Category: fitness

Admitting that I’m a procrastinator and how I’m going to deal with it in 2020

So, I’m a little over a month into my reboot break. I’ve done a little soul searching, some reading, adopted a puppy from the local animal shelter, a few walks around Boomer Lake, tried to get back into a fitness routine, and so far have put off trying to draft a master plan/outline for the year.

One thing I will admit to is that I’m a procrastinator—if I don’t want to do something I will either find something else to do, or I will keep saying that I’ll do the task tomorrow (and depending on the task—keep saying tomorrow).  I’ve realized that the procrastination wasn’t that bad while growing up—there were deadlines for homework and things like that (and as a child—at least I couldn’t get away that much with the procrastination), but it started to develop once I hit college, and has gotten slightly out of hand since.

When it was time to think about going to college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to major it (I enjoyed numerous subjects in school), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had an average grade point and had an okay score on the ACT—neither of which were going to get me very far if I wanted to go to school out of state. I already had the mindset that I wasn’t going to take out a loan for school (even if I was eligible for any that were halfway decent), therefore that meant going to the state college in town.

I had decided to go the science route (as at that time everyone was saying something along the lines of “major in what will pay the bills, and minor in what you enjoy”). I could have gone into business—but the thought of sitting behind a desk all day bored me, so I went the science route. I started off thinking wildlife ecology & management, but once I found out that the lab exams for one of the courses was out in the field looking at plants (that wasn’t so bad)—but you had to identify them by their scientific name (my spelling is bad at the best of times—I’m glad that there is spell check), I decided to switch to biochemistry and molecular biology.

I still took classes that I found interesting, and this resulted in me taking seven years to finish my undergrad—but I got two bachelors’ degrees (biochemistry & molecular biology, and biology), plus a minor in history (I was two classes shy of a sociology minor by the time I graduated). Throughout these seven years, I learned several things about myself—first and foremost the testing anxiety was still front and center. I did well in the humanity and social science classes, but the other sciences (where my majors were)—those were a struggle at times when it came time for the tests.

I’d found that certain areas of both degrees were more interesting than others—for example I enjoyed learning cell and molecular biology more than I did organic chemistry and physics. I also found that I could pull historical facts forward faster than I could pull the method and byproducts for an organic chemical reaction.

I remember that I was probably a year or so away from graduation and wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to go—but was also unsure of which direction to go in. I therefore push onward, took the GRE (got an okay score—not great—remember I have huge test anxiety issues, especially if the test is all computerized—which the GRE was at that point), and applied for different graduate programs.

I decided that I should try to stretch my wings and I applied for several different programs that were out of state (plus at the last minute, decided that I would also apply to my alma mater as well—as the ultimate fall back). So I applied to four different programs out of state, and while I managed to get an on campus interview for one of the programs—none of them panned out. Either my grades weren’t high enough, or they didn’t think I could handle the PhD program and suggested that I should apply for the masters program instead (PhD programs pay you to learn, masters programs for the most part don’t)—so I was lucky in that I was able to get into my alma mater for grad school.

This wasn’t my first choice, but I was going to make it work. I spent a year in a structural biology lab, before I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I then switched to a plant molecular biology lab, where I was actually being challenged in learning. I hadn’t worked with plants that much before joining the lab hadn’t done any RNA work, and I found things enjoyable for the first time in a few months in grad school. Also it was nice to be told that within four years I should have learned as much as possible and it would be time to move on. The only drawbacks for those years in grad school—there was no real mentoring in how to “properly” write a scientific paper or proposal, and there was no real career mentoring.

After graduation I managed to land a post-doctoral position at one of the many universities in the Greater Boston area. While I enjoyed the time out in the area, I had ignored some red flags that I shouldn’t have and struggling since to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life and career. I’ve realized that one should never really take a position in a newly started lab unless they are willing to put in fifteen or sixteen hour days six days a week. I only learned a few new things, and started to slowly realize that I probably wasn’t cut out for academic life.

Coming back home, and bouncing around at my alma mater (first a postdoctoral position, and then two staff positions), has only highlighted the fact—I still haven’t found that position/job/title/occupation that is my “calling”. There have been things that I’ve enjoyed over the past seven years, but there have also been things that I really disliked over the past seven years as well.

So how does all this tie into my admitting that I’m procrastinator?

Going to sidetrack a little and give a little background on procrastination (see how I’m procrastinating?).  For years, it has been said that procrastination is a time management issue—and that definition is easy enough to see—we do something else to avoid doing what we originally needed to do. Now it is being toted as an emotion management problem (https://www.fastcompany.com/90357248/procrastination-is-an-emotional-problem). Basically, we procrastinate or put things off that we may (or may not) have attached negative emotions to.

