Category: Books

2020 Update on my Level-10 Life. Reflections & future plans.

All right, I realize that I haven’t posted a level-10 check-in since July of last year. I did do a level-10 check-in in December 2019, May 2020, and then this most recent one—beginning of September 2020; but two of those three were only in the journal.

So, just a quick reminder of what a Level-10 life check-in is:

There are 10 areas of life: family & friends, personal development, spirituality, finances, career (and I also include professional development here as well), social life, fun & recreation, giving & contribution, physical environment, and then finally health & fitness.

You then rank each area on a scale of 1-to-10, quickly and without thinking too hard on each one. Then you can compare your most recent Level-10 to the previous one and see how (or if) each area changed. Then depending on how you score them, and the change you can set up goals for each for the coming cycle.

Instead of doing three months, I stretched it into four months this year—because it’s 2020. Usually areas have been either staying constant, or just going up or down a little.

Though, with this check-in there were two areas that had slightly higher ups and downs.

Those two areas were finances, and the physical environment. My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my finances went down 1.5—due largely to my impulsive e-book buying (and therefore a slightly larger than normal amazon bill). My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my physical environment went up 1.5—due mainly to me keeping things better organized than I have in the past.

So what are my goals for the last four months of 2020? These goals are going to encompass basically seven out of the ten areas—leaving out family/friends, giving/contributions & social life. Not that I don’t care about those two—but 1) we’re still currently in a pandemic, so if I want to socialize with people, it will have to be online (or a minimum of 12 feet apart); 2) I try to keep in semi-touch with family/friends via social media; 3) there may be things to be donated or given away—just not sure on that particular point.

1) Finish the following workout programs:

            Morning Meltdown 100—I should be finishing my first round of the program on 9/15/2020

            Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4—I should finish this combo by 11/15/2020 (marking the first finish for Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt Makeover & the 2nd time through LIIFT4)

            10 Rounds—I should then finish this program by Christmas (and it will be my first round of this program).

            I will then start either Muscle Burns Fat & then Muscle Burns Fat Advance or another round of 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix Extreme (either of these will then carry me into 2021).

2) Finish the following professional development courses:

            Data Science Syndicate (finish by the end of September; only 1 ½ modules left; actually finished this on 9/3/2020).

            Medical Writers Organization (by the end of October)

            Management Consultant Firm (by the end of November)

            Project Management Consortium (by the end of December)

3) Start learning python (tied with #4 and #2)

4) Finish at least 6 other short e-courses

5) Read at least 8 personal/professional developments books and write short reviews

6) Daily mediation and tarot/oracle card readings (bi-weekly or monthly oracle card review on blog)

7) Learn a new hobby (try my hand at cross-stitching). Also get more yarn and start another afghan possibly.

8) Determine way(s) of earning extra money (or free-lancing options)

9) Start building up a varied portfolio for looking into free-lancing/remote/on-line job options.

10) Go to the storage unit and start repacking boxes that need it, plus maybe start seeing what I don’t need.

No Comments Book ReviewsBooksbullet journalfinancesfitnessHealthLevel 10 Lifemoney saving challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

July Capricorn Full Moon Goals: A Review

So now it is August, with a full moon right around the corner. We have 151 days left in 2020—wondering what how the rest of the year is going to be going. The next full moon is coming up (some time between today and Tuesday—depending on where you are in the world). But before I get to contemplate the Sagittarius full moon, it is time to reflect back on the goals that I had made for the Capricorn full moon.

So what were the goals that I made for the Capricorn full moon?

Continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 (I should be at day 54 at the end of the month; and day 57 by the next full moon).

Work on creating a new long-term goal list; the pandemic threw quite a few monkey wrenches into my latest 101 goals in 1001 days, plus I never really got specific about the industry position. So the goal is to have an least a rough outline of the major goals for different areas (health/fitness, finance, career, personal/professional development, spirituality, and living space).

Continue reading through my huge to-be-read digital pile. I think that I’m currently up to a total of 367 (since there are ~10 books on the list that I consider to be more of a reference book). I started this list in 2018 (or maybe late 2017), and it only had ~80 books on it but has now ballooned to almost 400—and between the start of 2018 and now—I’ve read about 50 of them so far; I’m averaging about 20 non-fiction books a year. This means that if I don’t add any more books—it will still take me about another 16 years to get through the list of books. Though some of them may fall into the “reference” book pile.

So how did I do with the goals?

In terms of working out—I will be on day 57 of Morning Meltdown 100 on Aug 3rd. I’m sticking with the plan of pushing play sometime between 8:30 and 9:15 every morning. I’m modifying each workout as needed as well (since lunges aren’t really my thing—hard to have a nice straight step back when you’re knocked-kneed). I should be finishing up the program come mid-September.

In terms of the long-term goal list—I had made a new goal list/time frame schedule. Instead of saying 101 goals in 1001-days, my new list is 150 goals in 2002-days. I added in the workout programs that I want to complete, and doubled the time frame. One thing that I’m going to be doing is taking say 5-10 goals every 2-3 months and breaking them down in steps and pinning those to-do lists to my bulletin board.

In terms of the reading challenge—I managed to finish three more books over the past month. This means that I have 309 books left on the list to read—though the number may go up, since I have this habit of buying books that sound interesting and adding them to the list.

So I actually was able to meet all three of my goals for the Capricorn full moon. I will be continuing all three goals as I move forward as well—working out is helping with my mental health and sleeping, reading is something I’ve always enjoyed (trying to increase my enjoyment of non-fiction reading), and making the 150 goal list has me actually trying to think long term (and not just day-to-day as I’ve been doing for quite awhile). This progress may have had bumps in the road, but it is still progress that is moving me forward. The path may still be shrouded in shadows and mist—but the path is there, I just have to light the path myself.

No Comments AstrologyBooksfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPandemic2020Reflections

Month in Review: July 2020

So July has come and gone—which means there are only five months left in 2020. As I’ve stated before—2020 hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to go so far, and the next five months probably still won’t totally go the way I would like to go, but I have to keep reminding myself—the only reactions I can control are my own—so it’s now into month five of self-isolation, I go.

While some parts of the world seem to be getting the virus under control—the US isn’t one of them. Our numbers are still climbing (over 4.7 million confirmed cases and over 157K dead), and we’re still more or less on a “global timeout”. This means that any and all travel that I had planned is delayed for at least another year (which means the earliest—August 2021), if not longer. While I don’t mind delaying travel—I am getting a little tired of self-isolation (though I will continue to do so as long as necessary).

