4 kg I have lost now. But it is still not impossible, so let’s try and reach that goal!
I did complete all the other goals in this category, though! I lived two weeks without soda (#44), drank a jug of water each day for a month (#45), had three months of daily fruit intakes (#41) and another three months without unhealthy snacks (#42). And a few weeks ago I finished a month of daily exercise (#43). I had assumed these goals would make sure I would be well on my way of losing 30 kg. They did help a lot indeed, as it was during the progress of these goals when my weight loss was actually happening. But somehow, these new habits didn’t stick. I am not sure how, since usually you should do something for one month in order to make it a new habit. I did this, and still I fell back to my old ways. So if you guys have any tips on how to actually turn these healthy habits into my daily routine, please let me know.
Turn my house into a home
My bedroom has a nice ceiling lamp now (#55) and I have got the most beautiful fairytale desk (#46), but aside from that, nothing much has changed, unfortunately. I have received a lot of help in the backyard (#52) last fall, but after that nothing much got done before winter came. It’s spring now though, so I am trying to use all of the sunny days to at least do something in either the front or the backyard. I would love to build the front yard path (#56) this month and also have a path in the backyard. If all goes well, the yard will be finished at the end of next month.
On rainy days, I want to do a bit of refurbishing every day. With small steps every day, I will eventually finish my refurbishing projects as well, right?
Organize things that are important
Ah, the not so fun goals. Organizing! Don’t get me wrong, I love having things organized, I just not like to clean up a mess first. But there’s no other way. I did get a funeral insurance finally (#60), but all the other goals are still waiting to get done. I am trying to keep a cash book (#62) for the umpteenth time now (why do I always stop halfway the month?) and I am planning on organizing my photos soon (#58), so I hope to finally make some more progress in this department witching the next few months.
Be the best cook I can be
This category has been a huge success! I only have to make macaroons (#67) and bake my third bread (#68) to have succeeded completely at this category. I made sushi for the first time in my life (#63) and I did it another time after that. I made hummus (#64), which is now one of my most favorite (and easiest!) snack recipes to make. You can find the recipe here. I made a dish with coke (#65) and I have now baked three cakes so far which I decorated with fondant (#66). My first try on this was a Halloween cake, which was a huge success! I still think I don’t cook and bake enough, but at least I learned a couple of new things.
But don’t forget to relax in between!
Right from the start, my favorite goal in this category was to play video games a whole day long (#71). It took me a while before I actually did it, but it was the most awesome day! I really want to do that again some day. No obligations, no chores, just gaming and relaxing. Somehow, that’s a really hard thing for me to do.
The goal I feared most was going unplugged for two days (#74). Well, fearing is a bit too strong, but I was afraid I would miss my devices to the extend I would get very cranky. It was exactly the opposite, though! These two days were the best days I’d had in a long time! Such a peace came over me, it was incredible. I have tried it one more time after, but failed. And somehow after that, I never did it again. I’m not sure why, as those days were so awesome.
I also saw a professional musical (#81) and a dance performance (#84), both of which were amazing. I made a playlist of sing-alongs too (#78) and I had a movie marathon (#72). That last goal also helped me on my goal of watching 101 movies (#77). That is a lot of movies! I am almost halfway though, so I’m doing good. I also nearly finished my goal of seeing 25 theater performances (#82, I only have to see one more!) and I am halfway on my book-reading goal (#70).
I still have a lot left to do in this category, but it shouldn’t be to difficult, as this is a category of relaxation, right?
And discover new places
Ah, the expensive category! I love traveling and I would have loved to have a goal which says to travel the world, or visit a new continent, but I knew that would have been impossible to achieve. So I thought of goals that entailed traveling in my own tiny country, or just crossing one or two borders. But even that seems very difficult for me to achieve.
I have visited a cave (#89) and I have been on one of the Wadden Islands (#85), but that’s pretty much it. I have been in only two of the twelve Dutch provinces for a photo trip (#86) and I haven’t been in any other country yet (#87). At least not as a tourist. I really doubt whether I will be able to complete these travel goals, but I will still try. Summer is coming, so hopefully the weather will inspire me to make more trips.
