Category: professional development

Admitting that I’m a procrastinator and how I’m going to deal with it in 2020

So, I’m a little over a month into my reboot break. I’ve done a little soul searching, some reading, adopted a puppy from the local animal shelter, a few walks around Boomer Lake, tried to get back into a fitness routine, and so far have put off trying to draft a master plan/outline for the year.

One thing I will admit to is that I’m a procrastinator—if I don’t want to do something I will either find something else to do, or I will keep saying that I’ll do the task tomorrow (and depending on the task—keep saying tomorrow).  I’ve realized that the procrastination wasn’t that bad while growing up—there were deadlines for homework and things like that (and as a child—at least I couldn’t get away that much with the procrastination), but it started to develop once I hit college, and has gotten slightly out of hand since.

When it was time to think about going to college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to major it (I enjoyed numerous subjects in school), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had an average grade point and had an okay score on the ACT—neither of which were going to get me very far if I wanted to go to school out of state. I already had the mindset that I wasn’t going to take out a loan for school (even if I was eligible for any that were halfway decent), therefore that meant going to the state college in town.

I had decided to go the science route (as at that time everyone was saying something along the lines of “major in what will pay the bills, and minor in what you enjoy”). I could have gone into business—but the thought of sitting behind a desk all day bored me, so I went the science route. I started off thinking wildlife ecology & management, but once I found out that the lab exams for one of the courses was out in the field looking at plants (that wasn’t so bad)—but you had to identify them by their scientific name (my spelling is bad at the best of times—I’m glad that there is spell check), I decided to switch to biochemistry and molecular biology.

I still took classes that I found interesting, and this resulted in me taking seven years to finish my undergrad—but I got two bachelors’ degrees (biochemistry & molecular biology, and biology), plus a minor in history (I was two classes shy of a sociology minor by the time I graduated). Throughout these seven years, I learned several things about myself—first and foremost the testing anxiety was still front and center. I did well in the humanity and social science classes, but the other sciences (where my majors were)—those were a struggle at times when it came time for the tests.

I’d found that certain areas of both degrees were more interesting than others—for example I enjoyed learning cell and molecular biology more than I did organic chemistry and physics. I also found that I could pull historical facts forward faster than I could pull the method and byproducts for an organic chemical reaction.

I remember that I was probably a year or so away from graduation and wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to go—but was also unsure of which direction to go in. I therefore push onward, took the GRE (got an okay score—not great—remember I have huge test anxiety issues, especially if the test is all computerized—which the GRE was at that point), and applied for different graduate programs.

I decided that I should try to stretch my wings and I applied for several different programs that were out of state (plus at the last minute, decided that I would also apply to my alma mater as well—as the ultimate fall back). So I applied to four different programs out of state, and while I managed to get an on campus interview for one of the programs—none of them panned out. Either my grades weren’t high enough, or they didn’t think I could handle the PhD program and suggested that I should apply for the masters program instead (PhD programs pay you to learn, masters programs for the most part don’t)—so I was lucky in that I was able to get into my alma mater for grad school.

This wasn’t my first choice, but I was going to make it work. I spent a year in a structural biology lab, before I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I then switched to a plant molecular biology lab, where I was actually being challenged in learning. I hadn’t worked with plants that much before joining the lab hadn’t done any RNA work, and I found things enjoyable for the first time in a few months in grad school. Also it was nice to be told that within four years I should have learned as much as possible and it would be time to move on. The only drawbacks for those years in grad school—there was no real mentoring in how to “properly” write a scientific paper or proposal, and there was no real career mentoring.

After graduation I managed to land a post-doctoral position at one of the many universities in the Greater Boston area. While I enjoyed the time out in the area, I had ignored some red flags that I shouldn’t have and struggling since to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life and career. I’ve realized that one should never really take a position in a newly started lab unless they are willing to put in fifteen or sixteen hour days six days a week. I only learned a few new things, and started to slowly realize that I probably wasn’t cut out for academic life.

Coming back home, and bouncing around at my alma mater (first a postdoctoral position, and then two staff positions), has only highlighted the fact—I still haven’t found that position/job/title/occupation that is my “calling”. There have been things that I’ve enjoyed over the past seven years, but there have also been things that I really disliked over the past seven years as well.

So how does all this tie into my admitting that I’m procrastinator?

Going to sidetrack a little and give a little background on procrastination (see how I’m procrastinating?).  For years, it has been said that procrastination is a time management issue—and that definition is easy enough to see—we do something else to avoid doing what we originally needed to do. Now it is being toted as an emotion management problem (https://www.fastcompany.com/90357248/procrastination-is-an-emotional-problem). Basically, we procrastinate or put things off that we may (or may not) have attached negative emotions to.

So, I’ve admitted that I’m a procrastinator—which means that I’m admitting to having negative emotions attached to certain ideas or tasks. So which tasks/ideas/goals have I either consciously or subconsciously attached negative emotions to?

            Getting back into shape—I’ve been out of shape majority of my life (never was really big on sports growing up nor being all girly and dressing up/wearing makeup). I had managed to lose a good amount of weight twice in my life—first time was out in Boston (I was walking my dog at least twice a day, and cooking for one—though most of the time weekday dinners were a peanut butter sandwich), and then again about six months or so after moving home. At that point I joined an accountability group on Facebook that was being run by a old high school classmate—I lost probably about twenty pounds or so, but then after a bike accident (where I royally bruised my lower left leg) and job issues—I’ve put the weight back on (with added interest—I’m probably at my heaviest since college). Why do I have negative emotion attached to getting into shape? In part—I was picked on throughout school (or at least up to going to college) about my appearance and weight. So there are still those issues that I need to work through—basically I need to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m losing weight to live my best possible life—not someone else, and I’m not losing the weight to make anyone else happy either.

