My updated list of 100 dreams

Today’s post is eight years in the making. Three years ago, I wrote about my list of 100 dreams, and as you’ll read, I stewed about that list for five years before I finally committed it to paper.

I wanted to revisit it because just three years in, I’m pleasantly surprised by how much progress I’ve made. My dream vacations haven’t happened, nor has the quick trip to a spot just a mile from my house, but I have accomplished several of the things on my list—without a plan, or deadlines, or SMART goals. Instead, I captured these things as part of the big picture way I want to live my life. Without revisiting the list, I wouldn’t have realized I was making “progress.” (I’m glad I have the list!)

I’d encourage you to go back and visit the original post, about the inspiration for the list—the why and the how. Then, after you’ve read it, come back here for today’s update.


As I review my list, I’ve realized how many of its goals aren’t things that can ever be finished, not once-and-for-all: they’re more about mindset than checking a box. I planted a garden bed bursting with tulips—and then we moved. I went away for a girls’ weekend (several, actually) but I hope there are many more in my future. I’ve visited heaps of indie bookstores, yet will visit a dozen more new ones this year (hurray!). I strive to support others in their work in tangible, practical ways, and that’s not going to stop.

I decided to cross these things off the list anyway.

I’ve made serious progress on a few goals (chopsticks! the park system! zinnias!) but am leaving those for now.

After three years, there were only a few things on my list that I wanted to edit. I no longer intend to steward a Little Free Library in the near future, but I have made filling up my little neighborhood libraries with books part of my regular routine. I’m thinking about swapping out the pull-up for a pistol. And “become an expert at something”—why so vague, 2015 Anne?

Thanks for stopping to mark a few accomplishments with me today (like, I actually wrote two books!). If this sounds like fun, would you consider making your own list?

Please share three dreams, big or small, in the comments—but don’t stop there. I highly encourage you to go for the full one hundred. There’s something about forcing your brain to come up with that long list that pulls out what’s important to you, both big and small.


  1. Host dinner parties. Or start/join a supper club.
  2. Steward a Little Free Library.
  3. Take art classes.
  4. Go away for a girls’ weekend.
  5. Get really familiar with our local parks system. I want to know the trails like the back of my hand.
  6. Learn to use chopsticks. (I try, but I am terrible.)
  7. Plant a garden bursting with tulips.
  8. And a garden bed spilling over with zinnias.
  9. Find and perfect a signature dish.
  10. Learn to dance (ballroom, swing, I don’t even know).
  11. Do a pull-up.


  1. Visit the Pacific Northwest with the kids.
  2. And the California coast with the kids.
  3. Visit the Abbey of Gethsemani (local to us, but we’ve never been).
  4. And Mammoth Cave with the kids (also local, but I haven’t been since I was a kid).
  5. Revisit the International Wine Festival in Budapest (Will and I just happened to be in town for this the last time we were in Europe, and it was magical).
  6. Visit a ton of indie bookstores: Powell’s, Parnassus, the Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, and any others we happen to be near or can manage to get to.
  7. Take a small town road trip (definitely inspired by our recent experience).
  8. Visit the Grand Canyon.
  9. And at least five other national parks. (I’ve only been to Mt. Rainer …)
  10. Take the kids to Europe.
  11. Take an architecture tour in Barcelona.


  1. Write a few real book reviews. (I write about books a lot, but I rarely write formal reviews.)
  2. Develop stellar interview skills.
  3. Go on a writing retreat or take a formal writing class.
  4. Write some poetry as a skill-building exercise.
  5. Write a nonfiction book.
  6. And a novel.
  7. Write a long-form piece and publish it somewhere.
  8. Become an expert at something.
  9. Learn to take great photos.
  10. And edit them.
  11. Support others in their work in tangible, practical ways.

Have you ever made a list of 100 dreams? What are three things on YOUR list? Any advice for me or the newbie list-makers? Can you help me finally master chopsticks? Please tell us all about it in comments below. 


Leave A Comment
  1. Jamalyn says:

    1. Have a flower/herb and vegetable garden.
    2. Quit my real job and vol and/or work part time in hospice care.
    3.Become a thankful disiciple of Christ.(working on my list of 1000 graces)

  2. Janean says:

    First of all, you’re not giving yourself nearly enough credit!

