Category: professional development

Goals for the Virgo New Moon

Well we moved into another ‘new moon’ phase this week (specifically for me, it was last night) and I realize that I didn’t get around to posting my double new moon post last month (since the moon cycled through Cancer twice, it was a review of the previous month’s goals and trying to set new goals for the next Cancer new moon), and then I forgot about the Leo new moon last month.

Instead of trying to look back at the things I should have been trying to do for the Leo new moon, I’m going to move ahead and look towards the Virgo new moon that we just transitioned into.

The new moon is pretty close to my birthday this year (which is still two days away)—three years ago, the new moon was on my birthday; and next year the full moon for September will fall on my birthday. Since, Virgo is my start sign—it means that I’m semi-neat, semi-organized, and semi-neat freak (constantly cleaning). My other signs are Scorpio (rising) and Pisces (moon).

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

            Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.

            Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.

            Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.

            Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play

            Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward.

The moon is also moving through my 11th house—or my friends’ zone. So what are some things that one can do during this new moon in regards to friends, hopes, and dreams (and take into account the new “normal” of social distancing and so forth, due to the ongoing pandemic)?

            Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do.

            Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met.

            Wish on a star every night for a month.

            Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now.

            Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to.

            Thank your best friend for being there for you.

Well having a ‘real’ social life during a pandemic isn’t possible right now. I’m currently still self-isolating, and most of the people I know are trying to keep their ‘bubbles’ small (i.e. the people they interact with on a daily basis). So having physical meet-ups right now is out of the question. I know that I could probably do virtual meet-ups, but first I still want to purchase some thin drapes to cover up the bookcases that would be seen behind me in my room when doing virtual meet-ups (unless I sit on my bed).

Usually I would be meeting up with a classmate once a month for lunch—but we haven’t done that since right before the shelter at home orders were given—six months ago, and it may be at least another six months before we may be able to meet up face to face for lunch.

So what will my goals be for the Virgo New Moon period?

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life and try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (currently it is a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet with LIIFT4).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, possibly alternating days that certain things are done on (for example networking on Mondays & Wednesdays, but following up with people on Tuesdays & Fridays).
  4. Continue with nightly oracle card readings and also try to spend at least two to three minutes meditating (either before or after the reading).

Finally continue moving forward while remembering: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

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2020 Update on my Level-10 Life. Reflections & future plans.

All right, I realize that I haven’t posted a level-10 check-in since July of last year. I did do a level-10 check-in in December 2019, May 2020, and then this most recent one—beginning of September 2020; but two of those three were only in the journal.

So, just a quick reminder of what a Level-10 life check-in is:

There are 10 areas of life: family & friends, personal development, spirituality, finances, career (and I also include professional development here as well), social life, fun & recreation, giving & contribution, physical environment, and then finally health & fitness.

You then rank each area on a scale of 1-to-10, quickly and without thinking too hard on each one. Then you can compare your most recent Level-10 to the previous one and see how (or if) each area changed. Then depending on how you score them, and the change you can set up goals for each for the coming cycle.

Instead of doing three months, I stretched it into four months this year—because it’s 2020. Usually areas have been either staying constant, or just going up or down a little.

Though, with this check-in there were two areas that had slightly higher ups and downs.

Those two areas were finances, and the physical environment. My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my finances went down 1.5—due largely to my impulsive e-book buying (and therefore a slightly larger than normal amazon bill). My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my physical environment went up 1.5—due mainly to me keeping things better organized than I have in the past.

So what are my goals for the last four months of 2020? These goals are going to encompass basically seven out of the ten areas—leaving out family/friends, giving/contributions & social life. Not that I don’t care about those two—but 1) we’re still currently in a pandemic, so if I want to socialize with people, it will have to be online (or a minimum of 12 feet apart); 2) I try to keep in semi-touch with family/friends via social media; 3) there may be things to be donated or given away—just not sure on that particular point.

1) Finish the following workout programs:

            Morning Meltdown 100—I should be finishing my first round of the program on 9/15/2020

            Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4—I should finish this combo by 11/15/2020 (marking the first finish for Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt Makeover & the 2nd time through LIIFT4)

            10 Rounds—I should then finish this program by Christmas (and it will be my first round of this program).

            I will then start either Muscle Burns Fat & then Muscle Burns Fat Advance or another round of 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix Extreme (either of these will then carry me into 2021).

2) Finish the following professional development courses:

            Data Science Syndicate (finish by the end of September; only 1 ½ modules left; actually finished this on 9/3/2020).

            Medical Writers Organization (by the end of October)

            Management Consultant Firm (by the end of November)

            Project Management Consortium (by the end of December)

3) Start learning python (tied with #4 and #2)

4) Finish at least 6 other short e-courses

5) Read at least 8 personal/professional developments books and write short reviews

6) Daily mediation and tarot/oracle card readings (bi-weekly or monthly oracle card review on blog)

7) Learn a new hobby (try my hand at cross-stitching). Also get more yarn and start another afghan possibly.