This means that any type of interviews (informational and job-related) will be done via online applications, which also means numerous other things need to be taken into consideration and dealt with—such as making sure that the sound and everything works well (microphone over using the computer), creating a neutral backdrop for the office area of my bedroom, and whatever else I will be needing to add to the list. But for now, it is time for a brief reflection on the goals that I had set for July and how I did with each one of them.

So what were the goals for July? The goals for July included:

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

In terms of steps—I managed to get to a total of 182,969 steps for the month of July. There were seven days that I finished below the 5,000-step goal—which is why I was about 20K below the final total that I managed for June. But at least I managed to move around enough that I got about 25K extra steps during July (and some of the days that I was short—the days were hot and humid and I didn’t feel like moving around that much).

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

I have been continuing with Morning Meltdown 100, and finished days 24 to 54. While I measured at the end of phase 2 (which was July 17th), I’m not going to measure again until the end of the program (which will be on Sept 15th). The reason—water retention and bloating can cause numbers to be off.

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

During the month of July I managed to read (or finish reading) the following books:

“How to be an imperfectionist: The new way to self-acceptance, fearless living, and freedom from perfectionism” by Stephen Guise

“Hello Fears: Crush your comfort zone and become who you’re meant to be” by Michelle Poler

“Better than Before: What I learned about making and breaking habits-to sleep more, quit sugar, procrastinate less, and generally build a happier life” by Gretchen Rubin

All three of the books would fall under the personal development category (though it is very difficult to try to separate personal and professional development—they are two sides of the same coin). They all dealt with similar topics—our comfort zones, and trying to push past the “fear zone” to get into our learning/growth zones. While I know that I haven’t stated much on the books, that’s because it’s on the August to-do list of writing a short review on each one to post to both the blog and amazon.

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

I’m getting better at having no spend days/weeks—but I’m not quite up to a full no-spend month. During July I still spent money during the month—the money was spent on books, masks, and I had hoped on a sewing machine (I’m actually probably be demanding my money back on this one—as the order was placed almost 3 weeks ago, and all of my messages have been ignored).

I’m hoping that during August, I can manage not to spend money on books, or other things. Depending on how I progress through various e-courses during August, I may purchase other e-courses to continue my learning (but this is only currently a possibility).

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

This hasn’t happened yet. I started module four of the program and made it about halfway through. I had decided that I’d been pushing too fast through various programs and that it would probably be more beneficial if I slowed down and actually took the time to review and think on the information I was learning, instead of just powering through to be able to check it off my to-do list.

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

Like, the data science syndicate program—this also didn’t happen. In part to wanting to be able to think on the information I was learning, but also due to the fact that most afternoons, I would go and sit outside and read—instead of being inside and working on something else.

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

This is slowly coming together—I managed to find my old bulletin board—so I can also have my to-do lists tack up, instead of needing to look in the journal to see what I had planned for the day/week. Though I will also be using the journal as well. The main thing I’ve realized—I need to figure out the answer to the following question: “Who do I want to become over the next five to twenty years?” Once I can answer this question in great detail—I’ll have a better idea of what goals and the breakdown of said goals I need to focus on.

So I managed to get about half of the goals accomplished for July (the steps, the workout, the reading, and going 80% of the month not spending more money). I’ve also realized that one reason why certain goals (e-courses/certification programs and sometimes the non-fiction reading) aren’t always met—I haven’t quite figured out the end goal. In other words, I think once I can determine the answer to the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”—Some of these goals will become easier to accomplish.

Therefore, the goals for August will include:

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?” The answer to this question will help me to continue working on my long term goal list, figuring out how to break it down to short-term goals, and finally translating those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas that I’m trying to focus on: personal/professional development, career transition, fitness & health/mental health/crafts, and the blog.

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments BookscareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle ChallengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Expanded Challenge: Now 150 goals to be completed in 2002 days

100+ Goals to accomplish in 2002 Days

Start Date: July 19, 2020

End Date: January 10, 2026

Well I realized that since we’re over half way through July—that means there are less than six months left in 2020. I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to complete the 101 goals in 1001 days wasn’t going to work. For me it is due to the fact that I will only open the word document every so often—which makes it difficult to figure out which goal(s) I’m doing well on and which ones I’m not doing so well on meeting. Therefore, I am thinking of stretching out the time frame for this project and increasing the total number of goals to 150-200. There are numerous goals that are on hold (traveling), and will be at the bottom of the list. There are two reasons why the traveling goals are going to be at the bottom of the list: 1) we’re still in the middle of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. Cases aren’t going down really in the US (though there are some states, where they are decreasing—OK isn’t one of them) and 2) several countries (namely the EU) have banned travelers from the US—in other words if you try to fly into any EU country, you may be put right back on a plane for the US, since they’re flattening their curves—they don’t want potential virus carriers showing up and spiking cases.

So the world has been in the grasp of the SARS-CoV2 virus for seven months (probably a little longer than that for the countries that are neighboring China), and we’re still learning about the virus each day. While there are several vaccines that are being pushed into various clinical trial phases—a real contender may still not be ready for another 6 to 18 months. Vaccine development is a slow and tedious process that the world is currently rushing because everyone wants to get back to ‘normal’. Hate to break it to everyone but the ‘old normal’ needs to be left in the past and we all need to work together to develop a ‘new normal’.

Truthfully, even if there is a vaccine out by the end of the year—I will probably still continue to shelter in place and wait at least an additional 8 to 12 months before I’m willing to get the vaccine (just to see how efficient the vaccine(s) are). Though based on the current news, we could end up with needing seasonal shots, as it has been shown that with people who “recover” from SARS-CoV2 the antibodies against the virus slowly disappear over time.

So I’ve been self-reflecting over the past six months (though maybe not that much during April—I was too pissed at the world for how bad the pandemic was getting, and now that we’re into July, I can say I’m still pissed but trying to get back into a routine of doing other things that I can control the outcomes of)) and have decided a few things:

            Try to organize the challenge list into categories

            If needing to restart (and I am)—any day of the week can become day 1 again

            Balance is needed

            I want to balance using my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger) with working on my weaknesses (communication, self-regulation, bravery, zest, love)

            The only person I should be competing with is who I was yesterday

            Always strive for progress over perfection

So below are my goals—but broken up into different categories (such as professional development/career, personal development, both personal/professional development, travel, health & fitness to name a few categories). I’m going to extend the time frame to 2002 days (which is not quite 5 ½ years—but considering 2020 has started the decade off with a global pandemic—this a good time frame).