            Transitioning into an industry position—this is more tied into my anxiety, and the worry that I’m going to make another wrong turn (like I did with my first postdoctoral position). For the most part, I like to have a good idea of how things are suppose to go—I knew that with the postdoctoral positions, I had to work hard (though I did limit the hours to more or less “normal forty hour weeks”) and I would have to read a lot to brush up on the subject matter (as both were new to me areas). Going into industry—there are numerous different directions that one can go in, the job may or may not be totally steady (depending on if the company is bought out, merged with another, or if it somehow goes bankrupt), and about a hundred different other issues. Also it comes down to whom you know, and who is willing to put in a good word for you—and this is totally tied in with my anxiety.

            At times I have problems with trying to do small talk, and networking—it isn’t that I don’t want to meet new people and expand my network—I do, but I have this underlying fear from childhood that people are going to be interrupting me and correcting my speech. This comes from the fact that when we moved to OK from MA, I ended up in speech therapy for years because of the fact that I learned how to talk in MA. In case you didn’t know people in MA have a tendency to drop the “r” in words—so since I learned how to talk in MA, I had a northern accent. The teachers and school officials decided that I needed speech therapy to learn how to pronounce my “r”—I spent five years in speech therapy, plus had teachers correcting my speech in class. I then got into the habit of not really talking in public settings—and this is something that I’m trying to work on. I know it is a slightly irrational fear, but it is still there lurking in the back of my mind.

            Choices—there are so many different choices for what one can do in industry, it is almost like being a kid in a candy store. While I have several different options listed out about what I’m curious about—I have a fear that the one I may chose could be the wrong path. Though as I’m told—I won’t know if I like, unless I try it. This is also tied into the networking problem—I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting people’s time if I decide that their path isn’t the same one that I actually decide to go down.

            Needing to have everything planned out. I will admit that I do like to have an idea of all the steps, and any and all possible results and endings before starting something. I mean instead of picking just one area of Indian art for my paper for art history in high school, I wrote basically a thirty-page paper covering everything that could fall under the umbrella of Indian art.

            This is also coming from again my first postdoctoral position—I thought I had everything planned out, but then the rug was metaphorically pulled out from underneath me. It isn’t fun realizing that one needs to move back in with one’s parents in order to get out from the mountain of debt that one finds themselves in. So now I’m trying to figure out how to plan out every single step of everything and finding myself in motion paralysis.

So now that I’ve admitted to being a procrastinator and the two main areas (health/fitness and career) that I’m procrastinating in, how will I go about getting past the procrastination and making progress on each area?

As I was reading some different pages on procrastination and emotions I found the following three sentences to be profound:

            “Viewing the whole task (e.g. project or paper) all at once will only frustrate you if you have unrealistic expectations. Realize you must break the task into smaller pieces and you cannot do them all at once. The next key is just start whether you feel like it or not.” (https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/procrastination-wasting-our-time-and-increasing-our-anxiety).

Then I found the following ideas that had to deal with procrastination along with social anxiety:

            Make a list of tasks and prioritize what needs to be done

            Reward yourself for completing difficult tasks

            Use relaxation strategies to deal with anxiety about completing tasks

                        Some of the techniques include: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and guided imagery.

(https://www.verywellmind.com/procrastination-and-social-anxiety-disorder-3973931).

So now I’m going to name the two big tasks (relating to fitness/health and job transition). Then I’m going to brainstorm how to break those two big tasks into easier to handle tasks. In addition I’m going to brainstorm an award system for each big task. Finally I’m going to break down the tasks into monthly/weekly/daily goals—with the rewards being based on hitting the larger (weekly or monthly) goals. In other words—I’m going to be working on my long term plan (other wise known as five year (or ten, twenty year) plan.

Sites with their links have been included that I found interesting and used in the post.

No Comments careerfitnessHealthjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Update on Reboot Break

So I’m about a month into my reboot break, and am still trying to figure out the best routine. One thing I’ve noticed after going through notes that I’ve taken over the past couple of years—I need to try to find (or actually rediscover) my “voice” or who I am. I’ve realized that I’ve spent the past couple of years just drifting along, and when it comes to trying to answer personal/professional development questions such as “who are you” or “what is the difference between you and someone else for this role”—I can almost generically answer the first one, but can’t come up with answers of what makes me unique for roles. I realize that I’ve spent years blending in with my surroundings and trying to stay in the background unnoticed. This all comes from childhood and being a victim of bullying—not of which was physical, and I learned it was better to pretend to be invisible and blend into the background than draw attention to the situation.

While it is nice that I’ve identified the problem (my unconscious moves to blend into the background), now I need to work on breaking those patterns. I need to rediscover things that I enjoy doing (things that make me uniquely me), and then determine the best ways of weaving those hobbies into “transferable skills” for job interviews. I would say that I’m fairly confident that I should move R&D scientist down the list on interesting job titles (as it is more or less my comfort zone), and start trying to step outside of what I’m use to doing to see what grabs my interest in terms of the other possible job titles.

I’m thinking that the list is going to now look something like this:

            Health Economist

            Market Research Analyst

            Scientific/Medical Writer

            Market Communications Specialist

            Clinical Data Analyst/Manager

            Quantitative Analyst

            Patent Analyst

            R&D scientist (up to R&D manager)

Though the top seven are more or less fluid (I just rearranged a few from how I’ve previously listed them).

