Category: Lifestyle Challenges

August: Month in Review

Well August is officially over, and there are only 122 days left in the year. I’m also a day late in posting this as well. As I’m writing this I realize that my birthday is now in less than three weeks, and then I will be looking down my last year of my thirties. I also realized that I fell short on some of the goals for August.

There is only a month left in the third quarter of the year, and while that is scary, depressing, and slightly invigorating—I’ve realized that is just how time goes now—in an instant. Though there is still the fourth quarter of the year, and I’m thinking that is where some of the change is going to take place, and the seeds for change in 2020 will be planted.

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

The goals for August included:

At least 434,000 steps

Continuing with the photography challenge

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

Working on my “reboot break”

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keeping a money log)

Get back into a workout schedule (either a full program or a hybrid program between two different programs).

Work on creating more content for the blog (and potentially posts for linkedin).

Work on getting in a routine of reading business & scientific articles.

So how did I do with each one?

At least 434,000 steps

            I was down less than 9,000 steps for the month of August—my final total was 425,266 steps. This was mainly due to the hot temperatures on the weekends, and me not getting my steps in on those days (plus one or two days during the week, when I fell short as well). Though for the year I’m at 3,579,549 steps, which means that to get to 5 million—I only need to aim for a little over 11,500 steps a day. So, I think it is safe to say that I’m going to make the goal of 5 million steps. It is nice to see that by the time I take my reboot break, I don’t necessarily have to aim for 14,000 steps a day (though I probably will—just so I’m not constantly sitting on my butt).

Continuing with the photography challenge

            I took a week off from the photography challenge this month. This was partially due to the heat and not having done a walk for a week or two (therefore I felt like I was running low on photographs to share), and partially due to my mood—I just wasn’t in a good mind space that week.

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

            I managed to finish one book this month and it was “The Self-Care Prescription: Powerful solutions to manage stress, reduce anxiety, and increase well-being” by Robyn Gobin.

            One thing that I have realized is that while having a kindle is nice—all your books are at your fingertips, at the same time it can be detrimental if you bounce between books a lot (like I do at times). There are numerous books that I’ve started to read in terms of personal/professional development and then I decided I wanted to read something else. So now I’m actually going to go back to some of those books and start from the beginning, as it’s been at least six weeks (if not longer) since I read anything from that particular book.

Working on my “reboot break”

            I have an idea of how the first few weeks will go—as those are the weeks that I’m going to dedicate to getting my storage unit in order and starting to try to get rid of things (either selling or donating).

            As I had posted earlier, I’m thinking that the first week (and it will probably be the week of Thanksgiving) will look a little like this:

                        Get up, have a cup of coffee (or tea), and feed the dogs

                        Go for a morning walk at Boomer Lake (morning zen time and photography time)

                        Breakfast, shower (probably), then to the storage unit to rearrange and/or repack boxes

                        Home for lunch

                        Computer time: **Make use of apps that allow blocking of certain sites for a certain time frame (remove social media temptation—mainly facebook & instagram).

                                    At least one e-course (I have numerous ones bought covering a wide range of topics)

                                    Read/share at least two articles from a biotech/biopharma news site on Linkedin and twitter

                                    Spend at least forty minutes responding to messages and/or sending out connection requests on linkedin

                                    Spend at least thirty minutes reading through other people’s posts on linkedin, and hopefully commenting on at least two or three of them.

                                    Read for an hour (personal/professional development) and journal for an hour (answering questions from personal/professional development book)

                                    Workout

                                    Feed the animals

                                    Dinner and evening routine

            Then after getting my storage unit in order, and other things taken care of I can use that time for other things (such as craft time, or more reading/journaling time). This is one thing I’m hoping to improve upon during my reboot break—time management and spending time doing things that I enjoy and things I need to do.

            I’ve realized that I’m not aiming for “balance” per say—just having the ability to say today is a day that I need more “me” time or today is a day that will be heavy workwise, therefore after work this is going to be my recharge plan. It has taken me almost thirty-nine years to realize that I really never have had that type of “balance”—I go all out one way or the other, and therefore it isn’t surprising that I’m basically burnt out on life.

