Category: fitness

Hiking and Kayaking within the Buffalo National River area

Another #throwbackthursdaytravel page is live under the travel tab. This week was highlighting our first trip to Arkansas, when we spent a few days in the Buffalo National River area.

Looking at the Buffalo River and the cliffs

My dad decided he wanted to do something a little different for our mini-vacation that year–and that was to paddle down a portion of the Buffalo River.

Showcasing what approximately ten miles of river looks like.

We managed to spend a couple of days exploring the area (hiking along various trails that followed the river), before we worked up the courage to actually put our kayaks in the water and head down the river.

As shown on the above map, we put our kayaks in the river at the Ponca site, and paddled/floated down the river for about 10 minutes until we got ‘out’ at Kyle’s Landing (luckily we had someone drive our van down there so we could get back to the cabin).

It was an interesting trip, and I learned quite a bit–such as inflatable kayaks probably weren’t the smartest choice of kayaks to use, class II rapids aren’t ‘baby rapids’, and I shouldn’t freak out when I flip the kayak.

One of the main rapids seen on the river

I would love to go back and visit the area again (and perhaps spend a little more time in the area), possibly spend more time hiking than floating down the river, but I am able to say that I did something that month that I’d never done before: kayaking over class I and II rapids in an inflatable kayak.

Wildflowers seen in the woods around the Buffalo River

Curious to know if you’ve been to the Buffalo River? If you’ve visited the area, did you just hike or did you kayak/canoe/float down the river and how far?

No Comments fitnessHealthnatureoutdoorsPhotographytravel

Tiny steps forward: now to get the plans onto paper

So we’re almost a third of the way through June–actually, tomorrow when we have the new moon it will mark the one-third mark in terms of days (since tomorrow is the 10th). So before looking ahead to the Gemini new moon (which will also be a solar eclipse–that I will not be seeing as it won’t be visible from Oklahoma), I need to look back at the goals I set for the Taurus new moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were the goals for the Taurus new moon? They included:

  1. Making a financial plan (short term but also hopefully long term as well)
  2. Really start investigating potential directions for transition/career
  3. Try and finish the following books: Career Rehab: rebuild your personal brand and rethink the way you work by Kanika Tolver; Creativity Rules: Get Ideas out of you head and into the world by Tina Seelig; and finally Percolate: Let Your best self filter through by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guanino.
  4. Box (or bag) up t-shirts that no longer fit well for donation (or selling online)
  5. Continue with the daily intentional movements

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. I actually just finished a book on this subject (‘The Financial Diet’) last week, and am working at formulating some plasn. Trying to think ahead long term (especially in terms of money) has always been slightly difficult, but I’m slowly getting there. While I don’t have the perfect (or even imperfect) plan written down–I have ideas bouncing around in my head. I just need to start following some of the tips and suggestions from the book ‘The Financial Diet’.
  2. I also just finished a book on this subject (though that book looked exclusively at online work) as well last week (’25 ways to work from home’). So I semi-touched on this in that post–but basically I have several ideas that I just need to sit down and try to flesh out (which includes trying to develop a ‘business’ plan if I’m serious about trying to work for myself).
  3. Well, I didn’t finish those three books. I’d mentioned in an earlier post that I created a personal/professional development board game and while it has ‘read’ down several times, the book list has been randomized and a roll of the dice chooses the book. While those three books are on the list, and will be finished–it just depends on a roll of the dice when I start (at the beginning again) for each of them. But I have finished reading four books between the new moons and they were:
    • The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
    • Permission to Screw Up: How I learned to lead by doing (almost) everything wrong by Kristen Hadeed
    • The Financial Diet: A total beginner’s guide to getting good with money by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage
    • 25 ways to work from home: smart business models to make money on line by Jen Ruiz
  4. Didn’t do–I wasn’t up to trying on shirts that probably don’t fit that comfortably (even though I should, as I’m trying to reach a somewhat neutral relationship with my body). I figured that this will happen once I figure out what my ‘business casual’ dress code is going to be along with my weekend/at home casual wardrobe. I will also have to have a ‘business professional’ dress code (mainly for interviews), but this will happen later this summer or early fall.
  5. Yes, I managed to keep up with the daily intentional movement (though it may not have always been recorded). These movements have been everything from house and yard work, to walking the dog, walks at Boomer Lake, and lifting weights.

So the only goal that I would say I met almost ‘perfectly’ was the daily intentional movements goal. I did read several books–but they weren’t the ones I’d ‘initially’ chosen. Going through clothes isn’t what I would consider a ‘fun’ chore (it is a necessary chore–but one that is still going to be put off a few months).

The long-term goals (career & finances) are slowly coming along. Through quite a bit of self-reflection, I’ve realized that one of my ‘sticking’ points with trying to develop new long-term plans is the fear that I’m either making another mistake or the path is going to ‘dead-end’ again. While I can’t control what the future holds, I can try to make sure that I’m ‘checking-in’ with myself on a regular basis to know whether or not I’m happy with the direction I’m going, so I can try to ‘correct the course’ before it leads to another ‘dead-end’ and I have to forage yet another new path.

