Aries New Moon Goals

So I’m a couple of days late with posting my goals for the Aries new moon. This is in part to the craziness that we’re dealing with now (the novel coronavirus pandemic; where the total numbers in the US have topped 100K), and as I’ve told several people—my two goals are to 1) not catch the virus; and 2) get through the insanity with my sanity intact. That said—posts are probably going to be sporadic again for the next couple of months.

So the moon moved through the Aries constellation earlier this week, and with it started a new astrological calendar (as Aries is the first zodiac sign)—therefore in a way we can try to start things over again, or start anew depending on your views.

So what are some things that one can work on during the Aries new moon (and actually in general since a good portion of the world is still under quarantine)?

Those things include:

            Taking action on dreams and plans.

            Make a 12-month plan

            Be courageous in moving towards achieving your goals.

            Have some fun

            Focus on you

Then if one looks to see what house Aries is passing through—for me it’s passing through my 6th house or my daily work and health zone. So for me that means I actually should sit down and try to develop a daily schedule that will allow me to focus on both aspects of my life currently: fitness/health and personal/professional development (and job searching).

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time to improve things in their sixth house?

            Recommit to some type of exercise program

            Think about (correct if need be) your eating habits

            Help someone out this month           

            Talk to your boss about any work concerns you might have

            Read a book on positive thinking

            Eat healthy lunches or dinners for one month—no exceptions

            Learn to meditate

So I always find it a little uncanny at times how accurate the moons transition is through the houses (especially when I know there are certain things I should be focusing on). This is again one of the areas (namely the nutrition; though working on my transition plan is still high on the list as well). I am happy to say that I’ve been sticking with a workout program (I’ve only missed three days out of the last five weeks—two days last week and today).

So which things am I going to try to focus on over the next few weeks?

            Making a 12-month plan. I tried last year and probably went too far into detail in some areas and totally overwhelmed myself.

            Continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 (should finish it up in early June)

            Work on my eating habits (try to start getting a few more servings of fruits and veggies in)

            Read a book on positive thinking (or at least on positive psychology)

            Continue to meditate nightly

And as the insanity continues to run wildly around—remember: Progress, not Perfection

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional development

Review of Pisces new moon goals

So the moon is going to be moving into the Aries constellation over the next day or so, and transitioning through a new moon phase—and it will be the start of a new astrological year. So before I get into trying to set goals for the Aries new moon, I should look back on the goals that I set for the Pisces new moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were the goals for the Pisces new moon?

            Get back into a meditation routine—preferably at night, but may try morning as well.

            Start doodling again, and possibly turn one of the doodles into a cross-stitch pattern (and teach myself how to cross-stitch).

            Daily workout (Beachbody or possibly see if I can find a free online belly dancing workout)

In terms of meditation—I’m still trying to figure out the best routine at night. I’ve bought a meditation pillow (though it is smaller than it looked in the pictures), and am trying to figure out the best time that works for me. Currently I usually try to meditate at night before going to bed. Since I’ve been having problems with the time—I’m going to try to set aside fifteen minutes (probably before brushing my teeth) for meditation at night.

In terms of doodling—this didn’t happen. I’ve been a little too irritated with the world (mainly because of the mishandling of the pandemic response) to try to draw (or even color).

In terms of working out—this I have managed to do. I started doing Morning Meltdown 100 on beachbodyondemand. I have only taken two days off (brother & his dog were in town, and needed to help keep the peace). But I’m liking the program—and currently I’m more focused on toning and losing inches than I am on losing weight—that would be great, but I’m not going to go out of my mind trying to micromanage what I’m eating.

I know that nutrition plays a large part in losing weight—but with the current atmosphere (global pandemic) I’m more concerned with trying to keep my anxiety and stress under control than I am about having my nutrition totally under control.

And I am remembering: Progress not Perfection

No Comments AstrologyfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsReflections

Daily Dose of inspiration during this time

With the need to self-quarantine to help #flattenthecurve to help deal with the #novelcoronavirus pandemic, I thought that I would start sharing daily quotes from pop-open cards’ shine edition.

Today’s quote:

“Let nothing dim the light that shines from within”—Maya Angelou

This quote resonates with me today, as I’m also trying to figure out what the next step is in my career, and what I want to be doing with the rest of my life.

