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

  • Walk into a bookstore and take a picture of a book I wrote that’s for sale there (August 2016)
  • Read 25 pages of non-fiction a day for 3 months in a row (June 2016)
  • Pass the pre-bronze Moves in the Field test in figure skating (April 2016)
  • Ski a double black diamond run (March 2016)
  • Form an LLC and actually be a professional company that does business things and whatnot (December 2015)

Fitness/Health Goals

  • Run a 5K (March 18, 2011)
    • Do it in less than 25 minutes
  • 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
  • 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
  • Climb a 15-foot rope using hands only
  • Walk 40 feet on a slackline (currently can do about 20)
  • Achieve a powerlifting total (squat/bench/deadlift) of 1,000 lbs. (Current: 750/Best: 920)
  • Bench 250 (225×6 video)
    • Bench 305
  • Squat 250
  • Deadlift 300
  • Military Press 170
  • Do a triathalon (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 muscle-up
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Create an iPhone app for College Info Geek
  • 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
  • Launch a product that creates over $15,000 in revenue within one month
  • Speak at a university for more than 500 students
  • Give an Ignite Talk (April 19, 2012 – watch the video) (and another!)
  • Give a TEDx Talk
  • Give a talk about video creation to an audience of content creators (September 19, 2015)
  • Make $10,000 in a month (June 2015)
    • Make $30,000 in a month
  • 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
  • Meditate for at least 3 minutes 100 days in a row – Skill: Mental Focus
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • Obtain 30 badges on Codecademy
  • Obtain 30 badges on Khan Academy
  • 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 ballroom dance
  • Become a competent skater
    • 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
  • Ski a double black diamond run (March 11, 2016)

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
  • ComicCon
  • Chinese New Year celebration
  • St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland

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 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.

Where I’ve been so far (finally, pins in another country!):

Life Goals

  • Graduate from college
    • Final GPA: 3.46 – close enough
  • Help 100 people around the world go to college through Kiva loans (16 out of 100) – Want to help? Join the CIG team!
  • “Retire” Mr. Money Mustache-style by age 40 (save $900k in 2014 dollars, live off of less than 4% – $36,000/yr – from interest)
  • Maintain a loving, inspiring, happy relationship with my amazing girlfriend Anna (4 years and counting)
  • 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 kick ass in college and realize their dreams (always in progress)

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. Since I want to list every book I read, I’ve moved this goal over to the My Reading Adventures page. 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

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  1. You’ve inspired me to start my own “impossible list.” Thank you for putting this out there.

  2. Hi Thomas,
    I wanna thank you and tell you that THIS was exactly what I wanted at this stage of my life. this is so inspiring and I wanna make my own impossible list. thank you so much for sharing this idea.
    by the way, I have read some of your blog posts and listened to some of your podcasts. they ARE AMAZING. I am definitely going to be a regular reader and listener of your blog and podcast. and I’m recommending them to all of my friends.
    wish you all the best.

  3. I think your goals and website and all are very inspirational ! Thank you. However, i’m curious about one of your youtube video “Why shouldn’t you tell others about your goals?”. Isn’t this contradictory?

  4. hi thomas,

    my name is jed from the philippines. came across your website because I was looking up on personal websites. then I came across your impossible list. it is really awesome that you were able to have these accomplishments. hats off to you man! keep up the great work! I hope to set up my own website by this year though that has been on my impossible list for 3 years. save your website on my bookmarks, will definitely drop by every now and then to learn something new.

  5. i thought you said your only suppose to have 5 main goals and the rest are distractions

    • That’s the Warren Buffett story, and I do believe you need to only have a few to focus on at a time (though I don’t think the number absolutely has to be five). This isn’t a list of goals I’m actively pursuing; it’s just a list of all the things I think would be cool to do at some point. Check out my “What I’m Doing Now” page to see what I’m focusing on at the moment.

  6. Hello thomas sir, this amol from india, i m too much impressed by your knowledge and video making stuff, i have too decided to start my own youtube channel, from july 2016 as for that to happn i m planning all the things and topics to choose for students to ace in their exams, and what students exctly needs, wht are their choking problems, and having a dicsussion with teachers,etc.
    i m preparing for civil services, so thts the reason it ll take till july to officialy opening my channel, and for tht i need some tips from you, i hope u ll help me. Thnakx for the Thomasanian prescription to ace at exams.

  7. Hey Thomas

    I was wondering if I am applying o college would it be smart to make a website about me or is it overkill? Thank You

  8. Hi Frank,
    I can help you with the CN Tower Edgewalk here in Toronto.
    Let me know when you visit and I can show you around the different locations in Toronto.
    Do you have an Group Goals?
    Group Goals would be like starting a company or planning a trip like canoeing down the Ottawa River
    or climbing Mount Everest. You can count me in.
    Justin Keswick
    [email protected]

  9. Am so impressed with you men. When will your book be on amazon?
    big fan all the way from china

  10. Am super impressed with you men, when will you book be on amazon?
    Big fun all the way from china

  11. “Become fluent in Japanese
    November 13, 2013 update: All hiragana, all katakana, 130 kanji, 245 vocab terms. Sentence structure skill lacking a bit.”

    I believe learning grammar should help in that. Have you ever tried “Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese”?

  12. I am glad to know CIG. It could be one of the best thing that happened in my stressful and boring life. Your website and YouTube channel are helping me a lot. I am making a better decision thanks to them.