All four books that I mentioned reading have been reviewed within the past two weeks here on the blog–and I highly recommend them to people in need of a different point of view on leadership, what hygge is, or finances.

Small steps forward mean that I’m edging closer to my goals–and while I may not have them totally set, I’m not afraid to wander forward searching for something better than what is behind me.

No Comments BookscareerfinancesfitnessHealthmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Turtles & throwback photos: celebrating national trails day

Did you know that June is the ‘Great Outdoors Month’?

It started as the ‘Great Outdoors Week/end’ in the late 1990s under President Clinton, and was expanded under the presidents that followed. It has only been the past two years (since 2019) that it was officially designated as the ‘Great Outdoors Month’ by Congress.

It was designed as a way to get people outdoors and being active, plus showcase how outdoor activities are economically beneficial as well for everyone.

Within the month, there are also ‘specific’ days that get celebrated as well, such as:

National Trails Day (1st Saturday of the month–so for 2021, that would be today), and National Get Outdoors Day (2nd Saturday of teh month, so this year it will be on June 12th).

So, today is National Trails Day which was established to promote awareness to the massive trail system in the country that is maintained by the local, state, and federal governments.

Luckily, I live just a few blocks from a great walking trail–Boomer Lake (the trail goes all the way around, plus there are mini-paths that branch off from some of the sidewalk). While there are still areas that I haven’t really explored (during the summer there are ticks to be worried about, and the the cold temperatures in the winter), but I do try to get out on the trail at least once a month (if not once a week). I’m also going to try to get to Sanborn Lake and see what type of wildlife is around there as well sometime this year.

Red-eared slider seen sunning itself at Boomer Lake

There are other hiking trails that are nearby at one of the larger area lakes, but not within walking distance. Plus, walking/hiking the trails at Lake McMurtry requires you to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes. At least at Boomer Lake, it is only water snakes (and I don’t get close to those either).

When we managed to get up to northern Minnesota for vacation, there were always numerous hiking trails on the north shore of Lake Superior, and then just walking the roads around the area lakes also allowed for nature photography and watching. Depending on the time of year that we would go up there–it would either be in time to look for waterfalls, or take pictures of the different wildflowers growing.

Following the river (which I’m pretty sure was in Temperance River State Park)

One nice thing about hiking along the rivers, you could see where they entered Lake Superior:

Temperance River entering Lake Superior

Sometimes you can even follow the trail all the way down to the mouth of the river. Then you are able to see all the rocks that have collected over the centuries.

Smooth rocks in the river

I do like trying to find agates on the beach–on the rare occasion I’m successful, but most of the time I’m not (though since I’m not a geologist–I may have missed quite a few of them).

Wildflowers

I’ve managed to do several other small hikes over the years (these will possibly be their own pages under the travel section–coming soon[in addition to possible pages for the these hikes as well]), and hopefully will be able to do a several more in the future.

Where is your favorite hiking trail located, and is it an easy, medium, or hard hike?

No Comments fitnessflowersHealthnatureoutdoorsRandom Celebration DaysReflectionsState Parkstravel

Stretching the comfort zone by introducing the bounce zone

So I decided earlier this month to ‘update’ my comfort zone diagram, as it had been almost three months since I drew the first one. Then it took several days to decide what to ‘write and share’ about it, as there is a ‘character limit’ for a LinkedIn post versus a LinkedIn article (and I’m not quite up to ‘writing’ personal/professional development LinkedIn articles yet).

Luckily, that (character limit) isn’t really a problem with blog posts. So, this post is an expansion of the LinkedIn post that I did earlier in the week.

First comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram

Looking at the first diagram and reflecting/pondering on what could be moved around in the various zones, I realized that I actually needed to add a zone–the bounce zone.

This is the zone/area of things that I’m doing on a somewhat consistent basis, but they haven’t become ‘comfortable habits’ yet.

Introducing the bounce zone……

When I looked at the newest version of the diagram I realized several things:

  1. The professional development area hasn’t been ‘stretched’ as much as the personal development area
  2. I’ve unintentionally allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to run the show for the last month or so by falling into overthinking and the analysis/paralysis loop
  3. I’ve been uncomfortable with the fact that I’m still unsure of the direction(s) I want to go in terms of my job transition
  4. I’m also still slightly uncomfortable sharing the fact that I have a blog up and running

These realizations had me looking back at this quote that I had highlighted in ‘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:

“When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you’ve gotten what you came for; you completed your mission. […] That’s why you lose interest: not because you’re flawed or lazy or unable to focus but because you’re finished.”

Re-reading that quote had me realizing the following:

  1. While I can’t control how others perceive (or like) my blog or writing style(s), I can control how I react.
  2. I won’t know if a particular direction will work in terms of a job transition, unless I investigate them more (which means getting out of the comfort zone)
  3. I am making progress forward, even if it looks like baby-steps or crawling to the outside world–progress is being made.

Therefore with summer around the corner–it is time that I start getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable (I can even start small, since baby steps are better than large leaps). I fully acknowledge that not everyone will like what I’ve written (or how I write) or even how I have the blog/website set up, but I need to continue in my ‘lane’ to find my ‘tribe’.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been overthinking–thinking about the various learning curves (for new subjects), the vast amount of information (for any subject), and wondering how to break everything down into easier to handle goals.

