Category: finances

Limited Spending Challenge: Time frame–the entire 2021 calendar year

So last year I tried to do several no-spend challenges and usually managed to do a few days to a week or two of not spending money–but had yet to work up to a no-spend month.

This year I’m still going to be doing the no-spend challenges, but decided that besides needing to spell out for myself exactly what would count as a ‘pass’ (or needed purchases) versus what would be a ‘no-pass’ (or a splurge), and what I would need to do to justify said splurge purchase; I also needed to determine the time frame: I’m going to start at the beginning of the year, do monthly check-ins, and then a final summary at the end of the year on how well I managed this limited-spending challenge.

So the ‘pass’ or needed purchases will include personal care products (toothpaste, mouthwash, vitamins and supplements, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, deodorant, pads, and hand wash), food (also including snacks and tea), and items for Chaos (flaxseed and his anti-itch chew tablets). In addition, ‘pass’ purchases will also include buying birthday/Christmas presents for my niece (so this will be two additional purchases in late March and late November).

The ‘no-pass’ or splurges will include any e-book that isn’t already pre-ordered (I have probably about forty different fiction books pre-ordered for 2021, and a list of another say fifteen that I would like to possibly get as well), additional e-courses (I have so many that I’ve bought over the past few years that I really need to sit down and start working through some of them before adding more to the list), hidden object or match-3 games (I have quite a few on the computer that I haven’t finished, and truthfully I should probably cancel my gaming subscription since most of the games that are coming out can’t be played on my older laptop).

So I mentioned that while I have quite a few books already pre-ordered for the year, there is another handful that I would like to buy throughout the year as well–but to justify those purchases I will need to have done the following:

Have read at least two non-fiction books (depending on when the book comes out this may also include the previous month; as a goal is to read two non-fiction books a month), and have written a 200-300 word synopsis over each of them, and then published the reviews on both the blog and amazon.

Have read at least two fiction books and written a 200 to 300-word synopsis over each of them, and again published both on the blog and amazon.

In terms of e-courses, if I feel the urge to purchase one I will ask myself the following questions:

Is this a course that can help me figure something out either personally or professionally?

Is it related to another course I already have? Would it complement it?

Is is something that I should be focusing on this year, or can it wait a year or so?

It is extremely doubtful that I will be purchasing any games–because as I stated earlier mos of the games that the one site (big fish) is coming out with aren’t compatible with my older laptop.

This limited spending year challenge is to prove to myself that I already have more than enough books and e-courses to keep me busy and to help me curb my impulsive spending habit.

First check in will be at the end of the month, where I will make note of the pre-orders that downloaded, any ‘needed’ orders placed, and any potential splurges bought.

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Development Challenges

Quickly gazing back at 2020, while planning for 2021

So 2020 is finally over (and I’m cautiously looking out the window at 2021), but it is also time to reflect back on the year (ups, downs, hills, and valleys). So my apologies if this seems to be a really rambling post–I’m covering the year, but there isn’t any particular order for my thoughts.

2020 managed to shake up the entire year by itself. Earlier in the year there was talk of a novel coronavirus that had popped up in China and was possibly making its way around the world. The first ‘identified’ cases in the US showed up in late January/early February (though now we know that the virus was actually here earlier); and now at the end of the year-the US had just under 20.5 million cases as of New Years Eve, and leads in total cases and number of deaths (I wish someone would explain to people–this isn’t a damn popularity contest; you actually want to be coming in last).

Vaccine development was pushed to the forefront as case numbers due to the virus continued to climb; currently there are two vaccines that have been granted emergency use (I also think that there are two or three more entering phase III clinical trials)–but I won’t be eligible for either of the them until late summer/early fall (with a three-to-four week wait period between the two shots). So needless to say–there was no travel this year, and probably won’t be any travel (at least international) probably until 2022 (at the earliest).

