Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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hopenaSilver Ravenwolf

“My point in telling you this personal story (because it is rather an embarrassment — that I’ve been sleeping in a room that even a slum lord wouldn’t touch for 30 years) is that no matter how long you have been dealing with something…any issue…you can change it, even if it means picking at it a little bit at a time. Don’t listen to your own excuses — no time, no money, no skill — that’s just bullshit talk that will cripple you. All you have to do is work toward that tipping point, and then it is all boom-sailing to the goal (or darned well close to it). Nothing is ever too big. No goal is ever too large. Baby steps are better than no steps at all, even if all you do is peel a bitty piece of paper off a wall. Eventually, the tide will change, and the wonderment of your dream will unfold. Just keep your unfettered mind on the goal and your focus, in this case, on the wall. Let this program be your tipping point to whatever it is you truly desire — let me, and those participating, help you get to where you want to go. You can do it, I know you can!” 3 years ago

hopenaQuote from elsewhere...

Speaking as someone who made the Great Wall of China look like a speed bump, I have to tell you, my walls did me more harm than good. They hurt me. It took me a very long time to figure out that my walls were keeping me lonely, isolated and scared. The walls kept out the bad guys, sure. They also kept out good guys, good friends and kept me from being my warm-hearted, genuine, authentic self. And…it’s COLD inside those walls. My own warm heart started growing icicles. It felt icky, yucky, blah.

I feel so much better about myself and about people in general since I’ve started letting my walls down. Plus, I trust myself more. I feel like a tiny little crb that ventured out of her shell and figured out I’m not nearly so helpless or vulnerable as I thought I was.

Sorry to hear you’re hurting. I just felt compelled to share my experience with you. Baby steps. Venture out. Then if the walls feel safer, go back behind them. But don’t stay there dearheart. Be brave. Come back out. The water is fine! And we’re here to help you learn to swim away from the bad guys, to heal yourself when your hurt and to help you learn to love yourself, no matter what!

I know just what she means… I said something similar to SG, a few months ago. 4 years ago

janeOn Staying Focused

What do you want?

Why do you want it?

What are you going to do about it? 4 years ago

janeOn fighting back

Why do you give in? Why do you give in and give up so goddamn easily? Why is the story of your life as a “sad story” so easy and comfortable to believe? Why can’t you get a backbone and stand up for yourself? Your history of failure is a history of giving in to this stupid feeling. Figure out a way to stand up for yourself… or you really will always be miserable.

You will drop back down to a barely noticed, barely existing place, over and over and over. And, eventually, your forgettable existence will pass away like a dust mote. And no one will have cared about you. And it will be as if you had never existed at all. Even to yourself. Even you will feel as if you never existed at all. You’re already half way there.

Fight Back.


janeOn Creating Change

  • Change is easier when you selectively focus your efforts. Trying to pull off multiple changes simultaneously is the kiss of death. Limited attention means it’s better to concentrate on one or a few specific changes than to try to greedily change everything at once.
  • To change, you must adopt an appropriate long-range perspective. Speed is not always the point. Disappointing early results don’t mean you’re on the wrong path any more than exciting early results mean you’re on the right one.
  • Change requires that you persist even when your efforts are having no apparent effect other than making you feel disrupted, inconvenienced and bothered.

Chaos and setbacks are proof that you are changing.

  • You CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST. You can learn or do now anything you did not learn or do at some point in the past. Change the direction of your story from this moment forward.
  • The problem is not, has never been, and never will be WHO YOU ARE. The problem is ALWAYSwhat you choose to do.
  • Change requires that you become fully engaged for a period of contemplation, preparation, and decisive action, followed by continuing maintenance.

Change is not something that happens to you; it is something that you DO.

  • Change is a learning process: you learn to do something differently. You have learned and changed all your life. This is not new, complicated, or overwhelming. Besides, you have always learned quickly.
  • Failure is necessary for learning. Experiment, take aim, see where you missed and by how much, then take aim again. You must submit to feeling clumsy, embarrassed, awkward, inarticulate, frustrated and incapable. You must submit to failing if you want to learn.
  • Change occurs unevenly. Like the life cycle of the butterfly, some things do not show for a while.
  • Change involves repeated setbacks. They are part of the process of change, and they are often evidence that you are changing. Take an attitude of acceptance—oh, a setback, that’s interesting—and keep moving. Learn. Do not lose unnecessary time.
  • Change proceeds best from a considered plan.
  • You make change best in small, manageable increments. This allows you to accommodate new skills.
  • Change builds on itself. By making one well-selected change, you make another one more likely. And, as you build up a store of successful experience, you build the confidence to create more change.
  • Important changes are possible. Many people lose weight, quit smoking, change careers, take up the clarinet, learn to salsa… People who change do not waste time questioning whether change is possible.
  • Changing always involves a resolute decision. It must become the priority.
  • Change does not require an inspired, positive, motivated mood. Moods shift as a consequence of actions you take. Doing something that makes you happy is the quickest way to be happy. Participate in shifting your mood and learn to take control over it.

What you think you cannot do is simply something you have not done before. But, there’s a whole history of things you never did, and then did.