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keeping a money log)

            I think I managed about one day a week of not spending money on campus. I’ve gotten into the bad habit again of going to the student union at lunch and grabbing candy (my excuse is that it’s a walk to help me get in my steps). Hopefully other than a few scheduled purchases (such as pre-ordered books, one lunch out with friends, and one order from Amazon), I can avoid spending money this month.

            I don’t see spending money as bad—but considering what I’m currently buying (namely candy)—I think that I should try to cut back on that spending. Now if I end up buying some fruit or veggies to snack on while on campus—I will make note, but still try to avoid “careless” spending (i.e. spending money on things that I could very well bring from home).

Get back into a workout schedule (either a full program or a hybrid program between two different programs).

            This is one thing that I’m struggling with currently. There have been new “hours” required at work (they’re not really new, but they’re very concrete—can’t leave until basically 5 pm on the dot), which has messed up my evening routine and I have yet to get into the groove of a new one. Hopefully this is something that I can get straightened out over the next few months.

Work on creating more content for the blog (and potentially posts for linkedin).

            Well, other than the photography challenge (and I took a week off from that), and a few other posts—I didn’t get that much content created for the blog, and none that would be shared via linkedin.

            I realize that sharing things via linkedin, they’ll be more of the scientific posts (and I don’t have that many of those done), plus I haven’t decided on the niche/area I would like to focus on. Though to be truthful, for the blog I can be a little more of a jack-of-all-trades, but they would need a central theme.

Work on getting in a routine of reading business & scientific articles.

            I have read several articles on biotech/biopharma business pages, and even shared them on linkedin and twitter. It isn’t totally consistent—but it is a start. I’m still trying to figure out my niche, as everything/one has said that it is better to be an expert than a jack-of-all-trades (which is what I currently consider myself).

            This is currently one of the problems I’m having with my transition plan—trying to narrow down what it is I want to do with my life. One thing I’ve realized over the years—once I master a skill, I start to get bored. Therefore I’m going to need to choose an area, where I will be challenged consistently, and that could even mean working my way up the ladder—more responsibility, more challenges. Or, I may need to look towards smaller companies, where I may wear more than one “hat” in terms of responsibilities.

Therefore the goals for September will include:

At least 420,000 steps

Continue with the photography challenge

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

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

Read 3 non-fiction books

Continue working on the reboot/pause plan

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

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

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

No Comments Lifestyle ChallengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Aquarius Full Moon Goals, a few days late…..

So the moon has transitioned into its full moon stage (either last night or the night before last—depending on where you live in the world). This means that we’re half way through August, and pretty soon we’re going to be entering the last few months of the year. I’ll be happy when the temperatures cool down—I’m getting tired of the triple digits combined with the high humidity.

So the moon has transitioned into Aquarius, and there are questions that one can ask themselves during this time (again, all questions come from “Moonology: Working with the magic of lunar cycles by Yasmin Boland).

Have I been pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life?

Have I been living too much in my head and not enough in my heart?

Have I been trying to do things my way, just for the sake of it?

Have I been trying too hard to befriend people, and for the wrong reasons?

Have I allowed myself to move forwards this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, I think that my answers would be as follows:

  1. Have I been too down to earth or rational lately? It depends on what one is talking about—how I see the world? Yes, I’m way to pragmatic in seeing that the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. I’m sure that there are people who say that I’m not being rational in how I’m handling my career transition (taking a reboot break), especially since there are signs that a recession could be coming. But I’ve always been a rational person, who likes to have an idea of any and all outcomes before deciding on doing something (hence why I’m still at home and working at my alma mater—I overthink and become paralyzed and stuck).
  2. This is a toss up—I’m usually over cautious (being in my head), but at the same time I’m trying to do more things that I enjoy (and that currently don’t pay the bills—photography, reading, being outdoors).
  3. This depends again on context—what are we talking about. With my job—I do things as written in the protocols. With my life—everything is up in the air, and it’s hard to do something a certain way if you have no idea of what you’re doing.
  4. I’m not someone who makes friends quickly, so I can safely say that I haven’t been trying to befriend people for any reason lately. I know that networking is an important part of job searching and career advancement. While I have an extensive network, I know that I need to actually start putting the work into those relationships—and this something that I’m going to focus on during my reboot break (though I will start doing a little more daily beforehand).
  5. I am slowly making progress on planning my reboot break, and am proud that I’m sticking firm with stating that I’m not signing an extension contract for my current position. I know that there is something more out there, I just have to be willing to move forward to find it—and the best way to move forward is to intentionally “close” a door—that way you have no choice but to move forward.

