Category: Lifestyle Challenges

Energy & focus…I guess I may be a morning person after all

So the moon will be transitioning through the Capricorn constellation tomorrow…marking the sixth full moon of the year…we’re a little over two-thirds of the way through June, and have just pasted the longest day of the year…so we’re now heading towards the shortest day of the year. While I like the longer days…I like the cooler temps of fall & winter over the hot temps of summer. So..before looking ahead to the Capricorn full moon, I should look back at the goals I set for the Sagittarius full moon and see how I did with each of them. 

What were the goals for the Sagittarius full moon? Well, they included:

  1. Plan for June…content editorial calendar—pick different colored pens/markers for the different projects/channels that I’ll have going. June BINGO card; June brain dump.
  2. Develop a ‘fluid’ schedule…blocks of 40-75 minutes of work followed by blocks of 30 minutes for ‘breaks’ (which could include getting some intentional movement in).
  3. Continuing with my content creation challenge (including tracking)
  4. Update my personal/professional growth game and then roll the dice to see what the next set of adventures are.

So how did I do with each of them?

Planning for June (I’ll say about 98% done):

I got my June BINGO card made, did my June brain dump, and drew the basic calendar. While I had picked colors out for different ‘channels’ (creative blog, science blog, and various social media channels)—I’ve found that I don’t necessarily grab the correct color when I’m trying to do my weekly to-do lists. So..that is something that I need to work on. 

Developing a ‘fluid’ schedule (~95% completed):

Well…I’ve developed a schedule that seems to work in the morning—for the most part. I’ve decided to put things I’d been doing fairly well (morning updates on Gaza & trying to post a science/health news blurb) between tasks that always seem to have fallen off the to-do list. 

This is working well in the mornings—I’m now doing about 20-30 minutes of Mondly (learning Arabic) before doing my morning Gaza update; then I do an oracle card reading (and share that on the oracle card Instagram channel I started), then I do the morning science/health news blurb.

I’m still working on developing an ‘fluid’ schedule for the afternoon (research, chores, fitness, and so forth), as I usually end up scrolling through various social media channels while attempting to do research on the side for different projects.

Content creation & tracking (~95% completed):

So instead of having a list of different content I want to ‘create’, I decided that I would see how much content I could create from June to December this year. I have a spreadsheet created, and every day I go in and log what type of content I’ve created & where said content is published. 

I’ve been diligent in doing daily updates on Gaza & the West Bank on Instagram (especially since I was restricted from posting to LinkedIn for about six weeks), and have been working on my latest large needlepoint project as well. 

I know I need to start creating more science/health/medical related content..as that blog/website is a little ‘sparse’ in terms of content getting published.

One major goal of this challenge is to see what my ‘go-to’ content creation is (currently it’s mainly writing and ‘publishing’ to Instagram daily), and branching out to other types of content (infographics, posters, slide decks, ‘articles’, short stories, and such).

Updating the personal/professional growth game & starting another round (100% complete):

Okay—I redrew the game. I decided to remove one of the boards & condensed down everything else to fit in on the first board. Earlier this week—I posted my update to the game & the fact that I was starting another round.

My personal/professional growth board game. Approximately 80 odd squares of ideas/topics to learn about & content to create & share

The top three things I’ll be focusing on (along with everything else on my to-do lists) are reading (aiming to finish at least three nonfiction books and/or four fiction books), working through an e-course (or three; as I stated I was going to try to do at least three e-courses [giving myself about two weeks per course]), getting the next two blog posts up on the science/health/medical blog (dealing with exocrine & endocrine glands & the cancers that can develop within each of them). The fourth item was a tie between unplugging for the night & content creation.

Conclusions:

Four items…that were focusing on planning, content creation, and time/project management. I did fairly well with all of them (minus the inability currently to use different colored pens for writing on the calendars; and having a ‘fluid’ schedule for the afternoon).  Currently I seem to have more ‘energy’/focus in the mornings for certain projects (mainly learning, sharing news, and doing my oracle card drawing/sharing), and the afternoons find me allowing my mind to wander & I start to procrastinate & put projects off.

So…

I know that I need to develop a fluid schedule for the afternoon, possibly have different colored pens out for the to-be accomplished lists (or at least have master lists written in different colors), & realize that I don’t have to be pushing full throttle everyday. I’m working at acknowledging the phrase that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be…I also know that while the phrase is ‘true’…one also needs to put in the work in order to build the future that they want. Therefore, I need to ‘fine-tune’ the daily fluid schedules—in order to ensure that projects are actually moving forward & I’m not just focusing on ‘fluff’ items (the small things that allow me to check more things off the to-be accomplished lists).

Progress is being made…it may not be quick…it may not be totally linear—but that is the path of the universe…non-linear, spiral, folding back on itself to show that while one may not have totally learned the ‘lesson’—you’re further along in your journey than you were when you first came upon the ‘lesson’.

How did you do with your Sagittarius goals? What was one key takeaway message you found?

Namaste…

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Adding in the gaming factor: part one of the development plan

Okay.

I redrew my personal/professional growth game last week. I decided to remove a board, and condense certain topics down in order to have a ‘single’ board.

The ‘rules’:

  1. No longer than six weeks per turn
  2. Roll each set of dice three times. Then after all six rolls & determining what squares I’ve landed on–consolidate them down into a list.
    • I have two different colored sets of dice (and I only use six of the seven dice; these are basically the dice one uses for role playing games). After rolling all six dice:
    • Lowest to highest; and lowest number is ‘by itself’
    • Then start adding up the numbers
    • Also…it’s eighty-four squares back around to ‘start’
  3. Pick three to four items to complete. BUT list out everything, so that if something gest completed sooner than the six week period, I can go back and choose other items to complete.
  4. To keep myself accountable: Two blog posts: when starting & then after the six week period. Possibly then take a day or two off before rolling the dice again (that way it isn’t two back-to-back posts on the same day).
  5. Timing:
    • For reading: Fiction books (one week, including time to write & post reviews). For non-fiction books (no longer than three weeks per book)
    • For e-courses: it depends on the length of course. But aim for at least 30 minutes per afternoon working on a e-course
    • For refreshing/learning a foreign language: Minimum of 25 minutes/day. This is actually an ongoing task, regardless of whether or not I landed on the square
    • For crafts: this will also vary (depending on the craft project)
    • For reviewing ‘subject matters’:
      • Randomly choose a chapter
      • Word search (or crossword puzzle) of key terms
      • Infographic or poster
      • Minimum of 15-20 slides on key points
      • Quiz or test

Notes: The textbooks for development biology & genetics are either in the storage unit or garage currently. For the topics of oncology, small RNA biology, molecular cloning, and the ‘-omics-‘ items I don’t really have textbooks for those items (or at least not ones that are fully devoted to all aspects of the topic).

I rolled the dice this afternoon, and the following list was generated based off the squares I landed on:

Landed on multiple times:

Reading (seven times)

E-course (six times)

Review oncology (three times)

Squares I landed on twice:

  1. Landscape design
  2. Interior design
  3. Review cell biology
  4. Review biochemistry

Squares I landed on once:

  1. Learn about public health
  2. Review molecular biology
  3. Research an interesting person in history
  4. Review stats
  5. Small RNA biology
  6. Learn graphic design
  7. Learn about international law
  8. Content development
  9. Learn about economics
  10. Ancient South America
  11. Review molecular cloning
  12. Unplug for the night

What am I going to be focusing on first?

Reading:

I have numerous nonfiction books that I’ve started over the past few months. A goal is to finish at least three of those during the next six weeks. In addition to reading three fiction books (at least) and writing small book reviews over.

E-course:

I plan on working through at least three e-courses on Skillshare and/or Udemy. Bonus points if courses cover items listed further down on the ‘squares’ landed on (such as economics, graphic design, public health, or stats).

Review oncology:

I plan on continuing my oncology blog series on the science/health/medical blog. Over the next six weeks I plan on getting the blog posts for adenocarcinomas up (this is the first ‘carcinoma’ subtopic), and will actually be covering cell biology/anatomy as I talk more about the two major gland systems in the body in regards to how cancers can develop within them.

‘Fourth’ item:

The ‘fourth’ thing will actually be two different things: (a) unplugging for the night. I plan on ‘unplugging’ at least three to four nights per week. This means that I stay off of the computer after say 7pm, and then put the phone on do-not disturb/airplane mode for the same time period. This will allow me to either work on crafts, clean/organize, or read. (b) content development, as this is basically an on-going task (along with the refresh/learn a foreign language).