So, I’ve admitted that I’m a procrastinator—which means that I’m admitting to having negative emotions attached to certain ideas or tasks. So which tasks/ideas/goals have I either consciously or subconsciously attached negative emotions to?

            Getting back into shape—I’ve been out of shape majority of my life (never was really big on sports growing up nor being all girly and dressing up/wearing makeup). I had managed to lose a good amount of weight twice in my life—first time was out in Boston (I was walking my dog at least twice a day, and cooking for one—though most of the time weekday dinners were a peanut butter sandwich), and then again about six months or so after moving home. At that point I joined an accountability group on Facebook that was being run by a old high school classmate—I lost probably about twenty pounds or so, but then after a bike accident (where I royally bruised my lower left leg) and job issues—I’ve put the weight back on (with added interest—I’m probably at my heaviest since college). Why do I have negative emotion attached to getting into shape? In part—I was picked on throughout school (or at least up to going to college) about my appearance and weight. So there are still those issues that I need to work through—basically I need to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m losing weight to live my best possible life—not someone else, and I’m not losing the weight to make anyone else happy either.

            Transitioning into an industry position—this is more tied into my anxiety, and the worry that I’m going to make another wrong turn (like I did with my first postdoctoral position). For the most part, I like to have a good idea of how things are suppose to go—I knew that with the postdoctoral positions, I had to work hard (though I did limit the hours to more or less “normal forty hour weeks”) and I would have to read a lot to brush up on the subject matter (as both were new to me areas). Going into industry—there are numerous different directions that one can go in, the job may or may not be totally steady (depending on if the company is bought out, merged with another, or if it somehow goes bankrupt), and about a hundred different other issues. Also it comes down to whom you know, and who is willing to put in a good word for you—and this is totally tied in with my anxiety.

            At times I have problems with trying to do small talk, and networking—it isn’t that I don’t want to meet new people and expand my network—I do, but I have this underlying fear from childhood that people are going to be interrupting me and correcting my speech. This comes from the fact that when we moved to OK from MA, I ended up in speech therapy for years because of the fact that I learned how to talk in MA. In case you didn’t know people in MA have a tendency to drop the “r” in words—so since I learned how to talk in MA, I had a northern accent. The teachers and school officials decided that I needed speech therapy to learn how to pronounce my “r”—I spent five years in speech therapy, plus had teachers correcting my speech in class. I then got into the habit of not really talking in public settings—and this is something that I’m trying to work on. I know it is a slightly irrational fear, but it is still there lurking in the back of my mind.

            Choices—there are so many different choices for what one can do in industry, it is almost like being a kid in a candy store. While I have several different options listed out about what I’m curious about—I have a fear that the one I may chose could be the wrong path. Though as I’m told—I won’t know if I like, unless I try it. This is also tied into the networking problem—I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting people’s time if I decide that their path isn’t the same one that I actually decide to go down.

            Needing to have everything planned out. I will admit that I do like to have an idea of all the steps, and any and all possible results and endings before starting something. I mean instead of picking just one area of Indian art for my paper for art history in high school, I wrote basically a thirty-page paper covering everything that could fall under the umbrella of Indian art.

            This is also coming from again my first postdoctoral position—I thought I had everything planned out, but then the rug was metaphorically pulled out from underneath me. It isn’t fun realizing that one needs to move back in with one’s parents in order to get out from the mountain of debt that one finds themselves in. So now I’m trying to figure out how to plan out every single step of everything and finding myself in motion paralysis.

So now that I’ve admitted to being a procrastinator and the two main areas (health/fitness and career) that I’m procrastinating in, how will I go about getting past the procrastination and making progress on each area?

As I was reading some different pages on procrastination and emotions I found the following three sentences to be profound:

            “Viewing the whole task (e.g. project or paper) all at once will only frustrate you if you have unrealistic expectations. Realize you must break the task into smaller pieces and you cannot do them all at once. The next key is just start whether you feel like it or not.” (https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/procrastination-wasting-our-time-and-increasing-our-anxiety).

Then I found the following ideas that had to deal with procrastination along with social anxiety:

            Make a list of tasks and prioritize what needs to be done

            Reward yourself for completing difficult tasks

            Use relaxation strategies to deal with anxiety about completing tasks

                        Some of the techniques include: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and guided imagery.

(https://www.verywellmind.com/procrastination-and-social-anxiety-disorder-3973931).

So now I’m going to name the two big tasks (relating to fitness/health and job transition). Then I’m going to brainstorm how to break those two big tasks into easier to handle tasks. In addition I’m going to brainstorm an award system for each big task. Finally I’m going to break down the tasks into monthly/weekly/daily goals—with the rewards being based on hitting the larger (weekly or monthly) goals. In other words—I’m going to be working on my long term plan (other wise known as five year (or ten, twenty year) plan.