Therefore I’m slowly creating a multi-prong/step approach to continuing to stretch the comfort zone, while dealing with my inner critic/imposter syndrome.

The multi-prong step/approach is going to include the following:

  1. I’m creating a ‘bingo-like’ card that has different items listed. I’m saying ‘bingo-like’ in the fact that I’ve expanded it from a 5×5 grid to a 7×8 grid with no free space. The columns will be numbered 1-8, and the rows will be 1-7
  2. Each square will either contain a book to read, or a topic to investigate (or review). There will be two fitness squares–one will be automatically selected as a ‘continual square’ for the time frame needed to complete the listed programs.
  3. I will be making use of multi-sided dice (more than 1-6) for picking ‘squares’ to focus on
  4. I’m slowly creating the ‘rules’ for the game
  5. Once a square has been completed, I’ll stamp it with the check-mark stamp I bought earlier this year.

A longer (more fleshed out) post will be up by the end of the week on the ‘game’ after I get everything figured out and ‘finalized’

As I mentioned yesterday with my update on my 100+ goals, the name of the blog/website will probably be changing come fall/winter when I have a better idea of the direction(s) that I’m headed in both in terms of personal/professional development and online services that I can provide to the greater public.

Have you done the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram before? How long did it take you to draw your first one? How often do you look back at it and revise it?

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualitytravelUpdates

Check-in on the 100+ goal challenge. 300 Days in, progress is slow but steady

So, it is time for my 3rd check-in on my latest attempt on my take of the 101 goals challenge. If you haven’t heard of this challenge, it goes something like this–you make a list of 101 things that you would like to get accomplished in 1001-days. You then should periodically check-in with your list to see how you’re doing with the various goals on the list. I’ve tried to do the 101 goals in 1001-days several times, but usually ended up quitting after a few months (mainly due to forgetting to check-in with my list on a fairly consistent basis).

I decided to modify the challenge to where I have a longer list of things I’d like to get accomplished, and I basically doubled the time frame (so instead of 1001-days or 2.7 years, I’m trying 2002-days or roughly 5.5 years). I decided to double the time frame mainly because of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic is still going on, and therefore quite a few of my goals are actually on ‘hold’ until I feel like it is safe to travel again.

While I got my vaccine in early April (the Johnson’s & Johnson’s 1 & done shot), I decided that I’m still going to shelter in place through the summer and into the fall–I’m curious to see what type of ‘spikes’ the US will be seeing this summer/fall due to summer vacation and travel starting to pick up again. In addition I’m still working on figuring out what my ‘new’ normal is going to be looking like.

So, now it is time to look at the goals and see how I’m progressing in the different areas.

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. Clinical Research Coalition—only have a little over one module left for this program (I think it’s like 13 videos and two tests).

                        5. Medical Writers Organization—need to finish the writing/editing assignments

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. Intellectual Property Pack

                        10. Regulatory Affairs Council

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

                                    Decided that to make things a little easier—I will have a list of courses that I would like to finish in 2021, and if I manage to finish all of those, then I will go back to the major lists in the journal.

            12. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #13; 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).

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

                                    Managing to do this at least two to five days a week.

                        14. Commenting on posts

                                    Trying to get better at this.

                        15. Giving/Asking for recommendations—need to start doing

                        16. Start writing my own posts

                                    I’m slowly dipping my toe into the world of LinkedIn publishing, but usually by posting a picture or a motivational quote to begin will. My two best posts have been the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram posts. The first one had 1,934 views, 36 reactions, and 12 comments over a two month period, while the second post has had 7,602 views, 46 reactions, and 27 comments over the past 4 days. I will be posting the updated comfort diagram possibly tomorrow here on the blog as well.

            17. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            18. 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

            19. Become fluent in Spanish—Started to use the app Mondly for refreshing my Spanish, though I haven’t been that active with the app for the past month or so. Need to try to spend at least 30-45 minutes 5 days a week on this.

            20. Become fluent in German

            21. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

22. 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.

This is actually going to be reformatted and the number slightly lowered. I’ve decided to go with say reading ~30-40 non-fiction books a year. With counting previous years in to the running total I’ve read: 2018-2020 (73, though I considered 12 of them to be “reference” on a topic). I’ve also finished 7 books so far in 2021).

This means that to reach the 300 total I need to read another 220 books over 1702 days.

While I decided to try to not add any new books to the list–I probably have added in another five to ten books over the past two months or so.

            23. Finish the books on scientific writing

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

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

            26. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            27. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            28. More photographyWith the weather warming up, I’m hoping to do at least a weekly walk up at Boomer Lake (weather permitting); and updating/adding pages

                        29. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)—have started this challenge again, though it isn’t going at a consecutive 365 days.

                        30. Update photography pages on blog

                                    I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab on the website, and have been aiming to add at least one new species page a week (with pictures). The other pages added would be information on the bird order and bird family (with pictures as well).