  13. This is truly inspiring and it makes me want to do more things in life. Hats off to you.

  14. You are such a live example for the success I want to achieve personally .currently I am in high school and I want to get a scolarship to study buisness in south korea , and to become an entrepreneur and a pro dancer and other stuffs like that , but I was so overwhelmed by the responsabilities I have to do on a daily basis to get there , but your goals are so clear and well planded that it gives me some sort of hope that I can go to colllege and study for great grades , yetenjoy my journey and make it so clear to me that I go to it directly ,so I am going to do what it take and once I achieve it I will tell you ,thank you so mutch^^(sorry if you didn’t het it cause my english is not that good since it Is not my mother language)

  15. I created my Life List when I was young, and for a while I forgot about it also. I just wanted to say that I love your website and your list is incredble! All the things you have managed to accomplish are truly awe inspiring, as I have many of these on my own list (can be seen on my blog at )! Keep it up and I look forward to seeing what you continue to cross off!
    -Ashley Rayy

  16. hi Thomas. I am a student of 16 years old from Burma .I impress you very much. I’d like to tell u about my problem and hope u can solve it for me.The problem is that when I set a goal and start trying hard but it only lasts for 2 days or at most 3 days. I think I can’t control myself. At first i decided to study but when all family members leave home , I can’t control myself from playing games or something that are not related to studying. even if the exam is the next day, I can’t control. so that’s terrible and also I am very lazy.i don’t study my lessons and only when the exam is near, I start studying. I have try your methods and they r great but I still have those problems. I think u can solve it for me. I am looking foward to your reply. sorry for bad English . thanks a lot

  17. Hi Thomas,
    Love your lists! Inspiring me to go add to mine.
    However, if this goal is to be achieved – Take a Quokka selfie – you will have to add Australia and in particular Western Australia to your list of places to visit.
    I look forward to seeing the pic.
    Kind regards,

  18. I’m so glad I bumped into you on YouTube! Seriously, it has been the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s like I found a very valuable treasure chest! It has only been 2 days since I found you and I’m already accomplishing so much work than ever before. I really appreciate all the effort you put in your videos and in this website; it all helps sooo much! I’m pretty sure I’ll do good in my freshman year in college and I will definitely live by all the things that you taught me. THANK YOU SO MUCH, THOMAS!!!!! Hope you accomplish numerous goals in your impossible list by the end of the year!! 🙂

  19. Hello Tom,

    I just graduated from UNI this past May and am enrolled in a Masters program. I was searching for some tips on how to pay off my loans from both schools and I stumbled across your Info Geek website. I am blown away by your drive to do (what seems like!) literally everything! I feel like I have just as many ambitions and it is truly inspiring to see someone so actively pursuing their dream while simultaneously helping people all over the world. I really appreciate the time and effort you have invested in your various projects and I look forward to learning how I, too, can achieve all of my goals and dreams.

    Have a blessed day!

  20. Hi Thomas,
    I am a big fan of your blog, website, videos and anything you do. I have never met someone like you before, that every time I check your blog and find you doing videos, writing books along with this AMAZING Impossible list, I feel like “Oh my god this guy don’t waste a moment of his life”. I have been trying to add more to my life and not to waste it on just studying and getting good grades, I feel like there is more that I should do, but I fee lost and don’t know where to begin. Then I saw your blog and thought “How can you do all of this? don’t you feel lost?”
    cuz if this blog is my life I would defiantly feel lost and lost on track. There is a lot of things I want to do with my life and habits I want to get better at like reading ,but there are so many books I don’t know where to start at, learning a language, start achieving my goals,lose weight, wake up early, have a good diet, so many things, but when I think about it as a whole It turns my life into a mess and as a result I quit.
    so I would appreciate it if yo could tell me pieces of advice about how make my life better and really stop wasting my life and to feel like I am a valuable person and I have something to give just like you give us these amazing pieces of advice. That maybe one day I can really help who asks for help and make a blog of my own.
    Thank you

  21. how to get this book? please say i have already subscribed…. hope i will get the reply and book

  22. I link you something I wrote to Joel Runyon

    Hi, my name is Marcos Hernández. I`m spanish (Canary Islands, such a paradise, right?) and I`m 18 years old. I really want to spend some time telling you that, in some meaningful way, I find this `Impossible List` idea (or project, whatever you want to call it) very interesting.
    Personally speaking, I think the best thing I can do now is to build up a plan, project, guide like this and put there all of the (im)possible cool amazing things that can happen in my life that only TV cool guys seems to be prepared for (as you mentioned in the beginning). I have been tremendous inspired by you and Thomas Frank in self-improvement and developing my skills. One good example of this is travelling to space (which seems to be possible in my life time) and giving a TedTalk which would be great of course.
    Finally, I want to ask you for a favor if you have time to answer this. I want to build a list just like and have some questions: 1. How is the best way to keep it with me in about 10 years from now (like being a blog for example); 2. Does the list have some requierements like “Shouldnt put this” or “things that..”.

    PD: Sorry for the possible mistakes you may found in my writing expressing. Im sure there are. Anyway, THANK YOU for inspire and maybe in some years you can delete the “Change 1 Person’s Life For The Better”.
    I really hope you answer this.

    • I love college geek packed with useful information and very intertaining, have you ever thought of creating a collegeinfogeek app would love to one of those anyhu keep up the good work

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