Update on my reading list for the 101+ Goal Challenge

So I thought that I’d give an updated reading list for my 101+ Goal challenge. These books include personal and professional development books, autobiographies, and then other books of interest (science or otherwise).  Some of the books are short reads, mainly because they revolve around answering a series of questions (see # 32 and #111), these could even become a series of blog posts on their own (depending on when I get finished answering the questions). While I’ve finished several of them so far (look for the bold lines), I haven’t finished writing all the book reviews to post on the blog yet. But the new goal is to now finish at least 112 books before September 28 2020.

1. Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel
2. Rewire Your Habits: Establish Goals, Evolve your habits, & improve your relationships, health and finances and free time by Zoe McKey
3. Minimalist Money Makeover by Michelle Moore
4. The No Spend Challenge Guide: How to stop spending money impulsively, pay off debt fast, and make your finances fit your dreams by Jen Smith
5. Minimalist Living: Declutter your home, schedule, and digital life for simple living (and discover why less is more) by Aston Sanderson
6. Self Talk: How to train your brain to turn negative thinking into positive thinking & practice self love by Aston Sanderson
7. Tame Your Emotions by Zoe McKey
8.The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
9. The happiness advantage by Shawn Achor
10. Am I making myself clear by Cornelia Dean
11. Escape the ivory tower by Nancy Baron
12. Kiss that Frog by Brian Tracy and Christina Tracy Stein
13. The Science of Intelligent Achievement by Isaiah Hankel
14.Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Berstein
15. Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Berstein
16. Science Blogging: The Essential Guide. Edited by Christie Wilcox, Bethany Brookshire & Jason G. Goldman
17. Hiding in the bathroom by Morra Aarons-Mele
18. The Little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
19. Introvert Survival Tactics by Patrick King
20. T is for Transformation by Shawn T
21. Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss
22. The Scientist’s Guide to Writing by Stephen Heard
23. Write Science in Plain English by Anne Green
24. The Science Writer’s Handbook edited by Thomas Hayden & Michelle Nijhuis
25. A Field Guide for Science Writers Edited by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson, and Robin Henig
26. 7 Habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey
27. The confidence code by Katty Kat & Claire Shipman
28. You 2.0 by Ayodeja Awosika
29. Thrive by Arianna Huffington
30. The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobensteine
31. Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher
32. Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila
33. I thought it was just me (but it wasn’t) by Brene Brown
34.What color is your parachute? 2018: A practical manual for job hunters & career changers by Richard N. Bolles
35. Manage your day to day: build your routine, find your focus, & Sharpen your creative mind. Edited by Jocelyn Glei
36. Raise your vibration by Kyle Gray
37. Sugar Free: 8 weeks to freedom from sugar and carb addiction by Karen Thomson Read More

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They can share…..though only when they sleep

Well obviously today was a little warmer than yesterday. The cats were sleeping on the recliner instead of the bed (or in the case of Pancakes–under the covers curled up on the bed). We got hit with a cold snap this weekend, and yesterday Pancakes spent most of the day curled up under the blankets at the end of my parents bed. Pyewicket always sleeps on top of the blankets, I think so that she can always hear when someone comes into the room and if they’re going to disturb her slumber or not.

They can share.

When they decide to sleep on the recliner, this is usually how they divide it up–Pyewicket (or sometimes Waffles) gets the top of the recliner (closer to the window), and Pancakes takes the seat. Personally I think that Pancakes was spoiled out in Boston, when she didn’t have any competition for the seat; and therefore she stakes the claim each and every time.

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Aries New Moon Goals

So today marks the presence of the new moon, and the fact that we’re halfway through the month of April. So in a way it’s fitting that the new moon is in Aries (as Aries is the zodiac sign for those born between March 21st and April 19th). So with the moon going through Aries, there are quite a few things that are going on during this time period. There isn’t a review of last month’s new moon goals (since I was sick and forgot to make them).

 

For starters—it can be considered a time of starting over (since Aries is the first zodiac sign, and therefore this can also be considered “the start of a new year”). Therefore this is the time for more planning, but is also a time for making an action plan based on the earlier planning.

 

So things to do during this period: Make a 12-month plan (I already had this on my weekly schedule of things to do, but will move it up in the week). My 12-month plan will probably be a blend of both electronic documentation and actually writing out on paper with a pen.

Step outside my comfort zone (in terms of networking and trying to figure out what the next job will be). I should also try to step outside my comfort zone in terms of trying to figure out how to get back into workout routine, but I’m not a social workout person–so I’ll probably stick with just doing my workouts via beachbody, and meeting friends for walking around Boomer Lake.