I’ve also decided that since I’m basically restarting the challenge (instead of just extending it), that some of the things I’ve accomplished so far this year probably shouldn’t count towards it (such as reading 12 personal/professional development books, and the fact that I would be on day 42 of Morning Meltdown 100, tomorrow—the last 59 days of the workout would count towards my 2000 days of Beachbody workouts-just not the first 41 days).

More goals may be added over the years as I re-evaluate this list and see what may need to be removed, what has been finished, and where I think I could possibly push myself more.

Professional development and career:

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

            10. More interacting on Linkedin

                        11. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                        12. Commenting on posts

                        13. Giving/Asking for recommendations

                        14. Start writing my own posts

            15. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals

            16. Renew professional memberships

Both Personal and Professional Development

            17. Become fluent in Spanish

            18. Become fluent in German

            19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books

            21. Finish the books on scientific writing

            22. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            23. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            24. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photography

                        27. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        28. Update photography pages on blog

            29. Make my own jewelry

            30. Learn to cross-stitch

            31. Get a new sewing machine

                        32. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        33. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            34. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)

            35. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            36. Start writing a book

            37. Learn Photoshop

            38. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)

            39. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            40. Learn basic sign language

            41. Start a virtual book club

Finances

            42. Create monthly budgets

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

            44. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

            46. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

            47. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            48. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage at least 2000 days of Beachbody workouts

                        Finish the following programs (some will probably be more than 1 or 2 times)

                                    52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt

                                    54. 10 Rounds

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

                                    57. LIIFT4–all three phases (have already done this program once)

                                    58. 22 Minute Hard Corps

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    61. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    62. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    63. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    64. 6 weeks of the work

                                    65. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    66. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    67. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)

                                    68. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    69. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    71. Muscle Burns Fat

                                    72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

                                    73. 30-Day Breakaway (this is a maybe—it’s running based)

                                    74. 9-week control freak

                                    75. Shawn Week

            Plus any other possible Beachbody program that is coming out that I may want to add.

            76. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            77. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            78.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            79.  Hold a 90 second plank

            80.  Meditate nightly

            81.  Start jogging (as another way to try to keep my mental health up)—may tie this in with #73

            82.  60-80 oz of water a day

            83.  Stretch daily

            84. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)

            85. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)

Blog and Social Media

            86.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            87.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            88.  Finish blog to biz course

            89.  Launch a YouTube channel

            90. Launch an online course

            91. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            92. Rebrand myself (?)

            93. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            94. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            95. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            96. Publish at least two blog series

            97.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        98. Blog

                        99. Instagram

                        100. Facebook pages

                        101. Twitter

            102. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows

            103. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            104. Various top 10 author lists

            105. Various top 10 book series lists

            106. Launch a podcast

Spirituality

            107. Full/New Moon Goals

            108.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            109. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings

            110. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting

Others

            111. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            112. Design a science based board game

            113. Create and update digital vision board

            114. Reorganize my storage unit

            115. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            116. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            117. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            118. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

            119. Start downsizing rest of my belongs as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) where ever I move for the next job.

TV shows to binge watch

            120. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            121. Grimm

            122. The Librarians

            123. Once Upon A Time

            124. Blacklist

            125. Numbers

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            126. Re-pierce my ears

127. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        128. Present at a scientific conference

            129. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            130. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

            131. Visit at least 3 new countries

            132. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            133. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            134. Visit at least one new zoo

            135. Visit at least one new aquarium

            136. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            137. Visit at least one new city

            138. Visit at least one new state

            139. See the northern lights

            140. Attend at least one blogging conference

            141. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            142. Swim with whale sharks

            143. Parasailing

            144. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #81)

Once I move:

            145. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            146. New couch & chair for living room

            147. New dresser for bedroom

            148. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            149. New TV & stand

            150. New desk/craft workstation

So I now have roughly 150 goals to accomplish in 2002 days. Some of the goals may be accomplished well before the 2002 days are up—others may be up to the end (namely the fitness workouts and steps). So how will I accomplish these 150 goals??? Well, there are 25 goals that are “on-hold” until the virus is under control (goals #126-150)—so these may not be looked at for the first 500+ days (though I will probably be checking the stats on the pandemic more often).

In terms of the other 125 goals—I already have some ‘habits’ in place—I have set up monthly calendar/check-ins for my steps, daily workouts, and spending, plus I do a monthly money check-in when I set up payments for various bills. So what I’m going to be doing is adding in additional trackers (e-courses, photography, tarot/oracle card readings) and seeing tracking that ways helps me move through things better. Also in terms of the e-courses, I’m going to be trying to take better notes so that I can post little recaps on the blog as well (all of this will also help me possibly finally design and keep up with editorial calendars as well).

But above else, I need to remember the following phrases: Aim for progress and not perfection, work hard in silence, let your success by your noise, and make it happen, shock everyone.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerfinancesfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthjob searchingLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravel

June in Review

So June has come and gone—which means that we’re halfway though 2020. Sufficient to say—2020 hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to go so far, and the next six months probably still won’t totally go the way I would like to go, but I have to keep reminding myself—the only reactions I can control are my own—so it’s into month four of self-isolation (though I did go vote yesterday and most people had masks on, and things were set up for social distancing so I’m not totally freaking about the November elections), I go.

So there are quite a few countries that have decided to slowly reopen in hopes of seeing tourists show up to help their economies—the sad thing is, since the US has been doing such a dismal attempt at containing the virus (the US is currently a little over 2.7 million total cases; and the state I’m in is currently a little over 14K; plus the town is a little over 340 cases—we were only 22 cases at the end of May), most of Europe has said that no one from the US is allowed in currently. I don’t blame them in the least—this is a nasty little virus (that attacks more than just your respiratory tract), and no one wants to have to go through a second lockdown (though the US should—we probably won’t until we get a competent person in the White House). Therefore that means that any type of international travel I had planned is still on hold until sometime in 2021 (plus I’m a little upset with one of the airlines that has decided that they’re going to quit doing social distancing—it should be lives over profit, and not the other way around).

The summer heat is now officially here—so I’m probably going to be spending more time indoors (I can deal with temps in the 90s-100s—I just really can’t stand when you add in the humidity and the heat index goes into the upper 100s), so hopefully I will be getting quite a bit more done over the next few months or so.

So as we head into the second half of the year (and can it please go a little easier than the first half—no more pandemics, at least until we have the current one under control), it is time to look at the goals I set for June, see how I did with each of them and then set some goals for July.

