Category: Personal Development Challenges

Another attempt on 101 goals in 1001-days, with 44 things to do before turning 44

I’ve tried several time since 2018 in doing a 101 goals in 1001-day challenge. I’ve even tried to expand it to 100+ goals in 2002-days. My problem has always been the same: I make the list, and then I only occasionally look at it again to see how I’m doing in terms of the goals—and some of the goals never seemed to feel like ‘mine’. They felt like goals I should put down because they’re ones that ‘society’ deems acceptable.

Last year I also tried to a ’43 things to do before turning 43’ list of goals. The problem: I made that list/goal idea during a really rough time—my mother was still in the hospital, and I thought making a ‘smaller’ list of goals and a ‘tighter’ window would result in the goals being accomplished.

I did manage to accomplish about 44% of the goals that I set last year—as I counted even semi-accomplished (or started) goals in the ‘check’ category. Ones I did start or attempt were considered ‘not done’.

So, I’m three weeks and a few days late in posting this particular post—it is a combination of a new 101 goals in 1001 days list, and a ’44 things to do before turning 44’ goal list.

What’s the difference: I’ve actually picked a handful of 101 goals to try to get accomplished (or at least a good head start on) by my birthday next year. In addition, there are several additional goals at the end of the list that are on my ‘44 things to do’ list that aren’t on (or fit with) the 101 goals in 1001 days.

So what is what? The long list is basically the 101 goals that I’m aiming to accomplish in 1001 days. Items that are bolded are from the 44 things to do before turning 44 list. I’ve determined that I’m going to be having ‘scheduled’ updates—every two months for the 44 things before 44 list, and every 100 days for the 101-goals (plus yearly updates around my birthday).

The areas that I’m focusing on for both lists: career/professional growth; personal growth (including areas of health/wellness, spirituality, and personal finances); and crafts/hobbies (tied with career). Why these areas? Because, they’re the ones that if I focus on will also have the most impact in other areas of life (such as social life, friends/family, contributions/donations and physical environment).

So what are the goals? They include:

  1. Start my freelance science/health/medical communications business
  2. Transition to a remote science/health/medical communications position
  3. Monetize blogs and set up an Etsy store for the crafts and so-forth
  4. Launch a YouTube channel
  5. Launch a podcast
  6. Increase blog/website(s) traffic (aim for 500+ views/day)
  7. Social media following of 500+ across different channels
  8. Launch at least one online course
  9. Hit 10K (and then 12.5K, 15K, 20+K) followers on LinkedIn
  10. Go to at least one scientific conference
  11. Present at least one scientific conference
  12. Renew professional memberships (ASBMB, ASCB; at least once)
  13. More interaction on LinkedIn
  14. Go to at least two professional networking events
  15. Attend at least one blogging conference
  16. Attend at least one author-reader conference
  17. Develop a passive income stream
  18. Complete at least 18 different e-courses
    • Finish at least two CSA advanced programs
    • Finish at least four Udemy courses
    • Finish at least six Skillshare courses
  19. Read at leaet 100 different nonfiction/historical fiction books
    • Read at least 44 nonfiction/historical books before Sept 20, 2024
  20. Become fluent in Spanish
  21. Become fluent in German
  22. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish
    • Learn to say hello and thank you in ten different languages
  23. Complete at least one 365-day photography challenge
  24. Editorial calendars, to-be accomplished lists for both blogs and various social media accounts
  25. Learn python coding
  26. Create a physical vision board and update it regularly
    • Based on my vision/definition of success
  27. Learn basic sign language
  28. Get out of debt
  29. Increase my savings account 500x
  30. Increase my retirement account 500x
  31. No spend challenges
  32. Finish at least one personal finance book and e-course
  33. Get into the best shape of my life
    • Learn about body confidence
    • Create a happiness plan
  34. Daily mediation (work up to twice a day)
  35. Stretch daily
  36. Hold a 90-second plank
  37. Develop (and stick with) a consistent exercise schedule
  38. Make a candle (or two, or three, or more)
  39. Make some mosaic art & resin art
  40. Make some soap
  41. Make some tie-dye clothes/accessories
  42. Draw/doodle, color, and frame a original drawing
  43. Draw/doodle, paint, and frame a original piece of art
  44. Sew something I’d wear
  45. Start my own jewelry line
  46. Make a memorial quilt
  47. Start another afghan (or make some scarfs to donate)
  48. Upload/update photography pages (namely bird pages) on creative/hobby blog
  49. Complete at least another six cross-stitch projects
  50. Create my own coffee-table photography book
  51. Create my own calendar using my nature photographs
  52. Create at least one piece of wood-burnt art
  53. Monthly new & full moon goals
  54. Daily oracle card drawings
  55. Create my own Wicca/pagan altar & update throughout the seasons
  56. See a coral reef
  57. Tour a vineyard
  58. See the Northern Lights
  59. Go to a Renaissance Festival
  60. Visit at least three countries
  61. Visit at least one ‘new’ national and/or state park
  62. Visit at least one ‘new’ national and/or state monument
  63. Visit at least one ‘new’ zoo
  64. Visit at least one ‘new’ aquarium
  65. Visit at least one ‘new’ state
  66. Visit at least one ‘new’ city
  67. Fly out and/or land at three ‘new’ airports
  68. Make fresh pasta
  69. Learn to make sushi
  70. Learn glass etching
  71. Get a haircut and highlights (light purple, blue, and/or green)
  72. Various top ten author/book series lists (creative blog)
  73. Keep at least three plants alive
  74. Start a succulent garden in a pot
  75. Design a science-based board game
  76. Declutter and downsize
  77. Create a minimal wardrobe
  78. Swim with whale sharks
  79. Put in at least one flower garden around the house
  80. Become better informed in regards to politics
  81. Become better informed in regards to economics
  82. Pick a non-science topic and develop ‘niche’ knowledge on it
  83. Research 30 prominent women throughout history
  84. Write a minimum of 101 mini-book reviews
  85. Write a minimum of 100 blurbs/reviews on different research papers/topics
  86. Start a junk journal
  87. Listen to a different podcast everyday (30-120 day challenge)
  88. Yoga for a minimum of 30 days
  89. 30+ days of iPhone photography
  90. 30+ days of doodling
    • Create a coloring book from various (uncolored) doodles/drawings
  91. 30-days of coloring in coloring books
  92. Solo dance parties (minimum of four to five songs)
  93. 30-days of making rubbings of interesting surfaces and textures (leaves, flowers, tree bark, so forth)
  94. Film progress of one (or more) 30-day challenge
  95. Learn a new country (or fact) a day
  96. Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily
  97. Jumping jack/squat challenge
  98. Watch a different TedTalk each day (30-120 day challenge); plus a 100-200 word summary
  99. Create my own cookbook
  100. Ten minutes on the exercise bike (work up to a 5+ mile bike ride)
  101. 30+ days of mind-maps

