Category: fitness

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.

No Comments 101 GoalsBooksCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspiritualitytravel

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.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional development

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.

No Comments fitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspirituality

12 month plan update: starting slow and trying to stay moving

So I had posted earlier this week that I was in the process of developing a new 12 month plan that encompassed several different areas: health and fitness, career, finances, and spirituality. These areas were picked because they can more or less feed off of each other and once you have some of these areas under control everything else can then hopefully fall into place.

So I know that starting out I probably won’t reach 100% on each area, and that there will be some weeks when I subconsciously focus on one more than the others. The purpose here is to keep moving forward (even if it seems to be at a snail’s pace).

I decided that each week I’d set two to three goals per area, and then on Saturday and Sunday review how I did the previous week and then adjust the goals accordingly for the following week. Today’s review/check-in will cover my goals for health and fitness, and finances. Tomorrow will be career and spirituality/personal development.

Since my main fitness goal is to get into the best shape of my life.

So my goals for fitness and nutrition this week were:

            Set up a new workout schedule for the week.

            No sweets at work.

            Hitting my step goal daily.

So how did I do with each one?

My workout schedule for the week was to do the following workouts:

Monday—LIIFT4: Chest & Triceps

Tuesday—LIIFT4: Back & Biceps

Wednesday—Country Heat: Country Swing

Thursday—LIIFT4: Shoulders

Friday—LIIFT4: Legs

Saturday—Country Heat: Giddy Up

So today I will be probably doing a double workout (as long as the internet/wifi behaves) of Country Heat: Giddy Up followed by LIIFT4: Legs as I took yesterday off as a rest day. Also for full disclosure, Wednesday’s workout was only 20 minutes of the 30-minute workout (because the wifi in the house blinked out and then reset itself—and I wasn’t in the mood to do the entire program again or try to get it back to where it was). But I have managed to do a workout basically daily—which is a lot better than what I’ve managed to get done the past couple of weeks. I’m also starting back a little light on the weights and hopefully working my way back up to where I was when I finished my first round of LIIFT4—my NSV goal is to be able to do bicep curls with 14-20 pound weights.

In terms of no sweets at work—I managed to go three out of five days (60%) of not getting any sweets at work. I had bought coffee and breakfast on Thursday (which included a candy bar—that I ate with my lunch on Friday), and I guess I bought some candy Tuesday afternoon as well (though I had forgotten about that candy splurge). While it short of my goal of five days it is a lot better than what I’d been doing the previous couple of weeks.

In terms of hitting my step goal daily—yesterday was the day that I fell short of the goal of a minimum of 14,000 steps (I finished with 11,518; which was 82% of my daily step goal). But every other day this week I managed to get at least 14,000 steps; so even though I didn’t hit yesterday—I’m still close to my weekly goal of 98,000 (Sunday-Saturday).

So I managed to hit the goals 75% of the time—rest days are important so I’m not going to beat myself up on the fact that I took one yesterday instead of doing my workout. I also know that stress/anxiety and having a bad night sleep are usually the culprits for me going to look for sugar fix on campus during the week. Know what the triggers are is helpful—but now I need to find a different way of reacting that doesn’t include sweets or spending money.

I am also trying to get back into the routine of writing down what I eat daily (usually at the end of the day; though sometimes I remember to start my daily food journal at lunch). This is just so that I can maybe start trying to determine if certain foods are also making me feel uncomfortable and then adjust what I eat accordingly.

So my goals for the coming week in terms of fitness and nutrition, are going to be more or less the same (as I’m happy with being at about 75% for all three):

Set up the workout calendar again (LIIFT4 with either Country Heat or Yoga Booty Ballet)

Trying to avoid buying sweets on campus (this also helps with the no spend challenges)

Hitting the step goal daily (this way I can work towards my monthly and yearly step goals).

