Category: money saving challenges

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

Sagittarius Full Moon Goals

So the moon will be transitioning into the Sagittarius constellation today, and entering it’s full moon phase as well. This marks the approximate halfway mark for the month (though it is a few days off), and come the end of the week—we’ll be hitting the summer solstice (aka the longest day of the year). Somehow we’ve almost made it halfway through 2019.

So once again one can turn to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland to see what questions one can ask themselves during the Sagittarius full moon.

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

Have I been letting myself down by allowing myself to 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 number the questions 1-5, I think that currently my answers would be the following:

  1. I don’t think I’ve been either flippant or carefree lately—because if I had been, my anxiety wouldn’t nearly be as high as it currently is. While I’m not happy with my current job (and probably would be willing to quit at the drop of a pin), I still strive to do my best at what I was hired to do. There are numerous other issues at play in terms of my nine-to-five job and the only thing I really have control over is my reactions. Yes, there are a few things that I should probably have brought up sooner—but when you’re told money is tight (numerous times and without even mentioning things), you try to make things work and do so in ways that others don’t realize that there are problems (not the best way of handling things—but that is how I’m currently handling things).
  2. Yes, I have been letting myself down by allowing myself to be distracted both by my nine-to-five job (I don’t feel comfortable trying to figure out my life when I’m on the clock), and the fact that when I do get home at night—all I want to do is unwind and recharge so I can do the whole show again the next day. I know that I need to step outside of my comfort zone to figure out what I want to do with my life—but I need to do it in a way that won’t send me into a full-blown anxiety/stress attack.
  3. I don’t think that I’ve been overconfident about anything lately. If nothing else, I’ve allowed myself to slide into the depth of negative thinking about quite a few things lately.
  4. This question could go in so many different directions—but I’ll look at it from the aspects of both my personal health (physical and mental) and career. In answer to the question in both regards, is yes I have been a commitment-phobe and it has been to my own detriment. I know that I need to work on myself and I have to make the time for it (no one else will), but due to feeling totally blah, and down in the dumps in regards to my current nine-to-five job—I don’t have the energy to do so at the end of the day. This is something that I need to work on over the next few months.
  5. Have I been seeing the bigger picture? I honestly don’t know how to answer this—as I’m not sure what the bigger picture should look like yet. I thought I knew years ago, what my bigger picture was—but that wasn’t what I should be doing and I feel like I’m staring through a unfocused camera lens at my new bigger picture. I don’t know if I just need to focus, and zoom out—or if I should focus, and slowly start zooming in.

I just realized that my answers are pretty close to what I had written during the last Sagittarius full moon—at least I realize that I’m stuck in certain areas, and that pretty soon I’m going to have to make a drastic change in order for things to start moving forward again.

I should also take a look at the house that the Sagittarius full moon is moving through—and it would be my second house (or the cash, property, and values zone). So this zone refers to both your money and property, but also your values (feelings, ideals, and how you feel about yourself). This is the time to reflect and be aware of your self-esteem (do you feel good or bad about yourself), as it’s thought, “your self-esteem will affect how much cash you attract”.

In addition, the full moon period is also the time to start figuring out what isn’t working anymore and start moving away from it (releasing it from your life), and also realizing that there is going to be a slight tug-of-war going on as well.

Looking at both (the moon and the house)—I see that I need to strive to find the balance between both speaking up for myself (and possibly going to far) and staying in a job for the money and quitting (to work on figuring out what I want to do with my life).

So the goals for this period are going to include:

            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).

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon Goalsmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Comments fitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspirituality

May Full Moon Goals: The actual Scorpio Full Moon

So today marks the full moon for May, and it is actually passing through the Scorpio constellation. So I guess that I will be doing a double Scorpio goal period (since that is how I treated last month).

The questions that I would need to be answering are the same ones that I answered last month, but I think that my answers now are actually slightly different from what I had written last month.

So looking at the book “Moonlogy: Working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, for questions that one should be asking themselves during this time the questions would include:

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 or cunning?