The Aquarius full moon is a time to find balance between having a few real relationships and being the super person of the month. It is also the time to reflect on things, and figure out how to let go of the things that are no longer helpful or nurturing.

In addition to being within Aquarius, it is also important to see what house the moon is passing through as well. Currently it is moving though my sixth house, or my daily work and health zone. Again, it will be time to reflect on things and figure out how to strike a balance that will bring some peace to one’s life.

Things that one can contemplate during this time:

            Giving up bad habits.

            Restarting an exercise routine.

            Going slow and steady at work.

            Fix the habits/routines that are no longer working for you.

            Start meditating.

            Take up yoga.

So it is fitting that I’m passing through the daily work and health zone—I know that I’ve let my fitness and health routine fall short a lot (I know I’m eating way to many sweets), and I know that there are a million other things I need to be working on as well. If I were to make a small list of goals for the Aquarius full moon they would include:

            Evening meditations—I’ve been good at managing at least two to three minutes. I’d like to work back up to doing five to ten minutes. Also I should try to figure out a way of meditating during the day (instead of going for a walk to buy chocolate, I should try to find a quiet spot to just sit and be for awhile).

            Getting back into a workout routine. While I may not be able to manage a daily workout—I’ll aim for trying to workout two or three days a week, and work up to doing a daily workout.

            Work on my reboot break and transition plans—journal any and all ideas. I have to remember that this is my path to walk, and what may seem strange to others may just work out perfectly for me.

No Comments AstrologyFitness ChallengesFull Moon GoalsLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspirituality

Photography Challenge Day 170: A Book Review: Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

The winner of today’s photography challenge—is the following book that I managed to finish about two weeks ago: “Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to make more room for happiness” by Gretchen Rubin. This is the second book by Gretchen Rubin that I’ve read over the past year (the other was The Four Tendencies).

Kindle books are great; this was one of the two books I finished during July.

This particular book deals with the issue of getting rid of excess belongings and organizing what you keep in a manner that makes you happy (and others living with you). Society as a whole owns way to much stuff—and there are people who rent storage units to store the excess that they can’t fit in their houses. Now I’m currently renting a storage unit, but that is because when I moved home—my room had been converted into a guest room (and I had only planned on being a guest for a few years tops). So my bed, a large bookcase, some other furniture and other belongings (dishes and such) have been sitting in a storage unit for six years.

I’d realized out in Boston that I had too much stuff, and got rid of some of it before moving back (in hopes of savings some money), but I still have too much stuff—especially if I add in what is in my bedroom to what I have in my storage unit. I’m going to slowly be going through things and paring down on what I have (as I realize I probably don’t need forty different t-shirts). That way if I do head back to Boston and have a smallish apartment—I can fit everything into it, without being overwhelmed.

So the book has five chapters, each covering a specific point/topic in the path of creating outer order, and hopefully inner calm.

The first chapter basically lays out the facts that you have to make choices on what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to be getting rid of; also when you’re getting rid of something you shouldn’t feel guilty about the fact that the item no longer has a place in your home (as the author points out—you can out grow things, or just decide that it isn’t necessary to keep a gift just to keep someone happy (who may or may not remember giving it to you).