So what were the goals for June? The goals for June included:

1) Moving more (workouts, being outside, walks, marching in place, chores, and other things). I’m not going to set a step goal (as I’m not sure why my fitbit isn’t syncing and I’m currently not in the mood to get a new one), but will be trying to ensure that I’m moving around a good portion of the day.

2) Daily workouts—I’m thinking of bouncing between several different programs right now (Morning Meltdown 100, LIIFT4, Country Heat, and Yoga Booty Ballet) to keep my interest going.

3) Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

4) Personal/Professional Development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

5) Money log/weekly check-ins/No Spend Days—trying to work up to no spend weeks and have a bare minimum spend month

6) Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

So how did I do with each of them?

1) Moving more (workouts, being outside, walks, marching in place, chores, and other things). I’m not going to set a step goal (as I’m not sure why my fitbit isn’t syncing and I’m currently not in the mood to get a new one), but will be trying to ensure that I’m moving around a good portion of the day.

So I know that I stated that I wasn’t going to set a step goal—this was due to the fact that neither my phone or my computer is syncing my fitbit zip and I haven’t felt like getting a new fitbit (the zip still works fine). But I did decide to set a mini-step goal—150,000 steps. This meant that I was aiming at only about 5,000 steps a day, which during self-isolation should be totally doable. I made a tracker in my journal that looked like a little road, spread out over two pages. Each dot (since it’s a dot journal) equaled 1,000 steps and I made note of both the daily total and then the running total. The total amount of steps for June was 202,542—there was only one day that I was below the 5K-minimum. So this is probably how I’m going to keep track of my steps—will stick with 5K/day for awhile and then slowly start increasing it back up towards 10-14K/day.

2) Daily workouts—I’m thinking of bouncing between several different programs right now (Morning Meltdown 100, LIIFT4, Country Heat, and Yoga Booty Ballet) to keep my interest going.

June BeachbodyonDemand Workout Tracker

I managed to workout every single day during June—the first week of the month was doing different programs, and then on the 8th I recommitted to doing Morning Meltdown 100, which will take me through to September 15th.

3) Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

I managed to finish reading two non-fiction books over the course of the month. It probably should have been at least one or two more than that—but then I got into re-reading other books and never got back to finish some of the other non-fiction books that I started. The two non-fiction books that I finished were:

“Find what you were born for: discover your inborn skills, forge your own path and live the life you want; Maximize your self-confidence” by Zoe McKey

This book talks about unearthing what could be your strong innate abilities (these abilities are divided into nine different categories). The nine categories are: linguistic and verbal intelligence (you’re good with words), logic/mathematical intelligence (you’re good with numbers and solving logic problems), visual/spatial intelligence (you’re good with pictures), body movement intelligence (you’re good at sports), musical intelligence (you’re good at music and rhythm—you can play at least one musical instrument or you can sing), interpersonal intelligence (you’re good with people and communication), intrapersonal intelligence (you’re good at analyzing things), naturalist intelligence (you’re good at understanding the natural world), and existential intelligence (you’re good at understanding the supernatural world).

The book goes into each one, and shares the key characteristics of each type—technically if you match more than four of the traits, you’re “gifted” in that area. Luckily we can all excel in more than one area. For example as I was reading the book I realized that my main areas included logic/mathematical intelligence because I enjoy solving mysteries, I can solve logic problems, I’m usually good at (and enjoy) math, I’ve always been interested in scientific discoveries and experiments (I mean I should—I have my damn PhD), and I’m both an abstract thinker and I wonder how things work at times.

I also have good visual/spatial intelligence because I’m good at putting puzzles together, I enjoy art and photography, I can study with charts and pictures, I’m probably one of the few people who can still read a traditional road map (event though I don’t drive), and I consider myself decent at doodling.

I matched two to three key points in one or two other areas:

Naturalistic intelligence, as I have a broad knowledge of nature, I feel the best when I can get outdoors, and I prefer nature to the cities (though due to driving anxiety, I will acknowledge the fact that I will be needing to live in cities that have a decent public transportation system).

Intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, as I’m unique, have an analytical mindset, a good listener, have good problem-solving skills, and I’m also a private person.

Areas that I’m not quite as good at: musical intelligence—I did play an musical instrument (flute) through most of my public school years (6th through 10th), but I was basically tone deaf, couldn’t afford lessons, and the teachers weren’t into really helping me learn how to play—they were in it for the ones who could understand the music and/or afford the private lessons outside of class. Then there is body-movement intelligence—I’m not good at sports, and I dance like I have two left feet. I’m working on improving my linguistic and verbal intelligence.

Since I now know areas that I’m good in, okay in, bad in, and need to improve in—I think I will be able to slowly start developing a new master plan for various areas of life (career, fitness/health, personal/professional development, and crafts).

I would rate the book at probably a four out of five stars—mainly because it doesn’t give that many ideas on how to improve various areas.

The second book I finished was “Mind Mapping: Improve Memory, Concentration, Communication, Organization, Creativity, and Time Management” by Kam Knight

This book was going a little more in-depth on the different ways one can use mind mapping in day-to-day life. This is actually something that I’m going to be trying to do more of over the next few weeks/months as one thing I have been struggling with are content ideas for the blog.

I would also give this book a four and a half star rating—great content, and ideas for using something basic in day-to-day life.

4) Personal/Professional Development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

In terms of personal and professional development I managed to get a bit accomplished during the month of June—most importantly realizing that it shouldn’t be a race to see how many small e-courses I could get finished, but rather I should be slowing down and actually reflecting on the various assignments from each course.

I’m about half way through with a advance course within the Cheeky Scientist Association (Data Science Syndicate), and while I’ve finished one or two others I will probably go back and look at the questions after each module and try to reflect on them again as I’m still working on determining my industry transition path.

I’ve also finished several small e-courses as well (usually on SkillShare or SkillSuccess), and those courses were:

            Productivity strategies for success (on skillshare)

            Writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to a successful writing habit (skillshare)

            Work It Daily: Professional Strength Assessment (course offered by work it daily)

            Project Organization (A to-do list that works) (on SkillShare)

            Discover Your Dream Job: Find Your True Meaning (on SkillSuccess)

I managed to learn a little from each one—namely 1) have my own definition of success (it differs for everyone), 2) everyone has their own ways of getting organized; and 3) it’s hard to get organized when you still have no idea of what your long term goals are.

I haven’t really been listening to podcasts lately—mainly because either 1) I’m listening to a ‘lecture’ on one of the e-courses, or 2) I haven’t felt like finding the I-buds for the phone. Though I am going to try to do better during the next few months and listen hopefully at least one podcast a week (working up to one podcast a day). I am also going to try to spend more time on linkedin and reading more business/industry related news as well.

