Tag: bigchangescomingin2020

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”.

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July: Month in Review (a few days late). Now there are five months left in 2019.

Well July is officially over, and there are only 151 days left in the year. I’m also about three days late in posting this as well. As I’m writing this I realize that my birthday is in about seven weeks (give or take a day or two), and then I will be looking down my last year of my thirties. I think I’ve been a little better at my goals for July, though there are areas that I still need to focus on (namely reading industry website new articles and scientific articles).

There are only two months left in the third quarter of the year, and while that is scary, depressing, and slightly invigorating—I’ve realized that is just how time goes now—in an instant.

July goals were basically the same goals that I’ve had for the past few months, including the goal of working on my “reboot break” plan.

The goals for July included:

At least 434,000 steps (14k/day)

Continuing with the photography challenge (maybe introduce weekly themes)

Schedule my workouts (cardio alternating with weight training). Decide on a reward system.

Read (or finish) at least 3 non-fiction books

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep a money log)

Be more active on linkedin and in various groups on both linkedin and facebook

Personal and professional development (e-courses, transition plan, and other stuff)

Work on my “reboot break” plan

Read more on various industry websites (FiercePharma, FierceBiotech, BioSpace) and make notes for a weekly recap blog post

Try to read at least one scientific article this month and write a summary for a blog/science post

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps (14k/day)

So I managed to meet and slightly surpass the 434,000-step goal. I managed to get 450,489 steps during the month of July. I was actually thinking that I’d be slightly below my goal step this month, considering how hot it had been for awhile, and the fact that there were several days that I didn’t get all my steps in; in fact there were eleven days that I was below 14,000 (some days just by a few hundred, other days by a few thousand). But this also means that I’m on track for my yearly step goal as well. So far of the year I’ve managed to get 3,154,283 steps. That means I’m well on the way of reaching the end of the year goal of 5 million steps hopefully (as long as I don’t sit on my rear too much on the weekends and I try to ensure that I reach at least 14K Monday-Friday).

Continuing with the photography challenge (maybe introduce weekly themes)

I’ve managed to keep with the photography challenge, and I’ve introduced a theme once or twice during the month. Currently I’m doing more wildlife/nature so I’ve realized that I’m going to have repetition on themes/images. Though I am trying not to post the same type (for example if I post on a particular bird more than once—I’ll try to have it flying and then hopefully sitting in a tree) more than once or twice (max). Currently with the weather, it’s too warm at lunch to take a walk and try my hand at doing architecture photography on campus (this is a maybe for the fall once the temperatures cool down a little).

Schedule my workouts (cardio alternating with weight training). Decide on a reward system.

I’ve managed to do one or two workouts this month (that weren’t just walking around campus getting my steps in). Part of my problem, is that I try to do them at the end of the day (since I’m not a morning person, and I barely give myself enough time as it is to get out of the house for work)—and I’m usually hot, tired, and sweaty. I also don’t want to be putting shoes and socks back on either (I go to work, and then come home in sandals).

So this is something I’m still working on—I have all the programs at my fingertips; I just need to push myself to do it every day.

Read (or finish) at least 3 non-fiction books

I’ve managed to finish the following:

            “Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and organize to make more room for happiness” by Gretchen Rubin

            “Pause: Harness the life-changing power of giving yourself a break” by Rachael O’Meara

Both of the books had to do with areas that I’m wanting to focus on in the coming months: paring down on my stuff, declutter and getting rid of things. This is because I’m going to be moving somewhere next year, and I don’t want to end up in a small apartment surrounded by a whole bunch of stuff that I may never use or wear.

The second book has to deal with my “reboot break” as this author gave the time period a different name—a pause. So it has some other questions/exercises that I need to also start working through.

I’ve realized that is one thing I do—I will read a personal/professional development book all the way through and then go back and answer the questions and do the exercises. This is mainly due to when and/or where I’m reading at the time.

In terms of my reading challenge (at least 100 personal and/or professional development books) for the 101 challenges in 1001 days: For 2019 I’ve read 17 books so far (which is roughly 2 ½ books a month). In 2018 I read 20 books off the list. The list initially started with about 70-80 books, and has ballooned out to so far 283 books in total. So in total I’ve read 37/283 (or about 13% of the list).

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep a money log)

I’ve been able to go a little over a week without spending any money on campus this month. This was due in part to the weather—when it’s in the triple digits, I didn’t feel like heading to the student union to get chocolate (especially since it was going to be semi-melted by the time I got back to the office). Since I’m aiming to do my reboot break/pause at the end of the year—I’m going to be trying to avoid going to the union for candy, but if I do—it will go on the debit card instead of the credit card.

Be more active on linkedin and in various groups on both linkedin and facebook

I’ve been a little more active on linkedin and some of the groups on facebook. I’ve posted my plans for doing my reboot break, and got good/positive feedback. I know that I need to be more active, and will be working on this over the next few months.

Personal and professional development (e-courses, transition plan, and other stuff)

I haven’t worked on any of the e-courses, but looking back at my transition plan I’ve realized that the big problem is that I have never named a company (or companies) that I want to work for—all I stated was that I would be a research scientist in a company by 2021. I’ve also realized that I did the same thing with my 101 goals—I state the job title (more or less) and that it would be in industry—not naming a company though. So this is something I need to work on—determining where I want to end up.

Work on my “reboot break” plan

So I’ve been working on my reboot break—it will start at the latest right around Thanksgiving (or it could start a month or two earlier—depends on when I give my two months notice). I’ve more or less planned out the first two or three weeks (mainly getting my storage unit in order and start getting rid of things) of the break. I have some ideas on how to blend travel for both mental health and networking, but I need to flesh them out and then start looking at the financial side of things.

Read more on various industry websites (FiercePharma, FierceBiotech, BioSpace) and make notes for a weekly recap blog post

I’ve looked at different articles, but I didn’t take any notes for a weekly recap blog post. It isn’t that I’m not finding the articles interesting, but when I try to skim through an article when I have a small window of say five minutes between doing things—I don’t necessarily write anything down on them. So, this is still an area that I need to work on—building my business acumen.

Try to read at least one scientific article this month and write a summary for a blog/science post

Again, this is something that I didn’t really do fully—I’ve read the abstract or title of numerous articles (I get a weekly emails from several journals), but I haven’t clicked on the link(s) to actually read the article in full.  Again, this is something that I need to work on—getting back in the routine of reading scientific articles.

So, other than the scientific/business readings I was able to more or less meet my goals (or at least 2/3 of a goal). I think with deciding to take a reboot break, I’ve cut down on some of my stress (probably about a third of it), and since I know where other stress is coming from, once I figure out a good coping mechanism (that doesn’t involve chocolate) I will be in a much more better place mentally.

Therefore, it is time to look towards the rest of the month of August and determine what I am going to focus on, therefore:

Goals for August will include:

At least 434,000 steps

Continuing with the photography challenge

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

Working on my “reboot break”

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keeping a money log)

Get back into a workout schedule (either a full program or a hybrid program between two different programs).

Work on creating more content for the blog (and potentially posts for linkedin).

Work on getting in a routine of reading business & scientific articles.

Basically, sticking with my motto: Progress over perfection. Everything takes time, but you have to be willing to put the time in–I know I haven’t put the time in for certain things (reading business/scientific articles is at the top of the list)–but I’ve acknowledge where I need to start making changes. That’s the first step in the right direction: acknowledging shortfalls and then working on a plan to correct them. So that is growth for the month.

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