Though I’ve been self-isolating for the most part this year, I decided I would buy some face-masks for whenever I needed to go out and possibly be around people. So far those times have been walking at Boomer Lake this fall and winter (I figured fewer people out in the cold weather), I have the face-mask on, but pulled down and when I can’t keep at least six to eight feet between myself and the other person, I pull the mask up over my mouth and nose. I also have one that I wear when I need to go buy the weekend newspaper, plus several others that I can go between for any other errands I may need to run in 2021.

Both puppies that we adopted last year have settled in, grown, and are showing their unique personalities. Rolex seems to have developed an autoimmune disorder (Vitilgo), which is also an autoimmune disorder that humans can have. So now whenever she loses a little bit of fur-it will grow back in white instead of black. So at some point, she may start looking like a reverse Dalmatian (black with white spots), though she still has a pinkish jaw (the fur hasn’t totally grown back).

Rolex, our boxer-mix puppy, before her Vitilgo started acting up

Chaos has basically finished growing, though I think he still as a little more muscle mass to put on, and should top off somewhere between 55 and 65 pounds. He walks nicely on a leash for me, and listens to most commands (though to get him in–you do need to have a treat in your hand, he is a little devil in that regard). His only ‘health’ issue right now is dry/itchy skin that we’re treating with a combination of bendaryl, flaxseed, and anti-itch pills (which are a combo of various omega oils). Though we may be switching the food to see if that has anything to do with his issue.

Chaos snoozing on the bed.

Now once the weather starts to behave, I’ll be walking him more and possibly trying to walk him at Boomer Lake where we may see other people and animals–he grumbles a little at people he doesn’t know very well. When Arick is in town, Chaos grumbles at him every so often–though it may be due also to the fact that Arick was wearing dirty clothes that day and Chaos didn’t like the smell of them. But I do need to try and get him a little more social–mainly so I don’t get the lecture from the vet on his personality problems.

Looking back at what I had planned for 2020, I almost want to break down into tears–I had the idea of trying to focus on just a couple of areas, creating a monthly calendar to keep me on track, posting more on the blog, and just getting more stuff done in general. I also had plans for at least one mental health break trip and then a networking trip as well–needless to say, neither trip happened (and probably won’t happen for another year or so).

While I’m still slightly stuck in the weeds in terms of trying to figure out the next direction for my carer/job, I have realized a couple of things. 1) I know realize that once I feel like I’ve learned all there is to learn within the position, I start ‘coasting’ and have a hard time asking for more things to keep me engaged at work; 2) I really don’t work well with micro-managers and straight up-right upholders (if you don’t recognize the term–I suggest reading ‘Four Tendencies’ by Gretchen Rubin); 3) I do like working in a group setting where there is interaction between people (at least conversations every so often).

While trying to figure things out, I decided that I would retake the Clifton Strength Assessment to see if any of my strengths had changed since I first took it. The top four stayed in the exact same order (learner, intellection, input, and achiever), while the fifth one changed (deliberative to ideation; and when I averaged the two assessments, the fifth changed again to arranger, followed by deliberative. Ideation fell to number nine on the average).

This means that when looking for jobs/assignments/positions, I need to choose things that allow me to be learning (but I also need to have at least a small interest in the subject), dive as deeply as I want into the subject matter, change topics on a whim, work remotely, at an office, or both, and realize that I could be changing tones/subjects/ideas or whatever on a day to day (or even hour to hour) basis.

Earlier in the year (basically at the start of the pandemic) I had more of a drive to try to transition into an industry position and joined an accountability group to help make that happen. While, I haven’t transitioned yet–it did give me ideas on how to go about filling in my job search spreadsheet, which I will be starting a fresh one in the coming weeks for 2021. One issue that was brought up is that since things are probably going to be sticking remote for awhile (especially interviews), one should try to have a dedicated ethernet connection for virtual meetings. Currently, we don’t have one and probably won’t–I don’t want the headache of having to stretch a cord from my parents room (which is where the closest phone jack is) into my room–but this is also a problem to address at a later day in 2021.