So this week is going to be spent getting back into a workout routine, spending some time practicing photography, puppy training (I adopted a puppy just before Christmas), reading, working a rough draft of everything that I would like to accomplish this year, and looking more into the above roles.

Once I remember (or better yet remind myself) of things I like to do, that aren’t related to work, I will be that much further on my path to finding the optimal industry position to transition into this year.

No Comments 101 Goalscareerjob searchingLifestyle Challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Decade in Review: 2010 to 2019

So most people were doing the decade comparison in pictures over various social media sites—I’m not going to do that, mainly because I let my health and fitness slide enough that I’m back to basically the same weight. But I can try to summarize the past decade and maybe that will allow me to try actually projecting ahead a few years (so that I can actually push myself out of the “weeds” or “quicksand” that I feel like I’ve been stuck in for the past few years).

I started out the decade by finally finishing graduate school. I had promised myself that I would be done with school by the time I hit my 30th birthday and I was (more or less). I managed to finish two out of the three requirements (the third was what held up my diploma another five months). But I walked across the stage and accepted the diploma holder for my PhD in May, I presented and defended my dissertation in July, and then dealt with rewrites of my dissertation that finally earned me my diploma in December of 2010.

I took a post-doctoral position out in the Boston area in July of 2010. This required me finding an apartment that was close to public transportation (since that was how I was going to be getting to work every day). I managed that, but then hired the worst possible company to move my stuff out there (luckily they’re now out of business)—to the point that I slept on an air mattress for a month before my furniture and things showed up. I also hired pet movers to move my dog (Chewi) and cat (Pancakes) out there, and I will use them again when I move for my next position (as I also hired them to move Chewi and Pancakes back home when the job folded under me and I had to move back home in 2012).

So from August 2010 to December 2012 (with a short visit back for Christmas in 2011) I was on the east coast. I did manage to visit Maine, NYC, and Connecticut; with drive-troughs of New Hampshire and Rhode Island (to get to Maine [New Hampshire—though I think it was also a brief stop] and then Connecticut & NYC [Rhode Island]). I didn’t do as much traveling in the area as I would have liked, due to 1) not having that much money—postdocs aren’t paid great, even in large cities [they don’t take cost of living into consideration], and 2) I didn’t feel comfortable always hiring a pet sitter (did that once for the trip back home for Christmas 2011).

But I did visit Salem and Rockport, in addition to wandering around Boston. The trips out of state to visit friends and family allowed me to see a little bit of other states—though if I move back there I would like to spend more than 24 hours in NYC playing tourist.

Being out in the Boston area was fun—I made numerous friends and enjoyed exploring the area. It wasn’t the greatest decision career wise though—I only learned a few new techniques, and the position ended on a sour note between my advisor and me. One thing I learned is that I should always try to listen to that voice that warns that there could be issues with the job—I ignored it, and found out that yeah, there were issues with the job.

Christmas 2012 saw me moving back home from Boston. While I could have tried to find something in the Boston area, truthfully at this point I was pretty well financially broke, and emotionally burnt out. I decided that it might be best to regroup, where I knew that I could save money, and maybe figure out what I was doing with my life. But of course, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing—I just knew that I really needed to find some job so that I could start paying off all the credit card debt that I built up living in Boston (see above note about how postdocs are paid).

2011 also saw my parents bringing another dog into the family—a Great Pyrenees/Bearded Collie mix that we named Boozer (she was fascinated by the sounds of cans opening when she first came into the house). She was also served as a transition dog for my dad, as we weren’t sure how much longer the St. Bernard had (though she lasted another three and a half years).

I managed to get another postdoctoral position within my alma mater department working with yeast. This meant that I was learning a new biological system (previously I’d work with plants, bacteria, insects, and cell cultures), and new techniques. Alas, the money for that position only lasted a little over a year (and the fellowship I tried for I didn’t get [in part due to being back at my alma mater and not asking my first postdoc advisor for a letter of recommendation]), 

Luckily I managed to find a one-month teaching position that paid well. It kept me busy during part of summer, and reminded me that I did enjoy working with students. I spent the next few months putting out job applications—I luckily managed to get another position within the department this time working directly with undergraduate students. I had to write my own job description after being hired as no one knew exactly what the position was suppose to entail. I coined the job title “senior research specialist/undergraduate research techniques instructor” as I was doing both—research and trying to teach students the basic techniques they would need to know for doing research in a lab.

This was a job that I really enjoyed for the most part—working with students, working on different projects and just generally not being bored (again for the most part). The only drawbacks were working with certain people (and you can have personality conflicts no matter where you go). So this position lasted from basically mid-September 2014 through July of 2017; it was terminated due to funding issues and I became unemployed for the third time. This unemployment period lasted longer than the other two (probably could be considered a sum of the other two), but again I managed to get another staff position within the department just after Thanksgiving in 2017.

2015 was also a slightly off year as it was the year that we had to say goodbye to our St. Bernard Speedbump. She was a loving goof ball that got along with all dogs, and was a cuddle bug.

Now this position taught me a few more things, and it was a paycheck. It was a yearly position that would be renewed if there was funding available for it—so always fun working and wondering if there would be another contract to sign or if you were going to be told sorry only ‘x’ months left. So after signing another contract in November of 2018 I decided that no matter what, this would be basically the last year at my alma mater.

2018 was also another off year as we lost three more dogs—we lost Spelunkers in February due to cancer, and then we lost two other dogs in October (within a span of four days) due to both old age and other health issues (heart problems and cancer). So to say that I was more than happy to see the tail end of 2018 was an understatement.