The last few things from the 44 things to do before turning 44 list:

Complete at least five 30-day challenges (some of which are listed above)

Read at least two ‘new’ banned books

Read at least two ‘new’ classic books

Read at least one ‘new’ trilogy (or longer) series

Finish creating a inspiring work/craft area

Write a letter to my future self (again)

So that is my combined 101 goals and 44 things list…technically could call it a 107 goals in 1001 days…but splitting things up may help me actually complete more of the goals. In terms of updating the lists: I’ll be updating my progress on the bolded items every 60 days (basically the 20th of every other month) and the first update will be Nov 20 2023. In terms of the 101 goals–updates will be every 100 days, with yearly updates on my birthday (so there will a 365 day and 730 day update in addition to all the other updates). The first update for the 101 goals will be Dec 30 2023.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerCraftsDay TripsfinancesfitnessFitness ChallengesflowersFull Moon GoalsHealthLevel 10 LifeLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNational ParksnatureNature PreservesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesodds and endsoracle cardsPersonal Development ChallengesPhotographyprofessional developmentRecipesReflectionsSciencespiritualityState ParksSunrises/Sunsetstarot cardstravelUpdatesvision boardsZoos/Aquariums

Scorpio New Moon Goals: emphasis on personal/professional development

So the moon is going to be transitioning through it’s new phase tonight, and moving through the Scorpio constellation. It was also a partial eclipse today as well. That means there are only six days left in October, and then sixty-one days left in 2022.

Looking back at what I wrote the past two years for the Scorpio new moon (in terms of SARS-CoV2 cases):

2020—the world had over 54 million cases, the US was topping 11 million, and there were over 1.3 million dead.

2021—the world had almost 248.5 million cases, the US was almost at 47 million cases, and there were over 5 million dead.

2022—the world has almost 632.8 million cases, the US has over 99 million cases, and there are over 6.5 million dead.

I don’t know if we’re ever really going to be out of the pandemic/epidemic roller-coaster for this virus—but that is a post in and of itself.

So, what can one do during the Scorpio new moon? Well according to ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, you can:

  1. Get sexy
  2. Invest wisely
  3. Make inner peace
  4. B-r-e-a-t-h-e
  5. Drop grudges

In terms of the above items—the only one that I’m uncomfortable trying to do—is the first. Though, it can also refer to doing something to boost your self-confidence—which is how I’m going to be looking at it.