Am I having the sex I need to feel good about myself? (Of course, some people need no sex at all!)

If I were to number the questions one to five, my answers would be:

  1. This depends on what how one defines toxic—towards other people or toward oneself. I don’t think that I’ve been acting toxically towards other people—I try to be polite and cordial at work and at home (yes, I probably have unfriendly thoughts towards others, but I try not to act on them). Have I been acting toxically towards myself—I’d have to say unfortunately yes I have been. I know that I should be eating better and working out more, but I haven’t been and I’ve been allowing myself to use really lame things as excuses for both bad behaviors.
  2. Depending on how you would define both terms—but yes, I have been living out of fear rather than joy quite often. I know that I should probably just quit my job so that I have more time to focus on job searching (namely networking and figuring out the exact path that I want to pursue), but I haven’t since most people usually try to have the replacement job lined up before they quit their current one.
  3. With the way the world is currently going, it is sometimes hard not to dwell on the negative. I do try to look for the positive daily, though sometimes this is hard to do (especially when one is in a job that is less than fulfilling).
  4. No I haven’t been cruel or cunning—that takes too much work and effort. Currently I’m more apathetic and at times I really don’t care too much about what is going on—I just try to get through the day without losing my temper or my cool. This answer hasn’t changed at all from last month.
  5. As the second statement says—Some people need no sex at all to feel good about themselves. I’m in that boat currently—I have no time for a relationship (especially since I’m planning on leaving the state & I really don’t have the time to try to do a long distance relationship), and I’m not really the type for just having random hookups. Again, this answer hasn’t changed from last month either.

So this month marks the moon moving into Scorpio, and actually moving into my first house as well—this is our image zone. This is where one can reflect on both one’s personal and professional lives, and determine if there are things that could be worked on and changed. Getting to go through this zone “twice” is helpful, as I need the reminder that I should be trying to put myself first every so often, and that there really aren’t that many people looking out for my best interests (job wise and personal life wise).

So goals for this full moon period are going to be slightly similar to the ones from last month and include:

            Getting my fitness and nutrition routine back on track (I haven’t done a full week’s worth of workouts in over a month, and I need to start cutting back on the sweets, this will also help me save money as well), but also remember that I only need to try to be better than yesterday—progress over perfection. Hopefully I can figure out better ways of handling stress than buying sweets on campus, and since the cable/wifi problem has been fixed I should be able to stream my workouts in the evenings.

            Professionally I need to continue working on both my professional transition plan, and my “reboot break” plan. I’m also going to try to finish reading “The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life” by Margaret Lobensteine & “Designing Your Life: How to build a well-lived joyful life” by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans. Having finished reading “Reboot Your Life: Energize your career & life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearge, Rita Foley, & Jaye Smith I’ve realized that taking a break is needed and needs to happen before the end of the calendar year.

            Continue trying to work on a daily meditation and tarot/oracle card reading. I’ve noticed that these do help with trying to wind down at the end of the day, and I sometimes sleep better after having done them.

So the goals are similar, but a little different from last month—sometimes the major difference is just acknowledging that we are in a self-destruction loop and trying to step off that track just a little to readjust ourselves and get back to the healthier habits.

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsHealthmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Book Review and list of different 30-day challenges together in one post.

So one of the books that I finished in February was “The 30 Day Challenge Book: 500 ideas to inspire your life” by Clare Hudson. This book was divided in to different areas such as intellectual & educational 30 day challenges, social, relationship & kindness 30 day challenges and then self improvement, inner life and meditation 30 day challenges (just to name a few chapters).

So one thing I decided was that I’d go back through the book and list the different 30 day challenges that either I found interesting or would be helpful to try. I know that there are certain ones that I currently won’t be doing (such as running, following a specific eating trend [vegan or vegetarian], or going to a religious service), or that I’ve already been doing (hitting 10K steps/day, watching the sun rise, or bird watching). But the following is a long list of different challenges that I will slowly start incorporating into my life:

Dance every day (for 10 minutes); I can do this in the privacy of my room. Just turn on the ipod and dance freely without anyone watching or judging.