Informational interviews probably won’t start happening until the earliest April, since 1) I still haven’t figured out the direction(s) I want to be focusing on in terms of job transition, and 2) I will still need to build rapport with people online before asking if they have time to answer a couple of questions either via email, a phone call, or a Skype/Zoom call.

Another area I was trying to focus on in 2020 was health and fitness. I managed to get serious about pushing play on working out in June. Up until then I had been trying different times of the day for working out and none of them really stuck, until I decided that I would workout in the morning after having breakfast. So, I made the decision on June 1st to push play in the morning (and so far the latest has been ~10AM), and I managed to finish three and a half programs (I still have probably another week or so of the Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs&Butt Series to finish) by the end of 2020.

The goal for 2021 is to complete a total of nine Beachbody workouts.

I also made the decision to step back from trying to do coaching via Beachbody. I had several reasons for this, and I will probably do a separate post on that during the first month or two of 2021.

I had made note at the end of 2019 that I was trying to focus on too many different things, and therefore would try to focus just on health/fitness, career transition (these were tied at number one), then personal/professional development (number two), and if possible crafts as number three. Needless to say–having multiple things actually helps me focus better, when I can switch between things if I start to get bored. My problem was actually needing to figure out how to prioritize the projects/topics and setting up a workable schedule/calendar. Though if I look at my reading list–I did manage to read eighteen non-fiction books in 2020, which is about the average of the past couple of years.

So to help with the prioritizing, setting up a schedule/calendar, I’m going to do the following:

Have a list of non-fiction books that I would like to read–instead of just saying that I will randomly pick one out of the three hundred that I still have to read. This way, the list is smaller and curated–almost guaranteed that I should be able to read at least twenty-five of them during 2021.

I also have a goal to read about forty to fifty fiction books as well during 2021–and I think that I have probably forty-five on pre-order already for the year. I’ve also decided that for the books that I still want to get in 2021, but haven’t been put up for pre-order yet–in order to buy one of them I will need to have read two non-fiction books and two to three fiction books and posted a review on them (blog and amazon) before buying another book.

I’m also going to have a list of forty to sixty different e-courses that I would like to work through for the year as well. These will include most of the advanced Cheeky Scientist programs and then a variety of other courses that I’ve bought from other sites. The goal is to continue working towards an industry transition, though now I’m thinking more remote/freelance/independent/consultant/contract type of work for a while (mainly due to the pandemic situation). As I work through various courses, I will be taking notes and posting updates on the the blog as to what I think of the courses and how taking it has benefited (either by being something I will continue working with or showing me that the topic isn’t for me).

In terms of crafts and hobbies–I’m hoping to get out more with the camera and work on my nature/landscape photography skills and maybe also some architecture/city photography as well. Photography was one of my saving graces during 2020–with sheltering in place I managed to get quite good at getting pictures of hummingbirds in motion at their feeder. I think my top three photography subjects were the ruby-throated hummingbird, the red-bellied woodpecker, and the downy woodpecker.

Hummingbird sitting in the pecan tree

I’m also going to sit down and teach myself cross-stitching and jewelry design, plus work on my drawing skills. I have a couple of books on jewelry design (and I’m sure I can find other articles and so forth on-line), e-courses on drawing, and I can probably look up an introduction video on YouTube for cross-stitching. One thing I’m having to remind myself of lately–that trying new hobbies doesn’t mean that I’m going to be dedicating my life to them.

I also got back into the habit of doing an evening oracle/tarot card reading. I decided that instead of taking a picture of every reading–I’d ‘sketch’ out the cards in my journal along with what I took away from each card. Then once I started doing a review on the oracle/tarot deck I would reference back to my journal for the layouts that I wanted to use as examples. I’m slowly working on those reviews–I find that even though they’re ‘creative’ writing, I put more thought into them than I do some of the other creative writing posts I do.

Another idea that I had bouncing around in my head during 2020 was to do a weekly recap of the various science news posts that I had read and shared on twitter or LinkedIn–needless to say the idea stayed in my head all year, but will hopefully be put into practice in 2021.