8) Determine way(s) of earning extra money (or free-lancing options)

9) Start building up a varied portfolio for looking into free-lancing/remote/on-line job options.

10) Go to the storage unit and start repacking boxes that need it, plus maybe start seeing what I don’t need.

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Self-reflection, planning, and yet more self-reflection—all in one question.

Question that I was thinking/meditating on for the month of August: Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?

This has been the question plaguing me for the past few months (and actually if I’m honest about my transition plan—probably the past two or three years), as there at times is conflicting advice on whether or not one should have a solid plan for ‘x’ years down the road or going after ‘y’ job title/position—mainly because we don’t know what will happen in the future (right 2020), and if we become so narrowly focused, we could miss or pass by an opportunity of a lifetime.

Though the same can be said for not having a focused plan or idea of the future. If I’m totally truthful with myself—I probably fall into the latter category of not having a totally focused plan. Up until probably five years ago, I had thought that I’d be able to handle doing the academic route (post-doc for years, find an assistant professor position and work my way up to full professor)—but what I use to consider fun (putting in somewhat long hours in the lab to try to answer part of a question), was no longer fun and I no longer had the energy to try to fight my way into the academic arena.

This has also left me slightly disillusioned when it comes to figuring out where I want to be in say five to twenty years—what do I want to do? Do I want to stay in research (my comfort zone)? Go in a different direction and apply the skills I have in a slightly different manner? Then I get more pressing questions—like will I still enjoy the work?  Will I still be willing to make the sacrifices needed to move forward to the next promotion? Or will I become disillusioned again?

One thing I’ve realized is that I could handle anything that was tossed my way as long as I kept true to the following: 1) I was always learning. While I was getting slightly tired of school by the end of my undergraduate career (I will take full responsibility for taking 7 years to earn 2 BS degrees, a minor, and being able to graduate with 0 student loans)—I did enjoy the ability to take classes in different areas (though now I wish I took a few more business courses), and I enjoyed the time working in various labs as an undergraduate research technician. 2) I stopped doing school work/studying at a certain time so I could unwind before bed. 3) I tried to keep the weekends homework free (for the most part), so that I could enjoy being outside and getting a little natural vitamin D.

I was okay with having to bend number three every so often in grad school (sometimes experiments needed to be finished or started on the weekend), and even a little during the later positions. What I shouldn’t have bargained with was number one—always learning. It wasn’t so much during grad school (I did enjoy focusing and diving deep into a single subject area that is still growing today), but later positions. If I wanted to learn or read on something that was outside the scope of what I was doing on the job—I was told to do it on my own time (which I mentally took as well, now there is less time to unwind before bed). So what did I do—I stopped looking at other subjects that interested me— and I did the bare minimum needed for the job and that was it.

It has taken me a couple of years to realize where and when that mindset started—I actually feel more comfortable knowing a little about numerous different areas, and quite a bit about say one or two areas—but I don’t want to become a narrow-focused specialist.

So, winding back to the main question—where do I see myself in 5-20 years? I see myself as someone who has been able to balance being both a professional blogger/online entrepreneur and holding a normal 9-to-5 job. My industry position is within health economics, medical/scientific writing, or possibly market research, or market communications. Since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic—for the normal job I’m finding it better to have a couple of different options to look into.

I’ve probably rebranded the blog, and have also managed to launch several different e-courses/tutorials covering different science topics and starting to branch out into different social science topics as well. Staying true to my multi-facet nature, having numerous pages to the blog has actually been one of the key successes to my online presence. I’ve stuck with the areas of personal/professional development, lifestyle (crafts, money management, minimalism), and fitness/nutrition (encompassing all three areas of health—mental, physical, and spiritual). In addition, within five to ten years I will have worked up the nerve to launch a podcast (a YouTube channel will be launched between years three and five).

It took quite a bit of soul searching during the pandemic to reach the point to where I could state that I want to be both a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ and a ‘specialist’. The major work will be trying to figure out which areas of life will be focus of ‘jack of all trades’ and which ones I will become a ‘specialist’ in. In addition, it will take work to build up a solid following on social media (One area to work on is getting better at posting on various social media sites), and then move forward from there. The next soul-searching question would be “what do I want to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ in and a ‘specialist’ in”??

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Creativity, personal/professional development goals for the Pisces Full Moon

So the moon will be entering its latest full moon stage either tonight (marking the full moon at the very beginning of the month) or tomorrow night. The full moon is marking the fact that there are now only four months left in 2020 (quietly looking out the window to see what is coming towards us).

So if I looked to the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, I’d see that there are five questions that one can ask themselves during this time:

Have I been dreamy to the point of not getting enough done and making silly errors?

Have I been overly sensitive and too easily hurt?

Have I been acting like a martyr? Or too easily led?

Have I been meditating every day, and if not, why not?