I know that these times are crazy, troublesome, worrisome, and all other thoughts and feelings. But lets stay in (unless it is absolutely necessary to go out—i.e. getting groceries, medications, or possibly a short stroll through the neighborhood with the dog—but remember to keep at least six feet between you and everyone else), that way we (hopefully) won’t be overwhelming the medical community as they deal with daily influxes of people with severe coronavirus symptoms.

Also lets give science some breathing room—yes, we need a vaccine and treatments for the virus, but I would prefer both coming within the normal window for the areas—which means at least a year from now. Anything sooner, and it may help or it may be adding even more problems into the mix.

No Comments motivational tipsPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentReflections

Is there a reboot button or a return button for 2020?

So entering week 2 of the self-quarantine period due to the global pandemic of the novel coronavirus. Though truthfully, I’ve only been out of the house probably a total of a dozen times or so since early December (and only seven of those times were purposefully around other people)—the other six (or more) have been walks at Boomer, and I’ve only nodded, smiled, or said hello to people.

I’ve realized that while I don’t mind staying around the house (and I didn’t realize how close to being totally burnt out at work I was until I started my reboot break), I truthfully don’t like being told I have too—but I’m going to, because I would like the pandemic to be brought under control.

So what are some of the things that I’m going to be doing during this up coming week?

Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

Filing my taxes—yes there has been an extension, but if you’re going to get money back—why wait longer than you already have?

Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

Continue working on my afghan

Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

Reading

Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

Ask two or three people what they think my top five skills are

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

Also remember that while it is a pain to be “stuck” in the house now–if we all do our part, the time required will go quickly. If people continue to ignore the request–the time will continue to drag on.

No Comments fitnessPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Virgo Full Moon Goals

So the moon should be hitting its full stage by Monday night as it enters the Virgo constellation. That is making this week a really fun week in the US—we’re starting it by setting the clocks an hour ahead, then the full moon, and we end it with Friday the 13th. If I were a superstitious sort—I’d be planning on staying in bed all week. J

If you’re one who tries to understand how your mood changes or is affected by the moon—the Virgo full moon usually has people feeling finicky and anxious. Personally—I don’t need any extra anxiety in my life; I manifest plenty on my own. Though no matter what sign I go with (star, rising, or moon)—all three are able to handle the Virgo energy.

So what are some questions that one can ask during this full moon?

Have I been too picky, pedantic, or critical of myself or anyone else?

            Have I been humble to the point of underrating myself?

            Have I been of service to others enough this month?

            Have I been worrying and complaining too much, and thus attracting negativity?

            Have I paid enough attention to the details that I need to this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1 to 5, my answers would look like this:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been too picky, pedantic, or critical of others currently (though I have harbored critical thoughts of the world—but with the current political, health, and environmental issues going on—that isn’t too surprising). I will admit that I possibly have been a little too critical of myself lately—but it has allowed me to notice (and admit) certain habits and mindsets that really aren’t beneficial to me currently. Those habits and mindsets will slowly be getting corrected over the next couple of weeks.
  2. I probably have been a little too humble when it comes to thinking of what type of transferable skills I have for moving into an industry position. I’ve never really been one to toot my own horn on anything—as I really don’t like drawing attention to myself. But I do know that if I want to get a job in industry and then make it up the ladder—I will have to start tooting my own horn, as there isn’t anyone else who will do it for me.
  3. I’ve been helping out around the house a little more, and depending on how things go (namely how bad the coronavirus spreads over the next few months), I might try to volunteer at the library or find a part-time job or internship somewhere learning something new, but at the same being of help to others.
  4. I’m actually trying not to worry too much about things that I can’t control. I’m trying to catch any negative thoughts that I have and then slowly rephrase them in a more positive manner.
  5. So this one thing that I noticed that I’ve been doing—focusing too much attention on a certain task to the determent of everything else I had on my daily to-do list. Currently, it has been too much time trying to find companies and people to reach out to at those companies, and ignoring spending time on crafts, and meditation at night. This is something that I’m going to start correcting this week—to where I only spend thirty minutes to an hour at a time focused on anything related to my transition into industry, and then spend “X” amount of time doing something else (knitting, drawing, journaling/reading, walking the dog, going for a walk to practice my photography).

So one other thing people should look at is what house the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Virgo full moon also correlates to my 11th house or my friend zone. This is the time to try to focus on the other people in your life, and is also a good month for networking as well (so the universe is still trying to help nudge me along the path to a job in industry).