Those are the main four/five things I will be focusing on…if I feel the need to ‘add’ something in—I’ll add in interior design (as I’m working at trying to turn my bedroom into a ‘micro’ studio apartment (minus the kitchen & bathroom) by the end of fall).

A major goal of the next six weeks: time & project management. Figuring out how to balance out the different ‘projects’ for the different blogs, and other social media channels. In addition to rekindling the enjoyment of research & developing unique ways of sharing the information.

I’m not sure what type of ‘rewards’ I will be going with for the game…as I’m also trying to get the debt down, limit the amount of ‘stuff’ I buy, and am aiming at only buying things that I will actually use (i.e. limit the number of random knick knacks that I might decide to buy). 

I’m also working on the intentional movement/fitness board game—as I decided I wanted something a little more than just a circle with things written. Possibly a similar board game, but with specific exercises in different boxes (the ‘random’ aspect would be the amount of weights lifted and/or time spent on each exercise).

Check back in late July (July 29th to be exact) to find out how I did with the first round of the game…and to find out which books I finished reading, which e-courses I worked through, and how I did at getting the next series of oncology blog posts up on the science/health/medical blog.

How do you go about expanding your learning—by games? To-do lists (tied to goal lists)? Totally randomly, or what? Share your tips below.

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Time to redraw the board game & update the plans

So, the moon is going to be transitioning through the Gemini constellation tonight—marking the sixth new moon for the year, and the only new moon for June. The past few years have had me in a yo-yo when it comes to consistently setting goals via the moon cycles. I didn’t set any Gemini new moon goals in 2020 or 2023, but did set them in 2021 and 2022. As I mentioned in an earlier post—a goal is to consistently post the goals via the moon cycles this year…since I missed like over half the year last year.

So what are some of the things that one can focus on during the Gemini new moon? They include:

  1. Think about how you communicate with others
  2. Meditate
  3. Socialize more
  4. See your siblings
  5. Read more

I’m not really a social butterfly…nor am I an extrovert. I barely consider myself to be an ambivert (I’m like 99.9% introvert, and 0.1% ambivert/extrovert). Since various strains of the SARS-CoV2 virus are still floating around (and I have extremely limited funds)—I’ll still be doing most of my ‘socializing’ online. 

I see my younger brother quite frequently (he lives in town), but the older sibling is still out in CA, though we did see them last year when they came for a brief visit. Again—extremely limited funds, so I won’t be doing any type of traveling currently (plus there are the animals to think about as well).

I love to read…so reading more isn’t a problem, and I’m still working on getting back into a mediation routine at night. Yes, I’ll think about (and work at improving) how I’m communicating with others.

But then I should also look to see what house the new Gemini moon is moving through as well. So the new moon in Gemini is also moving through my eighth house, or my “sex and shared finances”. This zone can also be referred to as the money & relationship zone (or at least that is how I think of it). So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to the eighth house?

  1. Pay off a loan (or take one out)
  2. Open a savings account and make your first deposit
  3. Cancel a credit card you know you can’t afford
  4. Ask for a pay raise (but really only if you believe you might get it)
  5. Refinance your mortgage
  6. Talk dirty to your partner
  7. Try a sexual position for the first time

Okay…still not in the market for a relationship. Not that I need to share my reasons, but: 1—still in a epidemic/pandemic due to the virus (and I’m not interested in meeting anti-vaxxers); 2) I’m still a work in progress; 3) family obligations; and finally 4) I don’t have the energy or time to even think about entering the dating scene & finding someone. 

While humans are social creatures…I feel like I was the medicine woman/hermit/‘witch’ living out in the woods…at the edge of the community—still close enough to ‘belong’ but far enough out to have space, peace, and quiet. I’m really that odd duckling—I don’t mind being unattached, childless, or single.

So in terms of things one can do for the eighth house: 

I currently have a savings account (with a little bit of money in it), which I’m going to be working on trying to increase the babalce

Working at paying off credit cards and then possibly canceling one (or two)

Nope..not taking out a loan

Don’t own the house…and the parents already have the mortgage paid off

No pay raise (at least until I start landing clients or find a remote position)

Still not in a relationship…so the last two items aren’t even on my radar.

Therefore, goals are really going to be focused on the personal/professional growth aspect of things, and my goals for the Gemini new moon will include:

  1. Continue to fine-tune my personal/professional growth plan (focusing on career [writing], health/wellness, finances [fine tune that plan], spirituality, hobbies/crafts, and personal space). 
  2. Update the personal/professional growth game (remove a few items and/or expand others—micropaleontology is on hold currently)
  3. Continue to clean/organize/declutter the bedroom & house…in order to get the storage unit cleared out by early fall.
  4. Continue with my daily intentional movements and nightly meditations/sitting quietly moments.
  5. And…read, read, and read some more. I’m actually nine nonfiction/historical fiction books away from my goal of reading 44 nonfiction/historical fiction before my birthday. So—try to read three more during the month of June.

I mentioned this previously on LinkedIn (in my numerous ‘reintroduction posts), but I’ve been spending the past few years trying to reconnect with strengths & values:

Strengths: Learner, Intellection, Input, Achiever, and Deliberative (my top five Clifton Strengths)

Values: Knowledge/Learning, Creativity/Curiosity/Imagination, Authenticity/Self-respect, Spirituality/Inner Harmony, and Growth/Evolution/Transformation

I’ve realized over the past few years—that I had the tendency to ‘sacrifice’ or ‘down-play’ strengths/values to either not make waves or to stay in the background (I’m not really an attention seeker). But now—I’m making sure that those strengths and values are front and center for any and every decision I make going forward in terms of personal/professional development, career trajectory, and just overall happiness.

Some things will be ‘semi’ down-played (aka how much/often I talk about Gaza on say LinkedIn)—but that is only due to not wanting to have my account restricted again (like it had been earlier this year).  The focus on the personal/professional growth plan will be a little more ‘time-consuming’ as I need to be clear—but at the same time ensure that I’m not trying to cram too much stuff into a short period of time (like I’ve been known to do…which then results in me tossing out the plan…instead of going back to ‘refine’ it). Also, with the current status of the world..I need to focus on more ‘short-term’ goals than really long-term…since who knows what the hell will be happening throughout the rest of this year.

This is why, that as I’m also ‘restarting’ my monthly accountability posts—a lot of the ‘goals’ seem to be repetitive..I’m trying to turn the goals into habits (writing, fitness, and so forth). Progress is slow…but it’s getting better, especially since I’ve figured that spending time learning a foreign language & posting to the oracle card Instagram channel needs to happen in the morning (and I put them around doing the morning Gaza update—one before, & one after); and so far it seems to be working this week.

What goals are you repetitive with?

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Decluttering is ongoing, time to break down the other goals

So, we’re going to be entering the sixth new moon cycle later this week. That means that before looking ahead to the Gemini new moon, I need to look back at the goals that I’d set for the Taurus new moon. I know that I probably didn’t hit the goals 100% of the time…May is no longer a ‘joyful’ month…come to think of it—very few months are now. There have been a lot of pet losses over the years, plus mom’s death last year that has dwindled the number of months that technically aren’t a ‘mourning’ anniversary (basically only January, March, July, August, November, and December—haven’t lost any pets).

As I mentioned last month within my Taurus new moon goals—things aren’t settling down in regards to various global conflicts…so it probably is now only a matter of time before something flares & blows into a regional and/or global conflict.

Getting back into setting goals either via the moon cycles & even just ‘monthly’ has been a challenge…some days/months are better than others. But that’s progress—willing to get up, dust myself off, and attempt to set (and hopefully reach the goals) day after day…with just a few minor tweaks to the schedules. 

Anyway what were the goals that I set for the Taurus new moon? They included:

  1. Making a financial plan
  2. Working on improving/expanding my rough draft of a personal/professional growth plan
  3. Mind-maps/outlines, and trying to create editorial calendars
  4. Cleaning up/out the bedroom closet

So how did i do with each of them?

Making a financial plan:

I have a very rough draft of a financial plan drawn up. I know what a couple of my long-term goals are (getting out of debt, launching the freelance businesses, and such)—I just need to make easier, shorter term goals that I can start working towards.