  • Change can be broken down into discrete, manageable steps that you repeat to the point of mastery.
  • If you decide that it is too late, you compare yourself only to others who made a choice at some earlier time. There is no one single moment in a person’s life, no one single choice.
  • Laziness is a set of habits, something you practice. It operates like an inherent quality when you decide that it is one. Willpower is also a set of skills that can be learned.
  • Change involves serious effort, but, paradoxically, it takes more time and effort to skip steps, apply half-assed effort, and live in a mediocre fashion because you have to undo thoughtless errors and explain your listless efforts and feeble results.
  • You discover opportunities by seeking them out or by creating them through your initiative. Make it a priority to search for and exploit your opportunities, and be unwilling to throw away any opportunity.

Do not be a victim of your own ingratitude. Do not discard what you have.4 years ago

janeOn Committing

For even more than we are doers, we are deciders.
Once the decision is clear, the doing becomes

~ Ralph Blum, The Book of Runes

From a certain point

there is no longer any turning back.
THAT is the point that must be reached

~ Franz Kafka

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,

the chance to draw back,
Concerning all acts of initiative and creation,

there is one elementary truth
— the ignorance of which kills.
countless ideas and splendid plans

the moment one definitely commits oneself, .

providence moves, too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise

have occurred. A WHOLE

stream of events issues

from the decision, raising in one’s favor
all manner of unforeseen incidents
and material assistance which
no man could have dreamed
would have come his way.

~ W.H. Murray, Scottish Himalaya Expedition (1951)

Whatever you CAN do,

or DREAM you can do…

Boldness has Genius, power, and magic in it.

Begin it NOW.

~ Goethe, Faust4 years ago

janeOn being alive

It may be that you are very lonely. And feel, rightly so, ill-equipped for life. And long for comfort. And worry that you are too broken and that it is too late and that you will always feel this way. Things may be bad. Legitimately. Hard and painful and lonely. And unfair. But, you are still alive. It costs you nothing to try again, and continue to try, to care for yourself and others in the way you wish to be cared for. You can accept that this is how it is, and try to keep going anyway.

It’s just an experiment at overcoming. You can continue to fail, and try again. The experiment isn’t over. It’s an experiment at discovering what you love. What will bring you joy. Where you can find ease. How you can learn, at any point, to become the sort of person who likes being alive.

Just try again. You’re here. You might as well. 4 years ago

janeOn creating a breakthrough

I’m recognizing that breakthroughs happen like this:
crack crack crack
chip chip…
crack chip

.. Crumble!

and then you realize, oh, it’s just a tiny hole in the wall. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging.




Another chunk.

This year – my “year of creating a breakthrough.” It’s 3/4 through and suddenly I’m thinking, I gotta get on top of this! My energy has started to swell up because I feel like I’m at the end of the race and I HAVE to run to make up for dragging all year.

Actually what’s happened is that all year there’s been a lot of this: chip chip.

Now I’ve got this CRUMBLE feeling where I can see a hole and a lot of light, and it seems like, why couldn’t I have had this energy and dedication all year!? Why was I mucking around all these months when I was supposed to be hammering away?

But this is how creating a breakthrough works. This feeling of energy and focus now is the culmination of a lot of tiny efforts each day to figure out what the hell to do.

In all the confusion and blind knocking around, I was doing what was possible. For about the first half of the year I was just sitting in the dark with my little pick axe, lazily hammering around in fits and starts. That is a HARD place to be. Why did I idle in that place for so long? Why wasn’t I hammering like I meant it?

In hindsight I can see that’s just how it goes and that’s how it had to be, because that’s the nature of creating a breakthrough.

Toward the end, when you see the light, and the big chunks of wall come down in hunks, that’s the physics of the universe. It’s the law of how things happen. Momentum gathers at the end (gaining momentum), it’s not there at the beginning.

I didn’t know at the beginning of this year what kind of a breakthrough to create or how to do it. I knew I wanted out of that black confusion. So I was trying anything I could try. Maybe going back to school would change me? Maybe dating? A boyfriend would surely help. A trip? Maybe I need to go to the gym. If I could just get my butt to the gym! THAT would be the answer.

When you don’t know what to do, you have to do any damn thing. And that’s difficult. So you have to give yourself credit and give yourself encouragement and take courage from your friends who say COURAGE! When you feel like you’re flailing around making zero progress. That’s really the time you need to give yourself the BIGGEST pat on the back. Because flailing around blindly in the dark is heroic, really. You’ve got nothing but the sparks of hope you can generate in your own heart to keep you going.

Anyone can tackle big achievements when they already know which way is up and the rocks are already coming down. Anyone can be remarkable when they already know they are going to be just fine.

The depressed and hopeless losers who keep trying to sort it out, those are the real heroes. That’s why everyone cheers an underdog. Because an underdog has no one betting on her to keep her spirits up, so we know that if she keeps trying, that’s really something.

Anyhow, this is my way of saying COURAGE! to all my friends here who are tapping away at their own breakthroughs, and to my future self who will inevitably forget this and be in a brand new cave at some point.

