The second major exercise in the 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think book is to create your “List of 100 Dreams.”  (Post 1 in this series:  168  Hours: Where Does the Time Go?)


Vanderkam notes that your list can be “as simple as ten places you want to visit, ten books you want to read, ten restaurants you want to try, skills you want to learn, or ten financial goals you have for yourself.”  It’s important to remember that your 100 Dreams can be small or big, inconsequential or life altering.  They just have to be goals you have for your life.


I found this exercise really interesting, but it was surprisingly hard to come up with 100 dreams!  I didn’t list things that I had already done for brevity’s sake, although Vankerkam says that you can list prior accomplishments like getting married or getting a professional job.


In total, I came up with 33 Dreams.  A little short of 100 but I plan to add to the list as I think of more.


A few of my 100 (err – 33) Dreams:


Take Henry to Disneyworld.

See the pyramids in person.

Live intentionally.

Own original art.

Create a tangible product to sell.


Foster a dog or cat.

Learn conversational Mandarian.

Go on an annual family vacation.

Write a best seller.


The next goal is to start tackling things on your list.  There is no way that I can go to Egypt right now to see the pyramids.  But I can ‘listen to NPR everyday’ and ‘regularly do sit-ups.’  I can also ‘schedule a meeting with a personal financial advisor.’  Vanderkam says, “By trying lots of thing you think you might enjoy, you will learn more about yourself, and what you are actually good at, what might be your core competencies, and which of the biggies are worth going for.”  Vanderkam writes that your list may evolve and grow as you try some activities.  For example, she tells a story of a woman who wanted to lose 75 pounds.  She did, and then she became a fitness instructor, and then she opened her own gym. 


Not only can your 100 Dreams help you figure out what professional avenues you want to explore, it can also change your life in little ways.  For example – being up-to-date with the news makes me so happy.  My list reminds me to listen to NPR, and I always feel very productive and accomplished after doing so. 


I hate feeling like I did SO much in a day but didn’t do anything that really made me happy.  The 100 Dreams list helps solve that problem by refocusing your daily energy on tackling things that actually matter to you.  I taped my list to my bathroom mirror so I can see it over and over again.


What is on your 100 Dreams list?  Do you share any of my dreams?



  • natalie @ will jog for food October 30, 2012, 2:21 pm

    I’ve been dying to see the Pyramids for as long as I can remember!! That is a great list 🙂

  • Annette@FitnessPerks October 30, 2012, 2:22 pm

    This is so great! I love that idea. I prob don’t have 100 (? I don’t know?), but am excited to check it out & see! I’d love to do this with the husband too, and see what things we both want to do (that I didn’t yet know about).

    P.s. my dad has seen the pyramids in person, and his pics are incredible!

  • Laine October 30, 2012, 2:25 pm

    One of mine is to regain my fluency in Spanish. I got to the point in college where I was reading (and understanding!) novels in Spanish and writing reports in Spanish.
    So, I spent the hurricane labeling items in my house (including food in the fridge) with their Spanish words. It’s easy and a good way to immerse yourself. That could be the way you build your Mandarin knowledge.

    • Caitlin October 30, 2012, 2:39 pm

      Great idea!

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life October 30, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Taking our kids to Disneyworld for sure is on the list! I also want to have a comfortable retirement. Go to Paris. Go to Italy. Love myself more. Be a good example to my kids. Live by design, not by default. Take more risks. Nurture my marriage.

    I’m going to keep going on this for sure! This is a wonderful exercise. Thanks for sharing!

  • Caroline October 30, 2012, 2:31 pm

    This book is soo interesting! I think I would have a hard time coming up with 100 dreams, too. A big dream of mine right now is to get my yoga teacher certification. I just registered for a training in January!

  • Katrina October 30, 2012, 2:33 pm

    I’ve never been a big planner. I like to see where life leads me. My dad always wanted my “5 year plan”! That being said, I love the thought of living internationally. I never thought of prioritizing that.

    Regardless, I’ve always wanted to own a bakery. I have a whole business model mapped out in my head. Unfortunately, that would mean a lot of changes to a life I love and live currently… Glad you’re learning so much from this process and thanks for sharing it!