The reason why it’s such a rough draft: I have a laundry list of questions that I need to look into/answer in terms of launching both freelance businesses and/or trying to sell things online (especially if I’m serious about trying to sell digital coloring books and such). Also, I need to fine-tune what type of ‘work’ I’m going to offer (specifically via the science, health, medical comms/education website).

Improving/expanding the personal/professional growth plan(s):

I have the rough draft of this plan—focusing on writing (professional), learning SEO (professional), possibly learning more data analysis (again professional), along with the areas of spirituality, crafts/hobbies, health/wellness & physical space (personal). Finances are ‘separate’ in their own plan (see above).

Again…it’s a matter of trying to develop or write out sound ‘short-term’ goals that aren’t super packed (i.e. trying to do a three months of stuff in two weeks), but also not super drawn out (i.e. having a goal that I could accomplish within two or three days but stating it would take a month).

Time & project management—that is I need to focus on. 

Trying to get mind-maps and such done; working on setting up editorial calendars

A basic calendar has been set up—and I’m actually doing better having things ‘added’ to my content creation tracker…than having them written out on a calendar. Still need to flesh out an outline or two, and then work on a mind-map to expand a short story (or two…or three).

Continuing to clean out my closet

This one is progressing well. I actually need to move everything off the floor of my closet (aka out of the closet) so I can tear up the really moldy & gross carpet. When my parents put down wood flooring after I moved out—they didn’t touch the closet…so it’s really old carpet that has been soaked several times over the decades whenever the water heater decided to spew its guts.

I also plan on moving a few pieces of small furniture (shelving units basically) into it so I can try to store more stuff (namely craft supplies and what not) within the closet, and free up some space on the small book cases that I have throughout my room.

Conclusions:

Okay…I’ve made headway into the brainstorming/mind-mapping/planning stages for those three goals (financial plan, personal/professional growth plan, & various projects), and am working on the closet. While I had things ‘organized’ earlier this week…I need to move things out so that I can rip out the carpet (that is actually on the agenda for this afternoon and/or also tomorrow), which means my bedroom becomes slightly ‘cluttered’ again. Though I think I should be able to put the box of fabric under the bed for the time being. 

Time and project management skills are actually daily skills that we need to use and hone…because if we don’t…we start to procrastinate, work on the ‘easy’ goals, and realize that we aren’t progressing as far (or as quickly) as we’d like. Am I making progress…yes…in part because I’ve realized that certain things need to be scheduled around my morning Gaza update…I’ve started a ‘new schedule’ this week—and so far, I’m three for three in terms of the other two ‘goals’ that I put on opposite sides of the morning Gaza update.

Can I continue the trend? We, shall see…

Am I still getting bogged down in the planning stage? Kinda..I’m now trying to have ‘six’ things on a list per day…and if I finish all of them…I can go back to the master list and pick one or two things to work on. Do I need to create a ‘master’ list of projects…yes…because my brain in overflowing with ideas for stories, blog posts, infographics, and such.

Baby-steps. Spiral paths. Two steps forward, and one step back. Progress—it is never perfect, it is never linear…and it is often more messy than one thinks. With the current status of the world—I’m aiming for messy progress…I’m aiming to continue to unlearn (and relearn), to become a better global citizen, and to do my part in trying to dismantle various toxic parts of society.

With that said—how did you do with your Taurus goals? 

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Focusing on time & project management…emphasis on time management

So the moon will be transitioning through the Sagittarius constellation tonight—marking the fifth full moon of the year, and there is a week (give or take) left in May. Last year I didn’t write anything for the Sagittarius full moon…so I’ll have to compare reflections to those I wrote two (or even three) years ago. 

Two years ago, I wrote that I was hoping that there wouldn’t be spikes in SARS-CoV2 cases (and there were due to the various omicron variants)…I’m sure that there will be some type of spike due to the newer variants that are bouncing around now. So…I’ll be using the ‘fun energy’ of Sagittarius to reflect on things & work on both launching a freelance business this summer & looking for remote writing positions.

Every month, I turn to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland to get questions to reflect on for a day or two that deal with the moon in each zodiac constellation. The questions for the Sagittarius full moon are:

Have I been too flippant, or carefree to the point of being careless, irresponsible, even?

Have I been letting myself down by allowing myself get distracted and bored?

Have I been overconfident to the point of arrogance, or too preachy?

Have I been a commitment-phobe, to my own detriment?

Have I been seeing the bigger picture?

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

  1. Well…since my savings account is barely there…and I’m at time binge buying things due to stress/anxiety/depression…yes—I’ve been a little too ‘flippant’ or ‘carefree’ in terms of my finances and money. I’m working on correcting those things though…plus I’m working on figuring out how to potentially set up an online store for selling things (currently digital items; and maybe a few ‘physical’ items that I’d have to mail off).
  2. Have I been allowing myself to get distracted and/or bored? Yes…but I’m working on curtailing those ‘issues’ by becoming a little better at time & project management. I’ve set up a new tracking sheet for content creation; and one of the things I’m going to start tracking is how much content do I create that I’m able to repurpose on other sites. As I mentioned to someone last week—I have a goal of having several portfolio pieces ready by the end of the summer, in addition to hopefully finding clients (or possibly having applied to one or two remote writing positions). 
  3. Nope, I have not been overconfident to the point of arrogance or being too preachy. Though I will argue with my father in terms of things that are going on in West Asia.
  4. Recycling the answer from a couple of years ago: This answer again depends on which aspect of life we’re talking about. Am I being a commitment-phobe to myself (i.e. not doing my workouts, eating well, and so forth)? Or a commitment-phobe to someone else? If we’re talking to about the first (myself)—then yes, I have been a commitment-phobe to my own detriment. I’m working on getting better at it though. If we’re talking about being a commitment-phobe to someone else—nope (can’t be a commitment phobe if you aren’t in a relationship, and I’m currently not in a relationship).
  5. Which bigger picture are we talking? Trying to figure out my life in say five to twenty years? The current societal picture? The global picture? The current global/societal picture sucks…There is still the Russia-Ukraine problem; there is the live-streaming ongoing genocide in Gaza; there are the genocides happening in the Congo, Sudan, and elsewhere in the world. There is the SARS-CoV2 virus floating around; gun violence (within the US), protests (that are peaceful, but are being squashed harshly by the police), and various other things going on. I’d mentioned two years ago, that I thought the Russia-Ukraine issue could erupt into the third world war…I was wrong…but there is the extreme possibility that the problems in West Asia (Gaza & the West Bank) could erupt into either the third regional war or the third global war.I’m seriously wondering now if we’re going to be able to survive as a society and be ‘recognized’ as society in say fifteen to twenty years.

In addition to the fact that the moon has entered into Sagittarius, at least for me it has moved into my second house (or the cash, property, and values zone). This full moon brings about feelings of one’s financial security and stability, and self worth.

It means that we’re suppose to find a balance between various aspects of life—are we tired of working for others and wanting to strike out on our own—now would be the time to start planning it, have we been neglecting ourselves and focusing on others??

This zone is popping up at a time when I need to really start ‘job searching’  (aka looking for remote and/or freelance work within science, health, medical, or agricultural comms), in addition to getting a portfolio put together and uploaded to the science, health, & medical blog; and it wouldn’t hurt to have a decent semi-working editorial content calendar created/developed. 

I can probably figure out how to earn a little extra cash (taking surveys, selling DVDs and/or books & other stuff, in addition to figuring out how to possibly set-up/open an online store to sell things).

So, while I’m still going to treat this time as a period of self-reflection, I’m also going to be doing other things that I need to do to really get the job search up and going….

Two years ago I had updating my LinkedIn profile, creating a functional resume template, updating pages on the creative blog, in addition to attempting SEO research & writing as my goals. My LinkedIn profile is more or less updated (considering I’d been restricted from it for about six weeks earlier this year), I have a decent functional resume template, and I probably still need to update pages to both blogs, continue trying to do SEO research & writing.

Therefore, the goals that I’m setting for this year’s Sagittarius full moon will include:

  1. Plan for June…content editorial calendar—pick different colored pens/markers for the different projects/channels that I’ll have going. June BINGO card; June brain dump.
  2. Develop a ‘fluid’ schedule…blocks of 40-75 minutes of work followed by blocks of 30 minutes for ‘breaks’ (which could include getting some intentional movement in).
  3. Continuing with my content creation challenge (including tracking)
  4. Update my personal/professional growth game and then roll the dice to see what the next set of adventures are.