2019 was an okay year—we adopted two more puppies (my mom got her puppy in May—a boxer mix that we named Rolex (so she could say that she had her watchdog), and then I adopted a puppy about a week before Christmas (a male blue heeler/border collie/aussie mix that I named Chaos—because bring another dog into the house right before the holidays was to introduce Chaos). So yes, two new puppies with names that make a play on words.

This was also the year that I decided that I would quit my job and take a “reboot break”. Since I realized that I could truthfully say that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I needed to take a break, regroup, and then focus on my career—I don’t want to say that going through college and earning a PhD was for no reason—I’m going to dedicate time to figure out what the best path for me is in terms of a career change that still will allow me to make use of the skills that I picked up over the past twenty plus years (yes, I figured out that my academic career reached the legal drinking age awhile ago—and since I wasn’t totally happy within that arena it is time to figure out what arena I want to be in).

Here is to 2020—the start of a new year, and a new decade. It is a blank slate and I am capable of writing whatever narrative I want for my life. I control the direction that my life goes—all I need to do is fix the oars, patch the leaks, and look up to the stars. I open myself up to what the universe will send my way.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

2019: A Year in Review

So 2019 has come to a close, and now it’s time to reflect back on the year (with its ups and downs, hills and valleys).

This was the year that I decided that I needed to do some type of major shakeup career wise—this wasn’t to say that I was totally unhappy with my job—something needed to change though. I had decided that I would hopefully either transition into an industry position, or I would resign my position, take some time off to re-center myself and then refocus on my job search. I ended up going with option number two—my “reboot break” started shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ve realized over the past few months that I’ve more or less been in a “coasting” mode for the past couple of years—never really thinking of where I want to be in five or ten years, just focusing on trying to get through the day and the week to the weekend. It’s hard to figure out the next direction to go in, when you’re stuck in the weeds with nothing but a slightly broken oar to propel yourself—you don’t get very far.

I’ve also realized that I’ve been trying to focus on too many different areas at once (health/fitness, finances, moving my career forward, and trying to find time to do crafts to balance things out), that I’m going to try to focus on just two to four areas (health/fitness and moving my career forward are tied for number one, and then it will probably be personal/professional development (tied for number two, and tied into both areas at number one), and then some time for crafts.

This was I can probably set up an monthly calendar easier with just those “three” areas instead of considering them four to five different areas. This should also mean that I have more ideas for blog topics throughout 2020 as well (which is one area that I felt that I didn’t push forward enough throughout the year).

In terms of health and fitness—I’m slowly making my way back to a routine that works for me. I will probably stick with the workouts provided by Beachbody, but figure out the best nutrition plan on my own. I know that I have a major sweet tooth, and instead of depriving myself (and ending up binge eating sweets), I allow myself some sweets and try to balance it out with more fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I’m pretty sure that there will be more posts on nutrition and fitness throughout 2020 as well, as I work to get into the best shape of my life (I’m thinking of some trip later in the year that would require me to be in better physical condition than I am currently).

We also adopted a puppy back in May shortly after mother’s day. My mom decided that it had been long enough since losing her dog, that she was willing to get a puppy. So we adopted a boxer mix, renamed her Rolex and it’s been a crazy ride ever since. Then basically a week before Christmas, I decided that I really wanted a puppy (I know that I will never be able to replace Chewi), so I went with my brother to the animal shelter and adopted a blue heeler/collie/shepherd mix. Now we have a period of adjustment—Rolex is a little jealous of the puppy (mainly the amount of attention that I’m giving him)—but I chose the right name for him—Chaos (since I was getting him right before the holidays—I knew that I was going to be bring chaos into the house). Now, as I start looking forward again on my job search—the position/location will also need to be puppy friendly (nearby parks and so forth).

In terms of personal development I managed to read nineteen different books (though several of them were challenge books—where you pick a topic and try to work on it for a month or so). Several of the books related to finances (mine are okay—which is why I’m able to do the reboot break right now), decluttering (something that I really need to do—both for myself and ease my parents into it as well), and then just some good old fashion self-care (reboot break, and being reminded that I shouldn’t be waiting for others to give me a ‘permission slip’ to live my life). I’m hoping that in 2020, I double the number of books that read in terms of both personal and professional development.

I had gotten back into doing oracle/tarot card readings for a good portion of the year (quit doing them the last few months), and realized yet again my pulling back was due in part to me trying to fit in to molds that I don’t belong (worry about what prospective employers might think if they come across my instagram account). But I was reminded with reading a couple of books last month that I shouldn’t be waiting on a ‘permission slip’ from others—it’s my life and I doubt that I would be wanting to work for any company that doesn’t value everyone’s spirituality.

I had wanted to travel a little during 2019, but those plans never came to fruition—either due to not having enough vacation time earned, the weather (one major “fear” earlier this year was being stranded somewhere due to the weather and losing money since I wouldn’t be working & would have used up all my vacation time), or just not being able to decide where I wanted to go.

Hopefully in 2020 there will be more travel—both for mental health (since I’ve realized it has been over a year since I’ve taken a vacation) and networking/job search/hopeful job interviews, or a combination of the two types.

So while there was some change in 2019—there wasn’t as much as I’d hoped for—but I did manage to plant the seeds for change (namely in quitting my job) to occur in 2020. As we head into a new year and decade I need to remember that for 2020 I’m going to focus on “grow (th)”, “change”, “achievement(s)”, and “success”.

And remember: Progress over perfection. I’m also going to remember to “evaluate the people in [my] life; then promote, demote, or terminate. [I’m] the CEO of my life”.