While 2020 was difficult year–December was a very trying month. There were a couple of deaths in the family (one due to the SARS-CoV2 virus, one to other health issues/surgery complications, and one to old age/health issues). Also it didn’t help hearing from an friend who is just getting over botulism poisoning that they are having to go through surgery due to possible cancer tumor on their salivary glands. Then to top off the month–a close friend and her entire family caught the SARS-CoV2 virus, but luckily they seem to have “recovered” from it. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate that no one in the immediate family has come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.

So while there was zero traveling during 2020, I did manage to get a few things accomplished–I got better with my camera and getting pictures of birds; I have several ideas of possible directions to go in terms of my career; I’ve done quite a bit of self-reflection (though there will be more of self-reflection in 2021 as you can never really be done with it), found quite a few more book series and new (to me) authors, and managed to stay safe and healthy in the midst of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.

While traveling is still probably on hold for 2021 (damn you both pandemic and poor government response), I will be focusing on the things that make me happy–learning, reading, crafting, photography, meditating, tarot/oracle card readings, and spending time with my family and pets.

Hopefully 2021 will also be the year of making numerous new friends and having coffee/tea/water chats over Skype/zoom/phone/email. I’m going to slowly start trying to get out of my ‘shell’ but at the same time realize that the shell may be the best place to be at times.

The phrases for 2021 are now going to be: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last”, “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”, and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life.”

I’ve also decided that the words for 2021 are going to be: growth, curiosity, creativity, prosperity, and happiness.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsYear in Review

Check-in on the 150+ goal challenge. 100 days in, & only 1902 days left.

So I’m 100 days into this challenge, and there are sixty-six days left in 2020. We’re also just about a week away from the presidential election as well (fingers crossed it goes the way I’m hoping).

I decided a couple of weeks ago, that I should probably look at the list again, and see if there were any goals that I wanted to remove (for whatever reason), and possibly any goals I wanted to add—but also to see where I was in terms of the different goals.

There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. I will probably continue to shelter in place at least until March of 2021 (when hopefully a possible vaccine is available). I’m still working on trying to figure out what my ‘new normal’ is going to be looking like.

As I stated in a previous post, I’m also thinking of replacing the list on the odds and end bucket list with this list—so that change may be occurring soon as well.

So how are things progressing?

Professional development and career:  On-going

            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)—going to go with python to begin with.

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

                        4. Dream Job Hack Removed, currently going through the modules but trying to tailor to my needs (program is best for those wanting to get into high level manager type roles—not the greatest for someone switching from research to industry and who also hasn’t been in a manager type role).

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

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

            10. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #11; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).

                        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—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            16. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.

Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these

            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; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

            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—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photographyHave been doing this; started a new challenge (though I haven’t been totally consistent with daily postings) and updating/adding pages

                        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—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin

                        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)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans

            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—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.

            42. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—some are high, but that is due to buying a couple of personal/professional development courses that were rather expensive.

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

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with #44, #46, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.

            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—On going

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts

                                    52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)—Finished my first round on 9/15/2020

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt (should be done mid-Nov)

                                    54. 10 Rounds—Will be starting this mid-Nov & done by Christmas.

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

                                    57. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round will be done mid-Nov (combined this with Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt)

                                    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

                                    76. 80-Day Obsession

                                    77. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale

                                    78. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

                                    79. P90

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

            80. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            81. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            82.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            83.  Hold a 90 second plank

            84.  Meditate nightly

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

            86.  60-80 oz of water a day

            87.  Stretch daily

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

            89. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).

Blog and Social Media–Ongoing

            90.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            91.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            92.  Finish blog to biz course

            93.  Launch a YouTube channel

            94. Launch an online course

            95. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            96. Rebrand myself (?)