Sites with their links have been included that I found interesting and used in the post.

No Comments careerfitnessHealthjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Decade in Review: 2010 to 2019

So most people were doing the decade comparison in pictures over various social media sites—I’m not going to do that, mainly because I let my health and fitness slide enough that I’m back to basically the same weight. But I can try to summarize the past decade and maybe that will allow me to try actually projecting ahead a few years (so that I can actually push myself out of the “weeds” or “quicksand” that I feel like I’ve been stuck in for the past few years).

I started out the decade by finally finishing graduate school. I had promised myself that I would be done with school by the time I hit my 30th birthday and I was (more or less). I managed to finish two out of the three requirements (the third was what held up my diploma another five months). But I walked across the stage and accepted the diploma holder for my PhD in May, I presented and defended my dissertation in July, and then dealt with rewrites of my dissertation that finally earned me my diploma in December of 2010.

I took a post-doctoral position out in the Boston area in July of 2010. This required me finding an apartment that was close to public transportation (since that was how I was going to be getting to work every day). I managed that, but then hired the worst possible company to move my stuff out there (luckily they’re now out of business)—to the point that I slept on an air mattress for a month before my furniture and things showed up. I also hired pet movers to move my dog (Chewi) and cat (Pancakes) out there, and I will use them again when I move for my next position (as I also hired them to move Chewi and Pancakes back home when the job folded under me and I had to move back home in 2012).

So from August 2010 to December 2012 (with a short visit back for Christmas in 2011) I was on the east coast. I did manage to visit Maine, NYC, and Connecticut; with drive-troughs of New Hampshire and Rhode Island (to get to Maine [New Hampshire—though I think it was also a brief stop] and then Connecticut & NYC [Rhode Island]). I didn’t do as much traveling in the area as I would have liked, due to 1) not having that much money—postdocs aren’t paid great, even in large cities [they don’t take cost of living into consideration], and 2) I didn’t feel comfortable always hiring a pet sitter (did that once for the trip back home for Christmas 2011).

But I did visit Salem and Rockport, in addition to wandering around Boston. The trips out of state to visit friends and family allowed me to see a little bit of other states—though if I move back there I would like to spend more than 24 hours in NYC playing tourist.

Being out in the Boston area was fun—I made numerous friends and enjoyed exploring the area. It wasn’t the greatest decision career wise though—I only learned a few new techniques, and the position ended on a sour note between my advisor and me. One thing I learned is that I should always try to listen to that voice that warns that there could be issues with the job—I ignored it, and found out that yeah, there were issues with the job.

Christmas 2012 saw me moving back home from Boston. While I could have tried to find something in the Boston area, truthfully at this point I was pretty well financially broke, and emotionally burnt out. I decided that it might be best to regroup, where I knew that I could save money, and maybe figure out what I was doing with my life. But of course, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing—I just knew that I really needed to find some job so that I could start paying off all the credit card debt that I built up living in Boston (see above note about how postdocs are paid).

2011 also saw my parents bringing another dog into the family—a Great Pyrenees/Bearded Collie mix that we named Boozer (she was fascinated by the sounds of cans opening when she first came into the house). She was also served as a transition dog for my dad, as we weren’t sure how much longer the St. Bernard had (though she lasted another three and a half years).

I managed to get another postdoctoral position within my alma mater department working with yeast. This meant that I was learning a new biological system (previously I’d work with plants, bacteria, insects, and cell cultures), and new techniques. Alas, the money for that position only lasted a little over a year (and the fellowship I tried for I didn’t get [in part due to being back at my alma mater and not asking my first postdoc advisor for a letter of recommendation]), 

Luckily I managed to find a one-month teaching position that paid well. It kept me busy during part of summer, and reminded me that I did enjoy working with students. I spent the next few months putting out job applications—I luckily managed to get another position within the department this time working directly with undergraduate students. I had to write my own job description after being hired as no one knew exactly what the position was suppose to entail. I coined the job title “senior research specialist/undergraduate research techniques instructor” as I was doing both—research and trying to teach students the basic techniques they would need to know for doing research in a lab.

This was a job that I really enjoyed for the most part—working with students, working on different projects and just generally not being bored (again for the most part). The only drawbacks were working with certain people (and you can have personality conflicts no matter where you go). So this position lasted from basically mid-September 2014 through July of 2017; it was terminated due to funding issues and I became unemployed for the third time. This unemployment period lasted longer than the other two (probably could be considered a sum of the other two), but again I managed to get another staff position within the department just after Thanksgiving in 2017.

2015 was also a slightly off year as it was the year that we had to say goodbye to our St. Bernard Speedbump. She was a loving goof ball that got along with all dogs, and was a cuddle bug.

