Category: Personal Development

First self discovery question-Who am I?

So I’m going to be bouncing between several personal development books for the next few weeks. One of them is 155 breakthrough questions to accelerate massive action by Barrie Davenport.  She suggests that you tackle one or two questions at a time (usually over the course of a week), before going to the next one. So far I’ve tackled the first six questions, and will be posting my answers here and in a few weeks/months come back to them and see how they may have changed over that time period.

So the first question is simply who am I?

I am a scientist, a teacher, a mentor. I am a feminist. I value education, science, facts, and nature. I am a pagan, but I am also an atheist. I am a believer that there is no supreme being who made us in their own image (there is to much hate in the world for this to be true). I want a life where I can give back (through scientific research, or teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists and teachers). I want to be a world traveler. I want to be appreciated for my contributions, and I want to make my own way.

I am a liberal who believes in equal rights for all, that women can make the right decisions for their own bodies, that you should be able to marry who you love. I believe that love will always win in the end (even if the battle/war is bloody and long).

I am a normal person with real phobias, that might not make sense–but they are my demons that I have to live and deal with. I am a student, who is always willing to learn, and needing to decide on what that next subject is going to be. I am a budding photographer, an budding artist, baker, or as I may be calling myself a jack of all crafts.

Finally, I am me–a unique individual, who is trying to find her own way in this crazy, twisted, world that is has the faster, faster mindset and has forgotten to slow down, and stop every so often in order to smell the roses. I want a job I can enjoy, but not feel guilty about leaving work at work; a life outside of the job.

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Ways of dealing with different situations that can cause mental clutter

So I just finished reading:  Declutter your mind: How to Stop Worrying, relieve anxiety, and eliminate negative thinking by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport.  Below is the review that I posted on amazon, and decided that I’d share here and maybe expand it a little as to why I enjoyed this book.

I will admit that I picked up this book because the title spoke to me of things that I needed to figure out how to deal with. The book gives practical advice on how to figure out what is important in your life, and then how to start dealing with the issues that might have you veering away from those core values and life priorities. These are strategies that I will be using as I try to get control of the “monkey mind” and determine how to get back being mindful and living closer to those core values and life priorities.

One of the things that I liked about this book is that it gave a list of words that you read through and decided which ones were valuable for both your personal and professional lives (or your core values).  You don’t have to use all of them, and some may be in both lists.  Right now I’ve got about forty core values for my personal life and about thirty for my professional life (though I will probably add more to that list as I re-read the list for thte third or fourth time).

Just reading through the list, I’ve realized that during the past few years I let a lot of things slide that were going against my core values, and my beliefs in myself.  Now I’m going to start weighing job opportunities against the top 5-10 professional values (after I list the values), and if it goes against more than 3 I’ll weigh the option of passing the job over. Also I’ve realized that being messy, and impartial at times to cleaning probably has also contributed to problems, and that the next step with that is to slowly start getting rid of things and trying to be a better housekeeper (even if it is just my bedroom and bathroom right now).

I’m also going to try to get my top personal core values back into alignment (along with my top professional values), though it will be a windy road and a work in progress–that is what this blog is for.

So, remember beauty is everywhere around us–just open your eyes and take it in.

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So it was an off day

Well everyone can have an off day and that seems to be almost the type of day I’m having. It literally started at midnight with the power going out (blessed be noise machines that are fully charged and can last the duration of the power outage)—realized that I can no longer really sleep in a totally quiet room (or at least can’t sleep in a room that sounds like a tomb—not to mention how much darker it seems to be when the power goes out (even though all the lights are turned off because everyone is in bed).

So with the disrupted sleep, I slept in again (which means that tomorrow will have to be an alarm set so that I make my meeting on time). I am trying to just do 7-8 hours of sleep, but usually end up 8-9 1/2 hours of sleep. Depending on the interview goes tomorrow (and if I have to debate between two jobs), the sleep could go back to 6-7 hours (depending on when I would need to show up to work).