Have some fun—try to take the dog for an evening walk, work on crafts, and just unplug from social media and the world every once in awhile.

Focus on myself (what I need, where I’m going and so forth)—this could be the time when I should try to go and get my haircut, donate some clothes, and so forth.

So that’s just focusing the fact that the new moon is in Aries. When I look to see what house it is in—it’s in my 6th house (or my daily work and health zone). This means that for the next two weeks I need to focus on both my daily work and health routines.

This is an area that I definitely need to work on (namely making sure that I’m getting my workout in daily—I’ve been falling into the habit of just saying that I’ve walked for 30 or 40 minutes a day and have called it good). I know what I need to do (workout out daily and start getting my nutrition back under control), though right now my main enemy isn’t total laziness, but a combination of stress, anxiety, with a touch of laziness (or more specifically tiredness).

So, I know this has been a rambling post on everything that one should be focusing on during the Aries New Moon—therefore I’ll end it with my goals for the next two weeks:

1) Workout daily (Continue doing Yoga Booty Ballet, via BeachbodyOnDemand)

2) Make my new overall 12-month plan (plus the 12-month plan for each subcategory; then start monthly/weekly/daily breakdown to get to those 12-month goals).

3) Get my nutrition back under control (only buy an occasional fruit cup at work for a snack)

4) Have some fun—take the dogs for an evening walk, or continue working on my afghan (unplug from social media and the news).

Hopefully by sitting down and starting a new overall 12-month plan (with then new breakdowns), I can hopefully get the anxiety and stress under control and be more willing and able to step outside my comfort zone to determine exactly who it is I’m meant to be.

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Throwback Thursday: Pancake watching Fish TV (short post)

Well the week is almost over, which means that I can hopefully spend the weekend trying to catch up on the mountain to-do list that I wrote out in my bullet journal. I think I got most of Monday’s stuff done, but then the week got away from me and that was that.

So in honor of throwback Thursday, I decided that I’d post a more recent picture of Pancakes watching her second favorite “TV” the fish. We have three aquariums in the house, and she watches the fishes in two of the three aquariums. This is the one where she can just sit next to it without falling off the edge of the cabinet (as the aquarium takes up 95% of the space). The koi always darts around, so Pancakes likes to say “hello” by batting at it as it swims past her.

Pancakes watching Fish TV
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Photography challenge: Laser eyes and a throwback

Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you take a picture of another person or animal–they end up with laser eyes? That is what happened with Chewi this morning. I decided to try to get another picture of her snoozing on the love seat, and since she just opened her eyes when I took the picture–the flash gave her laser eyes.

Laser Eyes

I realized last night that I hadn’t posted an picture, and decided that if nothing else I’d try to post two today. So the second picture is going to be a throw back picture of Chewi.

Chewi in the water

So here is a throw back picture of Chewi when we were living out in Boston. This was from one of our longer walks, where we walked to Chandler Pond so that she could wade in and splash. That was one of the drawbacks about being in Boston–there weren’t that many places that I could take her that I felt comfortable letting her get either near or in the water. The closer water area didn’t have any easy access for her, so we made the almost three mile (or it might have been four miles) round trip just so she could splash in some water.

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Goldfinch looking for spring….Photography challenge day 14

Well I thought we were going to be settling into spring temperatures this weekend, but no…..Mother nature has decided to play with us, like a cat does with a mouse. The weather was beautiful on Thursday, rainy and chilly on Friday, and then plain cold on Saturday. The forecast claimed today was suppose to be warmer than yesterday (and in a way it was—just at 5PM and not earlier in the day).

Finch in the bush

So today’s photograph is brought to you by an rather irritated goldfinch that I accidentally disturbed at the feeder when I went out to top off all the bird feeders. I guess with cooler weather, we’ll be getting a lot of birds in the yard. I swear this weekend we probably had somewhere in the total of fifty to sixty grackles around two of the feeders (and they wiped out a small suet twice this weekend).

Its also nice to see that the cold snap hasn’t totally killed of the flowers and leaves that budded out already this year (though it will be probably fifty-fifty on whether or not we have a peach crop this year). As much as I don’t care for most insects, I want spring temperatures to come–I’m tired of wearing my winter jacket in the mornings and then having to carry it home in the afternoon because the temperatures rose by a good thirty to forty degrees.

This is one of my favorite times of the year to bird watch (I did see a bluebird the other day, I just didn’t have my camera on me [which has a better zoom than my phone]). I’m thinking that I need to make time to walk around Boomer Lake and bird watch to see what species are out on the water and flying around.