            Networking is something I have been trying to do more of over the past few weeks (there are actually a couple of webinars I need to go back, watch again, and take more notes on how to effectively network), and something that I need to keep doing basically until I decide what day/year I’m going to retire from whatever job I have—and then I will probably still be networking, just not as extensively.

So what are some things that I can and work on during the next month?

            Meditating nightly, and trying to reframe all negative thoughts to more positive thoughts.

            Setting up the best time schedule to where I’m spending time on different areas of my life (personal & professional development, health/fitness, crafts, spirituality) instead of being narrowly focused on one area.

            Have good notes for reaching out and networking more effectively.

Also remembering: Progress and not Perfection; Don’t fear failure, fear being in the exact same spot next year; and work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Leo Full Moon Goals: A Review

So in a day or two there will be another full moon—this time it will be going through the Virgo constellation. This means that I need to reflect back on the goals that I set for the last full moon and had aimed to work on during the month of February. In addition acknowledging my current mindset and coming up with ideas on how to switch it to being a more productive mindset.

So what were my goals for the Leo Full Moon?

  1. Getting back into a workout routine
  2. Working on my transition plan for moving into industry from academia
  3. Spend time working on crafts (knitting, photography, and doodling)
  4. Meditate, tarot/oracle readings—getting back on track with my spirituality.

So how did I do with each one goal?

In terms of getting back into a workout routine—I’m happy to say that today I finished day fourteen of Morning Meltdown 100—which is a hundred day workout program that launched on Beachbody-on-demand late last year.

I think that this is going to be the program that helps get me out of my depression/funk that I’ve been in for quite a while. I truthfully didn’t think I was that depressed last year, but looking at the stats on the total number of workouts I’ve done over the past not quite two years—yeah, I barely worked out (at least using Beachbody-on-demand).

My goal is to continue with Morning Meltdown 100, and the program will see me through until the beginning of June.

In terms of working on my transition plan for moving into industry from academia—it is slow going. I actually joined an accountability group to help an extra little push, and while it is uncomfortable at times trying to push out of my fear zone and into my learning zone—I’m slowly getting there. While I’m going to be going at my pace, I know have ideas on how to connect to others, adding value, inquiring on informational interviews, and so forth.

In terms of working on crafts—I managed only a couple of walks up at Boomer for doing some nature photography, and I’ve done a little backyard birding as well. I’m actually going to schedule in more time for crafts over the next couple of weeks.

This was something that I really didn’t do that well on—I really haven’t meditated nightly, and I’ve only done one or two oracle/tarot card readings over the past month. Again, this is something that I’m going to schedule more time for over the next few weeks.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few weeks is that I’ve fallen back into the mindset of focusing on just one thing and ignoring everything else. That one thing I’d been focusing on is building my job search spreadsheet—so I’ve been spending literally days looking at companies on linkedin, glassdoor, their own websites to determine which companies I wanted to add to the list. I would take breaks for eating, an occasional walk at Boomer Lake, or just go sit outside in the backyard and watch the birds.

This isn’t a beneficial mindset to be moving forward with—but it is the automatic response of how I handled school from public up through getting my graduate degree and to an extent how I handled all the jobs since graduating (to an extent). But I’ve decided that mindset needs an overhaul—so I’m going to actually try to plan out my days somewhat. They’re going to be fluid in terms of the fact I’m not always certain when I’m going to do a walk at Boomer Lake or when I’m going to take my pup for his walk through the neighborhoods.

So while I seemed to be only about fifty-fifty on hitting the goals—I made a lot more forward movement on mental health side—so for fourteen straight days of exercising, and admitting that the current mindset needs to change and will start implementing those changes over the next few days/weeks.

I’ve also been reminding myself of this quote on a basically daily basis: “Progress over Perfection”

No Comments fitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Minimal Money Spending Challenge

So I noticed that over the past two months, I had been spending quite a bit of money on certain things—namely more e-books—I am an avid reader, and have the tendency to buy books before I finish reading ones that I already own. For example—after my first staff position was terminated I decided I was going to focus on personal and professional development and started buying numerous books. I think by the time I managed to get my second staff position the number of books bought were up to about seventy books. Fast-forward a little over two years and that list has ballooned to almost three hundred and fifty books, I’ve read about forty-five of them and consider another ten to be “reference” on a topic—that means I have probably another 280 books on the list to read. I also have bought numerous other books as well—so yeah, I shouldn’t be getting anymore books for a while (at least in terms of personal/professional development).