In terms of my finances—I realize that I’m going to be 39 this year, which means that I should be thinking about making sure that I have enough money when I retire (in basically 25-30 years; or possibly sooner if I can swing it). Currently my finances are okay (mainly because I’m living at home and have very few monthly expenses).

Finance goals–broad, but currently better than not having any.

 I have managed to get my credit debt back to down to basically zero from the astronomically high amount that I owed when I moved back home six years ago. I probably could have had it paid off sooner, but I was also trying to build my savings account back up at the same time.

By the end of twelve months I would like to hopefully have my savings up another 10-15K (or at least steady—which means having saved hopefully an additional 6-8K to cover any moving expenses for when I get an new job and have to move out of Oklahoma). I always want to start getting my retirement account a little higher (which means having some money set aside that I can put into another type of retirement account that is separate from my current one).

My goals for this week were:

Fill in my money log for the first part of the month (I know that I’d spent money during the first part of the month—but I didn’t fill in the sheets; so I need to have gotten that done).

No spending money at work.

Check all credit card accounts and readjust my monthly budget accordingly.

So how did I do with each one?

I filled in my monthly money tracker. This was more of trying to keep track of money spent on campus—so there were one or two things that I had forgotten to put on it (like the e-book that I bought or the two journals that I’d bought for note taking).

I did spend a little money on campus this week—two out of the five days (but that is one day better than the week before where I spent money three out of five days).

I’ve done my credit check, and my monthly budget that I set up is looking like it is still good—I’ll probably readjust it after the next biweekly paycheck comes in so that I can set up for my May budget.

One thing that I will be doing is making a list of monthly re-occurring fees and looking to see which ones I might cancel. I know that I do support a couple of non-profits via monthly donations that I charge to a credit card; plus I have several other things that come in monthly that are charged to a credit card as well. My goal is to try to have a monthly sum (via all credit cards) of less than $750 dollars—that way it can also get paid off monthly as well (and there will be no interest charged). So we will have to see how this goes.

My goals for the coming week in terms of my finances are:

No spending any money at work (keep money log up to date).

Transfer about half a paycheck to the savings account.

Resubmit the declutter order and sell quite a few DVDs back for a little bit of money.

So overall I’m pleased with the first week’s progress for both my fitness and nutrition journey and getting my finances back on track. I realize that there may be weeks that I have a set back in both areas—but I need to remember that small setbacks are okay (and even expected)—I just need to keep moving forward and not allow them to derail me like I have in the past.

No Comments 101 GoalsfitnessHealthPersonal Development

Starting to re-plan different areas of my life

So one of the goals that I set during the Aries new moon last week was to start working on a new 12 month plan for different areas of my life. I’ve picked two main areas, with two sub-areas in each of those areas. The two main areas are personal and professional development.

Within personal development I’m going to try to focus on health (both physical and mental) and nutrition; though I can also include spirituality, social and emotional health as well. In terms of professional development I’m going to focus on transitioning from academia to industry, and then my finances as well (though this could be within both spheres).

So currently I have the larger picture for most of these written down–the smaller steps may change from month to month depending on how the previous month went, and how things are going day to day.

The 12 month plan for my finances include: Getting my savings account up another ~10-15K (knowing that if I do get a job & moving will take a good chunk out of the savings account). Look to invest a modest amount into a short-term CD (or other low risk investment account). Save at least $500 a paycheck (which is currently ~42% of a biweekly paycheck).

The 12 month plan for fitness & nutrition include: not setting a number goal (i.e. not putting down a certain weight), but using increasing non-scale victories as goals and measurements. I would also like to be hiking and/or camping somewhere next year that would require me to be in better physical condition than my current physical condition. Also I will be watching my sweet tooth and portions (I refuse to get on the organic/gluten free bus).

The 12 month plan for the rest of my personal development includes becoming a better version of myself. This will encompass silencing the negative storytelling that I constantly do, learning to control and manage my anxiety, and just own the fact that I am a pagan and don’t follow the major belief systems of the western world.