  • Hillary October 30, 2012, 2:40 pm

    I made a list similar to this when I was a freshman in college (nearly ten years ago. YIKES). It’s fun to go back to it every once in a while and see what I’ve crossed off in the years that have passed, and then to add things to take their place. Right now, my dreams are all over the place: get married (I’m engaged now, so I’m on my way…), own a home, have a child, travel to Hawaii and Europe, start a garden, etc…

  • Samantha Angela October 30, 2012, 2:46 pm

    100 Dreams?! That’s a lot.

    I don’t think I can think of 20, but then again I’d probably spend so much time trying too hard to come up with really awesome dreams for myself.

    I want to try this.

  • Patti @ This Starts Tonight October 30, 2012, 2:53 pm

    This is amazing! I’m up to 23 and really inspired already. Some dreams: Go vegan. Evolve my stand-up set. Write jokes everyday. Play Queen Elizabeth. Teach an improv class. Banish negative self-talk. And counting!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action October 30, 2012, 3:00 pm

    I want to start making my list immediately! I love this!

    My big dreams right now are to do my yoga teacher training certification (which I’m currently saving to do in July) and to live in Europe for a year (which I’m scheduling to do next September). I also want to be debt-free by 2013!

    I definitely share your dream of seeing the pyramids- I’ve always been fascinated with Ancient Egyptian culture!

  • Sarah October 30, 2012, 3:03 pm

    I want to see the pyramids too! I will have to check out this book 😉

  • Sam October 30, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I think the concept behind 168 Hours is really interesting, but wonder if it doesn’t just feed into our overplanned, overscheduled, overanxious American mindset of accomplishing accomplishing accomplishing. Does anyone need 100 life goals, or even 33? I read a similar article and attempted to list 15 things I wanted to accomplish over the next six months but in the end the exercise just made me feel anxious, and I realized that some of the things that I was listing I didn’t really want to do, I was just listing them to get to 15! I also felt that dreams and goals can start to look an awful lot like “to-do”s when you list them, and the emphasis becomes on accomplishing things rather than enjoying the experience itself (also reminds me of the message in the movie “Up”!).

    As well, the breaking things down in 15 minute increments reminds me of billable hours, which when I worked at a firm that used those, we used to joke turned us into people with time disorders, where you stressed out about how you were spending your time and what you were getting accomplished rather than just losing yourself in a project. I personally love the concept of “flow,” and I’m not convinced that flow and productivity exercises like those promoted in 168 hours can co-exist.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day. Now I have to go tackle that to-do list 🙂

    • Eliza October 30, 2012, 4:51 pm

      I think you make some good points. I wonder, too, about this constant search for some sense of accomplishment/happiness. I think there’s a strong tendency in more privileged sections of American culture to always be searching for the Next Great Thing. Like: my life will be perfect and I will finally feel happy once I go to the gym every morning and don’t watch t.v. and don’t eat junk food and accomplish X,Y, and Z.

      I certainly do this, but for a long time now I know that my primary goal has been “be at peace.” I feel like I’m always planning/moving toward “the next thing” (home ownership, job stuff, family stuff, whatever), and never just appreciate the moment and place I am in right now. I would like to release some of the high expectations I have for myself, so that I can appreciate how wonderful my life is right now, in this moment, even though I’m not constantly running on my hamster wheel toward my next big goal.

      • Christine October 30, 2012, 6:21 pm

        Really interesting points, and I tend to agree. Sometimes a to do list can make me feel good, like I’m accomplishing things and making progress, but I too often feel like at the end of the day I just did a bunch of random crap that wasn’t really anything I was super passionate about.

        I also am not particularly fond of the idea that time has a certain monetary value. Sure, it can be nice to outsource tasks that we aren’t fond of, but at the same time, I do see value in being able to mow one’s own lawn, wash one’s own clothes, and cook one’s own food. Of course it’s not always practical to do these tasks for oneself, but even if it’s technically cheaper to outsource them, I think there’s value in taking care of oneself and learning to find peace and even joy in everyday tasks.