I also had been buying extra lives on a silly match-three game during the past couple of months. So the two combined to more money spent than I really meant to spend.

Therefore I’m declaring March to a minimum-spending month. What do I mean by that? Well, other than books that have already been pre-ordered (and there are only about six or seven of them), taking my dog to the vet, a possible physical order from amazon, and possibly meeting up with a friend for lunch—I’m not going to be spending any money.

I’m going to turn my focus to the things that I already own—the large number of books (both fiction and non-fiction), which I should be reading. I’m going to attempt to have a book review or two done monthly (though with some of the non-fiction books, it could wind up being some type of monthly challenge). I’m also going to focus on working through the various electronic e-courses that I’ve bought (hopefully remembering to take good enough notes for possible blog posts).

I also will just take a deep breath and not worry how long it takes me to get through various levels on the match-3 game in the morning or at night.

The goal is to only have spent money possibly a dozen times this month (not counting bills being paid); if it works well it will continue through the rest of the year (with various changes to what I’m possibly spending money on).

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

February in Review

Well the leap month is over, and we’re a sixth of the way through 2020. I actually would like time to speed up for once—this year isn’t going the way I was hoping, and therefore I almost want it to be 2021. I had decided that during my “reboot break” I was going to take at least one trip for fun/relaxation and then at least one trip for networking/work stuff. Well, it is looking like it will possibly be just networking/job related trips for the foreseeable future—why? Because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2, which has been spreading around the globe since December of last year. I’m not to keen on getting on a plane for an extended period of time with other people, plus there are now numerous travel restrictions to various countries. So I’m going to be keeping an eye on the virus and news and decide towards the end of March if I’m even going out to Boston in April.

I’m getting better at some aspects of the reboot break than others—but I’ve also gained some insight into those areas as well (there will probably be another blog post on this topic at some point in March). But it has been a little over two months since I started the break, and while I haven’t made as much progress on the health and fitness—I think I’m making enough that it’s time to start really trying to work other areas of life also into the day-to-day habits/goals/things to work on.

But first, it is time to look at the goals that I set for February and see how I did with each of them:

The goals for February included:

At least 413,000 steps (a little over the 14,230 steps/day—but it is a nice round number)

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (alternating between Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possibly Morning Meltdown 100)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, networking, and interacting more on linkedin)
Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days—work up to no spend weeks

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health—determine the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond

And for February the phrases: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

So how did I do with each one of them?

At least 413,000 steps (a little over the 14,230 steps/day—but it is a nice round number)

            This is something that I’ve been bad at doing—getting my daily steps in. I probably only reached about fifty percent on the step goal for the month (208,873 steps). Part of the problem—it was a little too cold/rainy/wet for doing daily walks and practicing my photography. Yes, I could have done the walks and listened to podcasts, but I didn’t. So if I’m going to try to reach my 5 million steps by the end of the year, I’m now going to have to aim for basically 14,943 steps a day—or just round it up to basically 15,000 steps a day for the rest of the year. I’m even behind on just trying to get to 3,660,000 steps. So anyway you look at it—I need to start getting off my butt and moving around more.

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

I finished reading “The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months” by Brian P Moran and Michael Lennington. I’m actually going to try to implement a 12-week year, possibly starting in April (I need to try to get things planned out a little better before hand).

I also finished “Permission Granted: Be who you were made to be and let go of the rest” by Melissa Camara Wilkins.

While it’s only been two books both January and February—at least I’m being steady on the number of books. I’m thinking that I should keep the number of books read to be between two to three—if it’s more great, but it should be a minimum of two books.

Working out daily (alternating between Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possibly Morning Meltdown 100)

            This has been off and on for most of the month—though I have been consistent this last week with starting Morning Meltdown 100—so I’m probably going to continue with that one and see afterwards on doing either Barre Blend or another round of LIIFT4. The new goal will be finishing Morning Meltdown 100—which if I do just one workout a day (which is how I’m going to probably do things), I’ll be finishing it beginning of June.