Celebrate small accomplishments. I use to do this with my fitness/nutrition—I’d break things down and once I reached a milestone there would be a certain reward. I need to get back in the habit of doing it again (will probably work wonders for the fitness/nutrition and also the job searching/transition).

Keep a general diary or journal. Again this is something that I use to be good at doing, but feel out of habit doing daily. This will probably help with the anxiety and stress more if I plan to sit and write at least once or twice a day in a journal (either paper & pen or digital).

Create a new daily routine for yourself.

Give up waiting around for the ‘right’ time. I know that I’m guilty of this (especially in terms of the job search/transition). So this is something that I need to continuously work on.

Doodle.

Try free drawing.

Spend 15 minutes a day coloring. I actually started this one a couple of months ago, but then got busy with life and quit. But I do enjoy coloring, so I may pick this one back up again.

Design tattoos.

Keep an idea book for 30 days.

Write a blog post daily (and it doesn’t always have to be published right away).

Teach yourself photography.

Photograph one beautiful thing a day

Photography theme for a month

Create an online course

Film the progress of your 30-day challenge

Make jewelry

Make rubbing of interesting surfaces & textures

Make a sculpture from random objects

Bucket list of 30 things in 30 days

Revamp your garden

Learn copywriting

Recycle your stuff

Read a poem a day

Learn how to say common phrases in different languages

Learn a new word a day

Research prominent women throughout history

Learn about a different historical person each day

Learn about politics

Learn about a new country a day

Put a pin on the world map & learn about that place

Find out how different cultures express themselves through art

Use the Khan Academy

Teach yourself economics

Learn about prominent scientists throughout history

Learn the periodic table (I had at one point memorized most of it as an undergrad—but that has been quite a few years ago). J

Learn computer programming (I’ve actually bought several different little e-course bundles to learn how to do programming—I just haven’t gotten around to sitting down and going through them yet).

Do Sudoku or crosswords. I use to do the Sudoku puzzles all the time, but haven’t done one in awhile. This is something else to get back in the habit of doing.

Read an article on a different subject (or different articles on the same subject but with different points of views).

Pick a subject you’re interested in & develop really niche knowledge within that subject

So these were the ideas from the book that I’m going to slowly start working on (probably just one challenge here and there), in addition to the ones that I’m already doing (steps, bird watching, working out at home).

So in terms of 30-day challenges—I am slowly teaching myself photography. I am trying to get out on the weekends to take new pictures, and if I spot something during the week, which catches my attention I’m going to snap a picture of it with my iPhone. I’m coming to the realization that photography today means more than just using a camera—it means using both a camera (can be either digital or one that actually uses film), and the camera on the phone. It also means learning how to use different programs to process and edit the pictures as well. In other words—it is a challenge that will take longer than 30 days to master—it will take years. Luckily it is something that I’m really enjoying doing.

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

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

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

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

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

1) Checking your email more than twice a day;

2) Trying to be perfect;

3) Creating overly ambitious to-do lists;

4) Giving yourself too much time to complete tasks;

5) Kicking yourself over past mistakes and failures;

6) Saying “yes” to everyone;

7) Working overtime;

8) Being a control freak;

9) Eating unhealthy foods;

10) Procrastinating;

11) Postponing taking action on hard tasks;

12) Checking social media throughout the day;

13) Neglecting to take breaks;

14) Binge-watching television shows;

15) Neglecting to create systems for recurring tasks;

16) Multitasking;

17) Refusing to take responsibility for your choices;

18) Telling yourself you’re not ready;

19) Neglecting to organize your day;

20) Feeling sorry for yourself;

21) Working against your body’s natural rhythm;

22) Refusing to get enough exercise;

23) Worrying about what others think of you;

24) Keeping up with current events;

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

26) Getting caught up in unnecessary drama;

27) Working without concrete goals;

28) Letting your phone run your life;

29) Working until you burn out;

30) Allowing stress into your life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photography Challenge Day 1: Level 10 Life update

So besides updating my 101 goals for the next 1001 days (and hopefully looking at them more often), I also updated my Level 10 life.