            97. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            98. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            99. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            100. Publish at least two blog series

            101.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        102. Blog

                        103. Instagram

                        104. Facebook pages

                        105. Twitter

                        106. Pintrest

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

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

            109. Various top 10 author lists

            110. Various top 10 book series lists

            111. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            112. Full/New Moon Goals

            113. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

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

            115. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; probably on hold now until spring—fall/winter mornings are usually somewhere between the 30s and 50s (if it’s closer to the higher end—maybe).

Others–ongoing

            116. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            117. Design a science based board game

            118. Create and update digital vision board

            119. Reorganize my storage unit

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

            121. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

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

            123. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

                        One challenge will be 100 days of iPhone Photography.

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

TV shows to binge watch—Haven’t felt like sitting and watching anything lately

            125. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            126. Grimm

            127. The Librarians

            128. Once Upon A Time

            129. Blacklist

            130. Numbers

            131. Agents of SHIELD

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):

            132. Re-pierce my ears

133. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        134. Present at a scientific conference

            135. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

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

            137. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            140. Visit at least one new zoo

            141. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            143. Visit at least one new city

            144. Visit at least one new state

            145. See the northern lights

            146. Attend at least one blogging conference

            147. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            148. Swim with whale sharks

            149. Parasailing

            150. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #85)

Once I move:

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

            152. New couch & chair for living room

            153. New dresser for bedroom

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

            155. New TV & stand

            156. New desk/craft workstation

So in terms of the goals:

So I’ve removed one goal (finish the Dream Job Hack program), though I’m still going to work through a little that I think is relevant to what I need to be doing. I did find the program helpful, but it is geared more towards people who have been (or are in) management type positions—while I would like to get there, I know that I probably need to start a step or two below.

I’m making some headway with others—I’ve finished the data science syndicate program from the Cheeky Scientist Association (will be writing a post on late shortly), and am looking forward to trying to learn python and then start building a data science portfolio.

I’m working my way through the medical writers organization (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program), and am hoping to have that finished by mid-November, and again start working on building up a writing portfolio.

Currently I’m thinking of going in the freelance/online/remote direction for work (namely because of the pandemic and not really wanting to figure out the whole headache of trying to move two animals, all of my stuff, and myself to a different state currently). So in that case, I’m also thinking of possibly rebranding the blog (I have a couple of different names bouncing around, a decision will be made probably early next year sometime).

I’m still working on developing an editorial calendar/to-be accomplished list hybrid that works for me. I’ve realized that I swing between two extremes: I get over-ambitious and try to cram way to stuff in everyday, or I don’t get anything really accomplished.

I’m trying to work on that by possibly going to larger bullet journals that I can paperclip in my to-be-accomplished lists (which would then be discarded once everything as accomplished) instead of having to write out the lists constantly.

I’m also working on a schedule that will let me bounce back and forth between different things. I just finished reading “ How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up” by Emilie Wapnick.

I will be posting a review on the book soon (hopefully this week)—but it was nice to see that I’m not the only one who has felt drawn in different directions and not having a clue how to handle things. I was pleased to find that I’m a mixed-style multipotentialite—someone who goes between having quite a few different projects going on at once to only having one or two projects going on at once.

So that has definitely been a major breakthrough during the last few weeks—now it is a matter of me fully embracing that aspect of myself and figuring how the best ways of working that way—without triggering massive anxiety attacks (stay tuned).

I also removed the “number” of workouts from my fitness goals—the main reason I was starting to get tired. Everyone needs a rest day, and I’ve shown myself that I can still push play on Monday morning even if I take the weekend off (as told by the workout schedule).

So I am slowly making progress on the first ~124 (or I guess 123) goals; the last twenty-odd goals still require the pandemic to be brought under control and for me then to be willing to slowly start leaving the house and going to places that will actually have other people present as well.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesodds and endsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravelUpdates

Self-reflection, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ vs ‘specialist’, & now more planning

So I’m a little over a week into my fourth decade and still working on answering the question: which hobbies, passions, and interests will fall under the jack-of-all-trades umbrella, and which will fall under the specialist umbrella.