‘Closing’ the previous chapters of ones life—for me, it’s in terms mainly of my career, has been a battle. I’ve been more than willing to slam the door shut & bar it closed…while others are still inquiring every so often if I’m willing to step back into the world of research (at the bench). I want to write, I want to come up with creative ways of sharing information with the world, and I want to help improve how the general public perceives science, health, & medical information. In order to do that…I need to close the previous chapter, and focus my energy on writing the next chapter…or possibly the next ‘act’ in the play of my life.

What is one of your Sagittarius goals?

Namaste…

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Check-in time on the 44 goals before 44…take four

4th check-in on my ’44 goals before turning 44’ project; & realizing that I’m four months away from my 44th birthday. It’s been a seesaw in terms of productivity…some days I’m productive…other days I’m sitting in procrastination corner. If it were a perfect world & I was totally on top of my game—I’d be two-thirds of the way through the list (having 29 or 30 goals checked off).

It isn’t a perfect world though…I have gotten several goals accomplished, and there are others that are either halfway done or I consider on-going goals (so can’t consider them ‘completed’ until my birthday).

So what goals are completed? Halfway? On-going, or just not started yet? Images for the drawings, paintings, and needlepoint projects are after the list.

Well here are the 44 goals that I wrote out on the evening of my 43rd birthday last year:

  1. Starting my freelance science, health, medical communications business. In progress–I have the website, and I’m slowly getting blog posts up. I’m still in the progress of creating a portfolio to have on the site as well to highlight the types of communication pieces I would enjoy creating for customers. The site: jessicamatts(dot)com
  2. Transition into a remote science/health/medical comms position. Need to have a portfolio (possibly) and need to start looking to see what companies are hiring remote comms workers. I really don’t want to have an hybrid or in-person job.
  3. Launching a YouTube channel. I have a YouTube channel…I just need to ‘rename/rebrand’ it, and figure out what the hell I’m going to talk about on it (whether it’s a mix of science and things or strictly a science/health/medical channel).
  4. Launch a podcast. Need to launch the YouTube channel first…so I’m not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  5. Complete at least ten different Udemy courses: I’ve watched three; a minimum of seven more
    • Gods and Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia & Arabia
    • Beginners guide to SEO for medical writers
    • Writing an Effective & Successful Business Plan
  6. Complete at least twelve different Skillshare courses: I’ve watched seven; a minimum of five more to go
    • Creating Your Dream Career: Uncovering & Apply Your Creative Strengths
    • Productivity Habits that Stick, Using Time Theming
    • Goal Setting for Creatives: play to your strengths & tap into flow
    • The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success
    • Creative business plan for artists: creative a thriving business
    • Creative journaling: getting started
    • Growing your creativity
  7. Read at least 44 non-fiction/historical fiction books: I’m a little over 2/3 of the way done with this one. I’ve read 30 & only have 14 more to go.
    • Monarchs of the Sea (The extraordinary 500-million year history of cephalopods) by Danna Staaf
    • Conquering your burnout: an actionable guide to overcome burnout by Veronica Llorca-Smith
    • Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to being happy, confident and you in a looks-obsessed world by Anuschka Rees
    • Unfuck your brain: Using science to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freakouts, & triggers by Faith Harper
    • Things no one will tell fat girls: A handbook for unapologetic living by Jes Baker
    • Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Body Positive Power: Because life is already happening and you don’t need flat abs to live it by Megan Jayne Crabbe
    • Flying Snakes & Griffin Claws: and other classical myths, historical oddities, and scientific curiosities by Adrienne Mayor
    • Letters to a Starseed by Rebecca Campbell
    • White Women: everything you already know about your own racism & how to be better by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao
    • Healthy at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight by Linda Bacon, PhD
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson
    • I’m Not Yelling: A Black Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Workplace by Elizabeth Leiba
    • Pantesdrunk by Misha Rantanen
    • Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky
    • Bust Your Fears (Rebel Diva #4): Three tools to help conquer fear by Tikiri Herath
    • Top 10 Most Interesting Dinosaurs by Daniel Boszo
    • What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
    • 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 More Discoveries from the Golden Age of Dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
    • Waking up in the Winter: In Search of What Really matters at midlife by Cheryl Richardson
    • Becoming What you are: A concise guide to awakening the light within by Two Workers
    • B*tch don’t kill my vibe: How to stop worrying, end negative thinking, cultivate positive thoughts, & start living your best life (self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Pagan Portals: Sekhmet: Lady of Flame, Eye of Ra by Olivia Church
    • Pagan Portals: Isis: Great of Magic, She of 10,000 Names by Olivia Church
    • Things You Might Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza by Mosab Abu Toha
    • Just Tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You Have No Idea What it is by Sara Kravitz
    • Headstrong: 52 women who changed science & the world by Rachel Swaby
    • Just do the damn thing: how to sit your @ss down long enough to exert willpower, develop self discipline, stop procrastination, increase productivity…sh!t done (Self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Authentic: How to be yourself & Why it Matters by Stephen Joseph
  8. Become fluent in Spanish. I need to stick with a daily time to get onto Mondly to work on this and #9 as well
  9. Become proficient in Arabic. See above
  10. Learn to say hello in ten different languages. See #8
  11. Learn to say thank you in ten different languages. See #8
  12. Complete a 365-day photography challenge. Nope. Need to create a ‘schedule’/outline and add this to my 45 things before 45 list
  13. Monthly editorial calendars, weekly/daily to-do lists. This is an ongoing goal, and one I’ve been improving with over the past two or three months compared to the first few months last year.
  14. What is my definition of success? Finished:
    • Being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive & aware that not everyday is going to be rainbows & unicorns…sometimes they’re going to be thunderstorms & disasters.
    • Success is more than money, influence & power. It’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to.
    • It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in “competition” with the me I was yesterday.
  15. Create a vision board based on that definition. Still collecting ‘images/words/phrases’ to place on the vision board.
  16. Learn basic sign language. I think I bought an e-course on this topic.
  17. Get debt down by a quarter to half (based on where it is now). Not sure how well I’m doing..since I’m still in the planning stages of my businesses
  18. Continue getting into the best shape of my life. I do need to figure out what some metrics will be to aim for (heavy lifting or something…because currently its a little too vague still)
  19. Learning about body confidence. Ongoing–have read several book on the subject (see above)
  20. Create a happiness plan. Need to set this up during the next two months
  21. Daily mediation on-going
  22. Stretch daily on-going
  23. Hold a 90-second plank. Need to get on this one
  24. Develop & stick with a consistent exercise schedule. On the agenda for the week.
  25. Make some mosaic art
  26. Make some resin art. Semi-completed. I made a small ‘container’
  27. Draw/doodle, color & frame an original drawing. Completed. See below for the pictures
  28. Draw/doodle, paint & frame original drawings. Completed. Again, see below for the pictures
  29. Start making jewelry. Semi-started. Attempted to make an resin pendant
  30. Complete at least another six cross-stitch projects. In progress-I have one finished, and am currently working on a second large one. Not sure if I’ll get four smaller ones done or not before my birthday.
  31. Create my own calendar using my nature photographs. Debating on whether to do a 2025 or try to make a planner for 2026 with my own photographs
  32. Create at least one piece of wood-burnt art. Haven’t tried yet. I have the kit…just haven’t worked up the nerve to try yet.
  33. Monthly full & new moon goals. I’ve only missed Oct 2023 full moon posting. This is on-going
  34. Daily oracle card drawings. This is on-going. I need to determine the best time to actually also post them to the oracel card channel that I started on instagram
  35. Learn to make sushi. I have a sushi making ‘kit’ and cookbook in my amazon cart to order.
  36. Get a haircut. Since there is starting to be a spike in SARS-CoV2 cases again…not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  37. Create a coloring book from various (uncolored) doodles/drawings. I just need to retake a bunch of photographs (to ensure that that pictures are ‘centered’) so kinda in progress
  38. Complete a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily (a minimum of 60-day challenge). Currently about two-thirds of the way through the 60-day Sudoku challenge…may have also hit that mark (not sure if I started that on March 20 or not). Almost finished
  39. Complete at least five 30-day challenges. So far have completed at least 30 days of the Sudoku challenge. on-going.
  40. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) banned books. Halfway done:
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  41. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) classics
  42. Read at least one ‘new’ trilogy (or longer) series. Finished. Have read at least five to seven this year.
    • Lost & Found series by Catherine Cowles (five books–series is done)
    • Cottonwood Cove series by Laura Pavlov (five books–series is done)
    • Lakeshore U by L.A. Cotton (four books, not sure if there are more yet)
    • Kincaid Brothers by Kaylee Ryan (six books, plus another two to finish)
    • Playing to Win by Bella Matthews (three books, plus one more to finish)
    • The Defiant Kings by Bella Matthews (five books–series is done)
    • The Kings of Kroydon Hills by Bella Matthews (four books–series is done)
  43. Finish creating an inspiring work/crafts area
  44. Write a letter to my future self (again). Wrote one for me to read/open on either 12/31/2025 or 01/01/2026

The three pictures that I drew and colored with either colored pencils or markers.