All that sadness and confusion and rooting around – just bear it and keep going. You’re doing the hardest part. It will be worth it. 5 years ago

janeOn the Serenity Prayer

Yesterday someone really helped me think this through. I was dealing with some free-floating anger. My friend said that his therapist suggests going through this series of questions:

What’s the feeling REALLY about?

Anger is a reaction to fear that a need is going to go unmet

  • that you’re going to lose something, or not get something, that you think you need
  • What is the need? Name it. What do you feel you need and can’t get? What do you feel like you’re losing? Name the fears.

Is there something you can do about it?

If yes, DO IT. Have the courage to do what you have to, to set the situation straight. Have the COURAGE to do what you can to remove the source of the pain (it’s not easy, courage is really the right word.)

If you won’t take action, then acknowledge that You have Choices and are choosing one personal priority over another and you chose not to alter the situation.

If you can’t take action, take a deep breath and accept the situation.

What IS, IS. This is your life today. It doesn’t mean that this is how it will always be (it only feels that way). This is just right now. You can accept anything for right now.

And, if you accept a situation, accept it with SERENITY. Stop fighting passive-aggressively by procrastinating or self-defeating.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. That state of being in a FIGHT while being at the same time PARALYZED, that state = opting in to suffering, choosing suffering. Have the WISDOM not to take on additional suffering.

There is a certain amount of pain in the situation, but just engage in the activities that are called for. Do the work.

Be present and gracious. Acceptance means really quitting the battle and saying, I choose this. For my own sanity, let me just move through what’s required in this situation.

Do the next right thing.

(you can do it.) 5 years ago

janeOn the basics

I keep finding interesting pieces of advice to myself that I wrote a while ago. Here are some that I thought would be nice to share here:


Commune with nature. It enhances your connection with alive, high vibration energy, your access to the positive energy of the universe.

Nourish your energy by eating energy-promoting foods with healthy, alive vibrations – living food, whole foods, nothing deadened and processed.

Practice GIVING ... without fear of losing.

Become good at something – and that just means, DO THE WORK – over and over.

Here is an allegory: There was a pottery class. Half the students were told they would be graded on their final project – namely, the three pots they selected from the semester’s work as their best pots. The other half of the class was told that they would be graded on the number of pots they created during the semester. At the end of the semester all students submitted their favorite three pots from the semester for the final review. Everyone in the class agreed that those who were graded on volume had the more beautiful final submissions. This applies to everything you may want to do: creating more, creating consistently, creating without attachment to outcomes, without fear or perfectionism, CREATING WITH A FOCUS ON PROCESS rather than product, will grow you. 5 years ago

janeOn obeying God

“All the things that God would have us do are HARD for us to do. And, hence, He oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade – and if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves. And it is in this disobeying ourselves wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.” – Melville, Moby Dick

I think of this quote in terms of fighting for what we know is right (for us and for the world, more broadly), versus doing what we want to do on a day-to-day basis. I know God (let’s not get into personal definitions of what God is, because that’s not the main point) wants things for me like, a healthy body, good, productive relationships, communion with others, meaningful work, for me to use my skills/talents/abilities in some way that offers something, for me to be creative and for me to enjoy my life. Joy is a big thing that I personally think God likes. Because many of my experiences of God are found through experiences of Joy. But, doing what’s right, doing what’s good for me, isn’t particularly easy for me. I, the little i that makes a lot of the decisions around here, tends to prefer gorging on leftovers, going back to bed, futzing on the internet, looking around rather stupefied by all the piles of paper and laundry, wondering if Rob would have been nicer to me if I had been in better shape, watching youtube, and so on.

“If we obey God (right-minded selves who know better), we must disobey ourselves (base impulsive irritable small selves), and it is in this disobeying ourselves wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.”

It’s hard. It’s not supposed to be easy. You have to go through the fire toward healing. You have to go through the fire. You HAVE to. There’s no way around or under or over. Only through. 6 years ago

janeOn Trusting Yourself

“We intake massive amounts of data from complex systems. And in some multi-threaded, super computer fashion, we process it – without even knowing we are processing it. And we have been doing this since we were 2 years old. The result is that, when we see some problem, we instantaneously have the answer. No, really! The right answer.”

-from a wildly optimistic comment by Raven6 years ago

janeOn the feeling that life is but a dream

To be here now, alive in the world as it actually is, rather than as we imagine it to be, seems a terribly simple idea; it’s also the only idea worth the fuss.

Life is a dream, but only for sleepers.

- from a NYTimes review of “Synecdoche, New York” 6 years ago

janeOn beginning again

Success only happens when you’re willing to fail one more time.

If you’re not afraid to get it wrong again, you’ll eventually get it right. 6 years ago

janeon taking one small step today

When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…

Seek one small improvement, one day at a time. 6 years ago

janeOn claiming the life you deserve

You need feel with righteous indignation that whatever you’re after is already yours and that by pursuing it all you’re doing is claiming what rightfully belongs to you. It’s sort of like going to war.

-DanT19996 years ago

janeon making a difficult change

you are at a crossroads.
one way leads through the fire, into healing.
the other way loops right back to the beginning and all your old behaviors.

(yeah, it’s from jillian on the biggest loser, but it spoke to me) 6 years ago

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