In terms of my 12 month plan for transitioning into an non-academic job I’ve realized that one thing that has held me up is trying to determine the company I would like to work for. There are so many different companies out there, that at times looking at them I feel like I’m in a candy store. So that is the number one thing I need to do–decide what type of company, and where I want to work. I know that people say you need to have multiple applications going, and I understand that–but I also realize that I need to be very strategic in how I’m going to be doing it (so there will probably be several more long posts on this subject).

Plus also in terms of my transition plan–I need to be able to answer the question–where do I see myself in five or ten years. I know that I’m capable of learning new techniques and skills fairly quickly, but I first need to get over the fear of being lectured on potentially doing something wrong (this goes back to other issues–and will probably be touched upon in another post).

But for now–I’ve decided that there are areas that need work and improvement. By sharing here on the blog I’m also giving myself some accountability–there will probably be either weekly updates or biweekly updates on the different areas that I’m working on. Change is good, change is constant, and it is time to get off the merry-go-round and start figuring out the next chapter of my life.

No Comments fitnessHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Oracle Card Reading: Photography Challenge Day 9

So I was having trouble deciding what to post for today’s photography challenge–it was overcast this morning so there was no sunrise picture, and cloudy all day so there wasn’t even a cloud picture to try to take at work. Therefore instead of randomly taking a picture of one of the animals, I decided that I’d share one of my oracle card readings instead.

Sunday night’s card spread.

This month I have been using the Sacred Rebels Oracle deck (this is the second deck that I got out in Salem last fall). I’m still getting use to the cards, as the messages take a little longer at times to figure out.

Last night’s spread brought the intertwining messages of trusting yourself (your inner voice and intuition), and then bringing your dreams into reality.

Right now I’m working towards trying to bring about the job transition from academia to industry. One of my trouble spots is networking (or figuring out how to add value to others), and that is something that I’m trying to work on this year.

I have numerous different craft/artistic ideas floating around in my head as well–these are other things that I need to make the time to work on. The final thing that I need to focus on is my health and fitness. This isn’t to get to some number on the scale–but to be able to do things–I’d like to hike to the Incan ruins in Peru, hike at the Grand Canyon, and do things like that. But in order to do those things–I have to be in a lot better shape than what I currently am–which is why I’m trying to go through various workout programs (doing them as a mesh-up) and trying to get my nutrition into moderation over any of those “diet” fads that are out there.

That is at least what the cards “said” to me…Their message to you may be different.

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Book Review: 30 Day Productivity Plan: Break the 30 Bad Habits that are sabotaging your time management one day at a time by Damon Zahariades

So I’ve realized that with the books that I’ve managed to finish this month–they all have had a central theme of thirty days. Either talking about bad habits (such as this particular book and the second volume) daily, or as thirty day challenges.

The first two book reviews are covering the aspect of learning about different habits that could be sabotaging our daily productivity and how to go about correcting those habits, and the other two books are filled with different 30-day challenges.

So this is the start of a two part book review series. One of the books that I’ve had on my electronic to-be read pile was “The 30-Day Productivity Plan: Break the 30 Bad Habits that are Sabotaging Your Time Management One Day at a Time” by Damon Zahariades. Then a few weeks ago I noticed that there was a second book out, and I went ahead and purchased that one as well. The basis of both books is to read them, and then pick a “bad habit” to break, and slowly work on increasing our productivity again by not doing (or limiting) certain things.