Now this position taught me a few more things, and it was a paycheck. It was a yearly position that would be renewed if there was funding available for it—so always fun working and wondering if there would be another contract to sign or if you were going to be told sorry only ‘x’ months left. So after signing another contract in November of 2018 I decided that no matter what, this would be basically the last year at my alma mater.

2018 was also another off year as we lost three more dogs—we lost Spelunkers in February due to cancer, and then we lost two other dogs in October (within a span of four days) due to both old age and other health issues (heart problems and cancer). So to say that I was more than happy to see the tail end of 2018 was an understatement.

2019 was an okay year—we adopted two more puppies (my mom got her puppy in May—a boxer mix that we named Rolex (so she could say that she had her watchdog), and then I adopted a puppy about a week before Christmas (a male blue heeler/border collie/aussie mix that I named Chaos—because bring another dog into the house right before the holidays was to introduce Chaos). So yes, two new puppies with names that make a play on words.

This was also the year that I decided that I would quit my job and take a “reboot break”. Since I realized that I could truthfully say that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I needed to take a break, regroup, and then focus on my career—I don’t want to say that going through college and earning a PhD was for no reason—I’m going to dedicate time to figure out what the best path for me is in terms of a career change that still will allow me to make use of the skills that I picked up over the past twenty plus years (yes, I figured out that my academic career reached the legal drinking age awhile ago—and since I wasn’t totally happy within that arena it is time to figure out what arena I want to be in).

Here is to 2020—the start of a new year, and a new decade. It is a blank slate and I am capable of writing whatever narrative I want for my life. I control the direction that my life goes—all I need to do is fix the oars, patch the leaks, and look up to the stars. I open myself up to what the universe will send my way.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Taurus Full Moon Goals—a few days late

 So the moon has transitioned into it’s latest full moon phase and was going through the Taurus constellation; and I am going to be several days late in posting this as well. We’re somehow down to the last approximate seven weeks of 2019 and then we’re into 2020. My reboot break is starting in about a week and a half (more on that later). The weather is now bouncing between late spring, mid-fall, and winter temperatures and I have a feeling it will be doing that up until the official start of winter and then we’re into the cold temperatures.

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

            Have I been lazy or overly self indulgent this month?

            Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

            Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

            Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

            Have I done enough exercise?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be:

  1. I haven’t been overly self indulgent this month—but I will admit to being somewhat lazy. I manage to usually get all of my steps in during the day (and that usually correlates to at least 25 minutes of moderate walking throughout the day), and then two long walks on the weekend. I know that I need to get more stuff done and everything—but currently I’m battling the procrastination bug (and it’s slightly winning).
  2. No I haven’t been obsessed with status symbols, or overly obsessed with money. Currently I’m just trying to make sure that I have enough money to cover everything while I’m on my reboot break and reestablishing my job search.
  3. No I haven’t been possessive, jealous, or overly stubborn (I can’t rule out being a little stubborn—because that is how I always am). The only thing that I may be a little possessive over is my sleep—I would rather have things linger on the to-do list than stay up later than I normally would to finish something.
  4. Yes, I have been doing way too much comfort eating. This is one thing that I need to work on—when I’m stressed, depressed, having an anxiety attack, or just feeling off I usually will go for the high carb, high fat, really tasty (but “empty” calorie) foods. I’m pretty sure that once I’m on my reboot break, I will be getting my nutrition back under control.
  5. No, I haven’t been exercising enough lately. As I stated in question one (in terms of being lazy)—I usually try to get my steps in during the day (aiming for ~14,000/day) and usually call that good since it also usually correlates to at least 2 13 minute walks a day (but usually more). I know that I also need to start working out again, and I’m thinking that once I’m on my reboot break (I’ve lost the excuse that I’m tired after getting home from work), that I should be able to hopefully get back into some type of workout schedule and routine.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves. For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), so that means focusing on other relationships (work and friends).

Work wise, it will be trying to finish up what I need to over the next week or so, and to make sure that I have things written down for the next person who comes in. I’m also possibly staying on a little longer as there is someone out currently with family issues (and it could possibly overlap with my exit date). I’m also hoping to leave work without losing my cool with anyone, but remain cool and professional.

When it comes to spending time with friends, this is usually at times a spur of the moment depending on other people’s schedules—but I am going to try to be better at getting together with people.

So if I were to pick a couple of things to work on during the Taurus full moon period they would be:

            Meditating nightly (yes, this is focusing on me a little—but if I keep myself in the right mindset, I’m more polite and easier to be around other people).

            Reaching out to friends on-line (it’s a small step to start with, especially since there are only a few people within town that I probably still talk to, and I think better to start slow).

            Figure out when exactly my reboot break is going to start—that way I have an idea of when I can refocus on my nutrition and fitness.