Have I been in touch with my intuitive side? Following my dreams and hunches?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, I think that my answers would be as follow:

  1. I’m not sure if I would say that I’ve been dreamy to the point of not getting enough done. I’ve probably been wasting time (scrolling through social media and the news) that I could have spent doing something more productive. This was actually something I realized earlier—I need to find a balance between being an well-informed individual and wasting time on the computer.
  2. I don’t think that I’ve been overly sensitive lately. Truthfully, while being in self-isolation due to the pandemic, I haven’t been around many other people so I haven’t had to deal with other people’s emotions.
  3. No, I have haven’t been acting like either a martyr or someone that can be easily led around.
  4. I usually try to mediate for at least five minutes every night—some nights I manage, and other nights I don’t. One thing I’m still working on is creating an optimal meditation area in the room.
  5. This is something that I’ve been trying to do more of lately. I resigned back in December so that I would have the time and energy to try to figure out what it is I really want to do with my life. Then the SARS-CoV2 pandemic hit, and I will admit that I’ve spent quite a few months shaking my head—I realized that it would probably be a bad year, I just didn’t fathom how bad it was going to get. So I am trying to follow my dreams and hunches—one of the things I’m going to be doing is trying to help improve science education/communication somehow (still brainstorming ideas on that).

So in addition to the self-reflection questions, one should also check to see what house or zone the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Pisces full moon is moving through my 5th house (according to my rising sign), which is also known as the “kids, romance, and creativity zone”.

Any of the zones this year are more of a challenge—mainly due to the pandemic and self-isolation. Truthfully—even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, I probably still wouldn’t have a lot of time currently for romance. I’m trying to figure out my life and part of that is trying to figure out where to move—I don’t want to start a relationship with anyone knowing that I’d be moving out of state at some point in the near future. So—I’m not to worried about romance, currently not around any kids (I don’t have any, my niece is out in California, again with the pandemic I’m not getting together with any friends that may have kids)—unless you count animals (then I do have six to deal with—three dogs and three cats and they’re constantly around, and two of them will have all the veto powers in any of my future relationships), so the only aspect that I’m going to concern myself with currently is the creativity zone.

I had promised myself that once I started my “reboot break” I was also going to have more time to spend on creative work (whether that was doodling, journaling, knitting, taking pictures—something that was not related to the current job search mindset). While I have been spending time doing something creative daily, I haven’t been varying (and learning new) crafts. I’ve been sticking with things I know how to do—if not great, at least well (namely photography, knitting, and some doodling and journaling). Since self-isolation is going to be stretching longer than anticipated—I’m going to slowly start stepping out of it and try my hand at a different craft.

So what are my goals going to be for the Pisces Full Moon?

            More creativity time—specifically I’m going to try my hand at cross-stitching. I bought a small starter kit a couple of months ago—and haven’t touch it—due in large part to it being something new that I’ve never done and therefore I have nothing to compare it to (in terms of what I think of the finished project). But I’m going to probably try sketching out some basic geometric shapes and then try my hand at coloring them in (this should be interesting, since I have a hard enough time drawing a straight line with a ruler, can’t wait to see how the lines look when I’m just stitching them by hand).

            More time spent on self-reflection. This is going to be a combination of meditation, and journaling. The journaling will be done as part of both personal/professional development (answering any questions that pop up), and self-reflection—I’m going to start drawing a single tarot/oracle card (sometimes in the morning, sometimes the night before), and writing whatever comes to mind when I look at it, then read the message in the tarot/oracle book, and see if my thoughts have differed from the intended message.

            Time also spent on personal/professional development—namely working through various e-course packages that I’ve bought over the years. I know that I want a career that allows me to use my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative/ideation/arranger), while also allowing me to improve on some of the ‘weaker’ areas as well. The best way to start doing this—work through various courses bought, network, and try to set up and hold informational interviews as well.

But above all remember the following—“Progress over Perfection,”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life, if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

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Making progress on professional development, & fitness goals.

So August is over, that means there is now less than three weeks before my birthday, barely three weeks before fall, a little over 2 months until the election, and only four months left in 2020. I’ve been joking that I’m not acknowledging this year—so in theory I won’t be turning 40, but having my 2nd 39th birthday.

I feel like I’ve been slightly more productive during the second half of the year so far—mainly in terms of pushing play and getting in a daily workout. Nutrition hasn’t been on point (and yes I know, that in terms of weight loss—one should focus heavily on nutrition instead of exercise), but I’m doing a little better every week (usually). I’ve realized what one of the major things I need to work on—finding balance between being well informed on what is going on in the world, and constantly scanning social media and the news. One thing I’m going to be looking into this coming month are web apps that block access to certain sites for a specific amount of time (say 8am to noon)—that way I can hopefully focus on other personal and professional development tasks and not just scroll through the internet.

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘July in Review’ I noted that the US had over 4.7 million cases and now the US is a little over 6.2 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.5 million cases in a month). I’m hoping that the election goes the way I want it to go, and therefore travel may be possible by the end of 2021 (I’m currently debating on whether I want to spend a week in the UK or traveling through Northern Europe—Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark).

So as we head into the last few months of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”

So how did I do with each one?