        One more thing about outsourcing and finding out how much your time is worth: it is often the case that a man’s time is “worth more” than a female’s, and that’s obviously partially because there’s a pay gap between men and women, but also partially because females tend to perform more unpaid labor, like childcare and domestic tasks. By putting a dollar value on our time, we might unintentionally reinforce the idea that a men’s time is “worth more” than wome’s (e.g. Caitlin, I remember you wrote at some point that Kristien’s time was worth more than yours, so it made sense to hire out for lawnmowing but not for house cleaning.) To me, this type of thinking can become a dangerous slope. After all, time is actually NOT money, despite our culture’s way of calculating value and worth.

        Okay, end of rant! This is an interesting topic to think about!

        • Liz C. November 11, 2012, 3:45 pm

          The author actually discusses that in the book. The dream exercise isn’t about trying to achieve more or stick another activity into your life, but rather about identifying your “core competencies.” In the book, one person talks about how she always wanted to start crafting, so she did…and she hated it! Trying things on the list helps you figure out how you actually want to fill those 168 hours.

    • Jen October 30, 2012, 5:42 pm

      Often, it’s our OWN minds that contributes to the so-called “American mindset”. You said that you were writing things down that made you anxious…well, why? If you recognized that you were doing that – then go back and scratch those goals out. Just like that. Simple. Start writing the things that only make you feel good. Listen to your body – it will tell you. Don’t listen to your mind which is full of conflicting thoughts. Only you can control what you do in life. You’ll note that many of Caitlin’s goals are fun and definitely achievable. Like she said – they help her focus on ENJOYING the day by doing things she wants to do instead of all those tasks and errands we don’t enjoy.

      With that said, I DO definitely agree with flow – I get anxious when I’ve even thought of goals. But then I realized I am getting anxious because I’m certain I’m going to fail. Or I don’t want to risk failure…or I just want the easy way out. However, now with each passing year, I’m getting older and I realize how much time I am wasting and how much I am not doing but using excuses, etc. It makes me wonder if it’s time to start setting goals.

      In the end, everybody is different.

    • julia October 31, 2012, 6:58 am

      I enjoyed reading your comment, Sam, and feel similarly. I actually think making this type of list would decrease my happiness.

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human October 30, 2012, 3:17 pm

    I think that’s a wonderful and ambitious list! I feel like I say this every time this subject comes up, but the only dream I can ever think about is hiking the entire Continental Divide Trail!

  • Amy October 30, 2012, 3:40 pm

    There are a lot of things I want to do in life, but don’t necessarily think about as being possible now. That doesn’t mean I should give up, or that I should change everything immediately either. Your posts about the 168 Hours book are really inspiring and have given me so much to ponder. Thanks Caitlin!

  • Elisabeth October 30, 2012, 3:42 pm

    I’m sure I don’t have 100 either – that’s a lot! I think my #1 dream is to finally get my crap together (after 8 years of procrastinating since I graduated college) & go back to school. I’d love to get accepted to med school & become a doctor (my dream since middle school). 🙂

  • lauren October 30, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Thank you for this! I was just emailing my BFF about not even knowing where to start and what to do. This list will help. And since it is so long, no dream is too small or too silly to write down. xo

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery October 30, 2012, 3:53 pm

    Going to Egypt is one of my biggest dreams right now. I had the chance to go when I studied in Greece but I ran out of money. I’m really into Egyptology so seeing the pyramids would be amazing.

    Ziplining is SO much fun! I did it in Maui a few years ago and fell down a ramp trying to impress the cute zipline tour guide. Apparently it was charming because he actually did ask me out!

  • Tammy Root October 30, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I see “Have another baby” on your list!!!

  • Brittney October 30, 2012, 3:55 pm

    I want to zipline too. If you wait til next year after I have the baby, I will go with you!

  • Vikki October 30, 2012, 4:19 pm

    These are the dreams that I think are achievable.
    1. Shoulder stand while foot-hooping
    2. Run a half-marathon
    3. Chest/shoulder hoop in both currents
    4. Submit my completed novel to an agent. (I too would like to write a bestseller, but I will settle for taking this as my first step.)

  • RunEatRepeat October 30, 2012, 4:35 pm

    I own original art! Ben comes from an artist family 🙂

    Now I’m off to make my list…

  • Therese October 30, 2012, 4:45 pm

    I’m so happy to see “have another baby” on your list! Henry is so sweet, I can’t get enough photos of him!!

