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My Impossible List

I think I’ve had a plain old bucket list in the form of a Facebook Note ever since I was in high school. However, I never got around to anything on the list – all those things were events I figured would happen in the future – meaning some undefined time that didn’t implore me to take action now.

To fix that, I’ve created my impossible list. I got the idea from Joel Runyon, who created the world’s first impossible list and defined the difference between it and a regular ‘ole bucket list. Put simply, the impossible list is an ever-evolving list of experiences that build upon each other, help others as well as yourself, and implore you to take action. This is mine, which is, of course, ever-evolving.

Here’s a video with more detail on the concept:

This page is very personal, but I keep it here on CIG as an ever-present reminder to all who would take heed of it:

Think about what your true life goals are, and constantly evaluate your progress towards them. In other words, be mindful of your path.

Current Focuses:

Right now my main focus is on work projects, since a new semester is coming up.

The rest of my current priorities are declared at this page: What I’m Doing Now

Last 5 Completed Goals

Life Goals

  • Graduate from college
    • Final GPA: 3.46 – close enough
  • Raise $100,000 through Pencils of Promise to help build schools in developing countries (Join my campaign to help!)
  • Release a full album of original music, a novel, and a feature-length film or documentary
  • “Retire” Mr. Money Mustache-style by age 40 (save $900k in 2014 dollars, have the option to live off of less than 4% – $36,000/yr – from interest)
  • Maintain a loving, inspiring, happy relationship with my amazing fiancé Anna (9 years and counting)
  • Move to Denver, CO (March 27, 2017)
  • Leave a $100 tip at a restaurant
  • Be self-sufficient and location-independent
    • June 2013: I’m now graduated from college. Running CIG is my full-time job (which I can do from anywhere there’s internet). I’m writing this from a hostel in Tokyo. Criteria all met!
  • Meet Jay Walker and visit his stupendously amazing library
  • Help other students expand their potential and realize their dreams (always in progress)

Fitness/Health Goals

  • Run a 5K (March 18, 2011)
  • Run a 10K (March 29, 2011)
  • Run a mile in less than 6 minutes (July 11, 2012)
  • Complete a Warrior Dash (July 14, 2012 – time: 29 minutes)
  • Complete a Tough Mudder – August 25, 2018
  • Complete a Spartan Race
  • Complete a GORUCK Challenge
  • Learn Parkour (proof)
    • Do 10 trampoline backflips with no rest bounces (currently at 3 or 4 – it gets pretty dizzying and hard to remember)
    • Learn standing backflips
    • Learn wall flips
  • Cycle 100 miles in a day (follow my progress on Strava)
  • Cycle at least 10 miles at an average speed of 20mph or more (June 10, 2018)
    • Cycle at least 30 miles at an average speed of 20mph or more (at this point I’ll consider myself mildly competitive)
  • Participate in a cycling race
  • Climb a 15-foot rope using hands only (October 13, 2018)
    • Climb a 25-foot rope for 2 reps, hands-only, seated start
  • Walk 40 feet on a slackline (currently can do about 20)
  • Achieve a powerlifting total (squat/bench/deadlift) of 1,000 lbs. (July 24, 2021)
    • Achieve a powerlifting + press (squat/bench/deadlift/press) total of 1,500 lbs.
  • Bench 250 (225×6 video)
  • Squat 250
  • Deadlift 300
  • Military Press 170
    • Press 225
  • Do a triathlon (Sprint Distance – workout log)
    • Now do a real, organized one
    • Do an Olympic Distance triathlon
  • Do 100 push-ups in a single set
  • Do 15 pull-ups in a single set (November 11, 2014)
    • Do 20 pull-ups in a single set
  • Do 15 chin-ups in a single set (April 30, 2014)
    • Do 20 chin-ups in a single set
    • Do a chin-up with 100 lbs. extra weight
  • Do a muscle-up (April 29, 2018)
    • Do a set of 5 muscle-ups
    • Do a strict muscle-up (no kipping or swinging)
  • Do a one-arm pull-up
  • Do a front lever
  • Close a Captains of Crush #2 gripper
  • Completely clear up my complexion (for me, this basically means drink more than a gallon of water a day and eat no sugar)

Professional Goals

  • Get 100,000 blog visits, all time(October 30, 2011)
    • Get 1,000,000 blog visits, all time (July 29, 2013)
    • Get 75,000 blog visits in a month (August 26, 2014)
    • Get 150,000 blog visits in a month (January 15, 2015)
    • Get 500,000 blog visits in a month (April 30, 2020)
    • Get 1,000,000 blog visits in a month
  • Grow the CIG newsletter to 5,000 subscribers (January 10, 2015)
    • Grow to 10,000 subscribers (February 21, 2015)
    • Grow to 250,000 subscribers
  • Write 25,000 words in a month
  • Start a podcast (January 31, 2013)
    • Get 10,000 listens in a month (January 2015)
    • Get 50 reviews on iTunes (August 26, 2015)
  • Self-publish a book (>10,000 words) (January 5, 2015)
    • Create print and audiobook editions of the book (July 30, 2018 – audiobook finally published!)
  • Write a traditionally published book
    • Get on the New York Times Best Sellers list
  • Launch a regular YouTube show and release 10 videos
    • Release 50 videos (December 3, 2015)
  • Gain 250 YouTube subscribers (October 20, 2014)
    • Gain 500 subscribers (November 11, 2014)
    • Gain 1,000 subscribers (November 11, 2014)
    • Gain 2,500 subscribers (December 15, 2014)
    • Gain 5,000 subscribers (January 31, 2015)
    • Gain 10,000 subscribers (March 1, 2015)
    • Gain 50,000 subscribers (August 10, 2015)
    • Gain 100,000 subscribers and earn the silver Play Button (October 20, 2015)
    • Gain 1 million subscribers and earn the gold Play Button (March 24,  2018)
    • Gain 2 million subscribers (September 2, 2020)
    • Gain 3 million subscribers
  • Do a collab video with another dedicated YouTuber (December 11, 2015)
  • Form an LLC and actually be a professional company that does business things and whatnot (December 18, 2015)
  • Walk into a bookstore and take a picture of a book I wrote that’s for sale there (August 17, 2016)
  • Create an online course (January 1, 2019)
  • Grow my Instagram account to 100,000 followers (June 2020)
  • Launch a product that creates over $15,000 in revenue within one month (My Productivity Essentials course – first month did $28k!)
  • Give a talk for more than 500 people
  • Give an Ignite Talk (April 19, 2012 – watch the video) (and another!)
  • Give a TEDx Talk
  • Speak at VidCon (June 22, 2017)
  • Host a series on Crash Course (August 1, 2017)
  • Give a talk about video creation to an audience of content creators (September 19, 2015)
  • Make $10,000 (gross) in a month (June 2015)
    • Make $25,000 (gross) in a month (June 2017)
  • Make $1,000 from music royalties (you can find my music here) (February 2022)
    • Make $10,000 from music royalties
  • Pay off all $14,431.72 of my student loans by May 2013 (when I graduate) (March 13, 2013)