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

I managed to get in almost 186,000 steps (I ended the month at 185,860) and I was not quite 3K above the steps for July. Hopefully with cooler weather coming, I can get out and walk in the early morning, or even during the day with the pup. I haven’t done a long walk around Boomer Lake since early February (so about a month before everyone realized how serious the virus was actually going to be)—but once late fall, early winter hits I may be able to be out at the park walking (maybe with my smaller digital camera or without) and enjoying some time in nature—though I would also like to see some of the migrating birds this fall/winter.

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

I’ve been continuing with morning meltdown 100—only did one double day early in the month. The dogs had played a little too rough, so I kept an eye on Chaos that day—but did both workouts (melt-con and re-vibe) the next day to keep on track. I really like this program; right now my only complaint is that there aren’t worksheets for tracking the weights (so you can see if you need to or have gone heavier than previous workouts). So I’m thinking that I will probably be designing a set of tracking sheets for the next time (or possibly the third time, as there were a couple of workouts that I didn’t write down the exercises on).

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

One of the books that I read this month was a short book (actually the author called it a booklet) on blogging. The title is “How to write great blog posts that engage readers” by Steve Scott.

            Now I’ve had this e-booklet for a little over two years (though I just had to add it to the long personal/professional development reading list), before I actually got around to reading it. The reason—I have a habit of buying and downloading numerous books a month, and not removing books I’ve read from the device. So books that have been bought (but not read) have a habit of being at the very bottom of the list usually (or close to it). I’m now trying to get in the habit of removing read personal/professional development books—that way the only books that I’d be scrolling through are either the numerous fiction books/series that I have and any unread personal/professional development books.

            I liked this book because it gave a suggestion that one should aim at having a minimum of 8 posts a month. Two of the posts are larger articles, and the other six are smaller articles. I’m thinking of adopting this mindset, but also varying month to month what each type (large & small) articles would be over—since I’m also keeping the blog “multi-facet”—in other words I’m sticking with probably two (maybe three) niches: lifestyle, personal/professional development, and hobbies.

I started a couple of other books, but hadn’t finished any of them by the end of the month. At times I couldn’t get in the mind frame for reading personal/professional development.

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

I’ve managed to have several no spend days that almost stretched into a full no spend week—but I have yet to work up to an actual no-spend month (that is a HUGE goal for September, and hopefully October as well).

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

I managed to get through all of module 4 and about 80% of module 5. I think that there are two videos left before taking the quiz for module 5, and then I would have the sixth and final module for the Data Science Syndicate. I think that I might enjoy doing data science, though I need to download python (the data analysis program, and not a snake) and start working with it before I could say one way or the other on this particular job path.

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

This was something that I fell behind on doing this month—I managed to get through another quarter of the data science syndicate program, but didn’t really work on any other e-courses (or not enough to have finished a course). I did write out all the courses that I have bought over the past few years so that I can keep better track of what I’ve completed and what I still need to work on. One of my issues has been trying to mentally switch gears and sit in front of the computer and listen to someone talk for awhile and then do what ever little work is assigned for that video or section. I’ve also realized that I can work on whatever course I want—it doesn’t always have to be a professional development course—if I want to spend the afternoon learning how to read tarot cards better, I can.

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”

The answer to this question will actually be posted as a separate blog post—currently my answer is going on two pages and I still feel like I haven’t answered the question in full detail.

Goals for September will include:

At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day; depending on how the number of virus cases goes, I will probably slowly start increasing the daily goal.)

Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4 (once I draft the calendar I’ll share it)

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python and start learning how to use it

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

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Goals for the Aquarius Full Moon–reviewed

Somehow tomorrow marks the beginning of September—that means we’re down to the last four months of 2020. If it were any other year, I’d crack some type of smartass comment—but since it’s 2020, I’m not going to. The next full moon is within a couple of days, so it is time to look back on the goals that I set for the Aquarius full moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my Aquarius full moon goals?

The goals included:

            Photography—while it will mainly be backyard bird watching, I can still try to improve my skills.

            Journaling—this is actually for multiple fronts: getting back into the habit of writing daily (I mean if I’m going to try to be a freelance writer, I should be trying to write daily), work through various personal/professional development questions, and as a way of working on keeping positive mental health going.

            Other personal/professional development: crafts (try my hand at cross-stitching, maybe get a new sewing machine and fabric, create some jewelry), reading, and working through e-courses.

So how did I do with each of them?

            In terms of photography—I managed to take pictures almost every day. I’m getting better at using manual focusing—though I haven’t totally started playing with the other features (which is slightly sad, since I’ve had this particular camera a little over 2 years). One thing I’m going to try to start doing is actually using the tripod and zoom lens and maybe try to get a picture or two of a full moon.

            In terms of journaling—I’ve managed to write in the journal every day, even if it was just to write down the weights for that particular workout (or even just logging the workout). I have several ideas for how I can improve on my journaling, and also expand into possible blog posts.