    Just FYI, “every day” is two words when it isn’t being used as an adjective (so it should be “Listen to NPR every day”). You can read more here:

    Love these goals, nice idea!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 30, 2012, 4:51 pm

    This is a great idea! But I agree – 100 dreams might be hard to come up with! Although you’ve given me some ideas, I don’t think I would have thought of little things like sit-ups. I’m so going to do this now!

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut October 30, 2012, 5:00 pm

    I like the idea of this list a lot. Figuring out what you like and what you’re good at gives you confidence. Once you have that, it’s easier to keep moving forward towards your goals. Setting intentions and having clear goals makes the whole process of trying to achieve them much less daunting!

  • Kerry @ Adventures in Healthy October 30, 2012, 5:31 pm

    Just started my list too! I would definitely recommend fostering – I foster kittens (so cute!!) and it’s so rewarding. It might be a little much for you right now with the baby but I guarantee you will love it. I plan to foster dogs when I live somewhere that allows dogs. Right now I’ve got a 6 week old kitty named Scott (but she’s a girl). She sleeps on my lap while I work!

  • laura October 30, 2012, 5:33 pm

    i love this series you are doing! it is so inspiring that you are always trying to “better” yourself! there is no shame in continually trying to improve oneself so you can be the best model you can of yourself! (does that even make sense?!) I just love that you’re always committed to something, never just “stuck in the moment” or the “rut” of mundane life. kudos to you, miss caitlin! thanks for sharing! I will definitely check out this book. I have a lot of dreams, but for some reason, i feel silly sharing them, so i primarily keep them all inside. fear of failure or not accomplishing them? maybe….

    • Caitlin October 30, 2012, 11:06 pm

      thank you sweetie!

  • Jen October 30, 2012, 8:00 pm

    I wrote my first 100 Goals when I was sixteen 11 years ago at a morning swim practice. I have saved it and revisited it frequently. When I was 21 I wrote up another 100 Goals list. It is about time to do another…

  • Nicole October 30, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Run a half marathon sub 2 hours, then a full marathon sub 4 hours. Then make more babies!!!!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 30, 2012, 8:45 pm

    I would LOVE to write a best seller – how cool would that be? Though before I can do that, I need to write my first book. 😉

  • Christine @ BookishlyB October 31, 2012, 12:01 am

    I think my biggest and most pressing dream right now is trying to have a baby. Any month now 🙂 I’d also like to publish a well-received novel, go to Patagonia, find the perfect pair of boots, visit castles in Europe, and open a bar/bookstore. All over the map!

  • Emilia October 31, 2012, 6:40 am

    I’ve never even thought about the idea of writing out one hundred dreams, but I certainly want to now. Your series on 168 hours has, already, been super inspiring. I’m definitely interested in this book now! There are so many things I want to do, but I definitely always feel strapped for time. I’d say that one of my biggest dreams, right now, would be to get paid to write. 🙂

  • Claire October 31, 2012, 7:27 am

    Some of my dreams/goals:
    Run 10 marathons (I’m up to 4)
    Run a sub 3h40m marathon
    Go to Easter Island
    Take hubby and kids to Disneyland
    Renovate our house
    Be promoted into a management role
    Donate plasma every 4 weeks
    Do a fun run with my 3 kids

  • Kelly October 31, 2012, 10:53 am

    Next time you’re visiting your mom, you should cross ziplining off your list! Nearby, in Sevierville, there are several options. I just recently ziplined for the first time (a bucket list item for me) at Wahoo Ziplines, and it was a blast!! There’s a half-off deal on SweetJack that’s good for use through June 2013.

  • Gretchen November 1, 2012, 11:41 am

    Yessss, learn Mandarin! Here’s a little to get you started: jia yo! Not-literally, it means, essentially, go!( Like, you can do it!) but the literal translation is “egg oil.” Ohhhh, Chinese. You make so much sense. 🙂

  • Chattynatty November 2, 2012, 6:44 pm

    I loved this book and read it this past year and did my own post. It is a great read and I found this activity of 100 dreams to be challenging. On my list is: travel to Europe, do the GOOFY race in Florida, write a book…

  • April November 5, 2012, 8:58 am

    Thank you so much for posting this! I got up to 55 and then couldn’t think of anything else. Some of them were things I would like to do again like drive cross country and visit NYC while others were pretty random like make french macroons and visit the California beaches.

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