    9. Your curry lunch dish! Not many people know how to make a good curry if it’s not their native food.
    11. I bet you can with all that beach bodying and yoga you’re doing.

    2. Major ✔️ Look out, Barbara Wawa.
    8. Um, books? Podcasting? Instagram? Blogging? Seriously, Anne. ??‍♀️ You’re very accomplished. Go by that how many hours it takes to be an expert thing – 10,000 is it? You’ve clearly hit the mark and then some.

    Second, for travel, combine 3, 4 and 7 (and maybe look for somewhere to do a pull up along the way?) and you’ll pick off an easy 4 more. ?

    Question: How do you balance shooting for the stars with these lists and really tapping in to heartfelt dreams with the reality of life and the knowledge that many of your dreams may never happen? I’ve made these lists and then I get depressed, because I know many of the things on them probably will never happen given my life circumstances. Do you make a more realistic list? How do you approach it so that you get a fair amount of wins so as not to get discouraged?

    • Anne says:

      I’m inclined to argue, but instead I will say thank you. 🙂

      For the big question: that IS the question, isn’t it? I’m sure this is highly individual, but personally, I think it’s okay to acknowledge I WANT to do something, even if it seems unlikely it will ever happen. Dreams and intentions can be different things, and that’s okay. (I’d be interested in hearing alternate viewpoints here.)

      • Stefanie says:

        I totally understand – making a list of all the things you wish for but maybe can’t come true would be depressing. But I’m a with Anne, it’s ok to acknowledge what you want, even if it may never happen. It can allow you to deal with the things you may never achieve, giving them an outlet and find a way to bring yourself fulfillment. For example, you may never be the star live on Broadway – but what can you discover about yourself in that wish? That you love to sing? Join a choir! That you love being on stage? What about community theatre? Or maybe you’ll find – like Anne did – that some of the things you wish for just start happening without you trying. That could help to make all those other dreams seem a bit more realistic?

      • Susan Clark says:

        I agree with what you said Anne (even though I wrote below to cross #8 under Professional off your list as I think your Podcast is amazing!). It’s always important to have dreams – whether or not you actually meet all of them is to me not what’s important. What “is” important is that you always have something to strive for no matter if it’s a small dream or a large dream!! Each individual makes their own lists in their own way. If not, then it’s a shame as I would think a bit of boredom (or maybe a lot of boredom) would set in! Challenging ourselves to be the best we can be and striving to reach for our dreams is great and if we are parents, it teaches our children to strive for things that they want in their lives too! It’s a win-win combination!

  3. Visit Powell’s, be director of women’s ministries at my church, learn ballroom dancing. I started a bucket list about ten years ago, and like you, have accomplished a number of them along the way. Thanks for bringing this to my attention again.

  4. Sarah K says:

    I love your categories – coming up with 100 things can be kind of intimidating! I have started my list several times but I’m not sure I’ve ever filled it up. This year I did “18 for 2018” and I’ve really enjoyed checking things off!

  5. Amy says:

    1.) Own my own little independent bookshop. (Actively working on phase 1 of this retirement dream)
    2.) Travel to Savannah
    3.) Create a “Must visit” Indies list and plan those trips.

    • Janet K says:

      Amy a couple of my favorite “indies” are a Bunch of Grapes on Martha’s Vineyard and an Unlikely Story Bookstore and Café in Plainville, MA and then of course my local one, The Tattered Cover in Denver.

      • Amy says:

        Thanks Janet! I’ll have to add them to my list. (Martha’s Vineyard is another place on my bucket list to travel!)

      • Susanne says:

        Hi Janet,
        My family will be in Denver for a few days this summer. I am so glad I read your comment as I have been working on a list of places to visit. The Tattered Cover is now on it!

      • Anne says:

        Oh I LOVED visiting The Tattered Cover (the one on Colfax) when I was in Denver last summer! We also loved Bookbar. The other two are new to me—thanks for the recommendations!