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Vision boards (A mini review of a book and a goal met).

So what is a vision board? Vision boards (or dream boards) are boards that can help you clarify, concentrate, and maintain focus on either a specific life goal or an overall change. This is where you display images and sayings that represent what you want to be, do, or have in your life.

Usually when people do vision boards, they may make one for the coming year, or they may make a five or ten year goal one—where they may switch out images or sayings that no longer resonate with their vision with different images or sayings.

I have to admit that I have always been curious about doing vision boards (and I think I may have done one or two in school [but they were called something else]), but at the same time I wanted to know more about the process before getting started (this is where my slight OCD comes into play). So one of the books that I finished back in February was “The Complete Guide to Vision Boards: The Ultimate Starter Kit to Get Wildly Clear & Create the Life of Your Dreams” by Christine Kane.

Complete Guide to Vision Boards by Christine Kane. Image (c) Amazon.com

This book covered a lot of different areas of creating a vision board—from the type of vision board you can create, to the supplies that you should have on hand, to the type of questions that you should be asking yourself before getting started. This book opened my eyes to the fact that there is more to creating a vision board than gluing pictures and words onto a pieces of cardboard—you have to have an idea of the direction you are heading (even if its—I need a change), before getting started. I know that I still have quite a bit to learn on this topic (even if it is a fairly straight forward topic), because I don’t want to start manifesting the wrong goals or changes and then having to start back over from scratch (i.e. I don’t want to take a job that may or may not work out—only to find out it isn’t going to work out and I’m either potentially unemployed again and/or having to move back home).

So, now on to a goal met.

One of my goals on my 101+ goal list was to make a vision board. And there were various reasons behind that goal.

So, in one or two of the groups I belong to on Facebook have suggested at one time or another that we should make a vision/dream board at least yearly (for one of the groups—the other had the suggestion to be more long term in thinking). So I’ve spent the past couple of weeks answering different personal and professional development type questions and actually trying to figure out both what I wanted in life long term, and where I saw myself in a few years.

I decided that this first vision board was going to be digital (mainly because I’m hoping to move within a year, and I don’t want to be packing up anything more than what I already am going to be having to). The second reason for doing the digital form is that I can see it daily if I have it as the background on my laptop. This will remind me of what I want to accomplish in my life, and that in order to accomplish it—I need to keep working towards it (no matter how slow that progress may feel).

                             My Vision Board

So within my vision board, I’m reminding myself that there are several areas that I know I want to change—I want to get into the best shape of my life (and also have a successful beachbody business—but I need to start working on that [actually following a program and nutrition plan (this is more or less—it won’t be a 100% because I don’t do that much of the shopping and right now I hate meal prepping) to make sure that I can both “walk the walk and talk the talk” in terms of what beachbody has to offer. By getting into the best shape of my life—I could probably manage a hike at the Grand Canyon or going to the Incan ruins in Peru (which right now I know I’m no where near ready for). I want to travel (leisure mostly, but occasionally for business), and I want to be a leader in industry as well. Plus a few other things that I have on the board as well (balance life, crafts, time for pets, and owning either my own small house or maybe a condo).

Looking at the board daily, will push me to make sure that I’m making progress towards all of these goals (especially the fitness and transitioning into an industry position), and will serve as a reminder—that it’s time for me to quit being a bystander in my own life, and take control of where I’m headed.

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Another goal done: Photography Challenge Day 11

So this past weekend, I managed (with the help of my father) to get some major yard work in the front yard done. We had planted monkey grass or Liriope under our maple tree shortly after we planted it. Then it had been several years since we had leveled the bricks around the tree (silly roots grow closer to the surface than other trees), and the monkey grass was also pushing the bricks around.

Before the leaves were removed and the monkey grass was thinned out.

So the above picture is showing one side of the tree with leaves still covering the grass (though the flowers had been coming up through both the leaves and the grass for at least two months) to work as a before picture.

Slowly starting to thin out the monkey grass

Now the other side is showing the work that I slowly had been making–basically I was removing the bricks, pulling up the monkey grass that was growing between the bricks to replant somewhere else in the yard, and then using the pruners to trim back all the other monkey grass around the tree.

My father went and got a couple bags of top soil so that we could start leveling off the bricks and have them in a nice circle around the tree. So our method was that I was removing the monkey grass for transplanting and trimming the rest of the monkey grass, while he worked to re-level all the bricks around the tree (he even had to go back to the store to get a single brick due to having to take the circle out a little further).