I know getting enough sleep is critical for both getting healthy (losing weight) and also for lowering anxiety (two things that I have been struggling with lately). I’m one of those people who needs at least an hour of waking up before I would consider myself to be “awake” around most people; so I usually end up getting up at least 90 minutes to 2 hours (if not more) before I need to be somewhere (this though can include the commute time as well). So if I need to be at work by say 8:15 (and if I don’t have to walk the dog), I’d be getting up at say between 5:45 and 6:15 am; but if I have to walk the dog I’d be getting up even earlier than that. Then I usually require about 45 minutes to an hour of relaxing before turning out the lights (usually reading something on the Kindle); so usually I try to aim for lights out by 10:30, and hope that I can fall asleep by 11. This was the cycle I was in during my time out in Boston (where I considered walking the dog 2x a day (3-4 on the weekends) and walking everywhere to be my daily workouts); coming home my sleep schedule almost corrected itself to about 8 hours, until my last job where for the past year or so I’d try to be at work between 6:45 and 7:15 in the morning so that I could be out by 5 four days a week and then have a short day of Fridays. So to sum up this mini rant—I’ve screwed up my circadian clock over the past couple of years and am slowly trying to fix it, but being in the sciences (and academia) probably isn’t going to help fix it any time soon.

I may reach my bear minimum steps (11,500) for the day by bed time. I was going to march in place and then get the workout in—but the afternoon thunderstorm kinda derailed that plan (nothing like being stuck on the couch for about 45 minutes with a 50 pound dog quivering on you, due to her not liking thunder—yes my dog is a baby (though she isn’t the largest one we have). So, basically all I’ve managed today is my steps. The next workout for Shift Shop (which is Sculpt 45) will have to wait until tomorrow. I’m proud of myself for sticking with this program (it isn’t easy), and I know if I can dial in the nutrition I’ll start seeing results a little faster. Tomorrow I’ll be off the couch a little longer since I have to be on campus for part of the morning (plus again on Thursday). If I can find either this part time job, or maybe a full time job—being active during the day won’t be that big of a problem. I know that the inactivity on the weekends goes back to sleeping in and throwing off the circadian clock and all that jazz.

I just have to make it a goal to get through various programs on BOD (need to determine what the rewards would be), and that way I should stay motivated (and won’t have to worry about a TV right away—though it would be nice so that I can do PUMP and Combat), and get back on track to getting healthy and fit.

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Sleep Challenge Day 6 and “Off the Couch” Challenge Day 2

I’ve realized that when I have something interrupt my sleep, that is usually when I can sleep later in the morning.  Deep breathing exercises are going to be tried if I keep running into the problem of my mind deciding to kick into overdrive at an early hour and keep me awake.  Next week could be an alarm week (depends on how the job interview goes Wednesday and a few other things).

The “Off the Couch” challenge is a little more difficult than I thought it would be–the weather is to muggy to be outside doing yard work or walking around the block with the dogs (unless I do that in the early morning hours); I can only do so much house work before I get bored; so I end up marching in place to movies. Tomorrow might be a little more house work (or maybe going to Belk to get a new pair of dress/interview shoes if I can’t find my current pair).

Water was about 65 oz or so today (I still have a mug to drink, but I also have my mug of decaf sleepy time tea to finish as well).  One think I have noticed that I need to do–make the daily to-do or goal list so I can make sure that I’m keeping on track for various things (plus need to make my list of SMART goals and break those down into easy, step by step goals and rewards).

One thing I have noticed over the last two weeks–for the most part the indigestion that usually has been induced by anxiety and stress has been gone; I only have the slight indigestion before bed, and that could be due to the tea, water, or who knows what. But for the most part I’m not having to deal with acid indigestion or reflux; so being put on layoff status, and cutting out the coffee has help to reduce the anxiety quite a bit.

I’m slowly but surely getting my anxiety under control. The next step will be trying to keep a journal with me so that I can journal whenever I start to get nervous (instead of rewriting different books in my head; I have a habit of taking characters from different series and then melding them together into a new series in my mind).

Have to see how tonight’s sleep goes to see how long I sleep tomorrow morning, and then decide what I’m going to do to try to stay on my feet for most of the day (that doesn’t involve just marching in place to movies).

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Sleep Challenge Day 5 and “Off the Couch” Challenge Day 1

Well, the water was better than  yesterday (I was going to the bathroom more often, so I think I was drinking a little more).  That challenge seems to be on track for now (will keep track to make sure that I don’t slip up all that often; some slips are fine–we’re only human after all).