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, networking, and interacting more on linkedin)

Okay I’m getting a little better on this one—joined an accountability group within the cheeky scientist association, and am focusing on things a little more. I’m trying to post at least one to two articles a day (taking usually Sunday off) from various science/business news sites. I’m also reaching out to various people at different companies that I would like to possibly work at—just to find out a little more about the companies (namely the culture, day-to-day activities, and balance). So that is slowly moving along. I’m listening to podcasts at night, while looking at companies and so forth. Haven’t worked through that many e-courses, but that is hopefully going to change some in the coming months.

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days—work up to no spend weeks

            This is something that I was so-so on. I managed several no-spend days, but since I really didn’t have a February money log set up in the journal—I didn’t really keep track of the days when I did buy an e-book, or needed to order something from Amazon. Again, this is something that I’m going to be working on in the coming months—I’m actually thinking of a bare-minimum spend March challenge (blog post coming later this week possibly).

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health—determine the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond 

I’ve realized the reasons why this task (making editorial calendars) is so damn difficult for me: 1) I usually have either too many ideas bouncing around in my head (and I don’t always write them down), 2) I can’t think of anything to write on, 3) I can’t decide on the picture that I want to share in a photography challenge, and 4) I’m still haven’t totally decided on the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond. I mean right now it is a combo personal/professional development, travel, crafts, health/fitness, and just about anything else that catches my fancy—so basically a lifestyle blog (and I’m not even sure what type of lifestyle). Though I may keep in that general direction while I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life going forward.

I have been able to keep the phrase “Progress over Perfection” front and center while I’ve been doing things this month. The phrase “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year” is a little harder to keep front and center—because right now I’m stuck in the middle of the fear zone, though I’m moving out of it very slowly.

So moving into March (which is the last month of the first quarter of 2020), the goals will include:

At least 465,000 steps (breaks down to 15,000 steps/day)—this is to get back on track to hit the 5 million steps goal by the end of the year.

Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

Money log/Weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—actually try to have a bare-minimum spend month (again blog post coming later this week, early next week)

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Determine the best direction(s) for the blog to go in for 2020 and beyond.

Then remember: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

No Comments careerfitnessjob searchingMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreak

Pisces New Moon Goals and acknowledging fears

So I’m a few days late in posting—but over the weekend the moon moved through it’s second new moon transition for the year and it was through the Pisces constellation. I’ve realized one thing so far on my reboot break—I’m falling into the old habit of concentrating on one thing to the determent of everything else. While I did need to decompress after my job ended—I barely did anything else. I know that I need to start listening to my inner voice—but I’m truthfully finding that more difficult than I thought. This is due in part to letting all the other voices (you know the ones—your parents, family, teachers, bosses, even close friends) have more of a say in your life than you do.

So what does that have to do with the Pisces new moon and making goals? Pisces is about-facing both your dreams and your fears—and this is something that truthfully I haven’t been good at in recent years (facing either of them). It is hard to try to rewrite a dream, when you realize that the one you’ve held on to for years isn’t going to come about (say becoming a professor and having a marine biology/molecular biology/developmental biology research project going), and having to figure out what else you can do with your life.

Fears have been a little easier to acknowledge—at least my two biggest ones (and actually those are anxiety based issues than actual fears)—one is talking, both in front of large groups of people, and then just one-on-one with someone new. Why do I have the fear/anxiety issue—I’m “afraid” that they (if it is one-on-one) or someone in the audience is going to correct either my sentence structure or the pronunciation of the word(s)—and this stems from childhood. When I was just starting kindergarten, we moved from Massachusetts to Oklahoma, where I was enrolled in a new kindergarten class. Then the following issues arose—my speech (I learned to talk out in Massachusetts, and had a northeastern accent—where I didn’t pronounce my “r”. Now this would have taken care of itself over the years as I settled into things and the school—but the teachers and others thought it would be better if I was put in speech therapy to speed up the process. So I spent most of my elementary school career having to have speech therapy two to three days a week just to learn how to pronounce a single letter of the alphabet. On top of that, my kindergarten teacher would always correct my speech, to a point that I didn’t feel comfortable talking. I thought was the point if someone was going to just repeat it anyway—so I started just writing out what I wanted to say, and it was either passed around to everyone or the teacher would read it out loud.