Above all remember: progress over perfection.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthRebootBreak

September: Month in Review (a few days late)

Well September is officially over, and there are only 92 days left in the year. I’m also a day or two late in posting this as well. As I’m writing this I realize that my birthday has come and gone, and I am currently looking down my last year of my thirties. I also realized that I fell short on most of my goals for September.

We’re officially started the fourth quarter of the year, and I’m thinking that is where some of the change is going to take place, and the seeds for change in 2020 will be planted.

September goals were basically the same goals that I’ve had for the past few months, including the goal of working on my “reboot break” plan.

The goals for September included:

At least 420,000 steps

Continue with the photography challenge

Determine some type of workout routine (hopefully more than just walking)

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep money log)

Read 3 non-fiction books

Continue working on the reboot/pause plan

Try to set up a monthly calendar (getting organize) for various things

Continue reading on various industry websites and sharing interesting articles via linkedin/twitter. Plus notes for weekly recap on the blog

So how did I do with each one?

At least 420,000 steps

            So I at least managed to surpass my step goal for the month of September (and only had a few days that I was within 1500-2000 steps of my daily goal). My total number of steps for September ended up being 467,751 steps (almost 50K above my goal), and it brings my current yearly step total to: 4,047,300 steps. I’m well on my way of reaching my goal of 5 million steps by the end of the year.

Continue with the photography challenge

            I ended the month with another hiatus (and probably will start October with one as well). It isn’t that I’m not enjoying the challenge—because I am, but because I feel like I’m in a posting rut (the same topic—though the animal might be in a different pose, since pictures were taken on different days). So this is something that I’m going to be working on over the next few months.

Determine some type of workout routine (hopefully more than just walking)

            Well I stuck with mainly walking for the month—though there was a day or two at the beginning of the month that I did LIIFT4. I have created a hybrid calendar with LIIFT4, Country Heat, and Yoga Booty Ballet that I will hopefully be following for the rest of the year. I’m being smart and starting slightly light on the weights (instead of doing heavy right away), and may double up on the Country Heat & Yoga Booty Ballet on the weekends (Wednesday may be an automatic rest day, since there are quite a few chores that I have to take care of once I get home from work).

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep money log)

            This didn’t happen. I think that I might have managed a day or two here and there in terms of no spending on campus. One thing about quitting my job come November—I’ll be saving quite a bit of money, since I won’t be buying chocolate and/or coffee on a daily basis.

Read 3 non-fiction books

            I finished reading the “introduction” book in a self-development series (and am almost through with the second book; and the only other one I bought). The title of the book I finished is:

                        “Simplify your pursuit of success: Six simple steps to success” by Michal Stawicki

Continue working on the reboot/pause plan

            I’m still working on this plan. I have an idea of how the first two weeks may go—mainly getting my storage unit in order and enjoying the start of the holiday season (Thanksgiving). Since I’m also in the process of trying to rework my transition plan, and plans for traveling are slightly on hold (until I can figure out what will be either a mental health break and/or a combination work/enjoyment trips).

Try to set up a monthly calendar (getting organize) for various things

            This one is also a work in progress, as I haven’t found a planner calendar that I actually like (in other words one that is large enough for me to write multiple things for a single day), I’m in the process of trying to create my own monthly calendars where I can have multiple things written—or at least referenced back to on different days.

Continue reading on various industry websites and sharing interesting articles via linkedin/twitter. Plus notes for weekly recap on the blog

            I managed this for a while at the beginning of the month, but fell behind schedule towards the middle/end of the month. Though I didn’t take any notes to do a recap post on the blog.

So I fell short on basically ninety percent of my goals for September—but that ten percent success rate is what is keeping me going—Progress over perfection. I know that I’m not perfect, that I’m going to give in to my anxiety now and then, that I’m going to fall back on my fiction reading to help deal with my mood swings (and lets not talk about the current state of the world); but I am doing a little each day that helps me get a little closer to some of the goals that I’ve had set for quite a while.

Therefore the goals for October will include:

At least 434,000 steps

Photography challenge (if there has to be a recap session to make up for a few days—oh, well—I’m only human)

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

Continue working on my reboot break & start reworking my transition plan

Aim for one week no spend

Continue working out (hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet)

Set up the monthly calendar (can start with November as a trial run)

Keep reminding myself: Progress over perfection, and that I shouldn’t fear failure, but fear being in the same place next year as I am today.

No Comments fitnessMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Virgo New Moon Goals

So yesterday (or today, depending on where you live) the moon transitioned into its new phase and into the Virgo constellation. So there are now basically four months left in the year—tomorrow is September 1st—that means there are 122 days left in the year.