So with the first volume, the “30 bad habits” that were covered in the this book included:

1) Checking your email more than twice a day;

2) Trying to be perfect;

3) Creating overly ambitious to-do lists;

4) Giving yourself too much time to complete tasks;

5) Kicking yourself over past mistakes and failures;

6) Saying “yes” to everyone;

7) Working overtime;

8) Being a control freak;

9) Eating unhealthy foods;

10) Procrastinating;

11) Postponing taking action on hard tasks;

12) Checking social media throughout the day;

13) Neglecting to take breaks;

14) Binge-watching television shows;

15) Neglecting to create systems for recurring tasks;

16) Multitasking;

17) Refusing to take responsibility for your choices;

18) Telling yourself you’re not ready;

19) Neglecting to organize your day;

20) Feeling sorry for yourself;

21) Working against your body’s natural rhythm;

22) Refusing to get enough exercise;

23) Worrying about what others think of you;

24) Keeping up with current events;

25) Focusing on the 80% that doesn’t matter;

26) Getting caught up in unnecessary drama;

27) Working without concrete goals;

28) Letting your phone run your life;

29) Working until you burn out;

30) Allowing stress into your life.

I would have to say that I’m guilty of the following: 1, 2 (in certain circumstances), 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, and 30. I almost added in #7, but with being told that I have to “ask permission” to go over 40 hours a week, this makes sure that I don’t go over the hours. So in theory I have 21 “bad habits”, and I’m trying to correct the following already: 9 & 22. I will admit that I do check my different email accounts several times a day (but at least for two of those, I delete more than I read) and with my work email, part of my job is responding to clients so I need to do that in a timely manner.

I will admit that at times I create overly ambitious to-do lists, though they probably wouldn’t be so overly ambitious if I had them separated into the different aspects (work, home, personal development) of my life instead of as one (or two) major lists that seem to be never ending.

I probably also give myself way to much time for certain tasks (say writing a blog post), or finishing a personal assessment project/assignment. There are times when I realize that I don’t feel like doing an introspective task, so instead of putting it on a different to-do list or calendar, I’ll just tell myself that I’ll complete the task tomorrow (and then repeat that story the next day….).

I know that both my nutrition and fitness routine need to polished. Right now it is actually easier to focus on my fitness routine then trying to totally change my eating routines. I’m trying to be more mindful of what I’m eating, and also not eating as much processed sweets as I usually have done in the past—but at the same time I’m not going to devoid my life any treats either; it all about balance.

10, 11, 18, and 27 all go hand in hand right now. These could all refer to how slow I’ve been going in my job search & transition. I want to move from academia to industry, but at the same time there is the fear that I could be making the wrong move (i.e. choosing the wrong company to work for). These are all things that I have been working at over coming (though it has been slow going).

In terms of keeping up with current events, I think that one should keep up with current events in order to be a well-informed person, but one doesn’t need to be checking the news constantly. I look at BBC news several times a day (but that is also to see if there are any new science stories up; if there doesn’t look to be any I get off the page). I also only check the news to make sure that there isn’t some huge catastrophe happening somewhere in the world.

In terms of number 23, I have slowly started to care less about what others think of me—yes I know it’s important to have a good personal and professional brand, but at the same time I know that there are people who don’t like me and there is little I can do about it. If others judge me based on other people’s opinions without getting to know me—that is their problem not mine. I’ve realized that I’ve spent too much of my life trying not to rock various “boats” that I’d almost forgotten that the only opinion that really matters at the end of the day is mine (as long as I can look at myself in the mirror & I’ve tried to be a good person that day, that’s all that matters).

I’m still trying to figure out the different twenty percent that yield eighty percent results for different areas of life. I know that in terms of my job transition—I need to spend more time networking & setting up informational interviews (those will hopefully lead to an actual job interview and possible job offer); changing my eating habits will yield larger results in terms of getting into shape and getting healthy & fit. Areas that I’m probably still focusing on the wrong things could include personal and professional development (I need to narrow down what I want to focus on this year that can lead to my goals quicker), and this can also tie in with #27 as well.

In terms of working until I’m burnt out and allowing stress into my life—these are two areas that I’ve always struggled with.