            In terms of working on other personal/professional development: I’m almost through one of the professional development courses I’ve bought (I have one video and the test for the 5th module and then the final module), though I still need to download python (the data analysis coding language program) and start learning actually how to use the programming language. While I had hopes that I managed to get a good deal on a sewing machine—it turned out to be a scam (I managed to get my money back though), so now I’m waiting to see if/when sewing machines become available again through Joann Fabric’s store. I have also bought a couple of books to help me further my ability with photography and jewelry making (just in case I actually want to start selling the jewelry)—so I just need to read through those books and start implementing the ideas and suggestions.

Overall I’m happy with how I did with each goal—yes, I could have written more in the journal, or worked through a couple more e-courses but I’m currently striving for progress and not perfection. Also, I’m trying to be kinder to myself and acknowledge that sometimes not doing anything is just as productive (at least mentally) as striking everything else off the to-do list.

All three of these goals are goals that I’m going to continue working on going forward into the rest of 2020 and on wards. The reasons are simple—I want to become a better photographer, writer, and continue to learn and grow. I may have stubbornly taken a hiatus from actively learning after a couple of the positions—but now that I know my strengths that I can use and also what other traits I can improve—personal and professional development are becoming fun again. In addition, currently I can make my own hours.

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Aquarius Full Moon Goals–a couple of days late

So the moon will be transitioning into its full moon stage over the next two or three days (depending on where you live)—for me, it was a couple of nights ago—as I’m two days late in posting this. The full moon is early this month, but that’s fine—with the way 2020 has been going, I’d like a little extra time to focus on my goals and blessings for the full moon.

The moon is going to be transitioning through Aquarius, and if one looks at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland there are a series of questions that one reflect on during the next few days:

Have I been pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life?

Have I been living too much in my head and not enough in my heart?

Have I been trying to do things my way, just for the sake of it?

Have I been trying to hard to befriend people, and for the wrong reasons?

Have I allowed myself to move forward this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as followed:

  1. I would probably have to say this depends. This year, with the SARS-CoV2 virus running around, even if I wanted to get out and met people, I wouldn’t be able to. I know that there is more to life than just work, and that humans are social creatures that usually don’t do well on their own—but one needs to learn how to be alone in order not to fear it. Also, since I’m trying to get my life in order—I don’t really have the time to deal with too many other people.
  2. The answer to this question is probably yes—I live way to much in my head. Currently I’m not in a relationship, and due to the current pandemic—I’m also in no rush to meet anyone. While humans are social creatures—there is actually quite a bit to say about being at peace with ones own company.
  3. Hard to answer this one—mainly because what are we talking about?? Anything scientific and I’d ask what the protocol is for the experiment, or I’d do a large literature review if I needed to design an experiment. As to normal life—yes, I probably do things my way—but only after doing research and making a plan.
  4. No, I haven’t been trying to hard to befriend people, for the wrong reasons. I do try to expand my professional network, and work up to asking for informational interviews—this hasn’t happened yet, as I am still struggling to figure out which direction to go in. I feel like I should be fairly confident in the direction that I want to move, and therefore not feel like I’m wasting people’s time asking for informational interviews.
  5. Since the month is just starting—the jury is still out on whether or not I’m allowing myself to move forward this month or not.

Aquarius is also moving through my 4th house or my home and family zone. This is the time when one should try to find a balance between one’s personal life and one’s career. This year things are a little different for this zone: for starters, I’m still self isolating due to how poorly both my state (OK) and the US are in dealing with the SARS-CoV2 virus; and secondly, I’m still on my “reboot break” from work. So my personal life and career are totally twined right now, due to the fact that I’m home more or less all day, every day.

If I were to think of finding balance—it would be between personal/professional development time and time for other things (reading, crafts, photography, and relaxing outside). Currently, when the weather is nice I will go sit outside (sometimes with my journal, kindle, or camera) and just bask in the natural vitamin D. But at the same time, neglecting the other things that I could also be doing (working through e-courses, networking, and so forth).

So what mini-goals should I set for the Aquarius full moon?

I’m going to aim to find more time during the day for the following activities:

            Photography—while it will mainly be backyard bird watching, I can still try to improve my skills.

            Journaling—this is actually for multiple fronts: getting back into the habit of writing daily (I mean if I’m going to try to be a freelance writer, I should be trying to write daily), work through various personal/professional development questions, and as a way of working on keeping positive mental health going.

            Other personal/professional development: crafts (try my hand at cross-stitching, maybe get a new sewing machine and fabric, create some jewelry), reading, and working through e-courses.

I need to remember that I should be working towards the future I want (though the first thing I need to do, is determine exactly what type of future I want), instead of just sitting around and hoping that the world isn’t going to detonate over night (just my jaded current world views).

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Month in Review: July 2020

So July has come and gone—which means there are only five months left in 2020. As I’ve stated before—2020 hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to go so far, and the next five months probably still won’t totally go the way I would like to go, but I have to keep reminding myself—the only reactions I can control are my own—so it’s now into month five of self-isolation, I go.