5) Money log/weekly check-ins/No Spend Days—trying to work up to no spend weeks and have a bare minimum spend month

Okay, so I haven’t been doing weekly blog check-ins in terms of no spend days—but I did have a nice page in the journal that I used for keeping track of no-spend days. Overall, I managed basically three weeks of no spending. Money was only spent during eight days last month on something (either an new e-course, or books, or both). The plan now is that July will hopefully be a totally no spend month (not counting setting up bills, and any pre-ordered books).

6) Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

So this goal is still a work in progress—namely in trying to figure out matrix for measuring certain goals (health/fitness related) that isn’t relying on the scale. Also I’ve realized that instead of trying to play around with different matrixes I’d been going with the first one I set up years ago—which in part relays on the scale for a measurement. So moving forward I need to figure out the long term goals (which for at least health/fitness should be pretty damn easy—getting into the best shape of my life and being outdoors more), and then figuring out how to break all the goals down into smaller steps.

So what will the goals for July include?

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

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

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May in Review

So May is over, and there is now 27 days left in the first half of 2020 (since I’m a couple of days late in posting). We’re still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic (numbers are now well over 6 million world wide and over 1.8 million in the US—the global number has doubled in the past month, which means we’re still not near the point where we start going down hill), and everything is still going to hell in a hand basket. Countries are trying to come up with ways of dealing with the coronavirus, but still allowing tourism to start up again—while I applaud their efforts, I’m personally going to wait until it’s obvious that the numbers are going down and there is a possibility of a working vaccine on the horizon before I start thinking of traveling.

May has come and went, and while I was starting to get into a routine (a little late in the month—but better late than never), my mood is starting to slip again. The reason for my mood starting to bounce around the negative again is fairly simple—it is a combination of ignorance, male privilege, and white supremacy. So there was another murder of an African American male, which was caught on video. It took over a day for the murderer (who is now an ex-cop) to be arrested, but not before protests started popping up over the country. Now I don’t have a problem with the protests—I think that the African American population in this country has good reasons for protesting (just like the Native Americans)—it is the other side that I’m having problems with. It has been shown that various white supremacy groups in the country are supporting the people agitating the situation. The cops aren’t helping matters either—as there have been videos showing cop cars driving into protesters, pepper spraying protesters, and so forth. It’s clear that racism is still a huge problem in the United States, and will stay as a problem until we manage to fix several of the underlying problems: white privilege (I know that I’m guilty of this—I’m able to turn off the news and in theory not worry about most things as I’m a white heterosexual female (though I still need to stay alert and hyper-vigilant when I’m out and about on my own, so that I don’t become a statistic for sexual assault, rape, or some other crime), white supremacy, and male toxicity.

These issues have always been present in society—though usually at a level that overall people have shrugged it off—but for the past couple of years they’ve been growing and now we’re not shrugging it off. While there is no such thing as an ideal world (unless we want to talk science fiction and robots)—we need to get to a point that we can communicate with each other and not have things break down and lead to violence. People shouldn’t have to be worried about leaving their homes and wondering if they’re going to be pulled over, or whatever based on their skin tone—we all share the same damn genetic code and it is only the order of those four nucleotides (A, T, G, and C) that result in the differences of our physical appearances and other traits. There is no superior race (again—we share the same genetic code), and there is nothing within that code that codes for ethnicity. White male privilege has been a problem for a couple of millenniums and it’s time for another reminder—we all have to share the planet—there is no planet B, and if we destroy the planet—everyone dies. Money, social standings, and other artificial markings of society won’t save anyone if there is no clean air to breath or clean water to drink.

So that is why my mood started to slide back towards being in a bad mood and not caring about various things—society as a whole is pissing me off again. I have hope that we’re going to come through the latest struggles as stronger society, and that better screening methods are put in place to keep bullies, white supremacists, and other toxic individuals out of positions of authority and power. While I know that there are good cops out there—they need to start standing up to the ones that aren’t—until they do that it is extremely hard to see any of them in the good light.

So as I head into June, it is time to both look back at the goals I had set for May and see how I did with each one of them, and then set the goals for June.

So what were the goals for May? The goals for May included:

1) Moving more (exercise, yard work, walks)—if I can’t get the battery replaced in my fitbit, I will have to order a new one (as my other fitbit is also on it’s last legs as well—only holds ~20% of it’s charge for claiming it is “dead”). Therefore I’m not sure when I will be getting around to keeping score of my steps, and since that is up in the air—I’m not really going to set a step goal for May.

            Exercise daily (included in the above moving more goal). I will probably restart Morning Meltdown 100—and that will take through the summer and into August.

            Since we will still probably be self isolating most of the summer, I have a couple of ideas for the yards to help add color to the yard and also attract birds, bees, and butterflies.

2) Read at least two non-fiction books

3) Personal/Professional Development—listen to podcasts, work through various e-courses, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

4) Money log/weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—try to work up to no spend weeks, and have a bare minimum spend month

5) Start devising goal list to break it down and work on various different ways to translate those goals into a editorial calendar for the different areas—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

So how did I do with each goal?

1). Moving more (exercise, yard work, walks)—if I can’t get the battery replaced in my fitbit, I will have to order a new one (as my other fitbit is also on it’s last legs as well—only holds ~20% of it’s charge for claiming it is “dead”). Therefore I’m not sure when I will be getting around to keeping score of my steps, and since that is up in the air—I’m not really going to set a step goal for May.

            Exercise daily (included in the above moving more goal). I will probably restart Morning Meltdown 100—and that will take through the summer and into August.

            Since we will still probably be self isolating most of the summer, I have a couple of ideas for the yards to help add color to the yard and also attract birds, bees, and butterflies.

So the above goal had several sub-goals as well. So I think I managed to do okay for the most part—I had between 4,000 and 11,000 steps a day. The total number of steps right now is difficult to determine since I didn’t sync my fitbit daily (and currently the site is claiming it’s too busy to sync). So if I had to guess—I managed about 150,000 steps (not to bad for still self-isolating). Daily workouts weren’t that consistent as I am still trying to figure out the best time of day for me to do my workouts. I’m probably going to be working out in the mornings (and will probably have to ensure that the pups aren’t in the room—they make doing any type of floor exercise difficult).

I’m slowly working on the yards—since we haven’t put up the partial privacy fence yet, the back flower gardens are currently on hold.

Read at least two non-fiction books

I managed to finish two books this month: “Mind Maps: Quicker Notes, Better Memory, and Improved Learning” by Kam Knight.