In terms of working until I’m burnt out—I’d almost say that I’m there. I do show up to work, and try my best daily (though at the same time, if something is going slightly wrong I now have the tendency of shrugging it off. An example is when I have to repeat a sequencing run & it works the second time but not the first, now (and actually before as well) I’m like well at least it worked; whereas others claim that I’d made a mistake previously and I need to pay more attention to detail so that it doesn’t happen again).

This is one reason why I want to move from academia to industry and at the same time going to plan at least one (if not more) trips this year (both personal & professional). I’ve also gotten to the point where I’m willing to take time off without pay just to have a break.

In terms of stress, I’m still working on different ways of trying to manage it. I meditate at night, use an acupuncture mat & pillow, journal, and will start taking walks at work as well when I feel the need.

This is a good book for introducing things that we all do on a daily basis, but showing how they can negatively impact our productivity in everything that we do. Reading it has helped open my eyes to the ways I have been harming my productivity, and now that I know things that I’m guilty of doing—I can slowly start correcting those habits and start having more productive days.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious to know if they are unconsciously sabotaging their daily productivity and how they can go about correcting some of their habits. Bad habits can’t be changed over night, and admitting that there could be numerous ones is a step in the right direction, and all one has to be is willing to start making a little progress in different areas. Once it starts to get easier, one can go to another habit and so forth. Stay tune for my review on volume II of the 30-Day Productivity Plan.

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Leo Full Moon Goals: A Review of January’s full moon

So we’re well into the year—tomorrow marks the second full moon (and depending on whom you listen to, it will either be back through the Leo constellation or entering the Virgo constellation). I’m going to go with the assumption that the moon is transitioning through each constellation during both the new moon and the full moon periods. That means that tomorrow, the moon should be entering the Virgo constellation.

So that means, that it is time to look back at the goals that were set for the Leo full moon period last month, and determine how I did with each goal.

So my goals for the last full moon were:

  1. Continue to try to workout daily
  2. Continue working on my transition plan. I more or less have part of my why down (why I’m in science and research in general)—I just need to work on why I want to leave academia for industry, figure out the companies, interact more on linkedin and so forth.
  3. Start working on some craft again (whether it’s photography, knitting, starting to make jewelry, or just coloring in a coloring book).
  4. Mediate nightly, and remember that if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, change will come—but I have to work towards the change and not wait for it to come to me.

So how did I do with each one?

In terms of working out daily, I have more or less managed this with the one or two rest days on the weekends. I haven’t totally gotten to where I do a different workout each day (I have realized that if I haven’t hit my step goal for the day, I’m going to put on a workout program that will allow me to almost hit the goal by the end of the workout (or surpass it)), and then I know that by bedtime I should have my steps in. I am going to try to start varying the workouts again (especially to get in more strength training), as I continue to try to be a little better than yesterday in terms of fitness.

In terms of my transition plan, I’ve realized that I have been letting indecision and fear of failure keep me spinning in circles. I have an idea of at least one biotech hub (mainly Boston) that I wouldn’t mind moving back to. I’m also thinking of possibly St. Louis or Indianapolis for the Midwest area, and then also possibly Washington DC. I know there are hubs on the west coast—but they’re about double the price of being in Boston or Washington DC—so I think I may stick east of the Rocky Mountains.

In terms of crafting, this is something that I’ve fallen behind on. I’ve been trying to do my daily photography challenge, but with cold weather and it barely getting light by the time I leave to catch the bus this has been difficult (since I decided that I shouldn’t just be posting pictures of the animals or tarot cards all the time [though yes I know that is basically my instagram posts right now]). I may try to continue working on my afghan as I would like to have that finished before I possibly move in the summer/fall/winter.

I have been trying to mediate nightly, though at times it may just be laying on the acupuncture mat for 3-5 minutes trying to clear my mind and relieve the tension in my back and shoulders before going to bed. There may gave only been one night this past month that I didn’t mediate, and that was due to be extremely sore my workout and I wasn’t sure if I could a) get down to the floor, and if I could get down b) I wasn’t sure I could get off the floor.