No Comments careerHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsprofessional developmentYear in Review

Month in Review: December 2019

Well December, the year, and the decade are all officially over. I also realized that I forgot to post my November in review last month (December was a little crazy with the start of my reboot break, and trying to get into a new groove), in addition I don’t think I posted my new moon review or goals for the new moon at the end of the month.

So I’m not going to beat myself up over the fact that I was lagging in posts for the last couple of weeks/months. If you check out my earlier post (Happy Holidays and updates), I actually talk about the main reason for this. Hopefully this is something that I can conquer during 2020. But for now since we’re officially in a new month and decade, it’s time to look back at the goals that I set for December of 2019 and see how I did with each one.

The goals for December included:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading three non-fiction books

Money log/weekly check-in

Back into some type of workout routine

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

No Spend days

Personal and professional development (listening to either podcasts and/or working through e-courses).

So how did I do with each one?

At least 434,000 steps

            I was below on my step goal last month. This was in part to the fact that I knew that I had already reached my yearly goal of 5 million by the second day of the month—the rest of the steps of the month were basically bonus steps. Also I adopted a puppy on the 19th, the weather turned colder and therefore I didn’t really do any daily walks for the second half of the month (more or less). My step total for December was 341,618 (which is still above the minimum step total of 310,000—10K/day).  This brought my yearly total to 5,351,200 steps (which was not quite 72,300 steps above what I managed in 2018). So I think I will stick with trying to make a yearly goal of 5 million steps.

Reading three non-fiction books

            I managed to read two non-fiction books (and about half way through a third by midnight on the 31st). The two books were:

                        Girl Code: Unlocking the secrets to success, sanity, and happiness for the female entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba

                        Girl on Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blzae Your Own Trail in Life and Business by Cara Alwill Leyba

I enjoyed reading both books, and hopefully will be getting to writing reviews for both of them to post on both the blog and amazon in the coming weeks.

Money log/weekly check-in

            This was something that I fell short on again. While I kept my purchases down for the most part (it was the season of Christmas after all), I didn’t keep a log of what all I bought when.  So this is something else that I will need to continuously work on going into 2020.

Back into some type of workout routine

            Nope, this didn’t happen during December. I’m going to break out of my ‘uncomfortable’ comfort zone in 2020 and get back into a workout routine (I actually bought early access to Barre Blend and will be starting that on Monday). One thing with the current books I’ve been reading—I am my own worse enemy and I need to come to an agreement with my subconscious so that I can quit sabotaging all my plans and goals going into 2020 and beyond.

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

            So I managed to plan out at least my workout routine for the first few months of my reboot break (namely Jan-March). In terms of everything else—those are still in limbo (in terms of both the type of jobs I want to target and everything that goes along with them). But this is a goal for January—to have a rough draft by the end of the month so that I can have a semi-permanent draft by the end of February. Notice I said semi-permanent—I realize that plans and ideas can change, and therefore the plans and ideas that I currently have in place need to be fluid enough that they can change as needed as I pivot on my path.

No Spend days

            I think there were several no spends days in December—unfortunately I only made note of the first three (as those happened before I got the puppy—and everything else fell by the wayside for a week or so). This is something that I’m hoping to accomplish throughout my reboot break—several no spend days that accumulate into a no spend week (or weeks) and then no spend month (other than the automatic payments of bills).

Personal and professional development (listening to either podcasts and/or working through e-courses).

             I listened to several episodes of the onward creatives podcast over the last week of the month, and started to work through several different e-courses as well.  One thing I’ve noticed is that one really shouldn’t try to distinguish personal development from professional development (they are two sides of the same coin—you). While I managed to get several things accomplished during 2019—there are still numerous things left on the list, and the list is going to be revamped going into 2020. I’m also going to remember that doing personal development can help in job searching (the professional side) and doing professional development (learning a new skill) can also aid the personal side (things to talk about with others).

So going into 2020 I’m going to be focused on four words and two main phrases:

The four words are “grow”, “change”, “achieve”, and “succeed”; my phrases for 2020 are going to be “progress over perfection” and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life”.

It’s time to take back control of my life (instead of just bouncing along), and figure out what I want to do with the second half of my life, where I would like to be, and most importantly—who I am.

The goals for January 2020 will be the following:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

And for January the phrase: “Progress over Perfection”

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Gemini Full Moon Goals: The last full moon of the year & decade (a few days late)

Well we’ve hit the last full moon for both 2019 and the decade this week. The moon will be transitioning through Gemini, and in less than three weeks we’ll be in 2020 (and a new decade). I swear that time goes by quicker now that I’m no longer taking classes, and having to have a set schedule daily (though with work it seemed that the workday dragged and the weekend flew by).

So what are some questions that one can contemplate during this time? Looking at “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are five questions that one can ask during this full moon:

            Have I been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month?

            Have I been glossing over other people’s feelings?

            Have I been too quick to change my mind, or too restless?

            Have I been too much of a silver-tongued hustler?