I bought this and another book on mind mapping after listening to a short video on how it could help in job searching and things like that. It actually isn’t that new of a concept to me—I’ve called it bubble mapping in the past, and have used it previously in school (namely when trying to write a short story and needed to brainstorm ideas). It is something I’m going to try to implement moving forward—though I will admit to slight OCD and needing to remember that the mind maps don’t have to be perfect—they just need to get the main ideas/thoughts down.

The second book I finished was “Brand You! To Land your dream job: A step by step guide to find a great job, get hired, and jumpstart your career” by Diane Huth.

The book had quite a few good points, and I need to go back through it and make a list of things that I haven’t been really focusing on so that I can keep track of them in the future. There were also a couple of points that I disagreed with as well: potentially having to have two facebook pages: one personal and semi-private and then a public one for your professional brand. I have a hard enough time trying to remember to post occasionally on the facebook pages I have for both the blog and then my fitness page—I don’t want to add in a third (or fourth) page that I’m not to remember to post on. Truthfully I don’t have anything to hide on my facebook page—I am a liberal, a scientist, and someone who likes to poke fun at things. My facebook page is there for me to keep in touch with friends and family—my best advice to future employers, if you don’t like what you see on my page, don’t send a friend request.

Another thing that I disagree with was the section on how women show dress (including makeup and accessories)—I don’t mind dark suits, but I’m going to pair them with a bright top—that’s just how I am. Also in terms of jewelry—I hardly wear it (too many years of working at the bench); if I’m going to paint my nails—it will be a color that I like (that strikes somewhat of a balance for what is “accepted” nail color). Also when I smile—I seldom show my teeth—I look a little too weird smiling like that. I understand the point of view that the book was written, but I also know that all things can be tweeked to fit each person’s unique personality.

Personal/Professional Development—listen to podcasts, work through various e-courses, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

I may try to start listening to podcasts when I’m writing or possibly doing yard work (haven’t listened to many because the front of my iPhone is cracked and I’m trying to use it as little as possible—so listening to the podcasts requires being near my laptop, and having iTunes behave). I worked through some modules of various e-courses and managed to finish one or two little ones (though I may re-watch them later—as one was on developing editorial calendars). Though I still need to work on doing more on linkedin.

Money log/weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—try to work up to no spend weeks, and have a bare minimum spend month

This didn’t happen this month—something to work on over the next few months.

Start devising goal list to break it down and work on various different ways to translate those goals into a editorial calendar for the different areas—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

This is also something that I’m very slow on developing and even at times stalling out on—and there are several reasons for this:

            We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so I can’t really say that if I get “X” amount of stuff done I can treat myself with a trip somewhere.

            I realize that I have way to much stuff as it is—so it seems silly to say that if I lose “X” pounds (or inches) I can reward myself with something new.

Therefore I’m still trying to figure out both the goals and what the possible “rewards” are going to be for the different areas (blog, personal/professional development fitness/health/mental health/crafts) that I want to focus on.

One thing I have realized though—the blog is going to be a blend of different things so that I can focus on both my strengths while also trying to improve some of my “weaker” areas.

The goals for June will include the following:

Moving more (workouts, being outside, walks, marching in place, chores, and other things). I’m not going to set a step goal (as I’m not sure why my fitbit isn’t syncing and I’m currently not in the mood to get a new one), but will be trying to ensure that I’m moving around a good portion of the day.

Daily workouts—I’m thinking of bouncing between several different programs right now (Morning Meltdown 100, LIIFT4, Country Heat, and Yoga Booty Ballet) to keep my interest going.

Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

Personal/Professional Development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

Money log/weekly check-ins/No Spend Days—trying to work up to no spend weeks and have a bare minimum spend month

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

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

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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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Month in Review: December 2019

Well December, the year, and the decade are all officially over. I also realized that I forgot to post my November in review last month (December was a little crazy with the start of my reboot break, and trying to get into a new groove), in addition I don’t think I posted my new moon review or goals for the new moon at the end of the month.

So I’m not going to beat myself up over the fact that I was lagging in posts for the last couple of weeks/months. If you check out my earlier post (Happy Holidays and updates), I actually talk about the main reason for this. Hopefully this is something that I can conquer during 2020. But for now since we’re officially in a new month and decade, it’s time to look back at the goals that I set for December of 2019 and see how I did with each one.

The goals for December included:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading three non-fiction books

Money log/weekly check-in

Back into some type of workout routine

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

No Spend days

Personal and professional development (listening to either podcasts and/or working through e-courses).

So how did I do with each one?

At least 434,000 steps

            I was below on my step goal last month. This was in part to the fact that I knew that I had already reached my yearly goal of 5 million by the second day of the month—the rest of the steps of the month were basically bonus steps. Also I adopted a puppy on the 19th, the weather turned colder and therefore I didn’t really do any daily walks for the second half of the month (more or less). My step total for December was 341,618 (which is still above the minimum step total of 310,000—10K/day).  This brought my yearly total to 5,351,200 steps (which was not quite 72,300 steps above what I managed in 2018). So I think I will stick with trying to make a yearly goal of 5 million steps.

Reading three non-fiction books

            I managed to read two non-fiction books (and about half way through a third by midnight on the 31st). The two books were:

                        Girl Code: Unlocking the secrets to success, sanity, and happiness for the female entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba

                        Girl on Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blzae Your Own Trail in Life and Business by Cara Alwill Leyba

I enjoyed reading both books, and hopefully will be getting to writing reviews for both of them to post on both the blog and amazon in the coming weeks.

Money log/weekly check-in

            This was something that I fell short on again. While I kept my purchases down for the most part (it was the season of Christmas after all), I didn’t keep a log of what all I bought when.  So this is something else that I will need to continuously work on going into 2020.

Back into some type of workout routine

            Nope, this didn’t happen during December. I’m going to break out of my ‘uncomfortable’ comfort zone in 2020 and get back into a workout routine (I actually bought early access to Barre Blend and will be starting that on Monday). One thing with the current books I’ve been reading—I am my own worse enemy and I need to come to an agreement with my subconscious so that I can quit sabotaging all my plans and goals going into 2020 and beyond.

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

            So I managed to plan out at least my workout routine for the first few months of my reboot break (namely Jan-March). In terms of everything else—those are still in limbo (in terms of both the type of jobs I want to target and everything that goes along with them). But this is a goal for January—to have a rough draft by the end of the month so that I can have a semi-permanent draft by the end of February. Notice I said semi-permanent—I realize that plans and ideas can change, and therefore the plans and ideas that I currently have in place need to be fluid enough that they can change as needed as I pivot on my path.