  6. Ronda says:

    I call mine my EEK list as I put on it things that make me say eek in both good and getting out of my comfort zone ways. I make it an ever changing list as my circumstances change in life so do some of my dreams.
    Some on my list are:
    1.Donate my hair
    2.Go and visit volunteer at 4 different places
    3. Have afternoon tea in London
    4. Spend time on my parent’s front porch
    5. See all 7 Natural Wonders of the world
    6. Celebrate off beat holidays (like National S’mores Day)
    7. Win a Contest
    8. Find a Great shade of lipstick and rock it.
    It is fun and I love having a list and seeing what I have done on those days I’m feeling like I do nothing.

  7. Jane says:

    Oh my goodness, I have so much I want to say about this list but I will narrow it down to two things:

    1. I’m pretty sure you can tick off no.2 on your professional list!!! You’re a natural!

    2. Have you read “The To Do List” by Mike Gayle? I always imagine myself talking about this book if I was on your podcast ?. After I read it I put together my own list on google tasks (this was 6 years ago) and called it “the Big To Do List”. It seemed lofty and ambitious at the time but now looking back I am about 3/4 of the way through. Loved this post!!! And congratulations on being able to tick off so much on your list already.

  8. Janet K says:

    I love this! Some things on my list: join a book club (I have never belonged to one, host an afternoon tea, plant a cut flower garden and an amazing herb garden, stay overnight in a castle in Ireland, hike trails in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer (I live in Denver and have not done that yet), have lunch in the restaurant that is in the Boston Public library.

    • Anne says:

      I didn’t know there was a restaurant in the Boston Public Library! I’d love to visit Boston one day this is definitely going on my list.

    • Anu says:

      Unfortunately the restaurant that it’s in the BPL no longer serves lunch 🙁 It’s a shame because I have eaten there for lunch (am lucky enough to work a couple blocks away) and it was delightful. But they do have afternoon tea, and that one is on my bucket list as well!

      • Janet K says:

        Anu, Thanks for letting me know. I will have to adjust & just have afternoon tea there….which I love, too.

  9. Anne says:

    As I am nearing 40, it makes me more thoughtful about what I really want to have my life mean. Making a list of 100 dreams sounds like a wonderful exercise!
    1) Go to Ireland and trace my ancestry.
    2) Host some kind of recurring event (monthly dinner, weekly ice tea social, something) to build community in our neighborhood.
    3) Become a better keyboard player for my church.

  10. Allison says:

    Three dreams:
    1) Go on a yoga/wellness retreat somewhere beautiful (like… Haida Gwaii? If you’re not familiar with the Northern Coast of British Columbia, Canada – here’s your next travel bucket list item)
    2) Visit NYC and see all the sights I’ve read about/seen in movies forever, and run all around Central Park.
    3) I second your goal to host dinner parties. I always think about doing this, and I always think I’d rock it, so I have NO IDEA why I don’t actually DO IT.

    • Christine says:

      Writing from NYC to strongly encourage #2! You could spend days exploring Central Park alone. Summer in the city is gorgeous, but I’d recommend spring or fall if you’d like to literally run!

      • Ashleigh says:

        I’m visiting NYC in July with my four kids (5-13). Any must do’s the typical tourist may not know about?? Had to ask 😉

        • Christine says:

          Hi Ashleigh,
          So much has been written about visiting NYC – I have confidence that you’ll find a good list of hot spots (as well as all kinds of details on the museums!). Still, some thoughts…

          Central Park – such a must! Rather than step foot in and wave at the trees before quickly departing, I’d strongly recommend a picnic in Sheep’s Meadow. (& NYC delis can’t beat, IMHO!) If your kids have seen and/or know about Balto, they might enjoy “hunting” for his statue/paying him a visit.

          An outdoor movie might be fun, especially if the weather’s nice. for what’s playing.

          The Lego Store’ll be doing a monthly build on July 10-11, if that overlaps with your dates (more on that here – note that you do need to sign up in advance).

          Ellis Island is really cool. The ferry to get there/back also is a treat – great views of the skyline and Lady Liberty.

          If you want to do several of the big-ticket items, you might find a combo deal like or worth it. (Again, so many people have reviewed these that I’m sure you can easily find more info!)