Two of the four paintings that I’ve done. I did two watercolors & two acrylics (one of each for two different sizes–the 9×12 seen here & then 8×10).

The finished needlepoint project on the left & the progress of the other large one on the right.

But, since it isn’t a perfect world—I’ve ‘completed’ a few goals: doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least one original drawing (I did three); doodling/drawing, painting & framing at least one original piece of art (I’ve done four); reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy (I’ve read at least two—truthfully probably closer to five now), determining what my definition of success is (still need to make the vision board), and writing a letter to my future self.

That’s five goals finished…and technically there are three others that are halfway finished (reading at least two banned books, doing at least a two-month challenge of attempting to solve a Sudoku puzzle each morning & creating some resin art). This means I’ve accomplished almost 11.5% of my goals (and if I add in the three halfway completed goals—I’m a little over 18.2% of the way). 

Several of the goals are ongoing goals—meaning I won’t consider them ‘finished’ until I hit my birthday (there are seven which accounts for almost 16% of the goals). So—that means there are 30 to 31 goals that I should still aim at trying to finish over the next four months). Though in all honesty I probably won’t become fluent in Spanish or proficient in Arabic in four months…these goals will possibly also be added to my 45 goals before 45 list, along with the new 365-day photography challenge.

In terms of reading goals: I’ve finished one (reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy or longer series; I think I have like five to seven actually listed above), I’m halfway done with another (reading at least two ‘new’ banned books), and I’m almost two-thirds of the way through the nonfiction/historical fiction challenge (I’ve read 30 books, which means only 14 more to go). I still need to read another ‘new’ banned book & two ‘new’ classics.

In terms of the continuously learning (aka e-courses), I increased the total number of courses for both Udemy & Skillshare—I’m now stating I will finish at least ten Udemy courses (I’ve done three—so I’m also a third of the way there); and I will finish at least twelve Skillshare courses (I’ve done seven—so I’m a little over halfway done ‘watching’ these courses).

Progress is measured in the baby-steps forward, the tasks being checked off the list—and an new goal list is being brainstormed to come into being on the eve of my 44th birthday. I’ll check in later (possibly next week) with the goal list that I’m aiming to accomplish before July 20.

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Return of the monthly accountability posts

So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to ‘revive’ a blog series that I let fall by the wayside last year. That series—“months in review”. Basically I’m trying to restart my monthly accountability posts. 

I think I only managed to do a “January in Review” last year (possibly…maybe?), and then I barely posted on either blog for several months. This was due in part to the family medical issue that had started in August 2022…it continued into the early months of 2023…and ‘accumulated’ with my mom passing away during emergency surgery in May of 2023. Needless to say—in addition to trying to manage burnout symptoms, I’m also trying to manage grief as well. Then it didn’t help in October when the world lost it’s shit and any sense of sanity & common sense.

So, the ‘month in review’ posts—what were they? They were monthly accountability posts. They were posts were I listed out various goals that I attempted for the month & how I did with each of them, and at the end of the post were goals I set for the following month. They were also posts where I’d give an update on the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and various stats. This ‘new’ series will be mainly covering the goals and whether I accomplished them or not—and if not, what I plan on doing differently to accomplish that goal within the first few days of the following month.

You will also notice that I’m going to be referring to personal/professional development as personal/professional growth—because I feel like ‘development’ has a slightly negative vibe to it. I don’t need to ‘develop’ into a writer…I’m already a writer, but I can ‘grow’ into becoming a better writer, photographer, blogger, or whatever.

So, with this ‘restart’ to the month in review series, what were my goals for April? Those goals included:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least three fiction books
  3. Complete at least one 30-day challenge (working on a Sudoku puzzle, iPhone photography, something)
  4. Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can stick with
  5. Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel
  6. At least two blurbs/reviews on science papers (for the science, health, medical blog)
  7. Working through at least two e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a foreign lanuage)
  9. Post to each blog (minimum once–would like two or more times)
  10. Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science/health, medical blog):
    • Oncology series (carcinomas & sarcomas)
    • What is a microbe series
    • Metabolism series (why some supplements are ‘scams’)
    • Why some foods (chocolate, onions, walnuts/pecans) are bad for dogs & cats

These goals are in addition to the goals that I’d drawn on my April BINGO card (and actually some of these goals are from the April BINGO card). So how did I do with each of the goals?

Reading at least three non-fiction books. I read the following books during April:

  1. Top 10 most interesting dinosaurs by Daniel Bozso 
  2. 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 more discoveries from the golden age of dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
  3. Becoming What You Are: A Concise Guide to Awakening the light within by Two Workers
  4. B*tch Don’t Kill my Vibe by Reese Owen
  5. What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
  6. Waking up in the winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson

So 100% on this goal…and actually managed to double the number of books that I read.

Reading at least three fiction books. I read the following fiction books during April:

  1. Moments for You (Wilder Brothers/Cousins #7) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. The Keeper (Playing to Win #1) by Bella Matthews
  3. The Wildcat (Playing to Win #2) by Bella Matthews
  4. The Knockout (Playing to Win #3) by Bella Matthews
  5. Caged (The Defiant Kings #1) by Bella Matthews
  6. Shaken (The Defiant Kings #2) by Bella Matthews
  7. Iced (The Defiant Kings #3) by Bella Matthews
  8. Overruled (The Defiant Kings #4) by Bella Matthews
  9. Haven (The Defiant Kings #5) by Bella Matthews

Seeing a pattern? I found a new (to-me) author—Bella Matthews, and have been binge reading her backlist (after having purchased the Playing to win series). I think I’ve also (more or less) finished two other connected series…I just forgot to write them down on teh wod document that I have going to track how many books I’ve read during 2024.

Completing at least one 30-day challenge (100% complete):

This month’s challenge was attempting to finish a Sudoku puzzle everyday. I probably should have kept track of how many days I actually managed to complete the puzzle without messing up…but I’d say it was probably somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the time (so somewhere between 20 and 25 days of ‘correctly’ finishing the puzzle).

I’d started also trying to do a crossword puzzle daily as well…and I’d say the percentage I got done was around 10-15%…not great…so maybe try to work on getting better at crossword puzzles over the next few months.

Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can hopefully stick with (~60% complete):

I’ve created a basic board game for intentional movements…though I’m thinking of purchasing a hula hoop and some battle ropes to add into the mix. My problem for the past couple of years has been ‘boredom’…aka—doing the same workout programs that I’ve done in the past. In order to break that ‘cycle’ I need to mix things up—and also not focus on a number on the scale or a number on the tag of clothes…but aim to get into the best shape of my life, honor my body, and accept (plus work with) the limitations of my body—i.e. knowing that lunges, pushups, tricep dips, and even jogging/running aren’t things I should be doing a lot of…though jogging may be possible a few months down the road—the others I should avoid due to my bone structure (being knocked-kneed/bow-legged; messed up bone structure due to the hereditary multiple osteochondromas).

My biggest hurdle currently—is figuring out the ‘time’ to workout daily. I’m not a big fan of being ‘observed’ when working out…so yeah—still need to figure out the best ‘time’ of day to do things. 

Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel (possibly 5% completed?):

Not quite done with this one…mainly because I haven’t quite decided if it’s going to be solely an ‘science, health, med’ comms/topics channel, or is it going to be like me—multifaceted. The single topic channel would be in theory easier to plan than a multifaceted one…but I’m worried that I’d get bored with it…though that could just be the inner critic/imposter syndrome whispering in my ear to keep me ‘stuck’.