Sleep was good–I was in bed at a decent time and actually up at a decent time (still about 9 hours, but hey–we’re slowly working back towards 7-8; before my job ended I was only getting about 6-7 hours during the week, so I think I’m still playing catch up on the sleep).

Off the couch challenge is going to be just that–a challenge.  I’ve just slowly realized how much moving around I did with my job, and now that I’m home I start getting jumpy after awhile (but usually only M-F; weekends I seem to be fine with sitting on my tush). The way I stayed off the couch (or daybed) was marching in place to get the steps in (which is my go to thing 99% of the time) while watching a movie (this afternoon that was Independence Day 2).  Tomorrow will be doing house work and slowly starting to go through things in my room and discard what I don’t need or want anymore.  Another small challenge is trying to pare down on things that way when I move I won’t be adding to many more boxes to what is already in the storage unit.

Tomorrow will be getting up at a “normal” hour; cleaning the house; paring down on junk in the bedroom; getting the steps in; and starting week 3 of Shift Shop.

Until tomorrow: Remember, beauty is all around us; just open your eyes and your heart. Also love conquers all.

Namaste.  🙂

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Water Challenge day 7 and Sleep Challenge day 4

Today seems to have been one of those days where you really don’t want to do much of anything. I’m pretty sure I got at least 60 oz of water in for the day (less than what I normally do, but more than what I’ve done on some days). Tomorrow I just have to remember to drink more water before lunch and dinner (but also during both lunch and dinner).

So this marks the end of the week for the first challenge (making sure I’m getting my water in); so as I go forward with these challenges–the title of the posts will reflect the “active” challenges, but I’ll reflect on all the challenges within the post. So FYI the posts may start getting even longer………….. 🙂 LOL 🙂

Sleep was decent last night, I seem to be averaging probably 8 1/2 to 9 hours of sleep (I try to be in bed between 10:30 to 11; so that I can get up hopefully by 8 or 8:30–so far that hasn’t happen (and probably won’t unless I set an alarm).  So I may try to stay awake a little longer to see if I get up any earlier or if I sleep in later tomorrow.  Tomorrow will also start the third challenge: which is keeping off the couch–or moving around more often (and normal exercise can’t be counted within this challenge). So we shall see what I can come up with for this challenge.

Until tomorrow folks.  Remember–beauty is surrounds us, open your heart and your eyes to it and realize that everything and everyone is beautiful.

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Water Challenge Day 6 and Sleep Challenge Day 3

Water was on basically on track today for about 80oz (I will be the first to admit I lose track when I’m filling my 20oz mug up constantly).  I think that I’m basically able to function more or less on black tea (this is day 11 of my no coffee (or limited coffee) challenge) in the mornings. As much as I love coffee, I love not having to deal with indigestion first thing in the morning even more.

Sleep was wonderful last night (not counting the hour lost due to the thunderstorms and the fact that we have 4 dogs that do not like the storms). So I went to bed about 10:30 last night and got up at about 9 this morning (when you take out the hour lost to the storms, I’m averaging about 9 hours of sleep)–this is still slightly over the recommended 7-8 hours, but who knows in a week I could be down to 7-8 hours (depending on weather and various other issues).

My hopes for tonight’s sleep challenge is to be in bed by 11 (or at least in bed by 10:30, so that hopefully I’ll be asleep by 11), and then hopefully awake by 8-8:30 tomorrow morning; still getting about 9 hours of sleep but slowly working back towards 7-8 hours (to where hopefully I can wake up early without having to set an alarm when I start working either part-time; full time; or a lab tech (for free with the idea of getting my name on papers).

So until tomorrow–remember, beauty is all around us, we just have to open our eyes and recognize it.

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Nice selection of small changes one can make over a year

So depending on when you’ve visited my blog before, you see that I’ve started a 52 week small challenge.  So that challenge is based on the book 52 Small Changes: One year to a happier, healthier you by Brett Blumenthal.  Tonight I finally got around to writing my review of it on Amazon and thought that I’d share it here as well:

So this was the first book I started to read on my road of personal development. I’ll admit that the main reason why I picked this one was the name was catchy, and it seemed like the changes could be introduced slowly over a year (hence the name of the book by the author). I liked that the book covered everything from fitness, to nutrition, to having breaks to mentally recharge, and tips on how to keep the house a little cleaner (see weeks 7 and 31). Most of the changes were things that I’d been doing in the past before I let stress, and everything else derail me; but there were also changes that I probably wouldn’t have thought of (weeks 20, 40, 44, 48, and 52).

