How to fail at Day Zero

Robin Hoods bay

Robin Hood’s Bay. NO SEALS

In December I really meant to go ice skating. I have this notion (having watching too many romantic comedies) that December will cast a magic spell, twinkling lights, carols and I will glide across the ice. The reality is that, I have the look of a new-born foal on ice. I can’t stand up on skates. At the end of November, I thought this will be the year and then failed to get around to it. New Year found me, not hosting my own party, but at someone else’s party (it was good). Neither of these things matter in the grand scheme of things, except they are on my Day Zero list at numbers 93 and 75. December passed and I’d failed to complete two tasks but hey – there is always next year. Except there isn’t.

Day Zero is a list of 101 things to be done in 1001 days. It began on 27th October 2011, which seemed like yesterday. It’s a while since I checked in and while I was convinced I had until July 2015. I don’t. My Day Zero ends in July 2014. December activities are blown.

Slowly, I’ve been ticking things off, the list lives in the back of my mind, just not the date. After a review, there are a few things outstanding. The Puffins at Skommer Island, currently they are away for the winter, coming back in March, leaving again July. There is a puffin window. The seals of Robin Hood’s Bay are now 275 miles away. The last time I was there in 2012, I didn’t see a single one. There is a bit of travelling that I need to do before July. Take the Eurostar, maybe with a tent as the plan is to camp in France. Add to that a holiday in Norfolk, a night’s stay in Whitstable and a weekend in Brighton.

My end date is 24th July, which means I might have to try to fit in Norfolk and France over Easter, taking into considering school holiday dates. I’m saying now, that’s unlikely. Let’s just say currently it’s not just time but finances that challenge this plan.

In 2011, I had all these ideas. I think I actually made more of a wish list. Without considering how do-able it was. Surely, I can fit Whipsnade Zoo and the Butterfly Park in?

Learning the Ukulele no longer appeals, or pony trekking. What was I thinking? Both officially dumped.

What I’ve learnt.

That there’s a difference between a wish list and plan.

Fitting everything probably takes more careful planning than anticipated.

Perhaps it’s worth thinking of Day Zero in terms of breaking it up into years and months. Maybe life sections; work/travel/home/personal/children. I think mine was more random.

People change, it’s ok to ditch things. Just because it’s on a list, who says I have to do it? (except ice skating, I still want to ice skate).

Day Zero tips gratefully received.

This is the final tally. I had until Thursday 24th July 2014 and in retrospect, I think I did OK.

1.Get a new job that suits me and my family
2.Decide where we want to live
3.Sell the house
4.Buy a new house
5.Settle Noo into school
6.Sponsor a child
7.Send a handwritten letter
8.Make a will
9.Find a new hairdresser
10.Dye my hair a different colour
11.Teach Noo to ride a bike
12.Buy a bike for me
13.Cycle the Camel Trail
14.Gather and write family history
15.Spend more time with my parents
16.Buy a biscuit barrel and a tied cake plate
17.Buy a decent DSLR camera
18.Have a photography lesson
19.Document a month in photographs
20.Attend a creative writing workshop
21.Wear skirts every day for a month
22.Donate blood
23.Take up yoga again
24.Take Noo climbing
25.A night away with just Mr Noo
26.Stay in Whitstable
27.Attend Deer shed festival
28.Family holiday in Norfolk Planned for summer 2015
29.Spend day at Bewildered in Norfolk planned see above
30.Run: Sofa to 5K
31.Visit Whipsnade Zoo
32.Visit Butterfly World, Hertfordshire
33.Learn to play a Ukulele
34.Listen to Noo read his first book
35.See seals at Robin Hood Bay
37.Visit my lovely friend in Maidstone
38.Take Noo to the theatre
39.Make a presentation
40.Take the Eurostar
41.Fish pedicure
42.Grow my own vegetables tomatoes count
43.Attend the balloon festival in Bristol
44.Camp in the New Forest
45.Create photo albums
46.Watch Madmen box sets
47.Un-friend, un-friends on Facebook
48.Win Lottery
49.Camp in France
50.Host a fancy dress party for Noo
51.Drink more water
52.Have a facial
53.Grow sunflowers
54.Learn to play backgammon
55.Sell vinyl
56.Have friends round for lunch
57.Make a cheesecake
58.Organise a mums and kids camping weekend
59.Visit Hornimans Museum
60.Science Museum
61.Natural History
62.Kew Gardens
63.Take a bus tour of London
64.Eat no chocolate or sweets for a week
65.Make a list of the 100 best experiences of my life
66.Send a secret to post secret
67.Create playlists on itunes
68.Visit relatives I rarely see
69.Use the free entry to Museum of Childhood
70.Frame more photos
71.Replace the sofa
72.Make cushions covers
73.Use Skype
74.Finish the book Mr Noo gave me for my birthday
75.Host New Years eve party
76.Host a cocktail evening
77.Get Noo a pet
78.Go to the cinema with Mr Noo
79.Go to the circus
80.Eat fruit for breakfast for a week
81.Make a curry (I keep pledging to do this)
82.Eat scallops
83.Attend another bloggers conference
84.Take Noo on a canal boat
85.Answer 50 questions that will free your mind
86.Make 3 new friends
87.Bake a birthday cake for someone outside my immediate family
88.Barbeque on a beach
89.Spend a week without social media
90.Identify 100 things that make me happy
91.Plant a tree
92.Spend a weekend in Brighton
93.Ice skate in December
94.Go Pony trekking
95.Buy Noo a real musical instrument recorder unplayed.
96.Spend a night dancing
97.See the puffins on Skomer Island
98.7 random acts of kindness
99.Write a 10 year plan
100.Influence another person to do a day zero list
101.Commit to this blog for at least as long as it takes for me to do this.


  1. Purplemum

    What is day zero? I was getting concerned that perhaps the world was ending, and I’d missed the memo. Anyway I don’t make lists, I do stuff as I happen upon it, that way whatever I end up filling my time with I won’t have failed to complete a list. 

  2. Bibsey Mama

    Ok. Don’t panic. Don’t they have like all season skating rinks? Erm, what about rollerblading? Duck and weave love, duck and weave. I think I should sign off now for fear that I have missed the point of Day Zero and that it is past my bedtime.

  3. Midlife Singlemum

    I went to look at my Day Zero before commenting. I even have a tab linked to it at the top of my blog – LOL. I’ve not been there for over a  year!. I only have 36 items as I left off the biggies like extensive travel as I knew they wouldn’t be possible within the 1001 days (plan vs wishlist). I have only 233 days to go (about the same as you) and nothing ticked off, although a few of them could be. My number 36 is to get Sally Whittle to follow me on twitter, that’s how much I was into blogging – LOL again. My biggest downfall at the beginning was that you can always re-set it to start again. I did this regularly back in 2011. Here’s my tip: Get to the end and re-set. 2002 days sounds perfect. 

  4. Angela @Little Apple Tree

    I think I’ve pretty much given up on my Day Zero project–I may try re-starting it at some point in the future.  I just wrote the list, and then forgot that I was supposed to be working towards all these little goals.  

    Somewhere there must be a mystical artefact that will turn me from a lazy girl into a laser-focused goal-crushing machine, but I’ve yet to stumble across it!

  5. Ben

    I guess the reality is we don’t ever do everything on the list, but just stopping and thinking about what to put on it means we may do more than just drift along. I have a bucket list on my blog of things I want to see and do, I try to read it every so often to remind me of the big things I want to achieve that get lost in the day to day.

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