Tag: Books

Bumps in the road: Review of Capricorn Full Moon Goals

I meant to post this yesterday, but was feeling a little under the weather due to a sinus/tension headache so I’m posting it this morning.

We’re heading into the next full moon either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you live in the world). For me–the full moon is tonight, so those goals will be posted no later than tomorrow morning.

But before I can look ahead to the Aquarius full moon, I need to look back at the goals I set for the capricorn full moon and reflect on how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Capricorn full moon included:

  1. Continuing to lift weights (following the schedule for LIIFT4 but listening to music instead of streaming the program).
  2. Work on creating a new long-term goal list; with the goal being having a rough outline (or list) of the major goals for different areas of life (such as health/fitness, finance, career, personal/professional development, spirituality, hobbies, and living space).
  3. Continue on my ‘personal/professional development’ journey by starting (and finishing) the following:
    • Writing my semi technical document: ‘Troubleshooting Tips for Molecular Cloning’
    • Reading: ‘Why You’re Stuck’ by Derek Doepker; ‘More of Less’ by Josh Becker, and ‘Master Your Core’ by Dr. Bohdanna Zazulak
    • Starting at least one copywriting course

As I was reflecting on my progress last night, I realized that my third goal was ‘open-ended’ in that I probably wasn’t going to get all three things accomplished before the start of the Aquarius full moon. The other two should be mostly finished by the time the Aquarius full moon rolls around tonight.

So how did I do with them?

In terms of the fitness goal (lifting weights following the LIIFT4 schedule), I had to take a short break since I semi sprained my right wrist two weeks ago. I had been doing some yard work, and tried to clip a thick branch that was actually too thick for the pruners and ended up putting a little too much pressure on my wrist. It is almost back to normal, so I’m going to start lifting weights again next week (possibly going a little lighter, but we’ll see). If I hadn’t sprained my wrist, I would have finished up LIIFT4 today and be starting Morning Meltdown 100 on Monday–but I’m two weeks behind schedule.

In terms of the new long-term goal list, it is slowly in production. I’ve realized that when it comes to trying to develop these ‘long-term’ lists I usually end up either making them too general–in that I never actually put in a ‘city’ for where I picture myself living or a ‘company’ in terms of where I see myself working. This has also been a slight problem with my career transition/change–I never specify any particular place/company, I always say in ‘X years I will be a manager in Y field’, but never adding in at ‘Z company in W town’. So this is something I need to work on fixing in terms of setting the goals.

I am currently leaning more towards the Midwest only because it is slightly lower cost of living compared to the coasts. If I go freelance/remote/contract, I should be able to live in the Midwest, and possibly travel to the coasts every so often for meetings with clients, but shouldn’t have to move there.

The personal/professional development projects are slow going. I’ve realized that I was setting an unrealistic deadline for the technical document. While it covers a topic that I’ve spent a good chunk of my professional career doing, I realized that I should also look for actual references instead of just going with my own personal opinion. The first item now is to draft an outline (which I already more or less have), and start looking for references for each section (hopefully). I had set a deadline of end of July for ‘publication’ of the document—but now it is going to be pushed back to possibly mid-October.

I’m slowly reading through the books—this past month has been more on the fiction side of things than the non-fiction, but that is the usual cycle I go through every few months. The goal is to have the three books done by mid-September.

Working through different copywriting courses is going even slower than the non-fiction writing. The main reason—one course can only be viewed on Google Chrome, while the others it doesn’t matter. Silly reason, but I usually just use a single web browser during the day, and it currently isn’t Google Chrome (plus it keeps telling me that updates are no longer available until I update my computer).

So, basically I semi met at least one of the three goals (weight-lifting) this past moon cycle. I realize what my problem is—proper time and project management. While there is enough time in the day to do what I need, since I don’t ‘schedule’ the time for various tasks, it always seems time gets away from me. In addition, I still ‘bite off more that I can chew’ in terms of to-do lists and outlines. I try to cram everything in at once instead of spreading things out. The combination of both leads to semi-burnout and a cycle of me not doing anything for a while as I ‘recover’. There are soon to be only five months left in the year—and this is something that I really need to work on ‘fixing’ as I head towards 2022 and the career transition to freelance/remote/contract writer/data analyst.

Mild progress has been made over the past month, though I now need to remind myself good is good enough and I don’t always need to aim for super or perfect.