So out of the four goals, the only one that I really didn’t make a lot of progress on was the crafting goal. This will probably always be on the list (either on a full/new moon list or working it’s way back into a weekly habit tracker list), that way I can have a daily reminder that there should be a balance between life and work, and relaxing is actually something that is good for me.

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Trying to get back into a workout routine

So one of my goals from my 101-goal list is to make it through at least 250 days of Beachbody workouts. Now this doesn’t mean that it’s all going to be back-to-back (because you do need rest days in addition to workouts), but that I’d make sure that I’ve done at least 250 days of exercise over the next 1001 days. Yes, this does seem small when you compare the days—but if you also add in rest days, walking, and possibly biking and/or hiking come late spring & summer—you get the 1001 days. Plus, the 250 days is just the minimum, I will probably go over the total by the end of the time period.

I’ve also decided that it needs to be 250 different workouts—so it will probably be done in more than 250 days. Because if we look at what I’ve done in January—I’ve done a workout I’d say 20 out of the past 30 days—but I’ve only done 3 programs (most of my workouts have been country heat, one LIIFT4 workout & 1 combat workout). So I’d only count all that as doing 7 different workouts (as I’ve been doing all 5 of the country heat workouts). I’ve also realized that while it’s good to try to go all in on a workout—when it’s been a year or so since you’ve done the workout, you should probably dial back the intensity just a little.

Basically, on Monday I did combat 30 for the first time in probably a year or so—I love the program, but have never made it all the way through (mainly because the later two workouts are 45 minutes & an hour long—and sometimes I don’t have that amount of time during the week to do a workout; 45 minutes I can almost squeak in—the full hour workout not so much). I slept really well Monday night, and didn’t feel all that sore for most of the day—but around 3 or so yesterday afternoon, my back and legs decided to remind me exactly what I did on Monday. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been this stiff and sore (I’m hoping the acupuncture mat helped relieve some of the stiffness, but I still took today as a “rest” day–though I walked a good 45+ minutes on campus today), and I’ve realize that I’m going to have to start a little slower than I want—but since it’s been about two or three months since my last consistent workout schedule, I really shouldn’t be surprised.

So I think that I’m going to have work in some Pilates or yoga for awhile to help stretch out the muscles before I jump back into any hard core cardio. One goal is to see if I can make it through all of the workouts that I have on DVD from Beachbody before starting on the ones that are solely available via the online streaming platform. Also for the programs that are pushing the hour time limit–they will be done on the weekends, when I have that time to spare.

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What I’ve learned from reading “Anti-Goals: Find Success by Knowing What to Avoid” by Kevin Wagonfoot

So I just finished reading “Anti-Goals: Find Success by Knowing What to Avoid” by Kevin Wagonfoot as part of my big push again into reading more personal/professional development books in 2019. This book struck several chords with me, and therefore I want to share with you.

So anti-goals are basically things that you want to avoid (and we’re talking things other than death, taxes, and getting sick—because really those are three things that no one can avoid forever). But the book also informs “you cannot know what you want, until you know exactly what it is you don’t want”.

That quote right there basically sums up my life for the past eight years for different areas of my life—namely in terms of work and health. I’ve been slightly struggling with my job search/transition because I don’t know exactly what I want to do—though I have some ideas of the type of jobs I don’t want to do (now I just need to narrow it down in terms of company culture to determine the companies that I don’t want to work for).

Another two line from the book that resonated with me were “You’re not going to know what you want until you taste it. You might not even know your own preferences yet, even if you’re 30+ years old”. All I have to say is—Yes, yes, yes—I have no idea of what all my own preferences are yet. Right now I’m still learning the things I want to avoid (mainly in terms of personalities of people to try to avoid being around).