This question evolved from my ‘self-reflection, planning, and yet more self-reflection’ post where I was trying to answer the question of who I wanted to become over the next five plus years.

While for some this is probably a quick question to answer—I’m still slightly struggling with for two reasons: 1) imposter syndrome—since I’m wanting to transition out of academia and into industry, there are times when I feel like a ‘fraud’, even though I know everyone’s journey is their own and that no two paths are the same—also no one has the same history, likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, and personality traits that I do. The second reason is that at times I’m still in an somewhat academic mindset, which has a somewhat “clear ladder” on how your job grows—you graduate with your PhD, you do a couple of postdocs, you then get an assistant professor position, and then work your way up the ladder to associate, full, regents, emeritus professor along with possibly going for department head, or positions as a dean.

Since I’m still not sure which direction I want to go in—therefore there is no “clear ladder”, and even once I decide on a direction or directions to go in—there is no guarantee of a “clear ladder” or straight job trajectory in today’s society. Therefore I’m on a mission to create a mix of things that not only fall under both categories (jack-of-all-trades and specialist), but also encompass all aspects of life.

Through self-reflection, I realize that the times I’m happiest and in the ‘flow’ are when I’m both learning and relaxing—in other words when there is a balance between things. This is something that I had lost over the past decade or so—actually, this was something I closed off when I thought I wanted to go down the academic route—I pushed aside enjoyment, relaxation, and balance while focusing on just one small area for ‘learning’.

I’m thinking that the best route will be something that allows me to both—work for a company, but also be an independent freelancer as well. This way I can juggle different hats (under the umbrellas of jack-of-all-trades and specialist), and hopefully never get bored.

Boredom for me is like the kiss of death for the job—and one thing I need to work on is asking for change in the job when I start feeling boredom sneak in—because if I don’t ask for a change, I know I will start to get a little laid back in things and let things start to slide—which is something that I want to avoid moving forward.

So that brings me back to the question: how am I going to divide up my hobbies, passions, and interests into the categories jack-of-all-trades and specialist?

One area can be quickly filed under jack-of-all-trades currently, and that is crafts. These include knitting, sewing/quilting, learning cross-stitching, making my own jewelry, doodling, and hopefully at some point painting. The time I spend on any of these varies—knitting is usually done only in the cooler months, I currently don’t have a sewing machine, and the others have had very little time spent on them.

Therefore until I start spending a good amount of time on any of them during the week, they will be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ topic. These will be things that I write about maybe once a month or every couple of months on the blog. I have ideas on how to try monetizing some of them (knitting, jewelry, and cross-stitching), but haven’t spent any time trying to work up the plan or even a few showcase pieces.

There are other hobbies that I spend more time on: bird watching, photography, reading, and at times journaling/writing. These are areas of my personal life that I could slowly start working on more and move to what I would consider ‘expert’ level.

In terms of bird watching—seeing how many species in North America I can have identified by a certain age. This would then also allow me to include traveling, being outdoors, hiking, and photography as well.

In terms of photography—I can work on becoming a better nature photographer, and also start learning another form (say architecture or portrait photography). I would consider myself an expert if I then start selling my prints (either through my own site or another site, and/or have a small photography business on the side).

In terms of reading—start writing book reviews and posting them on both the blog and where I purchased the book, in addition to promoting books as well on my blog and social media sites. This way I could also then start possibly reviewing advance-reader-copies (ARCs), in addition to maybe working through affiliate programs—earning a little money, by referring people to buy different books.

In terms of writing—there is quite a bit I need to work on (and actually can be applied to all areas that I would like to become an ‘expert’ in) to get better at writing. The first thing is scheduling time every day to write/brainstorm/outline. Saying I want to become better at writing does nothing unless I also put in the work to become better at writing. So what are the things I need to work on?