            Have I done enough reading to keep expanding my mind?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as follow:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month. Truthfully, there are very few people that I talk to on a regular basis, and that is usually to catch up with each other since the last time we’ve talked/gotten together. I do try to keep the social engagements that I agree too as I don’t get out all that often.
  2. I don’t think that I’ve been glossing over other people’s feelings. Again, there are very few people that I interact with on a daily basis (that list is even smaller currently since I’m on my reboot break), so I do try to at least acknowledge where the other person is coming from.
  3. I doubt that I will ever be accused of being too quick to change my mind—if nothing else I overthink things and become “frozen”. I actually need to develop the skill of starting to try new things without any fear of failure, and then hopefully things will go a little more smoothly in my job search/transition.
  4. Again, I doubt that I will ever be accused of being a silver-tongued hustler. This is in part due to my introverted nature (being quiet and soft spoken), and also social anxiety. I would love to get a couple of side businesses going to help bring in extra money—but they will be slow going because of the above issues—being quiet, soft spoken, and dealing with social anxiety (and other issues).
  5. No, I haven’t been doing nearly enough reading to keep expanding my mind. Currently I’ve been in a rut to where I go back and reread different romance series, just because I’ve been in the mood for more of “happily ever after” than dealing with current state of the world. This is something that I’m going to be working on over the next few weeks and months as I continue on my reboot break and start really putting more effort into my transition plan and moving into an industry position.

So I’m also going to see what house the moon will be transition through during this time. Using my rising sign (which is Scorpio), the Gemini constellation is moving through my eighth house—this house deals with “death and rebirth, reinvention and transformation”. So in one aspect it is fitting that 2019 is ending with a Gemini full moon—as I resigned from my most current position at my alma mater (so the “death” of my job), and I’m in the process of going through both a personal and professional reinvention and transformation.

So this is the time to try to find balance between slowing down, rushing to learn things, being real with people, money, and determining one’s self worth.

So if I were to make a small goal list for the end of 2019, the goals will include:

            Read at least two non-fiction books, and take (or highlight sections) notes in order to also post a book review on the blog (and possibly amazon as well).

            Continue mediating nightly.

            Start designing/creating a monthly editorial calendar—possibly start treating different areas of life as “classes”—create “syllabus” for each area (with “due dates” for specific things—treat things as “homework”).

And as I head into 2020 remember: Progress over perfection, and 2020 will be the year of change!!

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Taurus Full Moon Goals: A review (a few days late).

 So the moon will be transitioning into it’s latest full moon phase—and it will be both the last full moon of the year, and the last full moon of the decade. There is now less than three weeks left in the year—three weeks from today (Dec 11th) will be New Years Day. So the next constellation that the moon will be going through is going to be Gemini. So now it’s time to look back over the goals that I set for the Taurus full moon and see how I did with each one.

So what were my goals for the Taurus full moon?

            Meditating nightly (yes, this is focusing on me a little—but if I keep myself in the right mindset, I’m more polite and easier to be around other people).

            Reaching out to friends on-line (it’s a small step to start with, especially since there are only a few people within town that I probably still talk to, and I think better to start slow).

            Figure out when exactly my reboot break is going to start—that way I have an idea of when I can refocus on my nutrition and fitness.

Above all remember: progress over perfection.

So how did I do with each one?

In terms of reaching out to friends on-line—this has been slow going. This has been due mainly to trying to figure out the best way of reaching out, also due to extending my work schedule another couple of weeks—I hadn’t felt like being on the computer at night.

I’ve managed to meditate almost every night (and I’m getting better at it with not having a full schedule the next day—i.e. if I want to doze a little after the alarm goes off I can). I do feel better at night after having spent anywhere from three to seven minutes meditating. Now I’m also going to try to work that into my morning routine (meditate before getting up to deal with the animals).

So my reboot break started this week (December 9th), and I’ve managed one workout in addition to daily walks at Boomer Lake (to practice my nature photography). I’ve realized that walks may not happen every day (due mainly to weather and temperatures), so I’ll need to figure out the best times for doing one (or possibly two) workouts—possibly in the morning when I want a break from doing other things, and then again in the afternoon. Nutrition will be a little slower (true there aren’t as many sweets at home as there were at work—but there is the possibility of making cookies, muffins, and so forth), but I’m going to focus on trying to do my best each day and not beat myself up if I do slide a little.

So I managed to make an inroad with two of the three goals that I set for the Taurus full moon. I’ve always been a quiet person, who usually keeps different parts of my life in different “boxes” that usually never overlap. I’ve realized that this is almost all done unconsciously, due in part to my introverted nature—I don’t mind spending time with other people, but I need time alone then to recharge.

So progress is being made (slow progress, but progress none the less), and the baby steps will help make 2020 the best year yet.

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Review of Aries Full Moon Goals

So the moon is going to be entering the second to last full moon phase for 2019 either tonight or tomorrow (depending on where one is at), so that means that it’s time to review the goals I had set for the Aries full moon. Somehow we’re a little over a third of the way through November (Friday will mark the halfway point of the month), and that means there are now less than fifty days left in the year—and I start my reboot break in two weeks.

But what were the goals that I had set for the Aries full moon?

            Working on my reboot break/transition plan. This may include working through some of the personal development courses or starting to read some of the personal development books (particularly the ones that have numerous journal prompts).

            Trying to back into meditating nightly—this has been an on and off endeavor the past couple of weeks. I know that when I manage to do it for at least a couple of minutes—I do sleep a little better at night.

            Not touching my phone after I turn off the lights and start reading (I have the light dimmed on the e-reader, but haven’t figured out how to dim the light on the phone). Try to be meditating by no later than nine, and reading no later than twenty after nine.

            Continue trying to plan out the next couple of months, and look into different programs that allow you to block certain apps/web pages to help increase my productivity and work on my time management skills.

And always remember: Progress over Perfection.

So how did I do with each goal?

In terms of my reboot break/transition plan—I’m working through a couple of different e-courses, and have realized in terms of planning things out—I prefer pen and paper over trying to do it digitally. I have a couple of brand new journals and I’ve decided that I’m going to set it up as a semi bullet journal—there will be to-do lists, but I’m also to write down two to four journal prompts (or self reflection questions) each night for me to think about and answer in the morning. In addition the to-do lists will be fairly short, but plenty of room for journaling and self-reflection.