While some parts of the world seem to be getting the virus under control—the US isn’t one of them. Our numbers are still climbing (over 4.7 million confirmed cases and over 157K dead), and we’re still more or less on a “global timeout”. This means that any and all travel that I had planned is delayed for at least another year (which means the earliest—August 2021), if not longer. While I don’t mind delaying travel—I am getting a little tired of self-isolation (though I will continue to do so as long as necessary).

This means that any type of interviews (informational and job-related) will be done via online applications, which also means numerous other things need to be taken into consideration and dealt with—such as making sure that the sound and everything works well (microphone over using the computer), creating a neutral backdrop for the office area of my bedroom, and whatever else I will be needing to add to the list. But for now, it is time for a brief reflection on the goals that I had set for July and how I did with each one of them.

So what were the goals for July? The goals for July included:

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

In terms of steps—I managed to get to a total of 182,969 steps for the month of July. There were seven days that I finished below the 5,000-step goal—which is why I was about 20K below the final total that I managed for June. But at least I managed to move around enough that I got about 25K extra steps during July (and some of the days that I was short—the days were hot and humid and I didn’t feel like moving around that much).

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

I have been continuing with Morning Meltdown 100, and finished days 24 to 54. While I measured at the end of phase 2 (which was July 17th), I’m not going to measure again until the end of the program (which will be on Sept 15th). The reason—water retention and bloating can cause numbers to be off.

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

During the month of July I managed to read (or finish reading) the following books:

“How to be an imperfectionist: The new way to self-acceptance, fearless living, and freedom from perfectionism” by Stephen Guise

“Hello Fears: Crush your comfort zone and become who you’re meant to be” by Michelle Poler

“Better than Before: What I learned about making and breaking habits-to sleep more, quit sugar, procrastinate less, and generally build a happier life” by Gretchen Rubin

All three of the books would fall under the personal development category (though it is very difficult to try to separate personal and professional development—they are two sides of the same coin). They all dealt with similar topics—our comfort zones, and trying to push past the “fear zone” to get into our learning/growth zones. While I know that I haven’t stated much on the books, that’s because it’s on the August to-do list of writing a short review on each one to post to both the blog and amazon.

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

I’m getting better at having no spend days/weeks—but I’m not quite up to a full no-spend month. During July I still spent money during the month—the money was spent on books, masks, and I had hoped on a sewing machine (I’m actually probably be demanding my money back on this one—as the order was placed almost 3 weeks ago, and all of my messages have been ignored).

I’m hoping that during August, I can manage not to spend money on books, or other things. Depending on how I progress through various e-courses during August, I may purchase other e-courses to continue my learning (but this is only currently a possibility).

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

This hasn’t happened yet. I started module four of the program and made it about halfway through. I had decided that I’d been pushing too fast through various programs and that it would probably be more beneficial if I slowed down and actually took the time to review and think on the information I was learning, instead of just powering through to be able to check it off my to-do list.

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

Like, the data science syndicate program—this also didn’t happen. In part to wanting to be able to think on the information I was learning, but also due to the fact that most afternoons, I would go and sit outside and read—instead of being inside and working on something else.

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

This is slowly coming together—I managed to find my old bulletin board—so I can also have my to-do lists tack up, instead of needing to look in the journal to see what I had planned for the day/week. Though I will also be using the journal as well. The main thing I’ve realized—I need to figure out the answer to the following question: “Who do I want to become over the next five to twenty years?” Once I can answer this question in great detail—I’ll have a better idea of what goals and the breakdown of said goals I need to focus on.

So I managed to get about half of the goals accomplished for July (the steps, the workout, the reading, and going 80% of the month not spending more money). I’ve also realized that one reason why certain goals (e-courses/certification programs and sometimes the non-fiction reading) aren’t always met—I haven’t quite figured out the end goal. In other words, I think once I can determine the answer to the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”—Some of these goals will become easier to accomplish.

Therefore, the goals for August will include:

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?” The answer to this question will help me to continue working on my long term goal list, figuring out how to break it down to short-term goals, and finally translating those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas that I’m trying to focus on: personal/professional development, career transition, fitness & health/mental health/crafts, and the blog.

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments BookscareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle ChallengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Expanded Challenge: Now 150 goals to be completed in 2002 days

100+ Goals to accomplish in 2002 Days

Start Date: July 19, 2020

End Date: January 10, 2026

Well I realized that since we’re over half way through July—that means there are less than six months left in 2020. I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to complete the 101 goals in 1001 days wasn’t going to work. For me it is due to the fact that I will only open the word document every so often—which makes it difficult to figure out which goal(s) I’m doing well on and which ones I’m not doing so well on meeting. Therefore, I am thinking of stretching out the time frame for this project and increasing the total number of goals to 150-200. There are numerous goals that are on hold (traveling), and will be at the bottom of the list. There are two reasons why the traveling goals are going to be at the bottom of the list: 1) we’re still in the middle of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. Cases aren’t going down really in the US (though there are some states, where they are decreasing—OK isn’t one of them) and 2) several countries (namely the EU) have banned travelers from the US—in other words if you try to fly into any EU country, you may be put right back on a plane for the US, since they’re flattening their curves—they don’t want potential virus carriers showing up and spiking cases.