The second chapter talks about creating order, and just lays out some simple guidelines that once can follow: such as if you can’t retrieve an item you probably won’t use it—which makes sense, we have one cupboard over the fridge that I forget what is stored in it (obviously we aren’t using the items, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to get rid of the items). Another guideline is to avoid buying souvenirs, or if you are going to buy souvenirs one should go with ones that are small and easy to display.

This is one area I will have to deal with once I’m settled (as I don’t plan on really unpacking all the boxes in my storage unit & repacking them)—I have a lot of little knickknacks that I’d bought over the years; I do have a small number that I’ve bought since I’ve moved home—but for the most part they’re packed in my storage unit.

I think I’ve come up with an idea on how to display them nicely—making use of my large bookcase, but at the same time I will probably try to sell some of them depending on how I can display them. Having little things showing your personality is good—you just need to be able to take care of them (such as dusting)—and if you have too many of them, you might fall down on that task.

The third chapter talks about knowing yourself and others. Basically—know what you consider to be clutter, what others consider to be clutter and if they don’t agree find some type of middle ground. The fourth chapter talks about cultivating helpful habits (such as tossing junk mail right away, making your bed in the morning, putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and so forth) to help keep the clutter down to a minimum.

The fifth chapter talks about adding beauty to the spaces. This can include adding a signature color (or pattern) to the rooms, arranging the displays on a tray, having a theme for the picture frames and so forth.

Basically the book walks you through the steps/thoughts of starting to declutter your home and/or workspace. Decluttering isn’t for everyone—you actually want to be doing it, or if you start you might find yourself with even more stuff (as you feel guilty for getting rid of things, you end up bringing in more to make up for it); also it doesn’t have to happen overnight. I’ve been slowly (and I stress the word slowly) working decluttering my life for the past year—I’ve gotten rid of some stuff, but I also know that I have a lot more that I can get rid of and still be happy. How I’m going about it: I’m asking myself—does this have more than one use? If I find myself in an studio apartment—things will need to be multi-functional (and maybe even multi-storage). Having multiple collections as a teenager or young adult is fine—but now I have to ask the question: do they have a place in the life/home of someone who will be hitting their fourth decade next year?

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is thinking of embarking on the journey of decluttering.

No Comments Book ReviewsLifestyle ChallengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotography

July’s second new moon: goals for the Leo New Moon

So the moon is making its transition into Leo (either today or tomorrow depending on where you live). The transition today will make it the second new moon in July (and a super black moon at that). This also means that the month is over, and there are only five months left in the year. I’m getting better at not asking where the time is going, and I’m trying to get better at time management.

So what are some of things that one can do during the Leo New Moon?

            Show off—celebrate life.

            Flirt.

            Be creative.

            Love thyself—self-love, work on confidence, and leadership skills.

            Spoil thyself.

These are all good for being within the Leo constellation, but one should also look to see what house/zone the moon & Leo are progressing through as well. For me, that means that Leo is going through my 10th house, or my career zone. This is about my career & reputation (professional brand).

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to the career zone?

            Speak to your boss about how you’re doing.

            Help a colleague out of a rut.

            Check that you’ve not become status mad.

            Start a new business as close to the new moon as you can.

            Apply for new jobs with confidence.

            When you’ve earned it, take the credit.

            Plot your next best career move.

I finding it reassuring that the career zone and new moon are falling within this period again this year. It seems like the universe is nudging me to leave my current position—when I need something ordered for my job, the item is on backorder for months (and now there are two items). Last year, it was a computer issue—this year it is a technical issue. I am currently plotting my next move—it’s going to be a reboot break/pause. This way I can figure out what the hell I want to do with the second half of my life (as I’m looking at entering the last year of my thirties pretty soon).

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

  1. Continue planning/outlining my reboot break/pause time.
  2. In part with #1—plan at least one trip (either total mental break or a combination mental break/networking/job searching).
  3. Work on creating more content for the blog and getting back into creative writing.
  4. Continuing with the photography challenge
  5. Work on my daily meditation practice (try to get back to meditating 5-10 minutes a night).

As always my current motto is: Progress over perfection. Right now slow is the pace I need to be going, as I try to focus on both my health and moving my career forward.