            31. Make my own jewelry

            32. Learn to cross-stitch—Started doing this the other day. I’ve realized it will take practice and time to be able to do this decently, but it is something new to concentrate on

            33. 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

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

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

            36. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans. I’m slowly patching the other two afghans that Chaos chewed holes in. One is basically patched (though I need to sew the patch on a little better), and then I need to knit the patches for the second one.

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

            38. Start writing a book

            39. Learn Photoshop

            40. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought); this has been an on and off endeavor. There are some days/weeks I’m good at writing daily, and then I may go a week or longer without writing in it.

            41. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            42. Learn basic sign language

            43. 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.

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

            45. 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.

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

            47. 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.

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

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

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

Fitness & Health—On going

            51. Get into the best shape of my life

            52. Multivitamin and supplements daily; I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often.

            53. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts

                                    54. Morning Meltdown 100)—Finished my 1st round 9/15/2020

                                    55. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt ~3/4 of program completed by 11/14/2020

                                    56. 10 Rounds—1st round finished on 12/26/2020

                                    57. Barre Blend—Starting on 2/8/2021; only managed to do half the program before moving on to another one mainly due to the lunges and just not really feeling the program. Hoping to fit the last four weeks in this year between other programs.

                                    58. Insanity Max 30

                                    59. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round finished 11/14/2020

                                    60. 22-Minute Hard Corps

                                    61. T20

                                    62. Insanity

                                    63. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    64. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    65. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    66. 6 weeks of the work

                                    67. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    68. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    69. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)—Started to do the ‘LIVE’ version, though may go ahead and start the third round of LIIFT4 next week instead of finishing this program.

                                    70. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    71. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    72. CIZE—Did this program during March and finished it the first week of April. Enjoyed it even if I have two left feet and couldn’t keep up with the cast

                                    73. Muscle Burns Fat—First round finished 1/17/2021

                                    74. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced—First round done on 2/7/2021

                                    75. Let’s Get Up! —Shawn T’s new one; hopefully out fall 2021

                                    76. 9 week control freak off the wall (technically with just dumbbells)

                                    77. Shawn Week

                                    78. 80-Day Obsession

                                    79. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale

                                    80. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

                                    81. P90

                                    82. Core de Force

            83. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (practicing and managing 5-8 on my knees)

            84. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            85.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            86.  Hold a 90 second plank

            87.  Meditate nightly—though sometimes it is only for a minute or two. Trying to increase the timing.

            88.  60-80 oz of water a day; this has been more likely 40-60 oz of water daily and sometimes up to 80 oz

            89.  Stretch daily; I do try to stretch nightly, and in the mornings before getting out of bed.

            90. 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

            91.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            92.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            93.  Finish blog to biz course

            94.  Launch a YouTube channel

            95. Launch an online course

            96. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            97. Rebrand myself (?)

            98. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            99. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            100. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            101. Publish at least two blog series

            102.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        103. Blog

                        104. Instagram

                        105. Facebook pages

                        106. Twitter

                        107. Pintrest

            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)—This has been accomplished somewhat, as the current altar is on a bookshelf, so it looks fairly crowded.

            114. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings—Have been managing to do this (more or less), though I haven’t shared any of the readings on social media yet.

            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 30 different 30-day challenges. I’ve lowered the number of days for this challenge, but some of the challenges will include:

                        One challenge will be 30 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.

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):

            125. Re-pierce my ears

126. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        127. Present at a scientific conference

            128. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

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

            130. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            133. Visit at least one new zoo

            134. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            136. Visit at least one new city

            137. Visit at least one new state

            138. See the northern lights

            139. Attend at least one blogging conference

            140. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            141. Swim with whale sharks

            142. Parasailing

Once I move:

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

            144. New couch & chair for living room

            145. New dresser for bedroom

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

            147. New TV & stand

            148. New desk/craft workstation

So I added in another couple of advanced Cheeky courses under the professional development area (and that isn’t even all the advanced Cheeky courses–I have another nine on my list in my notebook), not to mention all the other professional development courses that I’ve bought over the past few years.

Currently my main goals for professional development is to create (or at least start planning) a career that allows for me to make use of my strengths, is potentially remote/online/freelancing, but also would allow me to work ‘in-house’ as well from time to time. I also realize that I haven’t been making as much progress with the various courses (both personal and professional) that I would like, an dwill be working on ways to correct this issue moving forward.

As I write this post, I realize that I really do need to start developing some type of calendar for posts, as I’ve stated that I’m going to write posts (views on different job paths and book reviews), but that is as far as I’ve gotten with certain items–so yet again, problem acknowledged and will be working on correcting this issue as well moving forward.

At the beginning of the year I set up a bingo card of different workout programs that I would like to complete over the next two years, and had set a goal of trying to complete nine of them this year (2021). I’ve realized that I may or may not reach that particular goal–reason, I would rather repeat programs that I enjoyed doing instead of trying to force my way through other programs. I will probably give each program a week or so of time, but if I haven’t gotten into by then I’ll move on to another one. Programs that will probably be repeated: LIIFT4, Morning Meltdown 100, 10 Rounds, and possibly Let’s Get Up (haven’t done this one yet, but like the trainer). Programs that may not be totally completed: Insanity, Insanity Asylum 1 & 2, and possibly Insanity: Max 30; the reason is that these are mainly cardio and at times I get bored with a cardio only (or cardio-heavy) program.

