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. Wow, this is really inspiring Thomas. Thank you for being a great example of someone who’s constantly growing!

  2. Wow.. dude niceee I really appreciate it… Some r real funny but natural and true.. really love it.. I like ur crazy list… 😉😉

  3. Hey, I came across your video about SRS on youtube and it was pretty interesting. I had known about Anki for a while but still it’s good to see ppl out there utilizing it for greater benefit. Your Impossible list caught my eye and I’m real glad I clicked on it. This stuff is super cool man. I have a similar list and this gives me hope that I’ll also start getting things done hehe. Great stuff!

  4. The website is really helpful and so are your videos. Do keep making them.

  5. Love the content on your blog and your videos! I’m returning to school as a mature student soon and I’m finding all the info you have compiled so relevant and helpful!!! Thank you!

  6. Hey, this is Vera. I am now a sophomore in high school. As a high school student, I am probably just right above average, meaning I am smart enough to take those AP and honors classes but not smart enough to maintain a solid A. (My grades are around 87 – 93… see…). Well, as the result, I tried to look up tips that will help me improve my grades and study effectively. I am actually quite a researcher. I guess this is probably the only talent I have, haha. I found your website, and it was incredibly helpful. You really opened my eyes with your Impossible List, making me question myself if I am challenging myself every way possible. This website inspires me to write a blog of my own; it makes me realize that there are so many things out there that are waiting for me to do. I want to stand out, and I want to challenge myself so I can reach my fullest potential. Now using the study resources you provided such as Khan Academy and Evernotes, and I think so far they are pretty useful. Hope my grades will go up….

  7. Tom you have really inspired me with this post, since i have been a fan of yours from the starting 2016 (this year changed everything). i want to achieve this goal i don’t know what i am going to study but i will keep my mind on learning, thank you.

  8. Hey man,
    You are living a really productive life, one that’s been an inspiration to me. I am always looking for ways to increase my productivity level and have taken refuge in your videos. Thank you for all you do, and I truly pray that you live to the fullest.
    Thanks once again and keep it up.

  9. Thank you for sharing your impossible list and videos on Youtube. They give me a lot of energy and encouragement, especially, when I lost the life direction and don’t know what to do. Finally, thank you again. I am looking forward to your TEDxTalk in the future. 😀

  10. oh my god, your goals is so detailed, I did make a plan and goals so many times, but i never get it, Now i know why I can’t get it. And I hope you can help me right now. Thank you so much

  11. Wow! Ive been reading your blog lately and watching your videos. It really did help me alot. Awesome goals By the way. This is a must try. Thank you very very much and more powers to you and continue helping others. May God bless you and again thank you! Looking firward for whats new to you.

  12. Hey. Just yesterday i saw your first video on youtube. I’m strugling with college for 2 (meaning 5) years now. I have a part time job and just 1 test to finish and get my bachelor’s degree (should have had it 2 years ago). Between the job and wanting to switch majors (it’s a bit diferent in Zagreb) and all sorts of things i wanted to do, i heaven’t done anything. Allmost anything. I was really excited when scrolling through your youtube chanell and found and watched all these amazing videos. I think i learned a lot. I’ll have to watch some of them againg, but thank you so much. I’m hoping i’ll use some of your tips to get my life back on track. I need to and have to try. I cant thank you enough. Keep up the good work. ???

    • Hi Martina. Getting through college can be a tough road, and the more time passes it seems the harder it may become. Especially if you are changing majors or changing schools. Thomas has a lot of great books on his resource page. Read them all and your life will be better for it. At minimum, I would advise on reading a few of them. So Good They Cannot Ignore You and How To Win At College by Newport would be a couple of good ones. Confessions of a Recruiting Director also good. It seems you may need to take a moment to reflect on the end game for a bit. What is the ultimate goal you are wanting to achieve? Getting a college degree is a valuable platform for a career, and working your way through school shows an amazing work ethic that will serve you well in life. To most people, getting the first professional job is a solid goal coming out of college. Study job openings in today’s marketplace to see what qualifications they are looking for and spend your time completing college and getting those skills so you can land that first job. Take the advice of Thomas in this site. Stay motivated and focus, avoid college debt, get that degree and get your professional career going. You can do it!

      • One last quote I think it appropriate, “We can begin to do the things that we need to do today so that we can become the thing that we want to be tomorrow.”

  13. Wow!!!this is soo great:):)I really like your goals.I used to think that graduating and getting a job is only my goals but seeing your goals list i am amazed and it had completely change the way I think.Thanks Thomas:)As I am an ungraduate student, your ideas will really help me to achieve good grades:)

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