Connect with other people
I am amazed how well I did in this department! Four out of six goals are completed! I sent a surprise package to someone (#95) and a bunch of other happy mail to other people (#94). This was even before I started pen palling. After that, I have sent so much more. I also surprised a friend of mine with a homemade cake (#93) when she was having a bad day. And I thanked all the people who helped me in my backyard with a barbecue in said backyard (#92). The picnic (#91) is already planned for next month. The only thing we need right now is nice weather on that exact date. And the high tea (#90) had been planned, but got cancelled. The only thing we need to do is reschedule it.
I am always afraid I forget to connect with other people. I am a bit of a loner and I like that a lot. That’s why I created these goals. But apparently I am not as bad as it as I thought!
And with my dogs
I haven’t been doing as much with the dogs as I had wanted to at this point. Part of the reason is that at one point, we had three dogs instead of two, as we had to take care of my sister’s dog for over a year. It complicated stuff a lot. But now it’s just Ruud, me and our two doggies again, so I am slowly getting back on doing more stuff with them. A few months ago I took Rikku to a doggy dance workshop (#101), which was so much fun to do. I would love to take regular classes, but there are no doggy dance classes anywhere near where I live.
Last month I completed a month of daily brain games (#100), which I still have to write about. That post will be up soon. I also completed my loose leash walking training (#99). In fact, that was the very first goal I completed! Sadly we do have to start from square one again on this one, as we could not proceed the training with the third dog around and now our dogs pull the leash like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a bit demotivating, but I know they can do it, as we’ve done it before. So with a bit of work, we should be able to do it once more.
I visited six out of ten new places with my dogs (#97), and I am planning on finishing this goal soon. Preferably this month even, but that also depends a bit on the weather. I also taught my dogs quite a few new abilities (#96), but I didn’t keep track of them. Oops! I’ll have to think about the things they have learned in the past 1,5 years to see how far we’ve come on this goal.
Hey, seems like I didn’t do that bad in the dog category after all!
Although not officially one of my goals of the Day Zero Project, I decided to add this goal to the list as my 102nd one, since it took up a lot of my time and I was super proud of the achievement; I wrote my first play. It’s the thing I am proud of most, to be honest. I am now close to the performance of my second play and I can’t imagine there has been a time I was not writing plays. I really love it! It’s the most rewarding thing to see your story acted out on stage and see all these people coming to watch it.
My second half of the Day Zero Project
It’s kind of scary, half of the project being over already. I wish I could say I completed half of the goals as well, but I have only completed 39 out of 101. I hadn’t expected to be at 50% now, as I’ve got a few goals that can only be completed at the end of the Day Zero Project. My selfie goal for example, or the goal of blogging on every goal. But knowing quite a lot of the unachieved goals are long-term ones can be a bit demotivating sometimes. In fact, I have thought of abandoning some goals altogether. I won’t, though. I will still try my best to complete all my goals before July 25th, 2017. I might not succeed on all of them, but it won’t hold me back at this point. After all, I designed these goals to live my life to the fullest, to try out new things and to explore stuff. If I abandoned some of these goals, I would keep myself from exploring those things within the next 1,5 years. That would be foolish. Even if I won’t manage to travel five different countries, wouldn’t it be nice if I’ll have at least finished two or three at the end of my project?
I also should not forget what my project has given me so far. Without it, I would probably still feel bad about myself. I wouldn’t have used my YouTube channel, I wouldn’t have learned how to play the guitar and I wouldn’t have had any pen pals. And maybe even most important: I wouldn’t have had this blog. It is not all in the numbers. I have done so much more than just completing 38 goals. I have build myself a life. I am living my dreams. I am doing things I am proud of. I have found things that are worth getting up for in the morning. And that’s worth so much more than the €5,- I give myself for each completed goal. It is priceless.
Follow me on my journey
I really want to thank all of you for your support on my journey so far. Your comments and views and real-life reactions really kept me going. Sometimes because your comments prevented me from throwing in the towel. Sometimes because you told me I inspire you to achieve your own goals, which is so amazing. And sometimes just because you remembered I was doing this project and just asked how it was going. Without such support, it’s so easy to forget about it and not bother anymore. But your engagement is part of what keeps me going. I really, truly am thankful for that.
So please keep commenting, asking stuff and sharing your own experiences. And if you would like to see how I’ll be doing in this second half of the project, then just subscribe to this blog. I will keep you updated on every goal I have completed, but also on the ones I am struggling with. I know I share my articles on Facebook as well, but that isn’t a guarantee you will see it, I’m afraid. Subscribing is, as I will notify you by email every time there’s a new post. I hope to keep seeing you around during my second half of the Day Zero Project!