So yesterday I sat down and drew out where I thought everything was sitting in the 10 different areas of life: friends & family, personal development, spirituality, finances, career, social life, fun & recreation, giving & contribution, physical environment, and then finally health & fitness.

As usual things were going up and down in numerous areas. The only one that really stayed the same was my social life at basically 1. I realize that I have no social life, and currently I’m perfectly fine with that, though I know that getting out could help with the networking–I just really don’t have the energy to do it right now. I’m sure that it will change once I move to a new city and meet new people.

So what are some things that I can try to do over the next three months to try to bring the numbers up?

  1. Get in touch with friends/family via email, facebook, linkedin.
  2. Continue reading personal development books & getting through at least one personal development course that I’ve bought.
  3. Mediate about 5 minutes a night and do daily tarot card readings
  4. Savings challenges and limiting what I’m buying on campus.
  5. Working on my transition plan and networking
  6. Meeting up with friends for lunch (or walking around Boomer Lake) and/or trying to make it to a Cheeky meetup.
  7. Schedule time for crafts
  8. Go through clothes to possibly donate
  9. Repack boxes in storage unit & straighten up my bedroom
  10. Start either another round of LIIFT4 or try to do InsanityMax30 again.
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New Moon Goals in Review

So we’ve entered the last new moon phase yesterday, and I’ve decided that now would be a good time to reflect back on the different new moon goals that I’ve tried to set through out2018. One thing that I noticed is that I missed March (when I had the flu)—so that means I managed to do eleven out of twelve new moons this year (not bad for the first time trying to coordinate my life with the ebb and flow of the moon).

My goals varied a little month to month (depending on what constellation the moon was traveling through and therefore what house it was going through as well). So what were some of the goals that I had this year (and I’m only mentioning a goal once—even though most of these showed up more often than that through the year)?

I can probably divide up my goals into the following categories:

Personal, Professional,Finances, Spiritual, and Other.

Personal goals:

Starting to lose weight.

Working out daily

Getting my nutrition back on track.

Drink 60-70oz of water a day

 Try to read (or finish) one personal/professional development book a week.

Get through one short personal/professional development course.

Determine what my “personal”brand is

Professional goals:

Starting to add value and network more online (namely on Linkedin).

Working on my transition plan.

Work through the web development courses.

Narrow down my top choices for industry positions.

Start reading more in both the business and scientific worlds.

 Work through the data programming e-courses that I bought.

Determine what my professional “brand” is

 Determine the professional lifestyle that I want

Narrow down the biotech hubs I’d be willing to relocate to

Financial goals:

Thinking about investing some money into a short term CD (leaving a good chunk in the savings account).

Making monthly budgets.

Limiting purchases on campus to no more than three days a week.

Looking into ways of trying to increase my retirement account (without severely depleting my savings account or taking a big chunk out of my paycheck).

Keeping a monthly money log

Spiritual goals:

Mediate at least three days/nights a week.

Remember that disagreements happen, and that it is okay to remove people from certain aspects of one’s life.

Start doing daily (or evening) tarot card readings for myself again.

Other goals:

Having benchmarks set in terms of the number of hits/visitors to the blog for the month.

Start trying to get my Beachbody business up and running.

Starting to reorganize/clean bedroom, storage unit, and bathroom.

New overall 12-month plan.

Science blog posts/pages

So how would I summarize the progress that I made with my numerous different New Moon goals?  So I’ve managed to start losing weight and getting things back on track slowly in terms of nutrition and fitness. While I’ve only really finished one program this year (LIIFT4), I’ve managed to keep the weight on a more or less downwards trend. Nutrition could be better (the last two and half months has been rough and has seen me fallback on some bad habits), but all I’m really trying to do is be slightly better than yesterday. I’ve also been fairly good at getting my water in daily (though there are some days when I don’t quite hit the minimum goal).