            So needless to say—I don’t have that many fond memories of being in public schools (from speech therapy to being bullied and ridiculed—I was very happy to graduate), and while I managed to work on the issue a little through college, it is still something that crops up from time to time as something I don’t like to do, but I know that I need to—so I’m going to be looking in finding different ways of coping with stress and anxiety of talking to others.

The other fear/anxiety that I have is actually being behind the wheel of a car—aka driving. I don’t mind being a passenger, for the most part I’ve gotten over the severe carsickness that I had as a child—it is now just a mild to moderate problem. Where did the anxiety of being behind the wheel come from? The answer simple answer is childhood—the more complex answer is an older sibling who decided it would be “cute” that when picking me up from the movies and driving home to remove their hands from the steering wheel and telling me either to steer the car, or that we’d swerve into the oncoming traffic. Looking back, I can see how they thought it would be “cute” and possibly instill wanting to be my own chaperone/driver in me, so that I would jump at the chance for signing up for drivers’ education, get my license, and never bug other people for a ride. But that isn’t what happened—instead it instilled a deep anxiety in me, that possibly someone is going to grab the wheel, or something will happen and I have no control over it. I’ve tried over the years to take lessons—but the fear is deep, and not something that one gets over quickly. So for now, I am more than willing to rely on public transportation, my bike, my feet, and occasionally asking someone for a ride somewhere. Also with the way the world is going—who knows how long vehicles are going to be around anyway.

So other than focus on your dreams and fears, what else can one focus on during the Pisces new moon?

            Following your hunches/intuition—now this is something that I need to work on, as I’ve ignored my own gut instincts too often over the past several years.

            Heal—focus on working though emotional or spiritual issues.

            “Surrender”—practice yoga, meditation—and open yourself to the possibilities of the universe.

In addition, Pisces is also moving through my 5th house—or my fun zone. So this is the area that is triggered by creativity, children, and romance. Now I’m good with the creativity portion—I don’t have kids (and I’m not around them all that much), and truthfully right now I’m not in the market for romance (especially since I’m still trying to figure out my life and where I want to be working/living within the next year).

So there are several different things that one can do during this sums up the 5th house (or fun zone):

            Taking up belly dancing.

            Making a toy for a child.

            Starting to date

            Going on a trip with your significant other

            Doing something creative (writing, painting, so forth)

            Do something that typifies your idea of fun

            Throw a party

So there are few things on the list that I can basically scratch off as not doing—starting to date, going on a trip with your significant other, making a toy for a child, and throwing a party. These are only crossed off the list because 1) I’m again not looking for a relationship, 2) I’d rather meet up with people for lunch or an afternoon walk than throw a party; and 3) I don’t have the accessories to make a toy for a child (as I would be leaning towards making stuff animals for children).

I’ve tried to belly dance in the past (had actually bought some workout DVDs), and I may actually try to find a free program to follow on-line. I found it fun and challenging (especially since I currently don’t have the coordination for it—not that I had the coordination in the past either).

So if I were to make goals for the next few weeks, they would be the following:

            Get back into a meditation routine—preferably at night, but may try morning as well.

            Start doodling again, and possibly turn one of the doodles into a cross-stitch pattern (and teach myself how to cross-stitch).

            Daily workout (Beachbody or possibly see if I can find a free online belly dancing workout)

But overall remember: Progress not Perfection

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Not quite the “learning zone”, not quite the “comfort zone” and a book review to top it off

So I’ve been doing quite a bit of self-assessment over the past couple of weeks. This has basically been looking back over all the notes that I’ve taken over the past year or so—and I can say that my NSV (non-scale victory) is admitting that I’ve been stuck in the “fear zone” for basically the past five years or so (maybe less depending on the aspect of life).

So where does this “fear zone” come from? I decided to look into “ideas” on how to get from the “comfort zone” into the “learning zone” and saw an image that showed there is actually an addition zone between those two—and that additional zone is the “fear zone”.

So the Comfort Zone is basically where everyone feels safe, content, and in control of their situations. Everyone says that you need to get out of your comfort zone in order to learn and live your best life—which is great, but what no one ever mentions is that between the comfort zone and the learning zone is the fear zone.