No Spend days

            I think there were several no spends days in December—unfortunately I only made note of the first three (as those happened before I got the puppy—and everything else fell by the wayside for a week or so). This is something that I’m hoping to accomplish throughout my reboot break—several no spend days that accumulate into a no spend week (or weeks) and then no spend month (other than the automatic payments of bills).

Personal and professional development (listening to either podcasts and/or working through e-courses).

             I listened to several episodes of the onward creatives podcast over the last week of the month, and started to work through several different e-courses as well.  One thing I’ve noticed is that one really shouldn’t try to distinguish personal development from professional development (they are two sides of the same coin—you). While I managed to get several things accomplished during 2019—there are still numerous things left on the list, and the list is going to be revamped going into 2020. I’m also going to remember that doing personal development can help in job searching (the professional side) and doing professional development (learning a new skill) can also aid the personal side (things to talk about with others).

So going into 2020 I’m going to be focused on four words and two main phrases:

The four words are “grow”, “change”, “achieve”, and “succeed”; my phrases for 2020 are going to be “progress over perfection” and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life”.

It’s time to take back control of my life (instead of just bouncing along), and figure out what I want to do with the second half of my life, where I would like to be, and most importantly—who I am.

The goals for January 2020 will be the following:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

And for January the phrase: “Progress over Perfection”

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Check-in on 101 goals

So we’re officially a little over halfway through 2019, which means that there are 815 days left in this challenge (as today is July 5th 2019). So I decided that I should probably do a check-in on the goals and see where I’m at with them. Updates are in bold.

The dates for my 101 goal challenges are:

So my original start and finish dates were:

Start Date: January 1 2018

Finish Date: September 28 2020

My new start and finish dates:

Start Date: January 1, 2019

Finish Date: September 28, 2021

Here are my 101 goals for the next 1001 days (random and non-grouped):

  1. Transition into a biotech or biopharma company as a research scientist
  2. Become fluent in Spanish
  3. Become fluent in German
  4. Learn to program (R and maybe python)
  5. Visit at least three new countries (0/3)
  6. Finish the various other e-course bundles that I bought (list out later)
  7. Move to a new(ish) city for #1
  8. Make it through at least 250 days of beachbody workouts (share on twitter?) (0/250) *Luckily it doesn’t have to be consecutive days (though I would like that)—I haven’t done a Beachbody workout in awhile (I also can’t remember how many I’d done before I hit my slump).
  9. Paint & frame at least one original painting (0/1)
  10. Finish the Dream Job Hack program
  11. Finish the Youtube for bosses course
  12. Finish the Youtube course creation for bosses course
  13. Launch a youtube channel
  14. Launch a online course
  15. Get blog traffic to 500+ views/day
  16. Publish 5-10 scientific blog posts (0/10)
  17. Practice more photography (1-2 posts a week) I’ve managed to stick with the photography challenge so far, so at least on the blog there have been new pictures post on a semi-constant basis (at least for the past three-four months).
  18. Get instagram followers to 800+
  19. Showcase crafts on blog (afghans, artwork, jewelry)
  20. Learn to make my own jewelry
  21. Re-pierce my ears
  22. Finish at least 200 personal/professional development books (and post reviews) (35/200) *So out of the 274 books I have on my book reading list for both personal and professional development (and this number is growing)—I’ve read 20 in 2018, and 15 so far in 2019—that means I only have another 238 books to read to finish the list (and that is only if I don’t add anymore books to the list).
  23. Interact more on Linkedin (actually network with connections) (at least 4 a week) (0/140)
  24. Reach at least 14,014,000 steps (0/14,014,000); though if I add in the steps from 2018—this could actually be closer to 20,000,000 steps (goal—19,124,000 by Sept 28 2021 (as of yesterday (07/04/19) 8,047,645/19,124,000).
  25. Visit at least one new national (or state) park (0/1)
  26. Visit at least one new national (or state) monument (0/1)
  27. 5 pushups on toes (0/5)
  28. 10 pushups on toes (0/10)
  29. Fly/land at least 3 new airports
  30. Visit one new city & state (US) (0/1; 0/1)
  31. Go to one or more scientific conferences (0/1)
  32. Go to a blogging conference (0/1)
  33. See the Northern Lights
  34. Present at a scientific conference (0/1)
  35. Post free monthly challenges in facebook groups
  36. Write (or start) a book
  37. Complete a 365 day photography challenge (137/365) I started the challenge a little late this year, or more accurately it took me awhile to build momentum to continue posting a daily picture.
  38. Learn to cross-stitch
  39. Reach 400+ followers on pintrest
  40. Reach 1000+ followers on twitter
  41. Publish at least two blog series (0/2)
  42. Mediate at least 5 minutes a day  (0/1001) This one has been an off and on success—there have been at least one or two weeks when I didn’t feel like meditating nightly, and therefore I didn’t—but I’m slowly getting back into the routine.
  43. No extra snacks at work (i.e. no hitting the coffee shop for cookies in the morning) This one is a work in progress, there are some days when I’m really good at not getting extra snacks at work, and there are other days when I cave and get chocolate.
  44. Declutter the movies in the house
  45. Create an editorial calendar for blog (0/33) Well I’m slowly starting to try creating editorial calendars, but have only been really good at posting certain topics (new/full moon goals & updates, monthly updates & photography challenge). This is something I still need to work on.
  46. Credit card debt down to less than $500 a month (and getting paid off monthly in full) This is almost happening—I do have my debt at a level that I can pay off monthly, though some bills get a little higher than planned.
  47. Monthly budget (plus list of monthly recurring charges on credit cards) (0/33) I’ve been doing this, though not listing the recurring charges on my credit cards.
  48. Learn to give mani/pedi and give myself one a month (0/33) This one is off the list—because I have yet to do it, and while I might in the future I don’t see me doing it quite yet.
  49. Get a new sewing machine and make a new quilt for bed. This one is on hold until I move and then I’ll be buying a new sewing machine.
  50. Make my new moon & full moon goals (0/66) I’ve been keeping up with this one. Though I may not hit all the goals for both the new moon & the full moon—I’m at least putting my intentions out there for the universe to hear.
  51. Buy a new couch and chair for my living room. This one and #s 52-54 are dependent on success with #1 & #7
  52. Buy a new dresser for my bedroom
  53. Buy a new mattress & box-spring for my bed
  54. Buy a new TV & stand for living room
  55. Reorganize my storage unit
  56. Buy fabric & foam and make new cushions for rocking chair
  57. Create a posting schedule (editorial calendar) for facebook pages (0/66) I’m behind on this.
  58. Generate at least three months of memes for facebook pages (0/3)
  59. Create posting schedule (editorial calendar) for instagram (0/33) Behind on this.
  60. Learn to use photoshop for memes & posts
  61. Make a 30-day Zumba schedule & stick with it (0/30) Haven’t done this yet.
  62. Visit one or more new zoos (0/1)
  63. Visit one or more new aquariums (0/1)
  64. Make a top 10 favorite author list (for different genera; romance, fantasy/sci-fi, mystery/thriller, non-fiction) for blog
  65. Write and share at least two posts on linkedin every two months (0/32) Behind on this as well.
  66. Ask for endorsements from 6 well known connections on linkedin (0/6) Behind on this well.
  67. Endorse 3 to 5 people on linkedin every four months (0/40) Behind on this.
  68. Renew professional memberships (0/6) Need to do this soon.
  69. Get into the “best shape” of my life. This is one of the things I’m going to try to focus on more, and maybe should be moved higher in the list.
  70. Finish reading books on scientific writing (review and post) (0/7)
  71. Take a multivitamin & supplements daily (0/1001). There have been several days (going on to a week) that I’ve missed taking my multivitamin & supplements.
  72. Design a logo for my blog/website
  73. Finish 3 hidden object games without using hints, or the strategy guide
  74. Go to a author-reader conference and meet authors
  75. Write in journal daily (0/1001). There have been several weeks that I didn’t do this (mainly due to my current mood—even though I know when I’m feeling down or in a funk that is actually a good time to journal).
  76. Complete my book of Sudoku puzzles (minus the ones crossed out)
  77. Drink 70 oz of water a day (0/1001). There have been quite a few days when this hasn’t happened.
  78. Color in two coloring books (0/2) (pictures on blog/instagram)
  79. Knit another afghan (diamond pattern) This has been started, and hopefully will be finished this coming winter.
  80. Watch all the episodes of Hawaii 5-0
  81. Go to at least 2 professional networking events (0/2)
  82. Update Linkedin profile (0/2)
  83. Watch all the episodes of Grimm
  84. Design a science based board game
  85. Hold a two minute plank (on forearms)
  86. Hold a 90 second plank (full)
  87. Go at least one weekend a month without social media (0/33) This hasn’t happened yet, though with the way the world is going I might start doing it.
  88. Create (and update) a vision board. I’ve created and updated a digital vision board, and will probably try to update it at least every two to three months.
  89. Create my own altar (wiccan/pagan)
  90. Learn basic sign language
  91. Create job searching/networking editorial calendar (0/12)
  92. Get an additional external hard drive to back up the laptop & external DVD drive for installing printer program on laptop
  93. Create my own coffee table photography book
  94. Touch base with friends that I haven’t talked to lately
  95. Savings up another 20K (0/20K)
  96. Get at least three plants and keep them alive (0/3)
  97. Stretch daily (0/1001)
  98. Watch all the episodes of The Librarians
  99. Watch all the episodes of Once Upon A Time
  100. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes
  101. Get BecomingJessi to 1000+ likes