In terms of the direction for my career transition, I’m still leaning in the direction of freelance/remote/online work, with the possibility of some onsite positions as well. Trying to do both (working for myself and a company) would allow me to have interactions with others on a somewhat consistent basis, but also allow me to have a steady second stream of income as well (just in case another pesky pandemic comes along and shuts things down again). I’m also leaning to the more multi-directional approach (such as writing, data analysis, project and/or product management just to name a few ideas), as it appeals to both my mixed-styled multipontialite personality, and my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, and ideation).

This means at some point this year (probably closer to fall/winter), I will be changing the name of the blog/site to encompass both aspects of life (personal hobbies and development and the professional development and services offered). I have a couple of ideas bouncing around for a new name and I may post a poll on either Facebook or LinkedIn (or possibly both) to gauge others opinions on the new names.

I’m slowly developing a hybrid editorial/to-be accomplished calendar/list, but still am swinging between being overly ambitious in what I would like to get accomplished for the month, and then falling into analysis/paralysis and not getting anything accomplished for a week or so.

I started using the time management app Self Control to limit the amount of time that I’m spending on social media and other pages, and it has helped (when I remember to turn the app on). As I look ahead to trying to balance various aspects of things I will possibly try to organize my ‘professional/work’ hours to where I’m doing research on topics say Monday & Tuesday, writing the rough drafts and finding images on Wednesday, editing on Thursday, and then publishing on Fridays. This will possibly be the type of schedule I take once I’m really trying to showcase various professional services (such as writing, data analysis or project management projects). I will still be publishing more frequently on the personal/professional development aspects and hobbies (photography, book reviews, course reviews, goals and so forth).

I can say that I am making forward progress, no matter how slow it looks. I’ve found that slow (and the sometimes back-and-forth bounce from comfortable to slightly uncomfortable) is the best, as it usually allows me to notice when my inner critic/imposter syndrome tries to derail me from reaching various goals.

Over the next 100 days, I plan on focusing more on various personal/professional development courses, writing book reviews, course reviews, reading, crafting, and continuing on my health and fitness journey.

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Review of Aries New Moon Goals: All that is left is to flesh out the plans

So it’s almost time for May’s new moon–it should be moving through the Taurus constellation over the next day or two (tomorrow marks the new moon for the US). The pandemic is still going strong (especially in India, which is suffering from its second wave). When I wrote the original Aries new moon goal post last month, I mentioned that the number of cases globally were just over 137 million, and within the US just under 32 million total cases. Now–globally there are over 159 million cases, and the US is just under 33.5 million cases. While some areas are getting things under control–we’re still a long ways away from a ‘new’ normal.

But back to the moon transitions–before looking ahead to the Taurus new moon, it is time to look back and reflect on the goals that I set during the Aries new moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Aries new moon included:

  1. Making a new 12-month plan.
  2. Start with Country Heat and transition to 21-Day Fix Live in terms of fitness
  3. Try to start incorporating more fruits into my day and then more veggies
  4. Read a book on positive thinking
  5. Continue to meditate nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. In terms of the 12-month plan–I have a very rough draft that I’m still trying to flesh out in terms of quarterly/monthly/weekly/daily goals.
  2. In terms of fitness, I did about a week of Country Heat and then moved to 21-Day Fix Live. At the same time I was doing an intentional movement challenge of moving at least five minutes everyday. Therefore, keeping to that mindset my daily movement may or may not be a workout–it may be yard work, a walk, housework, or something to that extent.
  3. I’ve gotten a couple of books on intuitive eating that I’ve been looking through as I try to improve my relationship with food. I’ve realized that I like fruits a lot more than I do veggies. This makes cooking at times interesting since I don’t like to re-heat and eat most veggies.
  4. Nope, I didn’t read any books on positive thinking or psychology.
  5. Meditation is almost becoming a habit, especially in the evenings. While I’ve tried to also meditate in the mornings–that habit hasn’t stuck, so I think I’ll stick with the evenings.

So I set five goals for the Aries new moon (and actually one is almost a monthly addition to help me keep the habit going), and I managed to meet four of the five (so 80% completed) goals. The reading is something that always depends on my mood and whether or not I can get into the book, which is why I usually end up re-reading certain series constantly.

The health and nutrition is an ongoing journey. I realized quite a few months ago that I needed to change my relationship with food, get off the diet bandwagon, and ditch the mindset of counting calories, restrictive eating, and strictly follow a workout schedule. Currently I’m mending my relationship with food (realizing that I’m not eating enough protein, fruits, or veggies), and starting to think of intentional movement instead of daily workouts.

The 12-month plan has always been difficult–because that would mean that I picked a direction to go in (and then constantly dealt with the ‘fear’ that it may not be the direction I ‘really’ want to be going in). Currently I’m going to focus on online work (freelance/remote/contract) in the realms of writing, data analysis, project management, photography, and possibly consulting and tutoring/teaching.