Once I start working on e-courses that may actually require more room for note taking, I have several notebooks that I have bought for just that purpose—and I have sticky notes and tape so I can even semi-color code the pages to keep the various courses straight.

I’ve also realized with my transition plan—it has been almost an abstract idea—I want to get out of academia, but other than that, I haven’t made anything absolute. I need to get my possible career list down to three or four from the seven or eight it is currently at, and then I need to determine the type of company I want to work for and go from there—I just can’t state that I want to be a research scientist in industry by 2022—I need to be able to state that I want to be market communications specialist for ginkgo bioworks by 2022 (as an example).

In terms of trying to get back into meditating at night daily, I only missed one or two nights during the past few weeks and that was usually due to either the time change (which was last week and I’m still not adjusted one hundred percent), or something else irritated me and I decided just to read instead. But I am getting better at sitting (or lying) and focusing on my breathing for a couple minutes at time—continued practice and it will become even a better habit.

I only looked at my phone once or twice after going to bed during the past month (and one of those times was actually last night). The few times that I’ve done it was mainly to check to see what the temperature was either falling to or to sync my fitbit before heading off to bed (since I may not always remember to try to sync it before lights are turned off). But I am more adapt at just not getting on the phone after lights have been totally turned off, and I think I’m starting to sleep a little better because of it.

In terms of trying to plan out the next couple of months—I have a rough idea of what I want to get accomplished, but I haven’t written it all down on paper yet. This is due in part to the fact that I try to plan everything out—but I’ve realized that I need to focus on just a few areas—list the major (and long term) goals, and then break those down to monthly, weekly, and then daily goals. I also shouldn’t be making all the goals super complex either—true I’m not positive which direction I’m going in terms of my career transition, so I should have a mini list for each and as I narrow down the direction(s) those lists can grow.

So I’ve managed more self-reflection than anything this past month. I really can be (and have been) my own worse enemy when it comes to things. I blame part of it on the scientist in me that wants a detailed plan of action before starting anything—that has probably been one of my biggest hang-ups over the past year or so—trying to figure out the detailed plan of action before acting. Now I’ve decided that I’m going to do a reboot break, and while some things are semi-planned out—I don’t have them set out on paper yet. That is going to be the something I work on over the next few weekends—planning out the journal/notebook(s) that is going to see me through my reboot break and job transition.

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Take Three of the 101 goals in 1001 days

So in one of my many self reflection periods this past month, I realized that I hadn’t been looking at my 101 goal list and seeing how close I was to any of the goals (with the exception of my step goal). I also realized looking at the list, it was all jumbled together and that made it hard to see which goals could “feed” off of each other in terms of the daily/weekly/monthly goals that I should be setting to reach them.

Therefore, I took the time and rewrote my list—this time grouping things into different categories. I’m going to be hitting restart on the time, to where if I start on November 2, 2019—I should then be finishing up around July 29, 2022.

So below are my goals—but broken up into different categories (such as professional development/career, personal development, both personal/professional development, travel, health & fitness to name a few categories).

Professional development and career:

            1. Transition into an industry position (tied to latest self reflections post); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

            6. More interacting on Linkedin

                        7. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                        8. Commenting on posts

                        9. Giving/Asking for recommendations

            10. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals

            11. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        12. Present at a scientific conference

            13. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            14. Renew professional memberships

            15. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

Both Personal and Professional Development

            16. Become fluent in Spanish

            17. Become fluent in German (or maybe French)

            18. Read at least 100 personal/professional development books

            19. Finish the books on scientific writing

Personal development and hobbies

            20. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            21. More photography

                        22. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        23. Update photography pages on blog

            24. Make my own jewelry

            25. Learn to cross-stitch

            26. Finish my latest afghan

            27. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            28. Start writing a book

            29. Learn Photoshop

            30. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)

            31. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            32. Learn basic sign language

Finances

            33. Create monthly budgets

            34. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

            35. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            36. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

            37. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

Travel

            38. Visit at least 3 new countries

            39. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            40. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            41. Visit at least one new zoo

            42. Visit at least one new aquarium

            43. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            44. Visit at least one new city

            45. Visit at least one new state

            46. See the northern lights

            47. Attend at least one blogging conference

            48. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            49. Attend Beachbody Coach Summit 2020

Fitness & Health

            50. Get into the best shape of my life

            51. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            52. Manage at least 250 days of Beachbody workouts

            53. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            54. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            55.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            56.  Hold a 90 second plank

            57.  Meditate nightly

            58.  30-day Zumba challenge

            59.  60-80 oz of water a day

            60.  Stretch daily

            61. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)

            62. Get at least 14,014,000 steps (breaks down to 14K/day)

Blog and Social Media

            63.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            64.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            65.  Finish blog to biz course

            66.  Launch a YouTube channel

            67. Launch an online course

            68. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            69. Rebrand myself (?)