This moon is also moving through my first house or my image zone (how one presents themselves to the world). While the Aries new moon is the start of the zodiac calendar—when the new moon passes through your first house, it can also seem as the start of a “new year” (we can have a “new start” twice a year if necessary).

So what are some things that one can do in reference to their first house during this time? They can:

  1. Surprise friends with the ‘new you’
  2. Throw out all your old make-up and start again
  3. Get married or meet someone new
  4. Good time to move
  5. Splurge on something in a vibrant color
  6. Have a facial
  7. Get your sight checked

Looking at the above list—there are a few things that can still be automatically crossed off—throwing out make-up (currently I don’t wear any make-up, since I really haven’t left the house in like two years, and currently all the chats I’ve been doing have been virtual); getting married or meeting someone new (with the various things that are going on right now—literally don’t have the time for this); getting a facial (can do it at home for a fraction of the cost); and moving (on-hold for quite awhile currently).

I’d love to surprise people with the ‘new me’—I just have to figure out who she is—though I know this can be a simple as getting a new hairstyle.

So what are the two to five things I’m going to try to focus on for the Scorpio New Moon? Well, they are:

  1. Working on healing my relationship with food and movement. This includes having random dance parties in the living room on a 15-minute break between task, or getting out of the house with my dog for a quick 20-minute walk through the neighborhood
  2. Work on getting the second website up and going (focusing on science/medical/health communications), in addition to also focusing on trying to get a remote communications position as well
  3. Start working through various finance e-courses that I’ve bought over the years
  4. Continue to unplug at night (putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 8pm)
  5. Continue figuring out my personal/professional brand

All in all—focus on progress and not perfection. All of the goals are ‘open-ended’—including the e-course goal (mainly because I’ve forgotten the exact number of finance related courses I’ve bought over the past three or four years).

That means—even if I only manage a few days (or even a just a week) focusing on each one—that is progress, baby steps forward is progress—and that is what I’m aiming for—the slow steady progress that would result in finishing a marathon.

Though there are some that are more ‘internal’ work than other–such as figuring out the personal/professional brand, and healing my relationship with food and movement.

But we’re also getting into cooler weather–which means hot chocolate, apple pies, apple cider, and all things fall. This is one of my favorite seasons–if we could just somehow take the cooler temps of spring and fall and meld them with the longer days of summer I’d be extremely happy.

Curious to know: what is one of your favorite things about fall?

No Comments AstrologyfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development Challengesprofessional developmentReflections

Nine Months Down, Three to Go: Limited Spending Challenge Check-in

So it is that time again—for a check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

We’re now three-fourths of the way through 2021, and I’ve realized that while I haven’t quite hit the stride I did when I started the challenge (January was the best month to date for this challenge), September wasn’t that bad of a month in terms of managing my splurges.

My limited spending challenge is just that—I’m trying to limit my spending by dividing things into two groups (or categories): needed items and splurges.

So I did really well that first month, and then started slipping each month a little more. I planned to ‘rebound’ and start honoring the challenge again in June, did fairly well for the month, did okay during July (though there will always be some type of splurge), and did okay during August (if we ignore the book splurges), and did fairly well during September.

So how did September go in terms of the purchases/splurges?

In terms of physical items bought:

There was one ‘essential’ order from Amazon that included: dog treats, some hard candy (butterscotch), a couple of notebooks, some beads and more cloth for doing cross-stitching.

In terms of books, there were mainly a small handful of e-books bought (along with one physical book at the beginning of the month):

E-books:

  1. Don’t Look Now by Mary Burton
  2. The Tiger King: Master of the Cats, Part One by Trinity Blacio
  3. Defender (Doms of Mountain Bend #3) by BJ Wane
  4. The Nine Waves of Creation: Quantum Physics, Holographic Evolution and the Destiny of Humanity by Carl Johan Calleman
  5. The Morgan Brother series (five books) by Avery Gale

The one ‘physical’ book was Doing Cultural Geography edited by Pamela Shurmer-Smith

I also bought a course bundle (multi-passionate must haves bundle of 2021), which included a handful of courses related to multi-projects.

So when I compare September to the last few months (or actually any month other than January)—I’ve done really well in limiting the spending. The goal for the last few months is only to have maybe one or two ‘essential’ orders from Amazon (possibly up to three come November and December) for these last three months.

I will probably continue this challenge well into 2022 as a means of trying to get the credit card debt down (there are only two credit card bills that are ‘high’), but also as a means of not getting ahead of myself or distracting myself from my goals.

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

Entering the second fall in self-isolation with a new bookcase, craft supplies, and books

So it’s that time again–for a check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

We’re two-thirds of the way through 2021, and I’ve realized that I haven’t quite hit the stride I did when I started the challenge (January was the best month to date for this particular challenge).

My limited spending challenge is just that–I’m trying to limit my spending by dividing things into two groups (or categories): needed items and splurges.

So I did really well in January, and then started slipping each month a little more. I planned to ‘rebound’ and start honoring the challenge again in June, did fairly well for the month, did okay during July (though there will always be some type of minor splurges), and did semi-okay again this month (if one ignores the book splurges).

Hopefully, the book splurges (at least those that aren’t from the ‘freebie announcement emails’) will start to go back down during the next few months. While I did buy quite a few e-books this month, several of them are in terms of the professional direction I’m thinking of going in: freelance writing.

So how did August go in terms of purchases/splurges?

I bought myself a bookcase/nightstand to replace the haphazard one I’ve created over the years. This will also give me storage for the numerous books that I bought this month as well. In addition I bought a few more craft supplies (including a glue gun) to help me get through the fall and winter in semi-isolation.

Then there are the books (I don’t think a month will go by without at least a small splurge on books). The books I bought during August include:

Electronic books:

  1. How to Launch a Freelance Copywriting Business: Creative Writing for a Living by Jules Horne
  2. The Freelance Content Marketing Writer: Find your perfect clients, make tons of money, and build a business you love by Jennifer Goforth Gregory
  3. Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business: The Complete Guide to Starting and Scaling from Scratch by Laura Briggs and the Staff of Entrepreneur Media
  4. The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms by Zachary Petit
  5. Here with Me (The Adair Family #1) by Samantha Young
  6. Black Ops Mates (Complete Series-Lion Shifter Romance Box Set) by Ruby Knoxx
  7. One Night Years Ago (Sharp’s Cove #1) by J.R. Pace
  8. Two Favors Repaid (Sharp’s Cove #2) by J.R. Pace
  9. Three Times Ablaze (Sharp’s Cove #3) by J.R. Pace
  10. JET (Books 1-3) by Russell Blake
  11. The Power of Reinvention: Personal Stories of How Our Greatest Challenges Become the Catalyst to Reinvent our Life! by Mags Thomson, Irene Anggreeni, Rachel Claire Farnsworth, Emma Smillie, Dr. Trinise White-Foster, Marie Dobenesque, Silika Thor, Martin Gillespie, and Einavi Avni
  12. Just Tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You Have No Idea What It Is by Sara Kravitz
  13. Slightly Off Balance by Kaylie Hunter
  14. New Girl in Town (Olivia Knight FBI #1) by Elle Gray
  15. Weakest Lynx (The Lynx Series #1) by Fiona Quinn
  16. Deadly Act (Kylie Hatfield Series #1) by Mary Stone and Bella Cross
  17. Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday Book Read & Review coming soon
  18. Phoenix Rising (Complete Series) by Annie Anderson
  19. I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotenialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page Book Read

Physical Books:

  1. America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilizations by Graham Hancock
  2. Lost Civilizations: The Secret Histories & Suppressed Technologies of the Ancients by Jim Willis
  3. Plagues, Pandemics, and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid-19 by Heather Quinlan
  4. The Mayan Calendar & the Transformation of Consciousness by Carl Johan Calleman
  5. Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman’s Path by David Freidel
  6. Statistics for Dummies by Deborah J. Rumsey
  7. Statistics for Absolute Beginners by Oliver Theobald
  8. Biostatistics for Dummies by John Pezzulo
  9. Supernatural: Meeting with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock
  10. The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love (2nd Edition) by Sonya Renee Taylor
  11. Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach (4th Edition) by Evelyn Tribole

Several of the ‘physical’ books fell under the personal/professional development area, while others were bought as possible ‘reference’ books for short story ideas. Though they were also bought because I’m interested in the topic (early human history). In addition several of the e-books also fell into the personal/professional development area–and as noted above, I’ve read one of them.

The books on freelancing writing (and how to start a freelance business) were bought mainly because that is the direction I’m really leaning in for my career transition. The transition is going to be a ‘mixed’ niche (science/medical writing along with personal/professional development, crafts/hobbies, and spirituality) that might be heavy in one area to begin with, but even out as I find my footing as a freelance writer.

So, yes numerous books were bought (probably on par with April or May, possibly even June)—but that has always been my weakness—books. I’m an avid reader who has absolutely no problem buying fifteen to forty new books when I still have a couple hundred on my e-reader that I haven’t read yet.

The bookcase/nightstand has been needed for quite awhile; I just hadn’t gotten around to getting one yet. The craft supplies were also deemed semi-essential as the pandemic is still raging, and I foresee myself staying in semi-isolation (weekly walk to get the weekend newspaper, and possibly monthly walks at Boomer Lake with a mask) until at least spring 2022.

I should hopefully be able to curb my impulsive e-book buying starting this month, as I’m going to be working on expanding my writing samples (possibly introducing a new landing page—‘portfolio’), and slowly getting my freelance/remote/contract writing business up and running this fall and winter.

For my inner shiny object/squirrel lover: Who is a ‘new’ to you author that you’ve found lately?

No Comments financesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

Six months into the limited spending challenge: heading back in the proper direction

So it’s that time of the month again–time for a check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

For those who may be new to the blog, here is a brief recap–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and end up splurging), I would ‘limit’ the spending and items would fall into one of two categories: needed and splurges.

I did really well in January on the challenge, and then slowly started slipping since then and the plan was that I’ll start ‘rebounding’ and honoring the challenge again starting in June.

So, while I didn’t do as well as I did in January–I did better than I had for the past two or three months. THere were still some purchases and minor splurging–but nothing like I had done from March through May.

I did buy numerous books (I think I had mentioned it sometime in either 2020 or 2019 on a book review–I’m an impulsive book buyer), and those books were:

Chasing Her Trust by Danielle Pays

Rancher Bears Complete Series by Candace Ayers

Cocker Brothers (1st six book box set) by Faleena Hopkins

The Universe Always has a Plan by Matt Kahn

Awakening your inner shaman by Marcela Lobos

Mesopotamia ‘box set’ by Captivating History

Mesoamerican History ‘box set’ by Captivating History

Grumpy Single Dad by Melinda Minx

Classical mythology A to Z: an encyclopedia of gods & goddesses, heroes & heroines, nymphs, spirits, monsters and places by Annette Giesecke

Cellular and Molecular Immunology

United Nations: A History by Stanley Meisler

The Complete Book of Amulets & talismans by Migene Gonzales-Wippler

The Ancestral power of amulets, talismans, and mascots: folk magic in witchcraft and religion by Nigel Pennick

The compendium of magical beasts: an anatomical study of cryptozoology’s most elusive beings by Dr. Veronica Wigberht-Blackwater

Superstitions: A handbook of folklore, myths, and legends from around the world by D.R. McElroy

Creatures of the deep: in search of the sea’s monsters and the world they live in by Erich Hoyt

Dictionary of witches, wizards, and warlocks: the spells, charms, potions and magic of wizardology by Michael Freze

The door to witchcraft: A New Witch’s guide to history, traditions and modern day spells by Tonya Brown

Secrets of Egyptian spellcasting: amulets, talismans, and magical lifeforms by M.A. Budge & E.A. Wallis

The last set of books (from Classical Mythology through Secrets of Egyptian Spellcasting) are going to be ‘reference books’ for a couple of story ideas that I have bouncing around in my head, in addition to other things–the immunology book is because I’m interested in the topic and thinking of writing a blog post or two on the subject–but didn’t have any ‘reference books’ within reach.

In addition there was another large free sale of e-books, so I managed to get another 58 romance books in a variety of different sub-genera.

I did talk myself out of the one pricey e-course, and instead bought another ‘cheaper’ one that will also be shorter than the other. The additional e-course I bought is: ’15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them’ on Udemy. It is roughly an hour and a half long, and I’m hoping to work through the course sometime in July (and hopefully not later than August).

So, yes I still ‘splurged’ on books this month–but in terms of the e-books it wasn’t that much (in comparison to earlier months). The physical books were pricey–but since they weren’t trade size paperbacks, the price wasn’t a surprise. I know that people will say that I could have just checked out books from the library-and my response is yes, I could have checked out books–but I prefer to have the ‘reference’ book. I never know when I may want to revisit the topic, and this way I know that the book will always be available.

I’m going to try to stick with the same goal for July, and hopefully ‘be on par’ with January in terms of spending of money. I am slowly learning to curb the impulsive spending, as I realized this wasn’t something I was going to be able to change overnight, and that it would be something to focus on daily.

What are some of your favorite subjects???

No Comments financesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

Review: The Financial Diet. Now on to the planning stages of being an adult

So I recently finished my third book via the ‘personal/professional development board game’.

The book was ‘The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money’ by Chelsea Fagan & Lauren Ver Hage.

So while this is a book about finances and money–it doesn’t go serious in-depth on topics (with the one exception of what one should have in the kitchen for cooking at home), but does give good advice.

What I really liked about the book was the advice that you can/could/should try to mold to your personal life. They don’t tell you that you have to be investing in stocks and bonds, or that you should be buying a house. They acknowledge that everyone is at a different point with different circumstances when they pick up the book–but the advice given within can be ‘molded’ to fit your circumstances if you want it to.

I highlighted several phrase throughout the book as some of my key ‘take-away messages’ and they included:

To stay financially sane–you should create a collage of strategies that work for you.

Strive to find multiple streams of fulfillment, challenges, and incomes

We’re CEOs of our own lives, every hour accounted for and compensated according to our personal standards of wealth and happiness

Judge your career and success (financial and otherwise) on you and you alone. If you aren’t happy, change something.

I would have to say that I’m still trying to figure out what my multiple/collage of strategies is going to look like. Currently there is the savings account with the ’emergency fund’ (but that is starting to dwindle–so I really need to start figuring out how to diversify my income); I have a small retirement account (but I’m not currently adding to it), and a checking account (that will dwindle as the month goes on and bills are paid).

I would also have to say that I’m working on trying to find that ‘right’ mixture of fulfillment, challenges, and income; there are ideas bouncing around in my head–I just need to get them on paper and then actually ‘start’ working on them.

I’m also trying to figure out what my personal standards of wealth and happiness are as well (I’ve spent too many years just going with the flow and ‘bouncing’ via other people’s ideas on the two topics).

I also found the authors’ four DYFDs (Don’t You F*cking Dares), nine big tips, and their ‘starter kit for happiness’ to be helpful as well in terms of acknowledging where I’m at in terms of my finances or questions that I need to contemplate to figure out various budge issues.

I can safely say that currently I’m guilty of three of the four DYFDs currently (but working on getting better at them); I’m guilty of not following five of their nine tips, and I’m slowly working through/brainstorming/planning via their ‘starter kit for happiness’.

Money is one thing that no one really wants to talk about–but it is one thing that everyone needs to make it in today’s society.

While I may not currently know what my long-term financial plan looks like, I am slowly working on determining those plans, as they are one of the cornerstones for any future plans.

I recommend this book to anyone who is either struggling with his or her finances or just wanting an easy ‘finance’ book to read.

Five out of five stars

No Comments Book ReviewsBooksfinancesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development Challengesprofessional development

Books, and more books, plus some e-courses: Update on the limited spending challenge

So it is that time again–for a check-in on my year long limited spending challenge.

In case you’re new to the blog, here is a brief recap–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and splurging), I would ‘limit’ the spending and items would fall into one of two categories: needed and splurges.

I did really well in January on the challenge, and then slowly started slipping since, and hopefully May will be the last ‘major’ sliding month for the year.

So yes–I splurged. On what? Well–mainly books, I think I mentioned it last year (or maybe in 2019) on a book review–I’m an impulsive book buyer. So the books I bought were:

2021: Webmaster Series by Dr. Andy Williams

A couple of books on SEO

Hope River series by Margaret McHeyzer

The Guardians series by Victoria Paige

25 ways to work from home by Jen Ruiz

Wildfire Hearts series by Savannah Kade

Bad Karma Special Ops series by Tracy Brody

Linear Tactical series by Janie Crouch

Authentic: How to be yourself and why it matters by Stephen Joseph

The Lt. Kate Gazarra series (books 1-3) by Blair Howard

Guardian Hostage Rescue Specialist series by Ellie Masters

So, I think that I have enough books to get me through the rest of the year, in addition to the books I splurged on last month, all the free ones I downloaded in March & December, plus the pre-orders I still have set throughout the year.

I also bought a couple more e-courses as well. While I stated at the beginning of the year that I was aiming at not purchasing any other e-courses, I did buy one or two earlier in the year (there is an copy writing course I’m going to be starting soon). Also once I created my ‘personal/professional development board game’, I decided that I wanted to get a couple of art history courses if possible (as it is a subject that I’ve always been fascinated with and any books I have on the various subjects are currently in a storage unit). In addition to those courses, I found several others that could be beneficial moving forward as well.

So the e-courses I recently purchased included (and they’re all from Udemy):

How to Awaken & Connect to Your Spiritual Higher Self

Learn Bioinformatics from Scratch (Theory & Practical)

How to become a freelance editor

Kick start a freelance editor & proofreader career on upwork

Art history: prehistory to the renaissance

From Caves to Cities: Prehistoric art history

Gods & Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia

Ancient Art of South Arabia: The Himyarite Kingdom

Olmec Art

Islamic Architecture

Computer Vision Masterclass

Luckily I purchased all these courses during various ‘sale’ periods (so they were only $9.99-11.99 a courses in stead of $99+). The goal is to now try to bounce between some ‘professional development’ courses and some ‘personal development’ courses throughout the summer.

I realized that I spent way more money that I meant to during May, and therefore am aiming at a totally limited spending month (only pre-orders and my automatically monthly order from Amazon). I’ve figured if I make use of the time management app Self Control, I can stay off Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon during the day, and that is usually when I ‘splurge’–mindless scrolling though social media.

This is the ‘experiment’ for June anyway–stay off social media for majority of the day, and then have a ‘plan’ in place for teh rest of the time and start reading the books I’ve bought and working through the e-courses I’ve bought.

I realized when I started this challenge, I wasn’t going to be perfect, and I have ‘slid’ a lot in terms of book buying–but recognizing the signs is the first step, activating the self control app is the second step, and then the third step is going to be ‘creating’ check-sheets for being on Facebook (responding to comments, commenting on posts, posting in certain groups), to help limit the ‘social media’ time that way.

Here is to June being a much better (and money controlled) month in terms of the limited spending challenge.

If you’re an impulsive book buyer–who are a few of your favorite authors? If you buy e-courses, what sites do you use for continous learning?

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development ChallengesReflectionsUpdates

How to stay ahead of the inner critic and boredom? Create an personal/professional development board game.

So while contemplating on how to really start stepping into the stretch, risk, and die zones more often–I decided to jump right into the ‘risk’ zone and created a personal board game.

I’m thinking of it as a mix of chutes-and-ladders, trivia pursuit, and life. Why these three? Well, there are squares to move forward or back a certain number of spots (or even boards), covers/reviews numerous subjects (though I do admit it does lack sports and entertainment), and it is never-ending (though even the game of life ended after awhile).

My never-ending personal and professional development game

These are topics that I find interesting in the sciences and humanities (though some are missing), in addition to numerous personal development ideas and projects. I taped the two boards into a normal file folder so that I can folded it up and take it with me even on trips, without it getting damaged.

The goals for the game include:

  1. Learning to turn some items (such as writing, learning programming, and refreshing a foreign language) into daily habits.
  2. Learning more about various job directions (and how to possibly meld some of them together).
  3. And finally: embracing the learner mindset in terms of both multiple science and non-science topics, by refreshing my knowledge of the topics and learning what is ‘new’ in the different fields.

I will accomplish these goals by becoming more proficient in time and project management as shown by creating/writing multiple styles of web content, increased traffic to the blog/website, posts written in additional languages, and an up-to-date GitHub account for example.

There are only a few rules for the game:

  1. No quitting.
  2. If I decide that I want to ‘jump/skip’ a square that I landed on, I have to answer the following questions first:
    1. Why am I avoiding this topic/subject?
    2. Where is this belief (or beliefs) coming from?
    3. What can I do to slowly start in on the topic/subject?

Yes, ‘read’ is down quite often–but since I’m an impulsive book buyer, I have almost 300 non-fiction e-books that I’ve bought over the past five years that I haven’t read yet.

I also discovered that my inner critic/imposter syndrome was trying to ‘derail’ me from starting the game. How, you may ask? By trying to ‘convince’ me that I needed to have a list of topics on hand for anything that had ‘review’ with it on the board. After starting to make a list for both biochemistry and immunology, I realized what was happening.

I decided that I would then add the following ‘rules’:

After landing on a ‘review subject’ square, I would roll the dice again–this would give me a ‘time limit’ (in either hours or minutes) for coming up with a starting list of possible sub-topics to review.

This should be easy enough to do–Google ‘textbook of ‘x’ subject’ and you can usually find a link to at least one textbook that will let you look at the table of contents.

I will then roll the dice again, and the number will hopefully correlate to a topic number. If there is currently no topic to correlate the number to, I will roll until I get a number.

Then I will roll the dice a final time to come up with the ‘time frame’ for the assignment.

All squares will be landed on at one point or another, as there is no ‘end’ to the game. The time frame for each square will vary (even within the topic), and I should hopefully not be ‘sitting’ on a square for more than say three weeks (as that is how long it usually takes to make something a habit), though it may be shorter (as long as I have the topic worked into the weekly schedule and I now to move it over each week).

In terms of the reading squares–if the book doesn’t have any exercises/questions associated with the chapters, I’m going to give myself four to five (no more than six) days to read the book, and then additional two days (max) to write and post the book review to both the blog and possibly Amazon as well. If there are questions/assignments associated with the book then the time frame might go towards two or three weeks.

I started the game last night, and landed on a ‘read’ square. I rolled the dice again to determine the book to pick from the list, and it was ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking. Since there doesn’t seem to be any exercises/questions associated with the book–I picked another book from the list to start once I have the book review for ‘Little Book of Hygge’ posted, and therefore I will probably rolling the dice for the ‘second’ move on the board around June 4th or so.

What are some of your favorite board games?

No Comments BookscareercomputersCraftsfinancesHealthHistorymoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development Challengesprofessional developmentReflectionsSciencespirituality

Still impulsively buying books–April ‘limited-spending’ challenge check-in

So it’s time for the fourth check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

A brief recap: I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and splurging throughout teh month), I would instead ‘limit’ the spending. This would be by dividing things into either the ‘needed’ or ‘splurge’ categories–allowing me to acknowledge that I may have forgotten to buy something and allowing me to buy it (say dog treats, personal hygiene items and so forth).

So how did I do in April? Well, I splurged on books again towards the end of the month. I think that part of the splurging was due to seeing that I wasn’t going to have any ‘new’ books download until basically mid-month. So instead of choosing from the hundreds of unread books on my kindle–I bought more.

Splurging on books has always been a problem for me–I like to read, and a book (or series) sounds interesting, I wither will purchase just the first book (and go back and buy the rest later), or go ahead and purchase the entire series. Then the books will sit within my digital to-be-read pile until I get around to reading them.

So what books did I end up buying at the end of the month? They included:

The Hellfire series by Elle James

The Triple Canopy Series by Riley Edwards

Percolate: Let Your Best Self Filter Through by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

How to be Your Own Genie by Radleigh Valentine

Adventures of the Soul by James Van Praagh

The Magic of Unicorns by Diana Cooper

Quiet Influence by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

Creativity Rules by Tina Seelig

Morality Bites series by Ramy Vane

I also bought the rest of the following two series (I had the first two or three books of each): The O’Neils and Hidden Cove Firefighters by Kathryn Shay.

So in addition to all the free e-books (purchased in March and back in December), plus other e-books I’ve splurged on I think that I have enough e-books to get through that I shouldn’t be purchasing any that haven’t already been pre-ordered.

I’ve also realized that by hitting on the various ads for different series on Facebook, I’m allowing my inner critic/imposter syndrome to derail me from the tasks that I had set for the day. Scrolling through social media, amazon, and various other sites while it can be beneficial every so often has actually become detrimental to my ability to stay focused on the tasks at hand (such as research, writing rough drafts, editing, and so forth)–to where I’m actually going to start using various ‘time management’ apps, that will hopefully help me with both time and money management.

While the overall goal for May is to limit the spending–I’m going to say that I’m aiming for only two spend days–the one splurge day I already had, and then the one large amazon order that I’m going to be placing either today or tomorrow.

What are some apps that you use to help with both time and money management?

No Comments financesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

Limited Spending Challenge: Time frame–the entire 2021 calendar year

So last year I tried to do several no-spend challenges and usually managed to do a few days to a week or two of not spending money–but had yet to work up to a no-spend month.

This year I’m still going to be doing the no-spend challenges, but decided that besides needing to spell out for myself exactly what would count as a ‘pass’ (or needed purchases) versus what would be a ‘no-pass’ (or a splurge), and what I would need to do to justify said splurge purchase; I also needed to determine the time frame: I’m going to start at the beginning of the year, do monthly check-ins, and then a final summary at the end of the year on how well I managed this limited-spending challenge.

So the ‘pass’ or needed purchases will include personal care products (toothpaste, mouthwash, vitamins and supplements, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, deodorant, pads, and hand wash), food (also including snacks and tea), and items for Chaos (flaxseed and his anti-itch chew tablets). In addition, ‘pass’ purchases will also include buying birthday/Christmas presents for my niece (so this will be two additional purchases in late March and late November).

The ‘no-pass’ or splurges will include any e-book that isn’t already pre-ordered (I have probably about forty different fiction books pre-ordered for 2021, and a list of another say fifteen that I would like to possibly get as well), additional e-courses (I have so many that I’ve bought over the past few years that I really need to sit down and start working through some of them before adding more to the list), hidden object or match-3 games (I have quite a few on the computer that I haven’t finished, and truthfully I should probably cancel my gaming subscription since most of the games that are coming out can’t be played on my older laptop).

So I mentioned that while I have quite a few books already pre-ordered for the year, there is another handful that I would like to buy throughout the year as well–but to justify those purchases I will need to have done the following:

Have read at least two non-fiction books (depending on when the book comes out this may also include the previous month; as a goal is to read two non-fiction books a month), and have written a 200-300 word synopsis over each of them, and then published the reviews on both the blog and amazon.

Have read at least two fiction books and written a 200 to 300-word synopsis over each of them, and again published both on the blog and amazon.

In terms of e-courses, if I feel the urge to purchase one I will ask myself the following questions:

Is this a course that can help me figure something out either personally or professionally?

Is it related to another course I already have? Would it complement it?

Is is something that I should be focusing on this year, or can it wait a year or so?

It is extremely doubtful that I will be purchasing any games–because as I stated earlier mos of the games that the one site (big fish) is coming out with aren’t compatible with my older laptop.

This limited spending year challenge is to prove to myself that I already have more than enough books and e-courses to keep me busy and to help me curb my impulsive spending habit.

First check in will be at the end of the month, where I will make note of the pre-orders that downloaded, any ‘needed’ orders placed, and any potential splurges bought.

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Development Challenges