So this time of year is special—it’s Virgo season, and that is my star sign (as my rising sign is Scorpio and my moon sign is Pisces). It also makes sense that we all have three signs—as we’re rarely fit all traits of just one sign. Virgos are known to be neat, cleaning constantly, and have everything in their place. I’m semi-neat, rarely have things in their place, and clean when I need to (either when things are on my nerves or I’m bored).

So what are some 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 figure out what to fix—i.e. 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, whatever)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward.

The moon is also moving through my 11th house—or my friend zone. So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to friends and hopes and dreams?

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

            Ask your friends to introduce you 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 speak to.

            Thank your best friend for being there for you.

So it’s nice that this house is pushing me to focus a little on my social life (as I really don’t have one), and humans are social creatures by nature. Though currently I don’t have a lot of energy to focus on this portion of my life—I go to work, I go home, I go to work, I go home—this is really all the energy I have during the day/week. Though I will meet up with a college friend for lunch once a month (if both of our schedules allow it).

So again looking at these two lists, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include the following:

  1. Taking an inventory of my life—work on scheduling my reboot break, and other things
  2. Try to get back into a workout routine (probably Country Heat)
  3. Get organized (try to set up various calendars in regards to exercise, working on the blog, networking, job searching, and so forth).

All the while remembering: Progress over Perfection

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A review of the Capricorn Full Moon Goals

So tomorrow marks the full moon for August, and just like that we’re halfway through the month. I’m actually liking how time is going “quicker”—that means that pretty soon I’ll be starting my reboot break, and then readjusting, reorganizing, and restarting my job search/transition as well. So that means that it is time to look back on the goals that I had set for the Capricorn full moon, and see how I did with each one.

So my goals for the Capricorn full moon period will include:

Continuing to work on my drafting my “reboot break” and also working on my transition plan to move from academia to industry.

Read (finish) at least one personal or professional development book.

Finish my second round of Country Heat.

So in terms of my reboot break & transition plan—I have ideas for both. I’m planning on spending most of the first month dealing with my storage unit and slowly try to declutter and get rid of things. I’ve realized that I probably won’t be looking to buy a house any time soon—therefore I shouldn’t have a lot of stuff, and also whatever I do keep will need to fit in an apartment (or a condo). In terms of the transition plan, I’ve been going through my notes and I also have some ideas there as well.

I’ve managed to finish several books over the past full moon period:

            “Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and organize to make more room for happiness” by Gretchen Rubin

            “Pause: Harness the life-changing power of giving yourself a break” by Rachael O’Meara

            “The Self-Care Prescription: Powerful solutions to manage stress, reduce anxiety and increase well-being” by Robyn L. Gobin, PhD.

All three books dealt with one of the two areas that I’m currently trying to work on—decluttering and getting my mental/spiritual health back on an even keel.

Though now I’ve fallen into my reading for enjoyment more than reading to learn. Tomorrow, though I go back to reading at least 10% of a personal/professional development book before going back to an “enjoyment/escape” book.

In terms of the fitness goal, I did not make it through a second round of Country Heat. This was due in part to the weather—it’s been either hotter than hell, humidor than hell, or both—and after a long day at work wearing shoes & socks, I’d rather not once I got home. The other part, is that I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that I can’t leave work until 5 o’clock on the dot—when you have numerous things to do once you get home—something falls off the list.

I’m hoping once the temperatures drop a little, I will feel like putting shoes and socks back on at the end of the day and doing a workout—I use to do it after dinner, but then tried to push it before dinner (that way there wasn’t a little lag room for letting it settle before working out).

Well I managed to get two out of three goals this past full moon. Even though I didn’t make it through a second round of Country Heat—I did manage to basically hit my step goal at least Monday-Friday (weekends are something else, to where if it isn’t cool enough for a walk, I usually only hit about fifty percent of my steps). So I am making slow progression towards my goals. Now it is also time to sit and plan out the goals for the next full moon (which is tonight—or maybe tomorrow or last night depending on where you are in the world).

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Reboot Break Update I

So I’ve managed to decide on a start date for my reboot break—it will start roughly right around the Thanksgiving holiday. Many may think the timing is bad, but when you start a job right after the holidays, the contract usually ends right before it the following year. I more or less gave four months notice two weeks ago, so now I’m on a countdown clock.  I just haven’t decided on a end date for the reboot break—I know that it will at least stretch into the early part of 2020.

I’ve also decided that this is going to be a three-prong reboot break: course-correction/career reinvention, emotional/mental healing, and life enhancement. Currently I see all three as interconnecting—if I can get back on a even keel in terms of mental/physical health, I will be able to readjust my career trajectory and enhance my life at the same time.