No Comments job searchingLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Cancer New Moon Goals: Review

So tomorrow, the moon will be entering another new moon phase, and it will be the second one for the month of July (and is also considered a black super moon—aka the second new moon in a month), though for some it will actually fall on August 1st. This means that July is basically over, and there are only a little over 150 days left in the year. It also means that it’s time to look back at the goals that were set for the Cancer new moon, and see how I did with them.

So what were my goals for the Cancer new moon?

1) Review, edit, and update my 12-month goals/plans for the different areas that I set out back under the Aries new moon.

2) Meditate nightly (even if it’s only for a couple of minutes).

3) Do a daily tarot/oracle card reading (even if I don’t share on social media right away).

4) Read at least one more non-fiction book (two-three would be great)

5) Start working through some of the different e-courses that I’ve bought over the past two years.

So how did I do with each one?

  1. I’m still reviewing, editing, and updating my 12-month goals/plans especially since I’m going to be starting a reboot break/pause towards the end of the year. I’m slowly figuring out what I want to do in life (I have several ideas brewing), and I know that the goals that I set out a few moons ago are in need of constant adjustment.
  2. I’ve managed to do this, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I’d like to be able to get back to where I was meditating for five minutes or more, but I know that I can get there—it will just take daily/evening work to get there.
  3. I have been doing daily oracle/tarot card readings, but I’ve only been sharing maybe once a week on social media. This is because I feel like some of the readings are a little too personal for social media (or at least the messages seem that way). I will try to share at least twice a week (if not more often).
  4. I managed to finish two books during the new moon period. One was about decluttering and the other was about pausing (taking a break) to help figure out one’s life.
  5. I’ve tried to start some of the e-courses, but only manage about ten minutes here or there. I know that I should schedule time for doing them (and I may try to do it the last hour or so of the workday).

So I managed to do pretty well with the goals for the Cancer new moon period, though I might not have gotten as much done with a few as I would have liked—a little progress is better than none. Also in terms of the e-courses, while I have numerous ones—I may start with the ones that I feel could be the most beneficial at this time, work through those and then move on to the next set of courses. It has only taken me almost thirty-nine years to realize that I really haven’t been steering my ship, I’ve been adrift on the current but now I’m slowly starting to readjust the course of the ship.

No Comments AstrologyLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Reboot Break Update I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So a recap:

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

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

No Comments financesfitnessHealthLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreak

Review of Sagittarius Full Moon Goals

So the moon will be transitioning into the Capricorn constellation tomorrow, and entering it’s full moon phase as well. This means that July is a little over half way over, and we’re a little over halfway through the year. The temperatures are sure saying it summer (currently we’re suppose to be in the triple digits for the rest of the week after today). So now it is time to look back on the few goals that I had set for the Sagittarius full moon last month, see how I did with them, what could be improved, and so forth.

So the goals that I set for the Sagittarius full moon included:

            Setting up July’s budget.

Scheduling a time to talk with the TIAA representative about my retirement account (and what to do with it when I leave my current position)—it depends on the times that are available.

            Working on my “reboot break” plan. I realize that I need to “reboot” myself before I can properly focus on working on my transition from academia to industry.

            Focusing on writing more content for the blog, and working on myself (yoga and meditation to begin with).

So my goals were basically in terms of finances, mental health, and trying to work on more content for the blog. So how did I do with each one?

I have my budget set up for July (I just need to remember to transfer some money to the saving account); since I’ve been trying not to buy candy on campus that often—I’ve been saving money there as well (about a quarter to a third of the week).

I haven’t schedule an appointment with the TIAA representative, for several reasons: a) I feel a little uncomfortable doing something during work hours (though it would probably be perfectly okay); b) I know that my retirement is small, and I don’t want to become depressed learning either how long I have to work or how much extra I would need to put into it to get it where I could retire comfortably in 30 years; and finally c) I don’t want to know how big of a headache it will be dealing with it after leaving my current position (as I’m sure the next company won’t be offering this particular retirement account). But there are some times available—I just need to force myself to do (there are times that I detest adulting).