Also there was the addition of phrases to avoid, which mainly leads to self-doubt, negative self-talk, and procrastination. Those phrases include: “I’ll start on it tomorrow”—I will admit guilt to using this phrase. I am now going to try to be better at starting projects on time (even if they’re something I rather not be doing). “We’ve never done it like that before”—if I’ve used this phrase it usually is in a lab setting and would be followed by ‘how is different from our current method’ or something similar. “I don’t know what to do”—I’ve only said this to myself when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack thinking about all the different possible job directions I could go and the ways I could get there. I will try to get better at not thinking (or saying out loud) as I work on transitioning into industry. The phrase that is suggested that you also avoid using is “this is in my way”. Now that particular phrase can be mentally thought when looking at anything or anyone; while I probably do mentally use the phrase—it is so subconsciously that I truthfully can’t remember the last time I thought it in a negative way against someone. I probably mentally say it around things at home or when looking at a calendar and wanting the next break.

So getting back to the setting of the anti-goals, you can pick as many different parts of your life to look at and list out the things you dislike and would like to avoid in each area, and then list ways that you could possibly avoid doing those things (while realizing that some anti-goals may still crop up in life and you will then just have to face them head on).

I then realized that this could almost blend in with the Level 10 life—here you always want to raise the level of different areas of your life, and with the anti-goals you want to avoid hitting zero. I think that they could almost be a balance of each other (in certain areas).

So if I were to list out different areas of life and the things I would like to avoid they would probably look something like this:

Work

            Continuously long work days.

            Working on the weekends

            Not getting paid what I’m worth

Finances

            Large amount of credit card debt

            Not enough in the retirement account

            Struggling to survive month to month

Health and Fitness

            Being overweight and out of shape

            Not getting good night sleep

Physical Environment

            Having more stuff than I need

            Feeling “cluttered and disorganized”

Friends & Family

            Losing touch and not staying connected

So my anti-goals would then be for each area:

Work:

            Position that would only require occasional long day (or weekend) but with compensation (days off in return)

            Move into a job sector that will pay people with high level of scientific training what they are worth

Finances:

            Avoid using credit cards when ever possible & keep the debt low enough to be paid off monthly

            Figure out different ways of being able to get more money into a retirement account (safe alternatives to the stock market)

            Have a job with a company that pays what you are worth, and also one that takes into account the cost of living in that particular city/area

            Being financial responsible and realizing that less is actually more.

Heath and fitness:

            Starting to workout at least three days a week.

            Aiming for at least 14,000 steps/day

            Cooking more at home, and trying to cook healthier versions of different meals

            Aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night

            Meditating before bed

            Not checking the news/social media before bed

            Not counting calories/macros & giving up the word “diet”

Physical environment

            Selling back movies that I haven’t watched in years (this should be fun, since I technically haven’t watched any of the movies in my storage unit in the past 6 years)

            Donating clothes that I don’t wear that often

            Start to realize that less is actually more and get rid of stuff that I don’t need (or really want)

            Set up a cleaning schedule and actually try to stick with it for once

Friends & Family

            Keeping in touch via social media (if I don’t have their telephone number or email address)

            Trying to get together for coffee, or a walk, or something sort of social event

            Actually accepting invitations to social events and then actually showing up to them.

            Let friends/family know when I’m in the area on vacation/work so that maybe can get together for coffee or dinner

All in all, this was a good book with some very good points (and the sad thing is—is that all the points were basic, common sense points that as a society we’ve seem to have lost connections to). I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to figure out why they’re stuck where they are in life, but also remember that change doesn’t happen over night and that like anything in life slow, sustainable progress is better than quick, fast changes that you might not be able to maintain over the years.

While the anti-goal list seems lofty and extensive-I’m not going to be doing all of them every day of the week. I may try to focus on one area one week, and then maybe another area the next week, while still incorporating some of the previous week. Small steps will still get you to the finish line–and life shouldn’t be a race, we will all get to our own finish lines at the correct time.

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