Each week is a different little change that you can work into your day to day life to where hopefully it helps to make your life a little healthier, and a little happier. As I was reading I noticed that there were some challenges that were going to be easier than others (mainly because I live with my parents and I’m not sure how they’d feel about those particular changes), and the slightly more difficult ones may have to wait until I’m living on my own again to implement.

But I have started to work each little challenge into my day to day life (some go a little easier, since I’ve been doing them already, and other will probably take a little longer).

Even if you know you’re doing most of these small change already, I’d recommend this book just for the fact that you may or may not have thought of the other small changes that could also have a positive impact on your life. A great book for anyone interested in personal development and getting happier and healthier.

So in conclusion, if you are following my blog you will find me blogging daily about how I’m doing on this challenge; in addition to starting a 30 day challenge based on the other personal development book I’ve just finished: 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to stop being lazy and overcome your procrastination by S.J. Scott.

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Practical ways to combat procrastination

So here is the review that I just posted on Amazon for 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to stop being lazy and overcome your procrastination by S.J. Scott

With figurative curve balls being thrown lately, I realized that I now have the time to start reading more books on personal development. This was one of the many that found its way onto my kindle (and its the second one I’ve finished in the past week and a half). The advice offered in the book is practical, sensible, and written in such a way that you can pick and choose which habit you want to try to cultivate first. Plus, the author points out that the process takes time, and that if you slip, thats fine just keep working on trying to be better than before. Personally, I know that it will take me awhile to conquer my procrastination, but with the choices that this book offers in being able to overcome that habit, I know I will—the author even states that you just need to be patient with the process.

I’d highly recommend this to anyone who is working on personal development, and is willing to admit that they have a problem with procrastination.

So now the post is going to be a little longer than what I posted on Amazon:

My major take away points were:

Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals for areas of your life that have current personal significance.

Write down ideas that always pop into your head

Create project lists

Create checklists for everything

Batch similar routine tasks together

Create self imposed deadlines

Become publicly accountable

Start small

Reward yourself

Develop project based skills

Take a 30 day challenge

And always be patient with the process.


So in addition to doing a 52 week small change challenge (that I’ll be blogging), I’m also going to start doing 30 day challenges (and blog them here to be held publicly accountable).

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Water Challenge Day 5 and Sleep Challenge Day 2

Well I’m getting pretty good at making sure that I get at least 80oz of water a day.  Depending on your method of measuring, this might be a little on the low side-but it keeps me going (but with workouts I may start filling 2 water mugs so that I have a good 40oz of water with me during my workout instead of just 20oz).

My sleep was horrible last night–I never fell into the deep, restorative REM sleep that often. It felt like I was just dozing all night long, though I know I slept for a couple of hours at a time. I think the problem was that my evening tea, wasn’t quite as decaf as it should have been, so tonight I switched back to Sweet Dreams by Bigelow.  So, the hot mug of tea is just a part of my sleeping rituals.  The other part is to make sure that the room is on the cool, almost cold side temperature wise (I do like to snuggle under the fleece blankets); plus have a noise maker on (I bought Homedics Sleep Solutions: SoundSpa Ultra from Amazon), and with the choice of 12 different “noises” I’m able to fall asleep each night like I’m outside camping (for now I’m addicted to the campfire background).  This sound machine is portable, rechargable (unplug your iPhone or kindle and use the cord for the sound machine to charge), and it works wonders.  I’m hoping that tonight since I went back to my Sweet Dreams tea, I should hopefully have a good night sleep.  Another ritual lately has been using Cuccio somatology balancing lotion before bed as well–it also has just a hint of chamomile and works wonders.

So the goal for tomorrow is to be in bed by 11 tonight and hopefully up by no later than 8:30 tomorrow morning, feeling more rested than what I was feeling today.  Slowly, but surely these small habits will become second nature and it will be on to the next challenge.  Until tomorrow, remember to look for beauty in everything.

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