          And I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you to duck inside the NYPL. The children’s room is fabulously decorated.

          Hope you all have a wonderful time!

          • Ashleigh Thompson says:

            Christine, This is the best! Sincerely very very grateful for the time you took to reply 🙂 We are so excited and I know we will have a blast.

  11. Meg says:

    I loved reading the post with its links to 2015, and compiling my own list (got up to 60 so far).

    First, a tip for you: someone once told me to hold chopsticks in the same way you’d hold a pen or pencil, and that has worked pretty well for me.

    Three of the more unusual dreams on my new list:
    1. Rent a huge, luxurious, contemporary house for a few days just to see what it might be like to live in one (my home is 1150 square feet).

    2. Visit Meteor Crater in Arizona.

    3. Get better at building fires in the fireplace and do it more often (this isn’t a very seasonal dream right now – but I bought a big load of wood last fall and still have most of it. I only built three fires this past winter — and it was so cold in Virginia so much of the time, I could’ve enjoyed one nearly every evening!)

  12. Kelly says:

    Over the past 5 months, and as my 29th birthday approaches next month, I have been working on a 30 Before 30 list, as well as, an extended list of dreams. I have ideas jotted, here, there and everywhere, but have found the task of putting the list together daunting, but this has definitely inspired me.
    Here are some of the ideas for the extended list 1) join a book club, 2) Go on an African Safari, 3) become a mentor with Big Brothers & Big Sisters, 4) take a cross Canada road trip, 5) complete a Master’s degree

  13. Torrie says:

    The idea behind this reminds me of the 101 in 1001 lists I see floating around (and which I finally created one of my own of this year!), except this one doesn’t have a deadline. Either way, I like it!

    Some of my 101 in 1001 goals I’m hoping to cross off soon:

    1. Build wall-to-wall built-ins to house our massive book collection.
    2. Cook my way through a whole cookbook.
    3. Celebrate a holiday I normally don’t

  14. Brenna says:

    Well I for one am pulling really hard for you to take that PNW trip. 😉

    A couple of my dreams:

    – adopt a 2nd cat.
    – go on a road trip around Canada.
    – handcraft a large piece of wall art for my house.
    – host a teen book club at my local library.
    – produce my own podcast with my brother in law. The groundwork is already laid, we just need to go for it!
    – write a nonfiction book.

  15. Diana says:

    I love reading what others’ have on their lists! I’ve been working on mine for years and I think I’m finally in the 60s, still a ways to go! A LOT are travel related.
    1) Visit all 50 states (2 to go!)
    2) Be in a book club
    3) Own a piano (next house!)

  16. Melissa says:

    1)find out what I want to be when I grow (I am 32 and just got made redundant)
    2)go on a city break to Europe with my husband without the kids
    3)read one book per month. I used to easily do this before the kids. This year I have managed two!

  17. Rebecca says:

    I love this idea! I made one of those 101 Things in 1001 Days lists a few years ago, and it’s due to be done in January 2019 which is totally NOT happening haha. It could use some editing anyway, so I think I’ll start a 100 dreams list instead. Here are a few things that will be on mine:
    1. Visit Europe
    2. Run a half-marathon
    3. Visit 5 National Parks (I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and Haleakala in Hawaii so far)

    • Christine says:

      Perhaps this is cheating, but I’m on my fourth(!) 101 in 1001 list and I’ve allowed heavy editing. In fact, I appreciate editing – it shows me what I’ve accomplished without even meaning to, what I’ve let go of, how I’ve changed, etc. Somehow I always end up with a list of 101+ things I’m proud to look back on (big and small). I encourage you to give your list a good look before passing on it… you might be surprised at what you can still get out of it! (And yes to a half-marathon – you will love it!)

  18. Melanie says:

    1. Cook something using cardamom

    2. Create a beautiful patio or backyard

    3. Go on a ride in a hot air balloon

    I could create a list of 100 made entirely of travel, so I’m going to have to start out with categories and then fill them in. I did create a list something like this as a teenager. I’ll have to find it in one of my journals and see what I can cross off.

    • Susanne says:

      My FAVORITE version of applesauce uses cardamom. It might be an old Martha Stewart recipe, I’m not sure!