I also realize that I have quite a bit of work to do in order to step in (and stand out in) those arenas–but I’m at least slowly edging out of the shadows and into specific areas–baby steps are still progress.

I’ve decided that I’m going to be ‘bouncing’ around in the realm of progress, and ‘floating’ in the area of imperfect, but doable work.

How have you manage to overcome analysis-paralysis to set (and meet) a long-term goal?

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Review of April Goals: Cyclic trend in goal completion

Well, we’re a third of the way through the year–four months down and eight to go. While the number of people getting vaccinated is either going up or holding steady, new cases of SARS-CoV2 are also on the rise in certain parts of the world (namely India). Therefore, this lady is still going to be self-isolating for quite a few more months, even though I did manage to get my vaccine at the beginning of the month (I got the J&J vaccine, so 1 shot and done).

In terms of various news stories–the cop, who was filmed with his knee on the neck of George Floyd was found guilty on all three counts of murder. His sentencing is in another two months or so (and I personally hope it is life without parole). There are so many problems in this country that have their roots sunk deep in racism, and how a portion of cops act towards non-whites is a huge part of that problem. Then there is the whole other topic of gun control (which I’m not going to touch here, at least right now).

I like the fact that we have a new administration that actually listens to and promotes science. While there are still a few hots pots within the country, we’re slowly getting the virus under control. When I published ‘March in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 31.1 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 33.1 million cases (so it was an increase of basically 2 million cases for the month, slight increase but compared to numbers from last year–nothing really major). I think the slight uptick in cases was probably due to various spring breaks and small regional ‘outbreaks’.

Before looking ahead to May (with the plans of becoming slightly more productive and organized), I should look at the goals that I set for April and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for April 2021 included:

At least 130-150,000 steps; this will hopefully include at least 1 walk at Boomer Lake and several shorter walks with Chaos with the weather hopefully getting nicer

Getting a new pedometer

Finish up CIZE and then move on to 21-Day Fix Live

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books

Read 3 fiction books

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, MWO assignments, and at least the 1st module of the Regulatory Affairs Council

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Craft time (jewelry design)

Finish (or start) at least 2 other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day learning Spanish

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 130-150,000 steps: I managed to meet and surpass the goal of 150,000 steps. I actually managed to get in 187,411 steps–this included 2 full walks at Boomer Lake, a partial walk at Boomer Lake, and probably half a dozen walks or so with Chaos throughout the neighborhood.

Get a new pedometer: I got a new pedometer that also acts as a watch during the day. I decided that I didn’t need to sleep with it on (as one of the features is sleep tracking), as I usually sleep better without knowing how often I toss and turn

Finish up CIZE and then move on to 21-Day Fix Live: I finished up CIZE (more or less), and while I have started 21-Day Fix Live, I’ve also been walking and doing things outside as well, so there are days that aren’t ‘tracked’ via the Beachbody workout platform, since they no longer have an option for adding in non-Beachbody workouts.

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books: While I’ve been reading, I haven’t actually finished any of the three that I started as I’m also trying to work through the various exercises within the books as well. The books that I’m currently reading are:

‘Design Your Life: How to build a well-lived, joyful life’ by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

‘Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work’ by Kanika Tolver

‘Reivention Road Map’ by Liz Ryan

Read 3 fiction books: I have manage to read quite a few books this month (though I have yet to write any book reviews). The books I read were:

My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan

State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force

I also re-read the entire Fatal series by Marie Force as well before State of Affairs was released (there were 16 full length books and two novellas in the series).

I also read the first two books of the ‘Steeles at Silver Island’ series by Melissa Foster.

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, work on the MWO assignments, and start in on the Regulatory Affairs Council program (three of the advanced Cheeky Scientist programs): Well, none of this happened this month.

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited spending month: I did okay for the first three-fourths of the month, there were book splurges towards the end of the month. More on this in the next installment of my limited spending challenge updates.

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly: Weather was nice, so there was more time outdoors, and I have been meditating most nights as well.

Craft time (jewelry design–try to make 1 necklace/bracelet set): Nope, the only crafts I did this month was a little photography and the addictive color by number pictures on the kindle app

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses: Well, since I didn’t complete any of the cheeky courses, this didn’t happen either.

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day refreshing Spanish: I think I managed a day or two of Spanish this past month.

So in terms of meeting my goals for April–I think I am more or less at an even fifty percent. I managed to meet half the goals, while not getting close on the other half of the goals. Part of the problem is the nice weather–I want to be outside, so I go outside but I usually don’t take anything out with me to work on–then I get upset with myself at the end of the day when ‘nothing’ has really been accomplished.

Another problem–is just the mindless scrolling through both the internet and social media. Therefore, I’m going to start making use of the one ‘time management’ application (Self Control) that I downloaded earlier in the year, but have yet to activate it. While I have done my ‘May brain dump’, I’m also going to be putting thing on a weekly ‘to-be-accomplished’ list with a set of due-dates for various stages of work (research/rough draft/editing/posting and publication). This will hopefully allow me to get more posts and pages up on the blog, and possibly some posts for LinkedIn as well.