So the world has been in the grasp of the SARS-CoV2 virus for seven months (probably a little longer than that for the countries that are neighboring China), and we’re still learning about the virus each day. While there are several vaccines that are being pushed into various clinical trial phases—a real contender may still not be ready for another 6 to 18 months. Vaccine development is a slow and tedious process that the world is currently rushing because everyone wants to get back to ‘normal’. Hate to break it to everyone but the ‘old normal’ needs to be left in the past and we all need to work together to develop a ‘new normal’.

Truthfully, even if there is a vaccine out by the end of the year—I will probably still continue to shelter in place and wait at least an additional 8 to 12 months before I’m willing to get the vaccine (just to see how efficient the vaccine(s) are). Though based on the current news, we could end up with needing seasonal shots, as it has been shown that with people who “recover” from SARS-CoV2 the antibodies against the virus slowly disappear over time.

So I’ve been self-reflecting over the past six months (though maybe not that much during April—I was too pissed at the world for how bad the pandemic was getting, and now that we’re into July, I can say I’m still pissed but trying to get back into a routine of doing other things that I can control the outcomes of)) and have decided a few things:

            Try to organize the challenge list into categories

            If needing to restart (and I am)—any day of the week can become day 1 again

            Balance is needed

            I want to balance using my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger) with working on my weaknesses (communication, self-regulation, bravery, zest, love)

            The only person I should be competing with is who I was yesterday

            Always strive for progress over perfection

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). I’m going to extend the time frame to 2002 days (which is not quite 5 ½ years—but considering 2020 has started the decade off with a global pandemic—this a good time frame).

I’ve also decided that since I’m basically restarting the challenge (instead of just extending it), that some of the things I’ve accomplished so far this year probably shouldn’t count towards it (such as reading 12 personal/professional development books, and the fact that I would be on day 42 of Morning Meltdown 100, tomorrow—the last 59 days of the workout would count towards my 2000 days of Beachbody workouts-just not the first 41 days).

More goals may be added over the years as I re-evaluate this list and see what may need to be removed, what has been finished, and where I think I could possibly push myself more.

Professional development and career:

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)

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

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

            10. More interacting on Linkedin

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

                        12. Commenting on posts

                        13. Giving/Asking for recommendations

                        14. Start writing my own posts

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

            16. Renew professional memberships

Both Personal and Professional Development

            17. Become fluent in Spanish

            18. Become fluent in German

            19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books

            21. Finish the books on scientific writing

            22. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            23. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            24. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photography

                        27. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        28. Update photography pages on blog

            29. Make my own jewelry

            30. Learn to cross-stitch

            31. Get a new sewing machine

                        32. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        33. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            34. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)

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

            36. Start writing a book

            37. Learn Photoshop

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

            39. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            40. Learn basic sign language

            41. Start a virtual book club

Finances

            42. Create monthly budgets

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

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

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

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

            47. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            48. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage at least 2000 days of Beachbody workouts

                        Finish the following programs (some will probably be more than 1 or 2 times)

                                    52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt

                                    54. 10 Rounds

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

                                    57. LIIFT4–all three phases (have already done this program once)

                                    58. 22 Minute Hard Corps

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    61. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    62. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    63. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    64. 6 weeks of the work

                                    65. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    66. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    67. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)

                                    68. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    69. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    71. Muscle Burns Fat

                                    72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

                                    73. 30-Day Breakaway (this is a maybe—it’s running based)

                                    74. 9-week control freak

                                    75. Shawn Week

            Plus any other possible Beachbody program that is coming out that I may want to add.

            76. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            77. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            78.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            79.  Hold a 90 second plank

            80.  Meditate nightly

            81.  Start jogging (as another way to try to keep my mental health up)—may tie this in with #73

            82.  60-80 oz of water a day

            83.  Stretch daily

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

            85. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)

Blog and Social Media

            86.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            87.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            88.  Finish blog to biz course

            89.  Launch a YouTube channel

            90. Launch an online course

            91. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            92. Rebrand myself (?)

            93. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            94. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            95. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            96. Publish at least two blog series

            97.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        98. Blog

                        99. Instagram

                        100. Facebook pages

                        101. Twitter

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

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

            104. Various top 10 author lists

            105. Various top 10 book series lists

            106. Launch a podcast

Spirituality

            107. Full/New Moon Goals

            108.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            109. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings

            110. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting

Others

            111. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            112. Design a science based board game

            113. Create and update digital vision board

            114. Reorganize my storage unit

            115. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            116. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            117. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            118. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

            119. Start downsizing rest of my belongs as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) where ever I move for the next job.