            Time management

            Brainstorming, researching, writing, and editing—on a schedule

            Publishing my writing (in more places than just the blog)

            Asking others to read what I’ve written and give constructive criticism

            Different types of writing

                        Creative/Fiction

                        Scientific

                        Non-fiction

            Creating a portfolio to highlight my work

So in terms of my passions and interests—which should be jack-of-all-trades and which should be specialist?

If I look to my scientific background that has spanned a little over two decades I’ve noticed that I can focus on any of the following: recombinant cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, sequencing, HPLC, MALDI-TOF, NMR, transcriptional and translational assays, small RNA biology, plant biology, cell culture, yeast, bacteria, fruit flies, the cell cycle, and bioinformatics.

If I had to chose areas for jack-of-all-trades those would include: bioinformatics (data science, programming, and data analysis), cell culture (basic mammalian and insect), sequencing, HPLC, MALDI-TOF, and NMR. These are the more technical things—though cell culture isn’t very technical, I just didn’t do that much of it through the years.

The areas I would chose for specialist would then include basically everything else: recombinant cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, transcriptional and translational assays, small RNA biology, plant biology, yeast work, fruit flies, bacteria, cell cycle and almost anything that falls within these categories.

If I looked to other topics that I enjoyed during college—these were classes in social sciences and humanities (history, anthropology, sociology) that I got good grades in and never really stressed out over the exams (unlike all the other science classes).

So I would probably include some of those topics—medieval history, art history, anthropology, ancient North/South American history (prior to the arrival of the Europeans), archeology, and paleontology within both categories depending on the amount of time I could give to each area.

Other interests that could probably bounce between being jack-of-all-trades and specialist include spirituality, personal finances, and health/fitness.

These are areas that I’m interested in gaining more knowledge (finances—getting out of debt, saving more, retirement, multiple streams of income), becoming the best version of myself (health/fitness—completing programs, getting outdoors, and setting fitness goals to achieve and celebrate instead of spending money), and embracing (spirituality—I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m more spiritual than I am religious, therefore I want to become better at reading tarot/oracle cards and be able to meditate longer than say two to four minutes).

Therefore within the next five to ten years I would like to become a more well rounded person and scientist—this means over all balance, some days may be more science than crafts, more time at the computer than behind a camera—but also more days crafting, reading, and meditating. It is time for me to forge my own path forward that allows me to embrace all aspects of who I am, my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger), while also working on my weaknesses.

The next step will be creating a plan that will allow me to slowly start moving in that direction.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravel

Goals for the Virgo New Moon

Well we moved into another ‘new moon’ phase this week (specifically for me, it was last night) and I realize that I didn’t get around to posting my double new moon post last month (since the moon cycled through Cancer twice, it was a review of the previous month’s goals and trying to set new goals for the next Cancer new moon), and then I forgot about the Leo new moon last month.

Instead of trying to look back at the things I should have been trying to do for the Leo new moon, I’m going to move ahead and look towards the Virgo new moon that we just transitioned into.

The new moon is pretty close to my birthday this year (which is still two days away)—three years ago, the new moon was on my birthday; and next year the full moon for September will fall on my birthday. Since, Virgo is my start sign—it means that I’m semi-neat, semi-organized, and semi-neat freak (constantly cleaning). My other signs are Scorpio (rising) and Pisces (moon).

So what are some of the things that one can do during the Virgo new moon?

            Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.

            Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.

            Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.

            Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play

            Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward.

The moon is also moving through my 11th house—or my friends’ zone. So what are some things that one can do during this new moon in regards to friends, hopes, and dreams (and take into account the new “normal” of social distancing and so forth, due to the ongoing pandemic)?

            Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do.

            Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met.

            Wish on a star every night for a month.

            Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now.

            Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to.

            Thank your best friend for being there for you.

Well having a ‘real’ social life during a pandemic isn’t possible right now. I’m currently still self-isolating, and most of the people I know are trying to keep their ‘bubbles’ small (i.e. the people they interact with on a daily basis). So having physical meet-ups right now is out of the question. I know that I could probably do virtual meet-ups, but first I still want to purchase some thin drapes to cover up the bookcases that would be seen behind me in my room when doing virtual meet-ups (unless I sit on my bed).