The pruned monkey grass and leveled bricks

And then finally after about four hours of work, we managed to get everything re-leveled and I have two topsoil bags full of money grass to now replant somewhere in the yard over the next few weekends (I think Sunday is suppose to be nice).

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Update on Level 10 Life: Photography challenge day 11

So I realized that this past weekend, I should have also posted an update on how I think I’m doing in life via of the Level 10 life.  I had decided that I would do a new Level 10 life graph every three months and then after I drew it out, compare it to the previous one. So below is my most current level 10 life.

Current Level 10 life

So within the ten different areas, there were several that I felt really hadn’t changed that much: (1) Family & friends–I managed to get together with a friend for lunch in March, but not in January or February; and I haven’t started trying to send postcards or letters to my niece yet either; though I have been trying to keep in touch more via facebook or if we’re connected on linkedin, on linkedin. (2) Personal development–while I’ve managed to finish reading quite a few books so far this year, I haven’t found a program that I like yet for learning a foreign language; and I’ve fallen short on the planning and writing in the journal. (6) I still have zero social life, and truthfully until I figure out the next job move I think I’m going to keep it that way (though I may meet up with people for a walk around Boomer on the weekends). (10) Health & fitness–I haven’t been able to fully commit to a workout program yet this year, and have fallen into a bad routine of not doing a workout in the evenings once I get home.

Everything else has either gone up or down in terms of how I saw them at the beginning of the year. (3) Spirituality has gone down a little, mainly because I haven’t been keeping up with meditation, and I haven’t been doing my yoga either. I have managed to start doing new & full moon goals, and the different spirituality books that I bought are still on the list to be read (it will just take a little time to get to them, when there is like 90 books in total still to be read. (4) Finances have gone up a little, due to getting the credit card debt down, and getting a little more into the savings account. I still haven’t put any into a CD yet, but there could still be time for that. (5) Career happiness has gone down a little, mainly because I’ve realized that I could potentially be unemployed again less than eight months, and I really need to get on the ball with trying to transition into an industry position. (7) Fun & Recreation has gone up a little–I’m trying my hand at making jewelry & I’m starting to work on a new afghan. I know I need to do more of things that aren’t science/work related and that is also where my photography challenge is coming into play as well. (8) Giving & contribution has gone up a little–I donated a big bag of clothes (and it did only a small dent in my current wardrobe), and still have monthly donations to the Sierra Club and one or two other nature organizations. (9) Physical environment has gone up a little, with having straightened up my desk area, donating clothes, and just getting rid of things that I don’t need anymore has made my bedroom not seem as small.

So what are my goals??? Well, there is the picture below for the quarter, or what I would like to have accomplished by June.

Level 10 goals for the second quarter

But more specifically a goal for each area will be:

(1) Touch base with at least two friends or family members I haven’t talked to in awhile each month.

(2) Find a decently priced program for learning a foreign language and start refreshing my Spanish or German.

(3) Mediate for at least five minutes every day (and I’m already a few days behind on this one).

(4) Continue with my savings challenge (basically see how many no spend days I can have and try to work up to both a no spend week and then maybe a no spend month).

(5) Continue trying to add value to my connections and determine the industry position and company (or companies) that I would like to work for. Then try to set up some informational interviews.

(6) Continue trying to meet up with friends on the weekend.

(7) Continue working on different craft projects (afghan, jewelry making, photography)

(8) Donate clothes that I don’t wear all that often.

(9) Straighten up my storage unit and start moving other things into it.

(10) Workout 6 days a week (BOD or DVD), measure at the end of the month. First try to get through Yoga Booty Ballet by mid-May.

 

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Chewi attempting to sleep: Photography Challenge day 10

Today’s photograph is brought to you by the eldest dog in the house: Chewi. When I was getting ready to leave this morning, I noticed that she was stretched out on the couch in the living room, and I couldn’t resist getting a picture of her. Though she had just opened her eyes I think to try to figure out if I was still in the house or if I’d left for work already.

Really—I’m trying to sleep

Chewi is aging gracefully–most people have a hard time when I tell them her age. When we were out in Boston, people thought she was only maybe three or four (she was eight when we moved out there and ten when we moved back). At the end of next month (May) she will be turning sixteen. She is starting to slow down a little, and having other issues as well (needing soft food mixed in with the dry food, treats in smaller pieces [mainly if its cheese that she doesn’t usually chew]), but other than that she is still the same goofy dog that has made life interesting over the past almost sixteen years.

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