Two blurbs/reviews on sciences papers (for the science, health, med blog) (5% completed):

Nope..I have the notes for one blurb/review (over the leafy and weedy sea dragon genomes), and just need to go back through and edit it down—I was over thinking things and started to also create a mini-review, when I should have been making note of things I found of interest and wanted to research on their own…with then linking back to the original ‘blurb’ that brought the ‘new topic’ to my attention. 

Working through at least two e-courses (100%–I watched/took notes):

I watched two ‘short’ e-courses on SkillShare in April, and those two courses were:

“The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success” and

“Creative Business Plan for Artists: Create a Thriving Business”

Now…I just need to go back and complete the ‘assignments’ for both of the courses—in order to get the ‘certificates’ of completion. Which will then help me actually move forward with trying to launch potentially two different freelance businesses (the freelance science, health, medical comms & the creative hobby/personal/professional growth business).

30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a language) (only about 5% completed)

Nope…I managed to do this for the first few days of the month, and then I let all sorts of other ‘tasks’ take precedence over logging into Mondly for a half-hour to practice learning a foreign language.

Post to each blog (minimum once—would like two or more times) (100%—creative blog was several times; while the science, health & medical blog was once)

I usually manage to post to the creative blog at least four times a month (in regards to setting goals via of the new and full moon phases), and sometimes I manage a fifth or sixth time (book reviews or updates on what’s going on in West Asia). The site that usually I have more ‘trouble’ posting to is the science, health, and medical comms blog/website. 

I actually managed to post to the science, health, & medical blog website once last month—back on the 7th, I posted about 2024 world health day. I’m behind on the oncology blog series—only because I’ve realized that I need to divide some of the posts into multiple posts. A goal for May is to get back to a biweekly schedule of posting the oncology blog series, plus possibly posting about other topics as well (potential public/global health posts in regards to the rise of certain infectious diseases in certain areas of the world).

Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science, health, medical blog/website): (possibly about 45% done)

The oncology blog series (focusing on ‘location-based’ classification of cancers currently) ~35% done. I need to break these two outlines into ‘multiple’ outlines, as I’d noticed that the posts were getting ‘fairly’ long (i.e. getting close to almost ‘mini-review length–at least in my mind).

What is a microbe series–~80% done. I have a basic outline and some notes. But I should ensure that I have a couple of ‘examples’ of each group/family/class of microbes picked out and a outline for what I’d like to cover on those organisms.

Metabolism series–haven’t started

What various foods aren’t good for dogs and cats–haven’t started

I have notes and a rough outline for the what is a microbe series. I have a very rough draft for the carcinoma position of the oncology blog series (location based cancers part I). Since I haven’t fine-tuned the carcinoma outline…I haven’t moved forward to the sarcoma outline..which is currently ‘okay’ since I’m so far behind in writing/posting this series to the science, health, med blog. 

Conclusions:

So with April being the first month (in over a year) in which I tried to set ‘a laundry list’ of goals…I’m happy to see that there were only two or three that were less than 10% completed (refresh/learn a foreign language, planning out the YouTube channel, & blurbs on science/health/medical papers). I’m acknowledging that my inner critic/imposter syndrome was probably responsible for sidelining me for a good chunk of the month in regards to those two goals, and writing/posting to the science, health, & medical blog/website.

Reading is always something I enjoy…I’m proud of the fact that I managed to read/finish half a dozen non-fiction books this month, and am aiming to read at least three next month as well (if I can do half a dozen, great). Research & writing is something else I enjoy…I just need to get into the mindset that ‘good, decent, & done’ is a better mindset than ‘great, in-depth, and perfect’.

Perfectionism, comparing myself to others, and feeling like I need to have all the answers/solutions/every outcome mapped before moving forward is whats kept me stuck for quite a while (not to mention the whole family medical crisis/grief/finding my new normal). But I can say that I’m slowly making my way forward on my own path…

So what goals are going on my ‘laundry’ list of goals for May? They include:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least four fiction
  3. Completing at least one more 30-day challenge
  4. Start following my intentional movement (aka exercise) plan
  5. Finish the outline/mind-map and possibly launch the YouTube channel
  6. Blurbs on the science, health, medical papers
  7. Working through at least three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Post to each blog at least twice
  10. Mind-maps & outlines:
    • The two topics from last month (metabolism & foods that aren’t good for pets & why)
    • “Interviews” with different dinosaurs & extinct animals
    • What makes us “toxic/poisonous” (“interviews” with different creatures that either produce their own toxins/posions or house microbes that produce them)
    • Interviews with citizens of ancient civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus others)
    • Ancient Civilizations (Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt)
  11. Writing/working on projects for at least 30-minutes a day (minimum two different projects a day)
  12. Work on the large needlepoint project and maybe (start and/or finish) a small needlepoint proejct
  13. Create a rough draft of a coloring book from some of my black & white doodles.

There are ‘more’ goals listed for May…but several are just setting up for the research step of the project (such as goal number ten—the mind-maps & outlines). Others may be ‘competed’ quickly (such as say just reading four fiction books—but I know I’ll be reading more than just four). 

Having thirteen goals listed for May means I’ll also be working on my time and project management skills. Especially when it comes to ensuring that I’m doing my daily intentional movement, making time to be on Mondly learning a foreign language, working through an e-course, mind-mapping & creating outlines, research, writing/editing & publishing content. The overall goal for May is to complete at least fifty percent of a third of the goals; complete seventy-five percent of a third, and hundred precent of the other third. Yes, I know that with thirteen goals—it’s not an ‘even’ third.

How do you go about goal setting? Yearly? Quarterly? Monthly? What style of goal-setting do you use? SMART goals? OKR (Objective, Key Results)? WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan)? GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Will)?

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Content Creation Challenge & Planning: Scorpio Goals

So we’re heading into April’s full moon tonight, and it will be a couple more months before the next partial lunar eclipse (there was the full lunar eclipse last month). Unfortunately, I never feel like trying to stay up late enough to see the lunar eclipses…this month’s earlier solar eclipse was neat…to bad I didn’t have the right filter on the phone to be able to get a picture of it.

Since the moon is moving through Scorpio over the next few days, here are some questions that one can reflect on (according to ‘Moonology’ by Yasmin Boland):

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 having 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. I’m not acting jealous of others. I’m not acting vengeful towards others (I’ll leave that to karma). Am I suspicious of others? Well…there is the on-going (live-streamed) genocide in Gaza…and as I’d mentioned a couple times on Instagram—I’m losing respect for those that think what is happening is okay…I’m still working on ‘derailing/fixing’ internal ‘toxic’ thoughts (when I notice them). Since I started trying to write out a weekly schedule again—I’ve gotten a little better at time & project management…but catching and controlling the inner critic/imposter syndrome is a little more tricky (I don’t always notice when it grabs the ‘wheel’). 
  2. As I mentioned a couple of years ago: Am I afraid of failure? Yes. Am I afraid of attempting something new (and possibly failing)? Yes. This is in part to the inner critic/imposter syndrome, but also in part to how I was raised—I was raised to ‘be better than average’ (though I know my parents meant only academically)—and it is a mindset that I’m working letting go. 
  3. Again—Have you seen the world lately?? I mean with all the damn problems going on—yes, I probably have been focusing a little too much on the negative rather than the positive (especially when I can’t control the events of the world). Therefore, I need to focus on what I can control, and what will hopefully bring more positive and less negative vibes to my life.
  4. No, I have not been cruel or cunning to others or myself. Though I’m sure that there are others that would argue against this…but as far as I’m concerned—I haven’t been cruel to others…if you can’t handle the truth—that is on you, not on me.
  5. Nope..I don’t need to be having sex to feel good about myself. Also—currently not in a relationship. I could recycle parts of my answer from two years ago (since I didn’t write about my Scorpio full moon goals last spring)…but will leave it at this: I’m not in the mindset to get out and meet new people (aka not into dipping my toes into the dating pool).

The moon then also moved through my first house (or my Image zone), as I usually work with my rising sign (which happens to be Scorpio; my sun sign is Virgo & my moon sign is Pisces). This house/sign is focused on yourself and what you want to fix/update/refresh/toss or whatever in regards to both your personal and/or professional life. 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s review of my Libra full moon goals—I’m going to try to start ‘tracking’ my energy patterns throughout the day/week/month. As I’ve realized that there are some days/weeks that I really don’t feel like doing anything…and no amount of internal ‘pep’ talks can get me to move the needle very far during these periods. This was something I was dealing with last week..I didn’t feel like getting much done…so I focused on just a few things (like trying to share a sciences news ‘blurb’ daily on LinkedIn, doing a daily update on Gaza on Instagram and things like that).