Usually I would be meeting up with a classmate once a month for lunch—but we haven’t done that since right before the shelter at home orders were given—six months ago, and it may be at least another six months before we may be able to meet up face to face for lunch.

So what will my goals be for the Virgo New Moon period?

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life and try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (currently it is a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet with LIIFT4).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, possibly alternating days that certain things are done on (for example networking on Mondays & Wednesdays, but following up with people on Tuesdays & Fridays).
  4. Continue with nightly oracle card readings and also try to spend at least two to three minutes meditating (either before or after the reading).

Finally continue moving forward while remembering: “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 Astrologybullet journalcareerfinancesfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

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

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

Sagittarius Full Moon Goals–a Review

So I’m actually getting my review of last month’s full moon goals posted in a timely fashion–will have to see if I manage to get Capricorn’s goals posted in a timely fashion.

So the year is halfway over, and the next full moon will be happening sometime this weekend (depending on where you live). So there is only six months left in 2020 (hopefully time will speed up a little), and that means pretty soon it will be time to look over goals, and readjust moving forward to ensure that I reach the long-term goals on time. But before I start thinking on future goals, or even the Capricorn full moon, I should look back on the goals that I set for the Sagittarius full moon.

So what were my goals for the Sagittarius full moon, and how did I do with each one?

The goals included:

            1) Continue to have no-spend days (and stretch those into no-spend weeks and then months). Having to pay off bills, or having standing monthly deliveries, and preorders won’t count against the no-spend challenge. If I do buy something, it will have to meet one of the following criteria:

                        It is for personal/professional development (book or e-course)

            I managed to meet a goal, and I bought (book, CD, movie, hidden objects game) as a reward

            It was something that is needed (say face mask) and it will support a non-profit organization

            2) Continue trying to develop a schedule for the day/week and an all-encompassing editorial calendar (personal/professional development, fitness/health/mental health/crafts, and various other things)

             3) Continue working through various e-courses and trying to figure out what it is exactly I want to do with my life.

In terms of my Sagittarius goals:

I did manage to minimize the spending over the month of June—there were only 8 days that I spent money, and for the most part it met two of the three criteria: personal/professional e-courses, and face masks (that supported a wildlife non-profit organization). There were other books that I bought for enjoyment, but for the most part—I stuck with the shopping criteria. The main goal for July will be to have a no-spend month (or at least limit it to one or two days towards the end of the month).

In terms of trying to develop a schedule for the day/week—the only thing that I managed to be consistent with is my workout, and that was usually between 8 and 9:15 in the morning (no later than 10). The rest of the day was usually up in the air—this is something that I’m going to have to get better at, especially if I’m thinking of going into business for myself as a freelance writer/data analyst/photographer. So this is something that I’m still working on over the next few weeks/months.

In terms of working through e-courses, I have managed to finish a couple of small e-courses:

            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)

Also I’m a little over halfway through with the Data Science Syndicate program through the Cheeky Scientist Association.

I realized earlier this month, that I had been working through various material too quickly and not really stopping and trying to process what I was learning. My mentality was finish “A” to start in on “B” and that way next week I could move on to “C” and “D”—and while that can work if you know which direction you’re going in—I’m still trying to figure that out as well. So I’ve decided that I’m going to slow down a little and actually work through various assignments within the various e-courses and see if that helps me decide on the direction that I want to be going in.

So I probably managed to get about 60% of the goals met during the Sagittarius full moon. In addition to the goals that I will be setting for the Capricorn full moon, I’m also going to be working on my time management. Having better control of my day, and getting more things done will be critical if I’m actually serious about trying to start up a freelance business (writing, photography, data analysis, or something else).

But I also am remembering: Progress over Perfection

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesFull Moon Goalsmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPandemic2020professional developmentReflections

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”

No Comments Book ReviewsBooksfinancesfitnessHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPandemic2020Reflections