  19. Charlotte says:

    1. A monthly dinner date with husband plus another couple
    2. Trip to Italy with husband and to New York City with kids
    3. Professionally, want to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Physicians

  20. Sheree says:

    Fantastic!!! Congratulations on all your progress, and I’m excited to see how your other adventures in pursuit of the list pan out 😉 I’m a chronic list-maker myself, so I actually have quite a few of these. My whole blog project came about because I created for myself a list of books that I “should” have read (classics and popular contemporary mostly), and now I’m reading my way through them and crossing them off as I go. It’s been so wonderful and therapeutic, it’s become a huge part of my life and inspired so many other projects and challenges…

    On my more holistic “Life” list (I guess a bucket list of sorts?), you’ve inspired me to add “learn to use chopsticks”!! I’ve tried (and failed!) so many times. Other items include finishing my Reading List (duh), returning to Masada, and seeing the To Kill A Mockingbird play adaptation in Monroeville, Alabama.

    Keep up the great work!! I’m here cheering you on!! <3

  21. Deborah Larson says:

    I can check one item off your list. I visited Parnassus Books over Memorial Day Weekend. 🙂 It was one of many things I checked off my Trip to Nashville that we’d been planning for five years.

  22. Susan says:

    A few weeks ago in church the pastor mentioned having regrets in life. He said he has some regrets that he can live with, but decided long ago there are certain regrets that he doesn’t want to die with. That intrigued me. I haven’t written a list yet, but the phrase has been running through my mind for the past 3 weeks. It turns my idea of lifegoals in a new direction and brings it into much sharper focus.

  23. Meredith says:

    I love this and now I’m going to think about my list.
    This is one of my favorite posts yet and that’s saying a lot!!

  24. MsMeglet says:

    I love this idea! Any chance you could share all the of the categories you have, even though you don’t want to share all 100 dreams? I love seeing how people categorize this kind of thing!

  25. Deborah says:

    I have written down a list of goals or dreams before, but not 100. You’ve inspired me to try!

    Here’s a few of my dreams ~ write and publish a beautiful devotional with inspiring words and beautiful photography, write and publish a children’s book, go to Italy, have a tea party with dolls with my nieces, have a luncheon with friends on my front porch, plant daffodil bulbs and spring bulbs throughout our yard and woods, plant peonies, become suddenly completely organized! 🙂

  26. Ellen says:

    I love this idea–I have made shorter “bucket lists,” but now that I am 55 and the last child will soon be out of the nest, it’s time for an update. I want to go to Hawaii, finish quilts for my other two (adult) kids, learn to draw and watercolor paint. It is hard to come up with 100, for sure!

  27. Amy says:

    I JUST read 168 Hours for the first time and I’ve been meaning to start my list of 100 dreams this week, so thanks for the push! (I used to call this a Bucket List, but isn’t “List of 100 Dreams” much more poetic?)
    On my list:
    1. Start a blog (coming this month!!!)
    2. Write & publish a book
    3. Travel through Europe
    4. Learn a 3rd language (already have English & Spanish)
    5. Get married & have kids
    6. Design & sell a bilingual homeschool curriculum

    Regarding learning to use chopsticks, I learned by going out with people who knew how to use chopsticks and asking them to teach me. It helps if the restaurant doesn’t provide forks automatically 😉

  28. Rebecca says:

    I realized this week that one of my hidden dreams is to write about a place so well that it becomes a place people travel to just to see the things I wrote about.

  29. Susan Clark says:

    Anne I advise you put a line through No. 8 under the Professional section….”Become an expert at something”….You are an expert with matching people up with books and running an A+ podcast!!! Just my opinion but if I put out a survey there would be many, many people in agreement with me!!!

  30. Kacie says:

    Hey Anne — I’m betting you racked up some serious airline and hotel points during your recent book tour. Maybe you can put those to work and tick off some travel? Grand Canyon? Pacific Northwest?

    I’m happy to help explore the possibilities if you’re interested, just shoot me an email. (Traveling on my husband’s accrued points via travel/credit card spend is one of my hobbies!) We are doing three family trips next year with the bulk on miles and points. Whee!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.