            70. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            71. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            72. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            73. Publish at least two blog series

            74.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        75. Blog

                        76. Instagram

                        77. Facebook pages

            78. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows

            79. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            80. Various top 10 author lists

            81. Various top 10 book series lists

Spirituality

            82. Full/New Moon Goals

            83.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            84. Weekly tarot/oracle card readings

Others

            85. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            86. Design a science based board game

            87. Create and update a digital vision board

            88. Re-pierce my ears

            89. Reorganize my storage unit

Once I move:

            90. Get a new sewing machine

                        91. Make a new quilt

                        92. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            93. New couch & chair for living room

            94. New dresser for bedroom

            95. New mattress & box spring for bed

            96. New TV & stand

TV shows to binge watch

            97. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            98. Grimm

            99. The Librarians

            100. Once Upon A Time

            101. Blacklist

So that is my update and “organized” 101 goals in 1001 days. This time I’m trying to balance things out—personal and professional development, career and then just odds and ends. Hopefully with it being organized, I will be better at tracking how close I am to completing certain items and which items when completed will flow into another one being started.

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October in Review

Well October is officially over, and there are only 61 days left in the year. As I’m writing this I realize that my reboot break is going to be starting in a few weeks, and that I’m a month into my last year of my thirties—so I should really try to figure out what the hell I’m doing with the second half of my life. In addition I realized that I only met one goal (in total) for the month of October.

We’re officially a third of the way through the fourth quarter of the year, and I’m thinking that is where some of the change is going to take place, and the seeds for change in 2020 will be planted.

I didn’t really change my October goals that much, so they were basically the same goals that I’ve had for the past few months, including the goal of working on my “reboot break” plan.

October was a difficult month in general—as it marked the one-year anniversary of losing both Chewi and Piranha.  

The goals for October included:

At least 434,000 steps

Photography challenge (if there has to be a recap session to make up for a few days—oh, well—I’m only human)

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

Continue working on my reboot break & start reworking my transition plan

Aim for one week no spend

Continue working out (hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet)

Set up the monthly calendar (can start with November as a trial run)

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps

            This was basically the only goal that I was able to reach this month, even with a few days below the target of 14,000 steps. I managed to get 487,754 of steps, which was 53,754 over the goal of 434,000 steps. This has me at a yearly total so far of 4,535,054 and that means to reach exactly 5 million steps, I only need to reach 7,623 per day for the rest of the year. This is nice to know that I can have several days that I don’t reach my total—but even with the reboot break coming up—if I walk around Boomer Lake every day, that will get me to at least 10,000 steps. So unless it is raining or snowing—I’m going to be getting a daily walk in on my reboot break.

Photography challenge (if there has to be a recap session to make up for a few days—oh, well—I’m only human)

            Well this didn’t really happen. I have been taking pictures on the weekend—but currently the area of my photography shots is Boomer Lake. I feel like I’m sharing the same theme over and over again—though they’re all slightly different. So I’m in the process of trying to develop a nice long list of photography topics, so that I can start the challenge over once more. Though this time around I did make it a little over 200 days before falling behind.

Read at least 2 non-fiction books

            I don’t think that I managed to finish any non-fiction book this month. One thing that I’ve noticed is that there are numerous books that I’ve started at some point, but then started reading another and never went back and actually finished. So, therefore moving forward I’m not going to jump between books—but pick one and finish it before going to the next non-fiction book. I will probably go between that non-fiction book and my fiction books.

Continue working on my reboot break & start reworking my transition plan

            I’m slowly working on both plans, and actually made a little headway this month by “naming” one of my biggest hurdles—movement paralysis. The first week of my reboot break is probably going to be spent just relaxing and decompressing, especially since it is also going to be a holiday week (Thanksgiving). The major work is going to start during the first week of December.

            I have several different areas/titles that sound interesting picked out—I just need to fully determine what type of professional lifestyle I want, and which would fit it the best. I know that I will need to make a choice and therefore a plan of action for the early part of 2020—but hopefully I can narrow down the choices before than and not feel totally overwhelmed.

Aim for one week no spend

            This didn’t happen—I spent money on campus more or less daily during the month of October. The only good thing is that towards the end of the month it may have only been once a day. I figured that once I’m on my reboot break, that will be the easiest time to curb the spending—I won’t be on campus, and I’m going to more or less shut down the WiFi connection on the kindle (with exceptions)—that way I will save money two ways—no buying snacks on campus daily, and no mindlessly buying e-books on the kindle.

Continue working out (hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet)

            Well I managed to start the hybrid calendar, but that has been about it. I’ve realized that even though I’ve had a couple of months to figure out the getting home after 5 schedule—I still haven’t; I get home, do the few chores and then I sit and relax for awhile. If I was prompt—I would then change into my workout clothes and get my workout done before dinner, but that isn’t what I end up doing—I sit and relax until dinner. Then after dinner I have my evening routine (and I don’t like working out on an semi-full stomach either—I’d rather workout on a semi-empty stomach), and I have so far only fit in stretching and meditation.

            So this is a workout calendar that I’m hopefully going to follow much better once I start on my reboot break (I really won’t have any excuses not to follow it).

Set up the monthly calendar (can start with November as a trial run)

            Well, this semi-happened—at least workout wise, but I haven’t followed it that well. I’m going to be setting up another calendar, hopefully this weekend for the rest of November (as I’d only be missing one or two days) that I will hopefully then follow. I’ve realized that when it comes to trying to figure out my life—I need to do in such a way that the anxiety and depression don’t realize that I’m trying to move out of the do nothing zone and into the positive and constructive zone.

So not that much progress on most of the goals for the month of October—though admitting that there were problems is progress in and of its self. There are two months left in 2019, and there can still be quite a bit of progress in those last sixty-one days—I just have to play mind games with myself.

So what are my goals for November going to be?

At least 420,000 steps

Making a nice long list of possible photography topics

Slowly start the hybrid LIIFT4/Country Heat/Yoga Booty Ballet workout calendar

Reading two non-fiction books

Making my November monthly calendar

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

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

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