I know that this is a ‘cyclic’ nature—as I’d mentioned two years ago: “everything is cyclic in nature—what goes up, must come down”. I also know that I need to ensure that the downward trends are ‘dips’ and not a sharp drop-off that I struggle to recover from. Our ruts/routines that we fall into when dealing with burnout or grief are sometimes the hardest ones to break…as I’m discovering. 

So what are a few goals that I can work on over the next few weeks to help bring myself back towards all my other goals?

Well, those goals will include:

  1. Planning out for May: setting up (at least the basic) calendar, the May BINGO card, the May brain-dump, and also trying to set up the ‘editorial’ calendar for the oracle card instagram channel.
  2. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan,
  3. Writing out the rough draft for my personal/professional growth plan
  4. Set up a new 90-day content challenge plan

Four goals…in theory all could be ‘one-and-done’ goals…if I manage to actually sit down and write out goals–that I can ‘logically’ break down into yearly/quarterly/monthly/weekly goals…that is where I usually either freak out (I set the time period too short or too long), or I just don’t break them down. That is a goal–make a ‘large’ goal, that I can logically breakdown into easier, smaller & more manageable goals.

And above all remember—Aim for progress and not for perfection.

What is one of your Scorpio goals?

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Brain-dumps & goals lists (check)–now on to the long-term objectives

So the moon will be going through it’s next full moon stage at the beginning of next week-which means it’s time to look at the goals I’d set for the Virgo full moon, before planning for the Libra full moon.

So what were the goals that I’d set for the Virgo full moon? Well, they included:

  1. Get back into the practice of doing ‘monthly brain dumps’ and using things from the list as ideas for blog posts, infographics and so forth. 
  2. Working on that two-to-five year plan. Brainstorming (hopefully) reasonable milestones to aim for
  3. Make a list (from both my 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days) that I want to accomplish during the second quarter of 2024.
  4. Develop a rough draft of a fluid weekly schedule…leading to hopefully a workable fluid schedule by May.

So how did I do with each of them?

Monthly brain dump:

Well–I’m getting back into the habit. I made a brain-dump for March and actually managed to get a decent number of things checked off/accomplished, including:

  1. I posted the review to Last First Kiss on Amazon on the fourth…and they accepted it rather quickly (which was a nice surprise for a Monday).
  2. I’ve been keeping up with running the ‘accountability’ series within a Facebook group (posting the initial one on a Monday & then check-ins on Wed & Fri)
  3. I’ve been doing daily updates on Gaza on my Instagram channel (still debating on whether to start a ‘separate’ channel or not on this)
  4. I’ve found two new recipes to try this month
  5. I’ve done two e-courses
  6. I’m slowly getting back into getting on Mondly for learning a foreign language
  7. I’ve sent off two boxes of used DVDs & books…managed to hit about a quarter of my goal of earning a minimum of $100 this month selling stuff back.
  8. I finished two non-fiction books by the 20th (which meant I’d read/finished six books between 1/20 & 3/20)
  9. I set up the BINGO cards for both the second quarter of 2024 & for April
  10. Did my 3rd check-in on my 44 things to accomplish before turning 44
  11. I did my new & full moon goals this month
  12. I should hopefully have the third panel of the afghan completed by the end of the upcoming week

Working on the two-to-five year plan:

This currently is one of those ‘constantly’ in progress goals. I’m currently in the process of brainstorming ideas for not only objectives (short term goals) but ‘milestones’ as well. As I’d mentioned within my rough draft of a two-to-five year plan—I usually freak out trying to figure out how to break down the big ‘vision’ goal into smaller ‘sub-vision’ goals. It’s a work in progress, and maybe having watched the one course on how to write an business plan—I can at least get the big ‘vision’ goal down into smaller/yearly ‘sub-vision’ goals.

List of things from both the 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days to put on the second quarter BINGO card:

I’ve gotten this accomplished. What’s being added to the second quarter BINGO card (and partially to the April BINGO card) includes:

  1. Creating a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launching a YouTube channel
  3. Completing three 30-day challenges
  4. Reading at least another 8-12 nonfiction books
  5. Reading another ‘banned’ book and at least one ‘new’ classic book
  6. Finishing at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Finishing the afghan project
  8. Drawing/doodling & painting an original piece of art
  9. Creating a workout plan
  10. Writing a letter to my future self (again)
  11. Completing at least 4 more Udemy courses & at least 5 more Skillshare courses
  12. At least 30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly learning a foreign language
  13. Start at least one new Instagram channel (possibly for the oracle cards)
  14. A minimum of 12 mini book reviews (for the creative blog)
  15. A minimum of 10 ‘blurbs/reviews’ of different science papers (for the science/health/medical blog)

These are in addition to the ‘normal’ goals that I have on it:

  1. Daily oracle card drawings
  2. Water before coffee
  3. Daily craft time
  4. Daily gratitude journal entries
  5. Daily intentional movements
  6. Daily mediation
  7. No spend challenges
  8. Time & project management
  9. Read at least nine fiction books (breaks down to at least three a month)

Develop a ‘rough’ fluid weekly schedule:

I’ve realized that at times my biggest distractions are getting back onto social media and semi-doom scrolling…so I need to ‘block’ myself from at least Facebook majority of the day. I’m not going to ‘block’ myself from Instagram…as I haven’t bookmarked the ‘help’ page yet for LI ticket submissions.

This week I’ve tried the idea of time theming…where I put a particular ‘theme’ to a day. The theme is suppose to help me ‘focus’ by the fact that most tasks for the day should be around the ‘theme’. What I’ve learned—I need to do more of a morning & afternoon theme than a particular full day theme. Especially since I’m still not fully certain of when I have the most focused attention/energy. 

I know that most people (and there is research to back this) state that we’re most focused the first couple of hours in the morning…and I’m semi-focused during the morning. I think that I’m the most focused at night when I’m working on crafts…which means that I possibly should be thinking of trying to get more ‘crafts’ made so I can launch a online craft store (via Etsy or some other site).

Next week I’m going to try to blend ‘theming’ in with time blocks. I’ve also realized that I kinda like semi-spontaneous during the day/week—and by that I mean moving projects around to days when I think I’ll actually make some progress towards getting them started/finished. Also next week will show me how well I can manage my day when I’m in charge of the animals for more than just ten or twelve hours.

Four goals. Two were ‘one-and-done’ (monthly brain dump & list from the combo 44 things/101 goals), and both were finished. The other two were more ‘fluid’ and semi-continuous goals. The weekly schedule needs to have decent breaks scattered throughout (not to mention a time for intentional movement). The two-to-five year plan…well I still need to fine-tune the goals & objective statements, not to mention figuring out what milestones to have for each sub-objective. But I made some progress on both of those goals…so it was a win for the Virgo full moon period.

As I mentioned in last month’s post—I want to try to combine different methods of goal setting and see if a blend of methods works better than a ‘single’ method. I’ve picked the following methods to try to blend: Value-based goal setting (are the goals I’m setting matching my values?), OKR (objective & key results), WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) & goals based on the phase/constellation of the moon. Four methods, and truthfully the biggest ‘obstacles’ are going to be trying to determine the key results/outcomes that I can actually achieve within a set time frame (not too long or short of time).

Since we’re also entering the last week of March—it is also time to reflect back on the first quarter of the year—did you get everything accomplished that you wanted? Or are there still big goals that will now be stretching into the second quarter of the year?

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Progress on the 44 things to do before turning 44 project

Okay…I realized last night as I was working on the latest update to this ‘project’–I never got around to posting the original 44 things to do before turning 44, nor either of the previous two updates. The original post, and both previous updates I think I posted to Instagram, and I think LinkedIn.

I’ve posted the third update to Instagram this morning, and until LinkedIn allows me back onto my account–obviously I can’t post it there. So I’m posting it here, and will probably post it over to Facebook this afternoon sometime. So, this ’44 things to do before turning 44′ is an update/continuation to the previous ‘birthday’ challenge (43 things to do before turning 43) and the ‘goals’ have been taken from the new 101 goals in 1001-days challenge that I’d also started back the day after my 43rd birthday.