I’m trying to get back into a routine of meditating nightly—though this is something that I find difficult to do when I’m traveling (either by myself or with other people & sharing a room). I’m hoping if I can get back into the nightly routine I can figure out how to make it work when I’m on the road.

I’ve made a small dent in my personal/professional development book list (though I think I’ve added more books to the list than I’ve finished so far this year). I am going to try to aim for finishing one book every seven to ten days (especially since I have a habit of going between two and four different personal/professional books at a time).

In terms of doing the different e-courses; this is a on-going struggle at times since it is all computer based. Also depending on the course, at times I find it difficult to pay attention to the voice of the instructor. But this is something that I’m going to work at getting better at over the next year.

In terms of my financial goals—I’m pretty good at trying to set budgets, and had a small track record going of not purchasing anything on campus (but fell out of that routine do to how terrible October had gone and I haven’t gotten back in the groove of things for that challenge). The monthly money logs vary (sometime I’m decent at keeping one, and other times I totally forget about doing it). I really should try to make an appointment with some financial person to talk about how to try to get either some savings invested in a short term CD and/or how to slowly start adding more to my retirement account.

In terms of the professional goals for the year—I’m still working on everything. I’m probably going at a slower rate than other people—but I’ve been burnt a couple of times already and I want to make sure that I’m on the correct path. I think that the areas that I need to try to spend the most on right now are: networking (adding value to connections), and trying to figure out what my “brand” is (both personal and professional). Though I have realized that I like sharing different science articles that span different areas of science, because I enjoy learning different things. That was one of the major issues I have with different aspects of science—how you’re suppose to become an “expert” in one or two areas and almost ignore everything else that is going on. I think I might just stick with being a more“generalist” with interest in say five or six different areas than trying to become “expert”.

As the year is winding down, it is time to start trying to develop a new plan for the New Year (and do more realistic breakdowns for the month/week/day), and aim for 2019 to be a much better year than 2018.

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Sagittarius New Moon Goals

It is now December, and there are only twenty-four days left in the month. The moon will be entering the Sagittarius constellation soon, and is entering its last “new moon” phase for the year.

So what are some of the things that one can do during the time of Sagittarius new moon?

            Get away—travel.

            Study.

Search for meaning.

            Laugh.

Be grateful.

With the moon entering into Sagittarius, this is also my second house or the “cash, property, and values” zone. As I’m writing this—I’m also trying not to giggle since this is falling within the holiday period, and most people are thinking of things that they want (or think they want). I’m personally going to have a very small “wish” list for the holidays—mainly because when I move I don’t want to have to pack more than what I already have.I think I’m probably going to slowly go as minimal as possible—the two moves that I’ve done so far have shown me that I don’t like moving a lot. Anyway,back to the second house—the cash, property, and value zone.

So some of the things that you can do during this time include (according to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles”by Yasmin Boland):

Start a savings account.

Pay your bills, taxes, debt, etc.

Hire an accountant, if it’s all too much.

Showcase your talents.

Get a neck and shoulder massage.

Invest in an expensive neck cream.

So if I look at the above two lists, there are some items that I can simply check off already—I have a savings account, and I’m paying my bills, and trying to get my debt down. I would love to travel right now—but it’s the holiday season (and besides the fact that everyone is trying to travel—it’s not the best time to do so with the weather).

I am trying to remember to be more grateful (realizing that I do have a decent job, a roof over my head, and so on), and I’m also trying to laugh more (though with the state of the world currently that’s hard to do on a daily basis). So if I were to make a small goal list for the Sagittarius new moon period, the goals would include:

  1. Doing better at keeping a money log, and setting up some financial goals for the New Year.
  2. Working on the transition plan (namely narrowing down the biotech hubs and professional lifestyle that I want)
  3. Working through different e-courses (taking notes for different posts).

I may also try to work on some crafts (continue working on my afghan, and maybe try my hand at making some jewelry) and my coloring challenge (which I’ve fallen down on this week).

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