I’m planning on spending a good part of early December trying to get my storage unit in better order; I started it last year right after the Fourth of July holiday, but haven’t had the time to repack anything that needs it. I’m hoping that in addition to repacking the boxes that have fallen apart, I will go through others and start paring down my belongings.

I’ve realized that I will probably always be living in an apartment (or condo)—I don’t really see myself trying to buy a house anytime soon. Therefore, I need to make sure that I’m not taking a lot of stuff with me that will just clutter up the space.

I’m also planning on working on my mental and physical health as well. By the time the reboot break starts, I will hopefully have finished a second round of Country Heat, the first round of Yoga Booty Ballet: Abs and Butt, and maybe be working through a second round of LIIFT4. In addition, I will start meditating twice a day (morning and evening), and writing more in my journal. By removing myself from a semi-toxic work environment, hopefully within a few weeks some of the mental cobwebs will be gone.

My traveling will probably be done during the springtime—at least one trip somewhere for enjoyment, and then one or two for networking/job hunting. I have a couple of ideas percolating for the networking trips—which one(s) I go with, will depend on the time of year, and how much groundwork I’ve done via online networking.

In addition, I have so many different e-courses that I’ve bought over the past few years, that I will finally have the time to sit down and actually go through and learn something that I can possibly use moving forward. I won’t feel guilty listening to videos taking notes on things unrelated to my current position. If I can also relearn a foreign language (such as Spanish or German)—it will allow me to travel more with a little more confidence.

So a recap:

Reboot break is starting end of November 2019. During the month of December I plan on getting my storage unit in order, starting to work through more of the e-courses, declutter things in my bedroom, and hopefully settled into a exercise/meditation routine as well (getting my mental and physical health back on track).

I will also then be planning out what I hope to accomplish during the first few months of 2020 as well. Those plans will be posted in an update, once I’ve posted pictures of the cleaned/organized storage unit and decluttered bedroom.

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Check-in on 101 goals

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

The dates for my 101 goal challenges are:

So my original start and finish dates were:

Start Date: January 1 2018

Finish Date: September 28 2020

My new start and finish dates:

Start Date: January 1, 2019

Finish Date: September 28, 2021

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

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

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

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

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Review of Scorpio Full Moon Goals

So tomorrow, the moon moves into it’s full moon phase for June. We’re a little over halfway through the month, and there are only two weeks left before we’re through the first half of the year. Therefore it’s time to look back on the goals that I set during the May full moon, and see which ones I managed to work into my schedule and which ones I forgot about.

The goals for the May Scorpio full moon included:

            Getting back on track with my fitness and nutrition.

            Working on my transition and “reboot break” plans.

            Trying to meditate and do a daily tarot/oracle card reading.

In terms of the fitness and nutrition goal—I’m trying to make sure that I hit (and hopefully surpass) my step goal at least five out of seven days. I’m also trying to do at least one walk around Boomer Lake on the weekend (depending on the weather). I’ve realized that my mental health isn’t the greatest right now—when I fall into my depression funks, I’m never to the point of hurting myself—I just get to the point where I don’t care about things (working out and eating properly usually tanks first).

Therefore I’m happy to note that I have managed to probably lose about 2-4 pounds over the last month (I’m not sure of the exact number since I don’t weigh myself constantly—I’m just stepping on the scale currently to actually figure out how much the puppy is gaining weekly). I’m also cutting back on the sweets that I get on campus (last week I only went and got them one day, and the week before that it was only two days—so I’m slowly cutting back on that as well).

In terms of my transition and “reboot break” plans—the reboot break will be happening before the end of the year (especially since I now realize how close to complete burnout I’m getting), and may actually happen before the end of summer. I know people will scratch their heads at the idea of quitting a job without another lined up (especially since that means that you don’t get unemployment—but I think it will work out better this way—I’m not on someone else’s timeframe for finding a new job). My only potential worry is that my parents may charge rent (and how much).

The reboot break is needed, especially since I’m been thinking about just packing some clothes, my laptop, camera, e-book reader, phone, & chargers and flying off somewhere without really letting anyone know about the plans. I’ve never taken the time before to try and really focus on what I want to do with my life—I’ve just gone (for the most part) a straight path of public school to college (undergraduate degree to graduate degree) to work (academic post-doc to academic post-doc to staff position 1 to staff position 2). I love science, but I really need to figure out what I want to do in relation to both science and my other passions as well.

In terms of meditating daily and also doing a daily tarot/oracle card reading—I’ve been probably an even fifty to sixty percent of the time. I know where the inconsistency in regards to this goal is coming from—my blah mood. I usually can meditate nightly, but doing the card reading is something that I just can’t force myself to do (and I’ve also realized that I’ve lost several followers on instagram because of it as well). I’m hoping to get back into the grove of doing nightly readings (I don’t do them in the morning—mainly because I don’t want to get up any earlier than what I’m already doing), and posting them to social media.