Today marks the third update (March 20), and the half-way point between my birthdays. Now, if it was a perfect world–I’d be halfway done with the goals (in theory knocking out 22 goals in six months)…but it isn’t a perfect world, and I’ll admit that I’d fallen into procrastination canyon for awhile last fall. I’m slowly getting better at getting things done, and who knows I may actually get a decent number of the goals totally completed by my birthday in six months.

So what is on the 44 things to do before turning 44?

Well these goals include:

The daily oracle/tarot card readings are an ‘365-day’ challenge…so obviously I’m not going to be checking this one off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been consistent at doing an oracle card drawing daily, and am even thinking of starting an new Instagram account for sharing those ‘readings’.

I’m learning about body confidence (I’ve read several books on the subject–so check out the list a little further down the challenge list). I’ve got an idea for creating a consistent exercise routine (hopefully by the next check-in, I can say that I’ve managed at least 30-days of consistent intentional movement).

The daily mediation goal is another one that I won’t be ‘checking’ off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been sitting ‘quietly’ for a few minutes every evening, and am still working on trying to introducing some ‘quiet’ (aka meditative) time in the morning. Getting into the best shape of my life will slowly start happening once I’ve developed that intentional movement plan that I will (hopefully) be able to stick with.

I have an idea for the name of a YouTube channel, and ideas for what I would be wanting to talk about…I just need to ‘record’ a practice video and see how it looks/sounds before actually ‘launching’ the channel. Then hopefully by the end of the summer I will have ‘launched’ it as a podcast as well–or at least have a outline/schedule for launching it as a podcast.

Working on the happiness plan, and slowly working on getting the debt down (starting to keep track [more or less] of purchases and such).

Again, the stretching daily won’t be ‘checked’ off until my birthday–and I’ve been stretching in the morning & before bed. The monthly editorial calendars have been getting made (and more or less followed). The others are still works in progress.

Okay…something checked off: My definition of success.

I’m defining success as any of the following:

I have my credit card debt paid off…and have canceled a credit card…and the others are paid off monthly

I have started saving money again, and adding to my retirement account

My yearly earnings are in the upper five figure to low six figures

My stress levels have ‘leveled’ out

I’m committed to a fitness routine that I’ve tailored to my likes and dislikes…I’m in the progress of getting into the best shape of my life

I’m meditating twice a day

I’m spending time out in nature

I’m writing and researching things of interest

I have two successful blogs….two successful freelance businesses

I have a podcast…a YouTube channel…that I do for fun…and to educate and entertain others…earning money from them is secondary…

I have an online store for selling my crafts…

I’ve developed an “working relationship” with my ‘imposter syndrome/inner critic’…

I have developed and embraced my vision of minimalism…

I am staying up-to date on world events…

I have created numerous online courses that not only cover science topics, but history, social sciences, and current events.

Basically…Success to me is being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive, and aware that not every day is going to be rainbows and unicorns…sometimes they’re thunderstorms and disasters…Success is more than money, influence, and power…it’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to. It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in ‘competition’ with the me I was yesterday.

The next step is to create a vision board based on the above statements.

I’m making progress on the non-fiction reading:

I’ve been averaging about five books every two months (so roughly two and a half books a month). While I’ve read more non-fiction books this time around compared to the list for the 43 before 43 challenge–I’m hoping to still ‘finish’ this challenge. That means I need to try to read at least one non-fiction book a week for the next six months. One thing I need to do–is to go back and write at least four to five mini-book reviews over various books that I’ve finished.

Okay two more things have been totally checked off, and I’m halfway done with the challenge of reading two banned books.

Both of the above series are romance series that are based around a group of siblings. The ‘Lost & Found’ series has aspects of suspense woven throughout all the books, while the ‘Cottonwood Cove’ series has various other ‘tropes’ (such as brother’s best-friend [though so does the ‘Lost & Found’], enemy-to-friends, and friends-to-lovers). I give both series five out of five stars, and am planning on going back and writing reviews for each of the series (haven’t decided if it will be five individual reviews or a combo-five reviews over the entire series).

The other goal checked off that page: Doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least two original drawings. I decided that for this goal I was going to do large drawings/doodles instead of the smaller ones I’d been doing last spring/summer and early fall.

Here are the three that I’d completed last fall:

In addition last fall, I also finished up the first really large needlepoint project:

I’m currently working on a needlepoint project that is even larger than this one. Though I should possibly do a couple of small ones as well–just to make sure that I hit the goal of completing at least three needlepoint projects. I’m also thinking of launching an etsy store to sell abstract needlepoint projects, digital coloring books, downloadable prints of my colored doodles, and other crafts–so stay tuned to hear about when I decide to launch that project.

I may get several of the above goals finished over the next few days/weeks. I have numerous black and white doodles that I can use to create a coloring book. I just need to have really good pictures of them to upload into a program to then print off (or upload) as a pdf booklet. I’m thinking of possibly trying to complete the draw/doodle & paint goal this upcoming weekend along with starting to possibly play with some resin or make some charm bracelets & necklaces.

Okay. In terms of the photography challenge–I need to try to develop a plan–am I going to do various 30-day challenges, random times with the cell-phone camera or what. The last time I did a photography challenge was back in 2018/2019 and I managed about six to seven months before I called quits (mainly because I felt like I was constantly ‘repeating’ the subject matter).

In terms of new & full moon goals–I’ve only missed one so far, and that was setting full moon goals in Oct 2023. I wasn’t dealing with Oct very well (as that was the start of the ongoing genocide in Gaza), and the one thing that really fell by the wayside was the full moon goals at the end of the month.

I’ve finished three Udemy courses and two Skillshare courses so far:

I now have a couple of ideas of sites to use when trying to do SEO research for writing (both on this blog & the science, health, medical blog), and I have a better idea of what goes into a business plan.

I’ll be doing one of those exercises again that allows me to figure out my values at this stage of life, and then figure out how to combine those with my strengths to determine how to create my ‘dream career’. Time theming is something I’m attempting this week…and I’ve realized so far that I need to pair the ‘theming’ with other productivity ‘tools’ such as using a timer, logging out of social media sites, and so forth to ensure that I’m not getting overly distracted from what I’m wanting to get accomplished.

The final two goals:

The sudoku & crossword puzzle challenge is an way of keeping the brain active. I use to do the sudoku puzzle almost daily, but when things really started to go south late 2022…I quit doing them–now I’m going to try to get back into doing them. The crossword puzzles are just for fun, actually they both are. I don’t expect to ‘win’ at the sudoku puzzle every day–especially the harder levels towards the end of the week, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be finishing every crossword puzzle either.

Learning basic sign language is another ‘refresher’ in a way. When I was younger I could sign the entire alphabet using sign language, but as with many things–since it wasn’t ‘related’ to school…I quit practicing and have forgotten most of what I’d learned. It similar with wanting to become fluent in Spanish–I took a year of Spanish in high school (my freshman year) before switching to German. I didn’t take any foreign languages in college–though, I did take a class that had a class trip to Honduras (so I brushed up on my Spanish a little). I want to become fluent in Spanish to where I could travel to Spain and hopefully not have to rely on a guidebook. I’m hoping to become proficient in Arabic…because why not?

But there you have it. If you’ve read this far (or scrolled) I’ve managed to complete 3 out of the 44 goals currently–that’s not quite 7% (it’s actually 6.8%) of the goals met. Some of the goals are just a matter of deciding that the evening craft time will be spent drawing, painting, playing with beads/charms, threads, or resin instead of knitting (which has been my major project for the past couple of weeks–trying to finish my latest afghan).

So what am I going to try to accomplish over the next two months?

I’m going to work on accomplishing the following:

  1. Create a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launch a YouTube channel
  3. Complete at least two 30-day challenges
  4. Read at least another eight non-fiction books
  5. Read another ‘banned’ book & at least one ‘classic’
  6. Finish at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Draw/doodle & paint an original piece of art
  8. Create a workout plan
  9. Write a letter to my future self
  10. Complete another four Udemy courses
  11. Complete another five Skillshare courses

Have you ever made a list of goals based on how old you’re going to be the next year? If so–were you able to accomplish all the goals, or were there some goals that were left unaccomplished?

I’m hoping to put a little progress into all the goals–regardless of whether or not I land a remote position (I want to have at least applied to say half a dozen remote science/health/medical communications positions), as some goals are on-going (getting debt down, getting into the best shape of my life), while others can be marked as ‘done’ once the birthday rolls around (since they’re ‘on-going’ but only for this particular birthday year–currently).

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