I recently realized that I’ve been stuck in this “fear zone” for quite a while. The “fear zone” is where you’re worried about what others will think of what you’re doing, you have a feeling low self confidence (since you’re stepping out of your comfort zone), and you’re more than willing to find excuses to get out of things.  So looking back at things—I have to be totally honest in that I’ve been in the middle of the fear zone in several different areas of my life:

            Health and fitness—I had managed to lose quite a bit of weight in 2013 (and early 2014), only to have life throw numerous different curveballs at me. Instead of hitting (or punting) or catching the balls—I used everything that came at me as an “excuse” or roadblock that I just sat and stared at for years. Now, that I’ve acknowledged that I’ve allowed myself to be stuck in the fear zone—I’m going to move into the learning zone. It will be slow, and I may slide back every so often—but I need to keep moving forward. It has taken me basically five years to pack on the pounds—it will take me months, if not a couple of years to get rid of the weight (and to keep it off) the healthy way.

            Career—I’ve given my time in academia (it has been almost ten years since I graduated with my PhD), but have realized that I am not willing to put something first (the job) over my health (especially my mental health). To make it in academia these days, you basically have to put in twelve to sixteen hour days six to seven days a week. To be considered for an entry-level professor position, you almost have to have the resume of someone who has been in the field for twenty to thirty years longer than you’ve been alive.

                        This has been a hard mindset to get out of—I’ve been raised in an academia household (my father is a professor at my alma mater), so I’ve been around the whole academic professor job field my entire life. I remember when I was younger, I wanted to have my own lab and be doing marine biology research—well, obviously that didn’t happen. Being honest with myself, the main reasons for my stagnant job transition is a lack of self-confidence in being able to compete with others for the jobs (I also know that this is really just imposter syndrome talking), and the opinions of others (basically them wondering/inquiring why it took me so long to either a) decide to leave academia and b) to finally manage to leave academia).

I can also then tie in my anxiety and depression somewhat into the fear zone as well. Though to be honest, the depression isn’t totally tied in with the fear zone—2018 was a horrid year (we lost three dogs, two within a span of four days) over all and I spent most of 2019 slowly working my way out of the deep depression dip I found myself in. I’m not totally out of it—but I’m further than I was three or four months ago.

So I want to now move into the “learning zone”—which is the zone where you are acquiring new skills, extending your comfort zone (while hopefully shrinking the fear zone), and being able to deal with challenges and problems that come up day to day. How am I going to do that? Simple—small, baby steps until them become routine and become bigger and bigger steps into the learning zone.

Starting with small things, and at times possibly silly things for me is the best way to show myself that I can deal with various different things. It has been shown that having a disorganized, clutter environment can have a negative effect on your mood and health. So I’m going to be slowly working on organizing and decluttering various parts of the house—I’ve actually started this over the weekend, I’m working on my bathroom. Once I have that room cleaned and organized I’ll move on to another (while slowly working on my bedroom at the same time). I’m actually trying to embrace the idea of less is more—i.e. semi-minimalism.

I just finished reading the book “The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. One of the things that I’m going to be doing is trying to implement the idea of the 12-week year starting in March (I decided that I probably will need about two weeks to work through the exercises and plan things out)—but having a written plan will help more than just my usual winging and hoping that things fall into place.

So the 12-week year is the idea that instead of trying to set annual goals—and having no way of knowing if the processes will work four or five months down the road, you have your larger “why” or vision. You then break the goals down to ones that you focus on for 12 weeks at a time—not every goal, but one or two. At the end of the 12 weeks, you gauge where you are at in terms of how you performed over the past 12 weeks, and how much closer you are to the larger goals. Then during the next 12 weeks, you focus on the next task or two that will continue to move you towards your larger goal.

One of my problems has always been setting future goals, but at the same time not always breaking them down monthly or weekly. The only one that I think I’ve broken down that way is the step goal (and currently I will be having to rework that one, since I’ve been sedentary more than I would like to admit for the past six weeks or so).

This way I will be able to focus on different aspects of life (career/job transition, health/fitness, personal/professional development and crafts) at the same time—knowing that I’m going to be going after the little steps that will merge several of the paths into one. The next few weeks will be trying to figure out the best metrics for measuring the success of moving forward in the job transition (I already have ideas for how to measure the other areas), and then writing out the first 12-week year and my first weekly tracker(s).

Hopefully by implementing the idea of a 12-week year, I will be able to move out of the “fear zone” and into the “learning zone”.  I know that I will probably have a week or two where I slid backwards—but with the tracking, I will know and then be able to readjust and continue moving forward. Because one of the quotes for the year is “progress not perfection”.

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