So it wasn’t one hundred percent on the goals this past month—but at least I was making slow forward progression with each one. I know where I need to try to focus first—my mental and physical health (and if you are struggling—know that you aren’t alone, and if you need to see professional help—please do so (personally I’m stubborn and not really one to talk about their feelings and thoughts with others)). I know that when I get those two aspects of my life back on steady ground, everything else should hopefully also start falling into place.

Pretty soon it’s going to be time for me to step out of my comfort zone in order to figure out what I want to do with my life. As much as I want time to slow down, I know that it isn’t going to—which means I need to start actually trying to live my life for myself, and not staying in the shadow of others.

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Weekend Reflections: where I’m at in terms of my new twelve month plans.

**Disclaimer** I am not in the healthcare profession, if you are in need of medical (or mental) help—please see a licensed healthcare professional. The following are just my thoughts, feelings, and ways I think I can deal with my issues. Again—if you have issues, please see a licensed healthcare professional**.

Spent part of the weekend doing some serious reflection, and have come to the realization of several things:

            I need to get better at time management (especially on the weekends, when I really don’t have my day structured that much). I realize that I could have the traffic coming to the blog higher, if I actually got posts written and posted on a regular schedule—instead of the semi-regular, sporadic schedule I’ve been doing.

            Also having better time management, means that I could probably also be looking at different career tracks that are in the free-lancing and consulting areas (instead of looking for the just general nine-to-five jobs).

            I would also have the time to dedicate to crafts and other projects or things I want to get accomplished.

            I have also become my own worse enemy in terms of getting into the best shape of my life. I have allowed myself to use just about any excuse for not doing my workouts in the evenings, and before anyone comments that I could be doing them in the mornings—right now I’m barely getting my seven and a half hours of sleep, and therefore I’m not sacrificing that just to get a workout in first thing in the morning.

            This one is also tied into the time management need as well—there are only so many hours in the evening before heading to bed, that I probably could be making better use of them, then how I’ve been using them.

            I also need to find better ways of dealing with my stress and anxiety. I have found myself going to the little market on campus and buying several different sweets and candy bars (that will either last me the day, or a couple of days depending on my stress/anxiety levels).

            The stress and anxiety have been issues that I really should have been dealing with years ago. I have a pretty good idea where a lot of my anxiety issues (tests, driving, and to some extent social) have come from (childhood can suck at times), and the stress is due in part to internalizing how I feel instead of just letting it out (probably would have had more issues in school if I vocalized how I felt at times). So those two issues have probably lead to some health issues (indigestion and upset stomach) that I also need to find better ways of dealing with (then taking over the counter medications and trying to ignore them).

So how can I start to address and manage these issues (I won’t say overcome and get rid of—because I know that having that mindset can set me up for failure)?

In terms of time management—I need to ask myself what tasks/items am I doing (or can I be doing) that are (or can be considered) beneficial for the future me.

Also I probably should look into the different apps/web pages that allow you to block certain pages to help increase productivity (I know that I do spend way to much time on social media).

Also I should ask myself—what tasks am I doing during the day at work that are actually going to be helping me move forward (and not actually helping move someone else forward). This might be a little more problematic, as I’m sure that there are at least one or two people that won’t be happy if I start to figure out other things to do that I deem more important then they do. In other words—I really need to start working on my individualized development plan (or my reboot break/transition plan).

In terms of getting back on track in terms of fitness and nutrition—there are several things that I can do:

            Have my bedroom clean and the workout equipment off to the side. That way once I’m done with a few evening chores, I can put on my workout clothes, stream the workout program and get it done.

            Not compare myself to others. This has been a hard one for me (especially the last few years that I’ve gained the weight back and the negative mind set).

            If I need to take a walk at lunch (due to stress or anxiety), I will try to have my small digital camera on me so that I can practice my photography skills (instead of going to spend money on candy).

            Also when needed—take my journal and go for a walk; then find a quiet area where I can sit and reflect on what is potentially causing my anxiety or stress to occur. Sit and try to write for at least five to ten minutes and then head back to the lab. Hopefully this will help me get a handle on the stress and anxiety.

            Get back into the habit of trying to mediate for at least three to five minutes every night before reading.

            Try to pack my shakeology (and supplements) to take to work and have it as either part of lunch or a snack. This will help me work back up to having it as part of breakfast.

So I know what I need to do in order to get myself back on the correct trail—patch some things that weren’t working, and rework some other things. I’m now going to picture my journey moving forward in one of two ways: I’m hiking and I will need to look for things to help me on my way; or I’m on a boat at sea, and I need to find unique ways of patching little holes in the boat to ensure that I can make it to the next island/land formation.

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