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Proud to be a geek: ‘Celebrate your geekness day’

Today is ‘celebrate your geekness’ day, a day that was created by Wellcats Holidasy as a day about being proud of what you do, who you are, and what you’re ‘obsessed’ with. I will freely admit that I’ve always been a ‘geek’, and I’ve been proud of being a geek. While I may seem ‘quiet’ and slightly ‘unsociable’, it is more of the fact that I’m wondering what I can add to the conversation. Depending on the topic, I may either be more of an active listener or an active participant. While I am a ‘geek’ on various subjects, I also admit that some areas I’m reconnecting to, so I may not be that big of a ‘geek’ in terms of random knowledge.

I like these five reasons from ‘a big think edge’ blog post back in 2018 on why one should embrace thier inner geek:

  1. The term communicates that you are intelligent
  2. You may be more socially competent and mature than the ‘cool kids’
  3. As a geek, you are viewed in a increasingly positive way
  4. You are technically savvy and an early adopter of new technologies
  5. Geeks bring different perspectives and knowledge to the conversation

I agree with all of them, with the exception of number four–I really don’t care for updating/upgrading my electronics and such unless I either absolutely have to, or the update/upgrade has something really going for it.

So what are things that I consider myself a ‘geek’ about?

Hobbies such as:

Birds (and bird watching)

Photography

Reading (fiction, especially romance)

Knitting and other crafts

Being outdoors, gardening and nature

Learning, especially on topics related to:

Science

History

Geography

Archaeology

Anthropology

Paleontology

My pets

What am I currently learning or teaching myself?

Python coding, cross-stitching, jewelry making, and brushing up on subjects such as intellectual protperty and clinical trials.

What are my end goals?

Continuous learning, finding harmony between ‘work’ and ‘everything else’, and bridging the communication gap beteen the scientific community and the general public.

What is one scientific topic that you wished was communicated better?

No Comments bird watchingBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthHistoryLifestyle ChallengesnatureNature Preservesoracle cardsoutdoorsPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRandom Celebration DaysReflectionsSciencespiritualitytravel

Reflecting on June’s goals. Now on to the third quarter and second half of 2021

So, the year is officially halfway over–there are only 184 days left in 2021. It seems like yesterday it was December 2020 and March 2021 all wrapped up in one. While there are vaccines rolling out to deal with the SARS-CoV2 virus, the virus is also mutating at a good rate–so I will probably still be self-isolating through the summer and into the fall (especially until I hear how the J&J vaccine does against the delta variant). There is yet another variant of the virus that is starting to become the more dominant one (delta), and we’re finding out that even if you have had the vaccine–you could still contract the virus (and still possibly die from it as well). It will be interesting to see what type of numbers/spike in cases we’re going to have moving towards fall.

I’m truthfully trying to stay away from the news right now for the most part (I’m getting really tired of all the irritating/disturbing news in the world), and I’m fully aware that by doing so, I’m exercising my ‘white privilege’. Since we’ve managed to vaccine a decent percentage of the US population, we’re not seeing an overwhelming number of new cases each month. We’re still seeing new cases, but the numbers are on the low side. When I published ‘May in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 34.1 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 34.5 million cases (an increase of less than half a million new cases). I’m worried though that the numbers are going to start going up again, since it is summer, there is a new variant becoming dominant, and those who are un-vaccinated may still refuse to get their shots. Also, I’m going to be listening to the World Health Organization–they’re telling people that even if you’re fully vaccinated you should still be wearing a mask, especially with the delta variant gaining ground.

So before looking ahead to July (the start of the third quarter, and the second half of the year; plus a new set of goals and plans), I should also look at the goals I set for June and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for June included:

At least 130-150,000 steps

Continue with LIIFT4

Read at least one non-fiction book and post the review

Read at least two fiction books and hopefully post the reviews

Start (and hopefully finish) the Intellectual Property Pack course, and work on the writing/editing assignments for the MWO

No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month–honor the limited spending challenge

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Start (and hopefully finish) at least one other e-course

Craft time

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps: I managed to meet the minimum step goal (130,000 steps), and was just under the 150,000 goal for the month. My final number of steps for June were 149,009. Since we’re in summer–the temperatures hit the 90s with high humidity (which put the heat index in the low 100s), so I only managed a single full walk, plus a partial walk up at Boomer Lake this month. I’m going to have to figure out ways of getting the steps in around the house since the weather doesn’t look to be cooperating with me this summer.

Continue LIIFT4: I have been continuing with LIIFT4, though I decided to follow the lifting schedule on my own. Instead of trying to stream the workouts each morning, I simply put on some upbeat music and lift weights. I may not be doing the exercises in the ‘correct’ order–but it’s my order and the workout gets done.