I’ve only removed one goal from the list—giving myself a mani/pedi monthly. I’ve never been the type to fuss with their nails (though I know with job searching, I do need to start taking better care of my nails, and this does include painting them every so often). I’ve realized that I have fallen behind on some of the daily goals (taking my multivitamins, drinking a certain amount of water a day, and writing in my journal every day)—but at least I do start back up, even if it tampers off, and then starts again.

I also know that there are goals that I haven’t started on, and others that require another goal to be accomplished before they are looked at. I know where I need to try to focus for the next few months (personal care—mental and physical health, and slowly figuring out my career objectives), and once these are on track, I think the others will follow suit.

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Book Review, and yes I think I need to reboot my life

So one of the books that I’ve finished reading this month is “Reboot your life: Energize your career and life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, & Jaye Smith. I actually bought this book sometime last year (I think because the title of the book grabbed my attention), but I actually sat down and read it over the past few weeks.

I’m starting to think that once we start listening and trying to tune into the flow of the universe, little things start to happen for a reason (picking up the book last year, but actually sitting down to read it this year). This is one book that I will be going back to over the years, as I take reboot breaks as needed.

The authors call these breaks, reboot breaks but they can also be referred to as gap months (or gap year) or a sabbatical. During the time I read the book, I’ve realized that since earning my PhD back in 2010 there have only been about eight and a half months (in total) that I wasn’t working. But I also realized that I never really spent a large amount of time during those times to try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’d started to do that a little with the last “break”, but was also still caught up in the “need a job/need to earn money/need to get off unemployment” mindset.

The authors walk you through the steps that are necessary for planning and taking a reboot break in one’s life—and with the way society is going, we all need to unplug and reboot to make sure that we are actually doing what makes us happy and not just what is earning us a paycheck.

The book talks about everything from planning your reboot break, to how to fund it, talking with others about your break (current employer, family, friends, and others), and what they consider the different stages of the reboot break; as well as a few other things. I also didn’t realize how many different companies were actually on board with their employees doing a reboot break (and some of them might even still pay you while you’re “rebooting” your life).

I’ve realized over the past few weeks that I probably really need to do a reboot break—I’m not happy in my current position (it’s a dead end position, limited pay raises, and slightly limited opportunities for personal/professional development. Noticed I said limited—there are opportunities, but one has to make sure that they don’t take away from the main job—which may mean having to do “overtime” but without the benefit of earning the overtime pay).

Job searching is difficult right now, when I’m still undecided on the path(s) I should be investigating. Also I’ve realized it’s hard to search, when I feel like I’m living in a fog—therefore I also need to be focusing on my physical and mental health as well.

One thing the book does try to stress is that one should try to plan out their reboot break about a year in advance (though they claim that you can condense the timescale if you need to). If I decide to do a reboot break, I’d be doing it in roughly seven to eight months (more or less when my current contract is up), though I’ve also thought of possibly trying to find a part-time job during the holidays for money and then starting my reboot break at the start of the new year.  So far I’ve only gotten as far as acknowledging the fact that I need to take a reboot break—how long it will be, or when I still haven’t decided—but the break will happen within the next eighteen months.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is burnt out, beginning to burnout, or ones who have no idea of what they actually want to do in life. I wish I’d found this book sooner (or actually read it when I originally bought it), that way I possibly could have already done a reboot break and have figured out part of my life.

I will keep you posted on how my reboot journey goes (from the planning, to execution of the break, to then finding the type of industry position that I really want) over the next (let’s say) eighteen to twenty-four months.

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