I’m also giving myself grace, as I realize that everything is cyclic, and while some months may be extremely productive, the next month (or two) may not be that productive, but things can always swing back towards productive with a little bit of focus.

Therefore, the goals for May 2021 will include:

At least 135-155,000 steps; since the weather will be getting warmer, hopefully there will be at least a weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and possibly half a dozen or so with Chaos through the neighborhood

Finish up 21-Day Fix Live and then start 21-Day Fix Extreme Live

Finish reading the 3 non-fiction books listed above

Read 3 fiction books

Finish the Clinical Research Coalition program, the MWO assignments, and the first 2 modules (at least) of the Regulatory Affairs Council program

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Craft time

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes of Spanish at least 5 days a week

Activate the time management app: Self Control

While continuing to remind 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’

In addition to remembering: Growth, Creativity, Curiosity, Happiness, and Prosperity were the words I chose for 2021.

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The Pink Super Full Moon: Scorpio goals moving forward

So we’re heading into April’s full moon tonight, and it is also the second ‘super full moon’ (aka the pink super moon) of the year. I wrote in the ‘Libra Full Moon Review’ how I felt like everything was starting to ‘speed-up’ again after going so slow last year–but at the same time things are still in ‘slow-motion’. Everyone wants everything opened and back to ‘normal’–the only problem with that is that the old ‘normal’ is how we ended up in this damn global pandemic. Yes, there are vaccines against the SARS-CoV2 virus, but they only go so far in protection. I was talking with a friend last week and we were discussing ‘herd immunity’ and who knows what the actual percentage is and if we’ll ever reach it–the only reason why I say that is that it has been shown you can catch SARS-CoV2 again after having it (and it may end up being worse the second time around) and even if you have the vaccine–there is a small chance you can catch it still (and even a smaller chance that you could still possibly die from SARS-CoV2 related complications). I think that the virus is here to stay, and as a global society–we need to start figuring out a new ‘normal’.

Anyway, back to the April full moon and moving forward trying to find/define both my new ‘normal’ and what it is going to be looking like.

The April full moon is going to be transitioning through the Scorpio constellation. Therefore if one looks to the book ‘Moonology’ there are several questions that one can reflect on during the next few days, and they are:

Have I been jealous, vengeful, suspicious, or otherwise behaved toxically?

Have I been living out of fear rather than joy?

Have I been brooding and dark: focusing on the negative rather than the positive?

Have I been cruel and cunning?

Am I have the sex I need to feel good about myself (of course some people need no sex at all to feel good about themselves)?

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

  1. While I haven’t been acting jealous, vengeful, or suspicious towards anyone, I will admit to behaving slightly toxic towards myself. I realized last month, that I have been allowing the ‘bad habits’ of my inner critic/imposter syndrome to have full reign and I really didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as I would have liked. I realized that acknowledging my inner critic/imposter syndrome is the first step in dealing with them–I also need to actively work at dealing with the ‘bad habits’ that pop up whenever I feel/realize that I’m really stepping into the stretch/risk zones and out of the comfort zone.
  2. If I’m being totally honest–yes, I have been living out of fear rather than joy. This is tied into issues with my inner critic/imposter syndrome. Instead of figuring out ways of dealing with the various ‘problems’ as my mind makes them up, I allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to use them to reel me back into my comfort zone. Something again to work on this coming month.
  3. Well, again if I’m totally honest–I probably have been focusing a little too much on the negative rather than the positive. This is mainly due to the fact that I’m still trying to work out what I want to do moving forward. While I’ve semi-decided on possibly freelancing, remote, or contract work (or a mix of the three)–deciding on how to start is usually where all the negative thoughts creep in. Again, the problem has been acknowledged–I just need to start deciding on how to deal with the problems.
  4. No, I have not been cruel or cunning to others or myself.
  5. Again, the answer is no–mainly because 1) we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, 2) therefore it really isn’t in good form trying to go out and meet new people, and 3) I’m still trying to figure out my life, which may (or may not) include at least one move in the near future. Therefore, I’m not in the mindset/mood to deal with another person’s opinions/thoughts on my future right now.

The moon then is also moving through my first house (or my Image zone), as I usually work with my rising sign (which happens to be Scorpio; as my sun sign is Virgo & my moon sign is Pisces). The first house (or Image zone) focus on you–your personal and/or professional life.

I realized that my moods, focus, and ability to really get numerous things accomplished goes through cycles (some months are more productive than others), and that I also fall into the habit of focusing on one thing over others (a habit that I’m working on breaking). Therefore, I’m actually going to focus on developing a good working plan (covering both personal and professional development) that I can actually stick with it. I’ve gotten a little better at ‘channel-switching’ during the day (going between computer and non-computer work), I will still avoid doing things that I know I should be doing in order to move closer to certain goals; also as nice weather stays–I need to work on the schedule on getting things done on the computer (either morning/night) instead of just sitting outside all afternoon. As I try to work on my inner critic/imposter syndrome, I’ve come up with a small list of goals that will also help me move back towards other goals. Those goals will include:

Finishing up 21-Day Fix Real Time and then starting 21-Day Fix Extreme Real Time

Spend more time reflecting and set at least one ‘long-term’ goal (personal or professional; bonus points if I can set one of each) that is at least 5-10 years down the road.