TV shows to binge watch

            120. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            121. Grimm

            122. The Librarians

            123. Once Upon A Time

            124. Blacklist

            125. Numbers

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            126. Re-pierce my ears

127. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        128. Present at a scientific conference

            129. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

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

            131. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            134. Visit at least one new zoo

            135. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            137. Visit at least one new city

            138. Visit at least one new state

            139. See the northern lights

            140. Attend at least one blogging conference

            141. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            142. Swim with whale sharks

            143. Parasailing

            144. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #81)

Once I move:

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

            146. New couch & chair for living room

            147. New dresser for bedroom

            148. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            149. New TV & stand

            150. New desk/craft workstation

So I now have roughly 150 goals to accomplish in 2002 days. Some of the goals may be accomplished well before the 2002 days are up—others may be up to the end (namely the fitness workouts and steps). So how will I accomplish these 150 goals??? Well, there are 25 goals that are “on-hold” until the virus is under control (goals #126-150)—so these may not be looked at for the first 500+ days (though I will probably be checking the stats on the pandemic more often).

In terms of the other 125 goals—I already have some ‘habits’ in place—I have set up monthly calendar/check-ins for my steps, daily workouts, and spending, plus I do a monthly money check-in when I set up payments for various bills. So what I’m going to be doing is adding in additional trackers (e-courses, photography, tarot/oracle card readings) and seeing tracking that ways helps me move through things better. Also in terms of the e-courses, I’m going to be trying to take better notes so that I can post little recaps on the blog as well (all of this will also help me possibly finally design and keep up with editorial calendars as well).

But above else, I need to remember the following phrases: Aim for progress and not perfection, work hard in silence, let your success by your noise, and make it happen, shock everyone.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerfinancesfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthjob searchingLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravel

Sagittarius Full Moon Goals–a Review

So I’m actually getting my review of last month’s full moon goals posted in a timely fashion–will have to see if I manage to get Capricorn’s goals posted in a timely fashion.

So the year is halfway over, and the next full moon will be happening sometime this weekend (depending on where you live). So there is only six months left in 2020 (hopefully time will speed up a little), and that means pretty soon it will be time to look over goals, and readjust moving forward to ensure that I reach the long-term goals on time. But before I start thinking on future goals, or even the Capricorn full moon, I should look back on the goals that I set for the Sagittarius full moon.

So what were my goals for the Sagittarius full moon, and how did I do with each one?

The goals included:

            1) Continue to have no-spend days (and stretch those into no-spend weeks and then months). Having to pay off bills, or having standing monthly deliveries, and preorders won’t count against the no-spend challenge. If I do buy something, it will have to meet one of the following criteria:

                        It is for personal/professional development (book or e-course)

            I managed to meet a goal, and I bought (book, CD, movie, hidden objects game) as a reward

            It was something that is needed (say face mask) and it will support a non-profit organization

            2) Continue trying to develop a schedule for the day/week and an all-encompassing editorial calendar (personal/professional development, fitness/health/mental health/crafts, and various other things)

             3) Continue working through various e-courses and trying to figure out what it is exactly I want to do with my life.

In terms of my Sagittarius goals:

I did manage to minimize the spending over the month of June—there were only 8 days that I spent money, and for the most part it met two of the three criteria: personal/professional e-courses, and face masks (that supported a wildlife non-profit organization). There were other books that I bought for enjoyment, but for the most part—I stuck with the shopping criteria. The main goal for July will be to have a no-spend month (or at least limit it to one or two days towards the end of the month).

In terms of trying to develop a schedule for the day/week—the only thing that I managed to be consistent with is my workout, and that was usually between 8 and 9:15 in the morning (no later than 10). The rest of the day was usually up in the air—this is something that I’m going to have to get better at, especially if I’m thinking of going into business for myself as a freelance writer/data analyst/photographer. So this is something that I’m still working on over the next few weeks/months.

In terms of working through e-courses, I have managed to finish a couple of small e-courses:

            Productivity strategies for success (on skillshare)

            Writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to a successful writing habit (skillshare)

            Work It Daily: Professional Strength Assessment (course offered by work it daily)

            Project Organization (A to-do list that works) (on SkillShare)

            Discover Your Dream Job: Find Your True Meaning (on SkillSuccess)

Also I’m a little over halfway through with the Data Science Syndicate program through the Cheeky Scientist Association.

I realized earlier this month, that I had been working through various material too quickly and not really stopping and trying to process what I was learning. My mentality was finish “A” to start in on “B” and that way next week I could move on to “C” and “D”—and while that can work if you know which direction you’re going in—I’m still trying to figure that out as well. So I’ve decided that I’m going to slow down a little and actually work through various assignments within the various e-courses and see if that helps me decide on the direction that I want to be going in.

So I probably managed to get about 60% of the goals met during the Sagittarius full moon. In addition to the goals that I will be setting for the Capricorn full moon, I’m also going to be working on my time management. Having better control of my day, and getting more things done will be critical if I’m actually serious about trying to start up a freelance business (writing, photography, data analysis, or something else).

But I also am remembering: Progress over Perfection

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesFull Moon Goalsmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPandemic2020professional developmentReflections