Thursday, April 13, 2017

Starting a 100-Day Project for Your Well Being

(updated 01/08/2020) Want to know the greatest gift you can give yourself? No expectations. Easier said than done, right? A 100 Day Project can help.

For 100 days, you do the same thing--one hundred line drawings, one hundred street rubbings, one hundred hand lettered quotes, and so on. And you share your progress.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, preceded by (*affiliate link). An affiliate link identifies this site. If you make a purchase based on my recommendation, I may receive money. I only feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. All opinions presented are my own. None of your personal information is shared with me.

Stockpiled Mulberry, Unryu, Kozo, and Mango fiber and inclusions paper for crafting


While you can start a 100 day project at anytime, The100DayProject organized by Ann Russ and Catherine Benda runs from January through April each year and Elle Luna's 100 Days Project runs from April through July each year. So there are lots of people working on letting go of expectations, and you get lots of support.

Are you participating in a 100 Day Project?

Here's how I'm trying to give myself freedom from expectations.

Years ago I learned it was important to take time for one's self. (I along with other managers participated in a coaching program based on Cheryl Richardson's Take Time for Your Life.) My roadblock--the reason I never had enough time--was guilt.

  • I felt guilty spending time on projects that didn't serve a purpose other than to make me happy.
  • I felt guilty taking time away from making money or spending time with family and friends.

AND this was before I was a wife and a mother with MORE demands on my time.

Vintage locks and keys bought for a long forgotten project


block out 10 to 20 minutes a day on your calendar.

Like me, you may be automatically reaching for your smartphone more often than you think. When you're doing this at home (and not in line at the grocery checkout or waiting to pickup up your kids), why not spend that time making? (Download the Moment Screen Time Tracker app to get an idea of how much time you can free up.)

Unsure how you can take twenty minutes for yourself without feeling guilty? Read my tips for how to take twenty minutes.

"In creating, the only hard thing is to begin;
A grass blade is no easier to make than an oak.
  - James Russell Lowell

It's easy to not make the time to create. Rather than thinking of it as a nice-to-have, reframe it as self care.

internalize that creativity is a must have for mental health.

In school we're taught that art is an elective. It's often the first thing to go when budgets are cut. But, like physical activity, it should be required. A regular creativity practice exercises your mind and can improve your overall well being. How? By:

  1. Focusing on positive life experiences.
  2. Enhancing your self-worth and identity.
  3. Expressing experiences that are too difficult to put into words.

"The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper,
and re-imagines the world.
  - Malcolm Gladwell
Vintage Petticoats and Pantaloons Saved for an Upcycling Sewing Project


head off procrastination at the pass.

There never seems to be enough time. But running out of time is an excuse. A procrastination technique.

What types of items on your to do list never seem to get done?

Putting clean clothes away? Mending? Mopping the floor? Cleaning the toilet?

Reading a book? Drawing? Organizing your photos into an album? Taking a walk around the neighborhood? Driving up the coast?

I have lots of reasons why I don't have time to create. There are piles of clothes that need mending or tailoring. Art supplies purchased for projects I never got to, but hope to get to eventually.

For the next 100 days, move these projects out of sight. Put them into a spare closet or in your garage or storage unit. They've probably already sat for more than 100 days, another 100 days won't matter.

Stockpiled Mulberry, Unryu, Kozo, and Mango fiber and inclusions paper for crafting


assemble your supplies ahead of time.

Do a little bit of prep before you start your project. Make sure you have whatever you need in one place and that's it's easily accessible. You want to be able to quickly pull out your project and then put it away when your twenty minutes has passed.

Text clippings from magazines organized by Serif, San Serif, and Script


For my one word reflections in 2017 and 2019, I focused on collage. Initially my source material was almost exclusively text and then later colors, shapes, and people clipped from magazines and catalogs.

To reduce the amount of time needed with assembling supplies, I got a binder and organized style of text into different clear sheet protectors: Serif fonts, San Serif fonts, hand lettered fonts, and so on. Later, I added additional clear sheet protectors with images or paper scraps of a certain color: black, red, and so on.

For my 2020 one word reflection I've put together a project box that has my journal, my markers, and my gel sticks.

set a hard time limit for yourself.

The point of any 100 Day Project isn't in what you create. It's in the process of creating day after day and how that might change your life.

When we free ourselves from having to live up to or deliver according to expectations (aka perfection), we can truly be in the moment and present. We grant ourselves permission to create or make as we did when we were kids.

For perfectionists, letting go may take a couple of tries. We're used to being in control. To knowing our time won't be "wasted."

Sorting through Magazine Clippings to Make a Collage


I attempted my first 100 Days project in 2017. Check out #100DaysProject_RemnantCollages on Instagram to see how far I got (spoiler: 8 days). I was focused on the end result and spent hours a day on each seemingly "simple" collage.

Since that time through participation in other challenges, I've learned I need to give myself a hard limit. I start with 30 minutes and shorten the time limit until no more than 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, whether I'm done in my view or not, I put everything away. Whether I like what I created or not, I don't go back to edit or rework.


2020 will be my second 100 day effort. I'll be participating in the 2020 100DayProject: Secret Places co-organized by Ann Russ and Catherine Benda which begins Wednesday, January 22, 2020. With fake news an epidemic I've been coming back to Marshall McLuhan's take on "the medium is the message" a lot and wondering how, if at all, fake news could be countered. For this project, I'm giving myself an hour a day. 30 minutes on the contemplation of the message. And then 30 minutes on the execution. I want to explore how the impersonal nature of the Internet creates secret places that in face-to-face interaction wouldn't be secret.

Why not give it a try? You can always stop if it's not your thing.

52 Weeks of Remarkable Collages


acquire supplies for a 100-Day collage project.

Don't have any crafting supplies on hand? Here's a journal and some unique papers for a 100 days collage project of your own:


genuinely eden

Additional Resources: If you'd like to read research about the connection between art and health, here are some articles and studies that go deeper: Art Can Be Good for Mental Health; The Connection between Art, Healing, and Public Health - A Review of Current Literature (2010 February, American Journal of Public Health); and Creativity and Emotional Well-Being: Recent Research.

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

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