In terms of working on my reboot break—I’ve at least informed my current supervisor that I probably won’t be signing an extension contract come November. I’ve realized that I am probably two or three steps away from being totally burnt out on science—not good since I have my PhD. So I’m going to take a little time off, and then hopefully come back to the transition with a lot more energy than I currently have.

Well I’ve been pretty good at trying to meditate nightly, and hopefully today I’ll be getting back into a workout routine (yes, it is a little late—night before the next full moon, but better late than never). I’m still trying to get into a good writing routine, and also trying to create good images to go with the blog posts as well (this will probably always be a work in progress).

So I’d say I managed about a third of my goals for the last full moon. I’ve realized that I need time off, and even if I only take the holidays off–it may be enough of a break that I can get back to job searching (though I’m going to aim for a little longer). But at least I’ve realized I really need to put myself first, and that nothing really should be worth my mental health.

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

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

A review of Gemini New Moon Goals

So we’re halfway through the year, and the moon will be transitioning into the Cancer constellation today and tomorrow and starting a new moon phase. July is going to be an interesting month, as there will be two new moons—today (which was also a total solar eclipse—but one you had to be in South America to see), and then again on the 31st.

So it is time again to look back on the few goals that I set for the Gemini new moon phase and determine how I did with each one, and what I can do to continue striving for improvement in those areas.

So my goals for the Gemini new moon include:

            I’m going to put making a financial plan back on the list. I’ve realized that I’m not getting any younger, and that there are still things that I either want to do (travel more for leisure) or will need to be doing (moving for a new job) that will require having a decent amount of money saved and/or invested.

            Try to get back into meditating nightly (I got out of the habit last month, and I need to try to get back into it again).

            Read at least three more non-fiction books (out of the large list that I have going).

So how did I do with the goals?

In terms of making a financial plan—I’m trying to put about half a paycheck into the savings (which accounts for about 1 paycheck a month), though sometimes it isn’t quite that much. I know that I need to speak with a financial consultant about my meager retirement account (especially what to do about it when I leave my current job), and also how to go about getting it a little higher.

I’ve realized that I don’t need to be making seven figures a year to be happy—I’m pretty sure that I’ll be happy with a nice low six figure income that covers my monthly bills (and it may include a mortgage for an small house or an condo), and still leave me enough to save/invest and even travel.

I’m trying to get into the habit that less is actually more (especially when it comes to certain things like clothes, movies, and similar things). So one long-term goal is to get my belongings down to where I could live comfortably in a small apartment.

I still need to make a better long term financial plan, one that will hopefully account for one move, travel, and living in a decent size city.

In terms of meditating nightly—I probably managed it about eighty percent of the time. There were just a few evenings, where I was running behind on doing things and decided just to chill and read for a while before bed instead of meditating for a few minutes and then reading before bed. It does help my sleep at times when I do meditate—so a goal for July will be to hopefully meditate before bed every night.

In terms of reading (or finishing) at least three non-fiction books—I managed to finish one. The one I finished was related to finances and was called “The Latte Factor: Why You don’t have to be rich to live rich” by David Bach and John David Mann.

It’s a book that shows you how to focus on what you’re spending your money on—that way if you know what you’re spending money on, you have ideas of where you can start saving money. A book review will be coming in the next few weeks.

Over the past year, I’ve been keeping track (more or less) of how I spend money and I know where I splurge. My goals now are to 1) figure out a better way of dealing with stress (that doesn’t involve buying candy), and 2) reminding myself that I should work through several of the different little e-courses that I’ve bought over the past two years before I buy any more.

Reading has always been a pastime of mine—now I just need to figure out a way to incorporate more non-fiction books into the reading mix (lately I’ve been going with fiction as a escape tool against reality).

While I did okay on my mental and financial goals during the Gemini new moon period, I’ve realized they’re things that I should be constantly working on, so I’m going to try to focus on my mental and financial health during the next new moon period.

No Comments HealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal 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