Then finishing setting up my 12-month plan (based semi off the ‘long-term goals’; plus this would also be finishing up the Aries new moon goal as well)

Continue to mediate daily/nightly

And above all remember as I continue through 2021–Aim for progress and not for perfection.

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CIZEd it Up: reflections & realization that I’m not a professional dancer

CIZE (c) beachbody.com

So there is another fitness program review page up under the fitness tab. Since I had decided that I wasn’t quite in the mood to finish Barre Blend (but will be finishing up the last four weeks throughout the rest of the year)–I transitioned to CIZE for the month of March and the beginning of April.

While I’ve had the program for years (it came out on DVD back in 2015, when Beachbody was still releasing their workout programs on DVD), I never could make it all the way through the program.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like the program or the trainer–it was that I kept getting frustrated with how fast the routines would progress. Since I’m someone who has always considered herself as someone with two left feet–I will fully admit that when it comes to dancing, I gete frustrated quite easily.

But since one of the words I chose for 2021 was growth–I decided that I would give the program another try, and instead of focsuing on getting each move down perfect, I would focus on having fun and learning something different.

This was actually the mindset I started to cultivate last year when I was in my first round of 10 rounds–I know that I won’t be a professional mixed martial art fighter, just like I know I will never be a professional dancer, but I can go through the programs with the focus on enjoying moving my body and learning something new.

I have no idea on whether or not I lost a lot of inches, nor do I know how many pounds may have been lost or gained during this program–as those aren’t things that I’m focusing on during my journey now.

My focus now is getting into the best shape of my life, which may mean that I do lose weight, but at the same time I know I will also be focusing on gaining muscle and self-confidence as well.

On a side note, I did the preview workout for Shaun T’s newest program: Let’s Get Up! I enjoyed it–it is looking to be a mix of dance (but easier to follow than CIZE–no big choreograph dances) and resistance training. I may end up breaking my no-buying early access to a workout program when the early access is available for this one.

I gave CIZE 4.5 out of 5 stars–only because there wasn’t a ‘modifier’ (or someone dancing just a little slower than the others). I do plan on doing another round of CIZE probably sometime in 2022 or 2023.

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‘New Astrological Year’: Aries New Moon Goals

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been dealing with the SARS-CoV2 viral pandemic for over a year now. The number of cases globally are over 137 million, and within the US we’re going to be hitting 32 million total cases tomorrow (April 13). Looking back at the post from last year–I can say that I managed to meet the top goals that I set at the outbreak of the pandemic (even though we’re still not totally out of it)–I managed not to catch the virus (and actually managed to get the J&J vaccine shot last week), and I have more or less managed to keep my sanity intact over the past year (now need to work on improving time and project management).

I’ve been trying to be better at posting this year than I was last year–I started the photography challenge again last week, and will probably be posting day 3 tomorrow (though in theory it should more like day eight). But enough about that–the moon is going through it’s fourth new phase either last night or tonight (depending on where you live), and it marks the ‘start’ of new astrological calendar.

So what are some things that one can work on during the Aries new moon?

They include:

Taking action on dreams and plans.

Making a 12-month plan

Be courageous in moving towards achieving your goals

Have some fun

Focus on yourself

Then one should look to see what house Aries is passing through to gain a little more prospective about the coming weeks. For me it is passing through my 6th house or my daily work and health zone. So for me this means that I should be trying to develop that daily schedule that allows me to focus on the top priorities in my life right now: personal/professional development, health (mental/spiritual/physical), and of course working on my transition plan (tied in with personal/professional development).

So if one looks back at the book ‘Moonology’, there are lists of things that one can pick from that are associated with each sign in each house–so for me when Aries goes through my 6th house I can pick and chose from the following:

Recommit to some type of exercise program

Think about (correct if need be) your eating habits

Help someone out this month

Talk to your boss about any work concerns you might have

Read a book on positive thinking

Eat healthy lunches or dinners for one month (no exceptions)

Learn to meditate

So I’m starting to find it a little uncanny at times how accurate the moon transitions are through the houses (especially when I know there are certain things I should be focusing on). While there are things that are listed and are considered ‘mainstream’ (such as correcting eating habits or eating healthier)–I’m actually working on developing a better relationship with food, and starting to listen to my body more. I’ve been sticking with a workout routine (at least platform wise) and by that I actually mean that I’m aiming at moving my body for at least five to fifteen minutes a day–doing a workout, chores, walking, gardening, or whatever; unless I feel like I’m in need of a rest day.

So what are the things that I’m going to try to focus on over the next few weeks?

Making a 12-month plan. I have my ‘focal points’ (more on these in another post)–now I just need to flesh things out to a yearly plan (with monthly/weekly and possibly daily goals)

Start with Country Heat and once the arm isn’t as sore transition to 21-Day Fix Live

Work on incorporating more fruits into my day and then slowly work on the veggies

Read one of the books I’ve bought on positive thinking (or at least on positive psychology)

Continue with my evening meditation routines.

And while the insanity of the world is slowly starting to come under control, I’m still going to focus on: Progress over Perfection.

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality