Category: Personal Development

Trying to find my footing

Well I’ve almost made it through the first week of T25. I have to do the second Friday workout tomorrow, since I knew that right now there would be no way for me to do the double workout today.

I’ve noticed that since I’m heavier than I was when I originally did T25 back in 2013, some of the workouts are a little harder this time around. No surprise since I’m probably about 20 pounds heavier than I was four years ago when I first started it. My abs are totally weak, to where I was only able to make it half way through the ab workout yesterday–so I may try to fit in the second half tomorrow–or maybe do a double tomorrow and see if I can make it through the ab workout in its entirety.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is that when it comes to doing lunges–I can do them on the left side (where the right leg goes back), but when I try to do them on the right side, I can’t seem to get the left leg back far enough to be able to bend it, or the big toe starts to flare in pain.

So what to do about that? I think I’m going to google lunges and see if there is a totally baby starting position for them and that way I can work my way up to the “normal”, or I’m going to have to find a substitute move for the lunges.

I’m looking at this portion of my fitness journey as the path of getting fit and healthy while being true to myself and knowing the limitations and working within those limitations, but not using them as an excuse for not doing a move or exercise.  Yes, I have “knock-knees” to where I’m bow-legged–but I shouldn’t let that stop me from trying to do my best at lunges, Pilates, and yoga.

Now is the time to embrace my strengths, my weaknesses, and my flaws. By embracing them, both the weaknesses and flaws can turn into strengths. No one is perfect, we just need to try to be better than we were yesterday.

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Another week to get back on track

Well somehow we’re halfway through October already?!? Two weeks from tomorrow is Halloween, and then there are only two months left in 2017. I’d realized this morning, that I’m probably not going to be hitting many of the goals that I set at the end of September for this month–the burpee challenge is going to get restarted come Nov–since I totally didn’t do any burpees while I was in London. Who knows where I will end up step wise–I’ve realized that on weekends that that there is a high probability that I’m going to spend most of it sitting on my butt and not get that many steps in.

Monday Motivation

But I am slowly getting back into to a routine–baby step by baby step. Today decided that I needed to pick a program that I know I can stick with–so I’m doing another round of Focus T25.

What is Focus T25 you ask?  It is a beachbody program that was designed by Shaun T a little over three years ago.  It was actually the first program (that I followed) that I saw weight loss with. It has three stages–alpha, beta, and gamma. Alpha and Beta are five week stages, and then Gamma is the last four week period–so yes, this is a fourteen week program–if you have all three rounds, which I do.

The workouts are only 25 minutes long (Hence the name T25), and vary–you have cardio, core, upper body, lower body, and then the full body workouts. What I love about these workouts is that there is a modifier, and I usually end up modifying a little bit more than she does, due to various reasons.  Lunges–nope, I try to figure out what to replace those with to make sure I’m working the same muscles, since the feet protest the pressure at times.

One thing about the first two rounds (alpha and beta) is that Fridays are a double workout–yep, instead of 25 minutes of hardcore workout–you have 50 minutes. Though you can always do the second workout on a Saturday if you aren’t able to do the double (which is what I’ll probably do at least for the first week or so).

I know that I also need to start getting my nutrition back on track as well. One problem that I have is that I have a really bad sweet tooth–and while I know I can get it under control, if I give it a little bit of leg room, it will take a mile. So one goal is to slowly start getting the sweet tooth under control and cutting back on the snacks (that aren’t healthy–fruits and nuts and such) will help.

Diet is one word that needs to get replaced in conversations–when trying to get healthy and fit–we need to say we’re trying to make a lifestyle change. We’re trying to change the way we eat. Am I still going to have sweets–probably, but I’ll try to make them a little healthier than what I did in the past.

That has been the number one reason why I think I’ve gained all the weight (and then a little extra) back–I didn’t exchange diet for lifestyle change.

But baby steps are being taken, as I remind myself–this is a journey–it doesn’t matter how slow I take it–there is no finish line to race towards, but a path that is an adventure that I need to slow down and enjoy.


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Reflecting back on September…….

Well tomorrow is yet another new month, the planet continues it orbit around the sun (though I’d swear some days are longer than others)—but where did the month go??? According to the calendar we’ve entered the fall season, which is my second favorite season (right behind spring). Hopefully the temperatures will start to agree and stay out of the 90s.

Sunset caught after getting of the T one night in Boston.

Though one thing this month I didn’t do was actually committing to a workout program—I just couldn’t find the mindset or the workout that appealed to me (Going to be working on this one for awhile). I’m thinking that I’ve probably gained a pound or two back this month—stress and worry can do that, especially when you have a sweet tooth that you let run wild.

I did make it through the monthly squat challenge—today was actually a combo day to get the last two days in (though I did managed some yesterday)—so yes I basically did 200 squats throughout the day today.

I again came close to my monthly step goal of 300,000. Again stress and worry had me sitting on my butt a couple of days (and I have realized that I tend to be more sedentary on the weekends), and I’m basically down two days (more or less). If I manage 12,000 steps/day for the rest of the year I may be able to break 4 million by Dec 31st.

It was also my birthday this month, which means that I’m yet another year older, but not any closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life. I’ve been doing both personal and professional development this month working on that question, and I’m not sure I’m any closer to figuring out the answer today than I was at the beginning of the month. Read More

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Me and the Moon

Reflections and Review……….

Image from

Moonology: Working with the Magic of Lunar Cycles by Yasmin Boland

As I continue my journey of personal development, I know one area that needs more focus and attention is my spirituality. I’ve realized over the years that I’ve kept my spirituality more or less either under lock and key, or a tight leash. You see—I’ve been raised in the south, more or less in the middle of the “Bible Belt” where you get weird looks if you aren’t a follower of one of the main religions (especially Christianity). I’m not a follower of any of the western religions, and I don’t have anything against those who are (unless they either 1) try to force their views on me or someone else; or 2) become self-righteous because my spirituality path is different from theirs). Read More

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Reflecting on the past year……

I bet you’ve clicked on this post because of the title—right? Or I may be wrong. But it is a catchy title…

So Wednesday was the birthday, and I’ve taken the past couple of days trying to reflect on the past year, how things have gone, what I want to change (or what needs to change), and where would I like to be by my birthday next year. I’ve been doing a lot of reading of personal development books since the job ended July 31st, and several of them have gotten me thinking about my career.


I love science, the research (not so much the hours or low pay), the collaborative environment that most academic places have, and just always getting to meet new people. One drawback on that is—scientific research is really the only thing I know (not counting the paper route that I had as a kid), I’ve been doing research in some form since I was a senior in high school—so basically half my life (or a little over that now) has been spent in a lab doing something.  Read More

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Two goals and a plane ticket……

Well this is the first entry for my series on getting ready to travel to, around, and then back from London.  This past weekend I decided that I needed to expand the horizon for job searching…….I mean I’ve put out seventy job applications since the end of March, and about half have come back as nos–either I didn’t have the entire skill set; I hadn’t been publishing that many papers (forgot to add in the handful of in-house student publications that my name is on); I had my PhD too long (yep, in today’s job market there are a large number of labs that prefer to hire scientists who have only been out of grad school less than four to five years; right now I’m not going to age myself and say how long I’ve had mine); or I didn’t have a strong background in a subject. Another quarter have also been ignored–I’ve sent a follow-up email and have yet to hear a peep back on the status of my application–I don’t mind getting rejected. At least that tells me that my application was at least considered. When I don’t get a response, I figure that my application for whatever reason ended up in the trash (or recycling) bin.

Okay lets look at these responses logically and from the opposite viewpoint–industry is about the bottom line; they don’t want to waste time training someone, if they can find the skill set in someone who may not have the terminal degree (that person may only have a masters). I understand this, and almost wish that they’d just list their preferred qualifications as the minimum qualifications.  Why?  Because I will still apply for a job even if I’m lack a skill or two–because I will honestly state that I know little (to nothing) about that skill, but I’m willing to learn; with the hopes that there will be someone who is willing to take the chance. Read More

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Review of “Light is the New Black: A guide to answering your soul’s calling and working your light” by Rebecca Campbell

This is the second book by Rebecca Campbell that I’ve read over the past few weeks (I actually started with “Rise Sister Rise”), and I loved it. I was once again drawn to look inwards even more with the questions that were spaced throughout the book (and I have most bookmarked to go back to, as I couldn’t seem to find the words just yet to answer the questions).

It is an amazing book to read, and have the realization that there are parts of us that we close off because we have the need to “fit in” with everyone else. It reminded me that I’d “grown quiet” during school, because I “talked funny” and didn’t like having my speech corrected. I had trouble making friends in school–I was the quiet (at least until you got to know me), bookish, nerdy one that never really fit in with any one crowd–also in group pictures for the most part I wasn’t smiling because it took too much energy to fake being happy around a bunch of people who may or may not have been overly friendly during the grade school to high school stage. That there are parts that we ignore because we’re focused on the parts that we’ve become good at, so that we can trudge through a 9-5 job (or longer depending on the project).

I’ve realized that since I’ve graduated with my PhD, I have let certain areas become closed off and stagnant due to the need to try to climb the scientific ladder. One of the exercises in the book is to make a list of all the things that light you up, no matter what it is—everyone is different, and that is fine. Another exercise is to write out a list of your ten most unique and eclectic mix of gifts, and to keep it growing by adding to it as you uncover more and more of your uniqueness daily/weekly/yearly.

I’m also starting to listen to the inner voice more—it’s getting easier to hear, a little louder each time I need to be reminded—that if something seems a little off, it is better to wait for the next opportunity than it is to jump and be miserable.  I’ve come to realize that what I want out of my scientific career may not be the same as others–and that it is something that I need to clarify to myself before I can express it to others (note to self–that would be something good to work on over the next few weeks).

While I’m still navigating my crossroads, I’ve realized that right now I’m currently seeking another job to replace the one that was just finished—there is a calling, but what that calling is, right now I’m still not sure on. Though I do know it will be tied in with science and education.

I’m slowly growing and taking steps that seem to be frightful, but at the same time could be in the direction that my inner guru is wanting me to go—I just have to slow down, listen, and start asking the universe to help guide me to where I need to be. I’ve finally realized that it is okay to say that I don’t have the answers, and I no longer know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m open to suggestions from the universe.

So if you are listening Universe– I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m willing to listen and go where you direct.

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Baby steps (or crawls)….whatever moves you forward

Well things may be looking up slightly on the 9-5 job front (heard from another lab–they want letters of recommendation sent….Happy dance, and if I had to rank the three labs that I’ve gotten this request from, this one would probably be number one—now that doesn’t mean I’m going to jump right away if offered the job, but if I have to choose between this one and the one from yesterday–this one would win).  Also on the job front, since I’m still looking and haven’t had any solid offers, I’m thinking that I’ve earned a little vacation time (but will blend it with job hunting), and will start planning on a trip to London for next month (never been there, so try to take care of two things with one trip).  Plus that could be the push that I need to get out of my comfort zone and find my little niche and exactly what I’m suppose to be doing in the world.

Reading personal development books, using different courses online have helped with managing the anxiety levels, so that is a huge jump forward for me. I’m hoping that within the next couple of months (unless I move) to try to start tackling another issue/phobia that I know is also holding me back from being the best me possible.  This issue (as silly as it sounds) does affect a good portion of the population, though there is no scientific name for the phobia, or a real understanding of how a person has developed it. What is this phobia you ask?  The fear of driving–yes, I’m a adult who doesn’t have the formal training behind the wheel. The phobia started when I was young, and when people have given me driving lessons, they’ve always been slightly tense/on edge which didn’t help my anxiety being behind the wheel.  I’ve realized that this is something that I need to work on (especially since I want to try to travel to more of the US state and national parks and start hiking/backpacking/camping more–and it is hard to do if you don’t drive). But acknowledging the phobia itself is a good step (or crawl) forward. Reading up on the phobia, and trying to slowly get over it (without having to resort to medication) is also a good step in the right direction. The phobia probably has served its purpose in my life, just as the nagging feeling that I am probably close to working through it is also coming to a head in my life. The universe knows what we need, we just need to stop and listen every so often.

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Small steps forward are better than blind leaps

Well had a Skype interview today.  I think it went really well (as in I wasn’t a nervous wreck and talking a hundred miles a minute during it like I was during the previous one).  While I do have a few reservations about the job, I take the win of not having a huge anxiety induced indigestion attack for the rest of the day.  I’ve realized that the past several jobs have taught me one thing–take the time to think things over, and it is better to give yourself a large window, then a small one that you then try to dive through.  I think in the long run it will be better to be unemployed (volunteering for free) for a semester or so, then to find myself in a job that I’m miserable in within six to eight months. Moving is expensive and something I really only want to have to do maybe one or two more times over the next 5 to 10 years, which means finding a job or jobs that (1) I’m happy in, (2) treated like a part of the team; and (3) pays a living salary.  If there is a small part of me that isn’t going to be happy with the job, I may turn it down (unless it is a decent amount of money, then I may try to put up with it for a while–I don’t want to be unemployed forever).

Remember–there is beauty all around us and within us. We just need to look within ourselves to find where we need to be going, and we only need to open our eyes and our hearts to see the beauty around us. Take a moment and breath in the beauty of the world; smile and make someone’s day a little brighter, and to remind them that they to can smile.

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Fixing out of alignment core values

So as I’ve been reading different personal development books, they have me looking back on what I’ve written with other ones.  One of the core questions that I’ve noticed in several of them is “how/what would you fix/change in your life right now?”

So I’ve been asking myself over the past month several questions:

What do I need to do to get my fitness/health routine back on track?

I’ve realized that I need to workout regularly again–I did manage to basically make it through the Shift Shop (lost 4 pounds and probably 16 inches during the program).  I’m starting another round of Country Heat, and then come October I may do another round of T25; or I may start my own hybrid calendar of beachbody workouts that incorporates both cardio and resistance training (both of which are needed for weight loss). I know that I need to drink my shakeology consistently (which I do manage at least 5 days out of the week), I need to cut back on both the refined carbs (pastries, cookies, buns) and processed meats [basically watch what I eat]; and drink more water.

What do I need to change to ensure I’m not ignoring my creative side?

Since I’ve started getting back into photography–I need to make sure that I have either my iPhone, or my camera ready to take a picture; and then I should try to upload those to the computer in a timely fashion.

I need to spend time finishing up my afghan that I started several years ago, and then spend time actually plotting out a design for an afghan (or scarf) and knitting those. I need to buy myself a crochet hook and teach myself how to crochet.

I need to spend time plotting out different designs for jewelry and other crafts.

I need to spend more time (or time in general) baking more healthy snacks and breakfast items.

What do I need to do to make sure that I’m taking enough time in the day/week to relax and recharge?

I need to make time to meditate.

I need to make clear time boundaries between work and home (including any homework).

I need to make time to do yoga (yes-this is actually dual purpose, since yoga can be considered exercising).

What do I need to do to ensure that I’m still pushing myself to learn something new (both personal and professional)?

I need to make time to brush up on foreign languages that I took in high school (Spanish and German), and then maybe learn a new one?

I need to work through the two e-course bundles that I’ve bought (coding and project management).

I need to continue reading personal development books, and work polishing the aspects about my current life that I’m not happy with.

Find a lab (or labs) that I could volunteer in as a technician to learn more skills to make myself more marketable.

What do I need to do to ensure that I’m not a stepping stone for someone else in the work place?

I need to stand up for myself and the work that I do.

I don’t have to “argue” and “fight”, but be firm and stand my ground that this is my work/project and it isn’t going to be handed off to someone else.

What do I need to do to ensure that I still enjoy research, but don’t burn out?

I need to find a lab that honors the idea that there is something else in life other than work.  If I find the project interesting, yes I may work more hours than the normal 40-50, but at the same time I’m not going to sacrifice my health again for a project.

The project/lab should be something where I am learning several new techniques and will be able to apply those throughout the project, and I’m not just doing the same thing over and over again for a year or two.

What do I need to do to ensure that I’m treated with respect, and that my work is actually appreciated?

I need to ensure that who I work for is someone who shows respect to everyone around them, and treats everyone as equal no matter what their education level is or what their job is, or  their connections.


So these are my current answers to how I can go about trying to fix some of my out-of-alignment core values in both my personal and professional life.  These answers may change over the course of the next several months, and probably over the next year.  It will all depend on how much and how quickly my inner light is able to shine through, or if I try to keep it contained and just settled.  I’m getting tired of just settling.  The spirit is getting tired of just settling, so we shall see, so it will be, so we shall see, so it will be.

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