Habit Goals

  • Do a morning workout 100 days in a row – Skill: Fitness
  • Read 25 pages a day for three months in a row – Skill: Intelligence (June 30, 2016) (Progress page)
  • Write 500 words 100 days in a row – Skill: Writing/Body of Work

Creative Goals

  • Publish a sci-fi/fantasy novella (at least 17,500 words)
  • Record and release a full solo guitar song (November 26, 2019 – I’m counting Icicle Swords as the first rather than Affront 2, which was less than two minutes long)
    • Release an entire album of instrumental music
  • Record and release an original song with lyrics
  • Play a live show that includes singing
  • Record a rap song (November 26, 2012 – it’s real dumb)
    • Release a full rap album (can be collaborative)
  • Design a WordPress theme from scratch (March 2014 – you’re looking at it!)
  • Hand-draw something I’d be proud to sell on RedBubble
  • Learn how to make electronic music (and release a track using synths as the main element)
  • Learn how to play the piano (and play Love-Colored Master Spark)
  • Learn to draw to the point where I can create art like this

Skill Goals

  • Become fluent in Japanese
    • November 13, 2013 update: All hiragana, all katakana, 130 kanji, 245 vocab terms. Sentence structure skill lacking a bit.
  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Remove an engine from a car and completely disassemble it, then reassemble it, put it back, and turn it on
  • Learn archery
  • Learn knife throwing
  • Learn swing dance
  • Learn ballroom dance
  • Learn tango
  • Become a competent skateboarder
    • Tricks to learn or re-learn: Ollie, FS 180, Pop-shuvit, Frontside pop shuvit, Kickflip, Rock-to-fakie, Rock-n-roll, Airing out, Learn to skate switch, Switch ollie, Nollie, 50-50, Axle stall
  • Pass the pre-bronze Moves in the Field test in figure skating (April 23, 2016)
    • Pass the bronze Moves in the Field test
  • Learn to snowboard (March 23, 2018)
  • Ski a double black diamond run (March 11, 2016)
  • Learn how to hit jumps on a mountain bike
  • Successfully ride Top of the World at Whistler Bike Park
  • Climb a 5.12 rock climbing route at a climbing gym (currently at 5.11)
  • Climb a V5-V7 bouldering problem in the gym (my gym uses ranges)
  • Learn how to lead climb (May 25, 2019)

Fun and/or “Insane” Goals

Events to Attend

  • SXSW (March 2012)
  • BlogWorld (June 2012)
  • World Domination Summit (July 2014)
  • RAGBRAI (July 2013)
    • Complete the Karas Loop
  • Podcast Movement (August 2014)
  • Camp Nerd Fitness (September 2014)
  • FinCon (September 17, 2015)
  • VidCon (July 23, 2015)
  • Summer in the City
  • Chinese New Year celebration

Video Game Goals

  • Beat all levels in TowerFall: Ascension on Hardcore
  • 100% Super Meat Boy
  • Complete all single 10-footers in DDR Extreme (Done: Sakura, Bag, Max 300, Maxx Unlimited, Legend of Max, Paranoia Survivor)
  • Complete all double 9/10-footers in DDR Extreme, no bar (Progress)

Travel Goals

  • Visit Japan (May 2012)
    • twice (May 2013)
    • Visit with Anna (May 2015)
  • Visit Rome
  • Visit Ireland
  • Visit England
  • Visit Singapore
  • Visit China
  • Visit Spain
  • Visit Italy
  • Visit Turkey
  • Visit 5 countries other than the U.S. for more than a week each
  • Visit every state in the U.S.

Read 1000 Books

This goal is quite broad. Really, it just means read a lot and constantly be learning. I believe education is life-long, and the best of it is often self-driven.

To that end, I want to make sure I go through lots and lots of books! Initially, one of my 2013 resolutions was to simply read one book a month. That would come to 12 books a year, which is more than I imagine most people read. However, I’ve decided to try and outdo myself, and am currently trying to read one a week (at least).

Still, the goal of one per month will stand, though I think I’ll have to up that significantly if I’m to reach 1000 before I die. If you want to follow my progress, follow me on Goodreads!. You can also check out the list of books I recommend for all students.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” – Robert Heinlein

If you found this list inspiring, I’d challenge you to create your own!

If you’d like to put it online and make it public as I’ve done, you can check out my guide on how to build a website to get started. Alternatively, you could keep it simple and just use a text document on your computer, or even a piece of paper (but remember to leave space for sub-goals!).