Read at least one non-fiction book and post the review: I have managed to actually finish three books this month, and reviews have been posted on the blog for the first two (I’m currently working on the third book review). The three books that I’ve read were:

‘The Financial Diet’ by Chelsea Fagan

’25 Ways to Work from Home’ by Jen Ruiz

‘Write to Speak’ by Mike Acker

Read at least two fiction books and post reviews: I’ve managed to read three fiction books, but have only gotten a review written over the first one (the other two are on my to-do list). The books that I read were:

‘My Rebound’ (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan

‘How Much I Love’ (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force

‘As We Are’ (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa

Start (and hopefully finish) the Intellectual Property Pack course, and work on the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization:

I managed to start and finish the Intellectual Property Pack program offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association. While I found the course interesting (and didn’t realize that there are people who deal with trademarks and copyrights daily), I’m not sure if it is a path I’m going to be pursuing. While I will be talking more about this in another post, the basic reason for me being leery of the field–is the standardized test you have to take to become an accredited patent agent.

I’m slowly working through the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization. I decided to start with the editing assignments first, and I’m currently ~two-thirds of the way done with that assignment. I may go back and rework one of my answers though. I’m hoping to finish the assignments (and course) during the third quarter of the year.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month–honor the limited spending challenge

I was able to basically honor the limited spending challenge this month. I did a single large purchase from amazon mid-month for books that will hopefully be serving as reference books for a story idea. While I did purchase a few e-books throughout the month, it hasn’t been to the same extent that I did during March, April, or May.

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly:

The amount of time spent outdoors this past month depended heavily on the weather. We had really hot and humid weather at the beginning of the month, and then really wet and rainy weather towards the end of the month.

I only missed one meditation night earlier in the month, and I learned that even sitting for a minute or two focusing on my breath at night does help me sleep better. When I decide not to do that exercise–my sleep suffers and I have a harder time staying asleep throughout the night.

Start (and hopefully finish) at least one other e-course

In addition to going through the Intellectual Property Pack program, I also watched a short e-course via skillshare on punctuation. This is one that I may go back and re-watch every so often just as a refresher. While I’m fairly good at understanding and using most punctuation marks–the comma and semi-colon are ones that I’m probably misusing from time to time.

Craft time:

So I’ve been trying to slowly move away from my go-to ‘craft time projects’ of doing the color-by number app on my Kindle. Therefore I’m slowly working other crafts into my day. I have semi-doodle an cross-stitch pattern, but have also decided that the my ‘first real trial piece’ is going to be a mixture of geometric designs and trying to see how may colors I can use. I have some ideas for necklaces and bracelets–I just haven’t gotten around to actually creating them yet.

I would say that I managed to reach about eighty percent of my goals for June. With the way the weather is going–I may be falling back on my old ‘step making’ method of putting on a movie and marching in place/circles and getting the steps that way. I realize that finding the dedicated time for crafts and the more computer intensive work will require me actually setting aside time in the day to focus on those items (goals for the third quarter).

As we move into the third quarter and second half of 2021, I’m going to be slowly focusing a little more on how to create that ‘new career’ that will hopefully be a mix of freelance/remote/contract/online/consulting and blogging/photography/writing/crafts–in other words trying to find that harmony between personal and professional interests.

Therefore the domain (web address) of the site may change (I have two ideas bouncing around in my head and might put them up for a vote on LinkedIn and/or Facebook) at some point this month. The content won’t change that much–there will be additional pages added, and possibly a few more science/humanities related blog posts but that currently will be the extent of the ‘changes’ at least for 2021.

Therefore my goals for July 2021 will include:

135-155,000 steps, since we’re entering the ‘dog days of summer’ and the fact that it may be too hot for weekly walks, I will be figuring out an alternative method for reaching daily step goals.

Finishing LIIFT4 and starting my second round of Morning Meltdown 100

Read one to two non-fiction books (and write small reviews)

Read two to three fiction books (and write small reviews)

Finish up the editing assignments (and start the writing assignments) for MWO, and watch the first few videos in module one of the Regulatory Affairs Council program

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries in the journal

Craft time (start the cross-stitch project and possibly create at least one necklace)

Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two to three days a week)

These goals are more or less the same as last month, but again–that is how they become habit, you keep doing them until you no longer really think about them, and then you can go to ‘new goals/habits’ and keep repeating those and so on.

These are in addition to other goals that I’m going to be developing to help push that ‘new career’ forward. I will share those later when I do an update on how my second 12-week year is going. These goals help me focus on my health (physical and mental), that I have the had habit of not looking after when I get laser-focused on something else. So, until I make these habits stick (so that no matter how laser-focused I am on something else, I keep doing them)–I will be repeating them in some variation over and over again until they’re habit.

The first half of 2021 is over, and it has helped me slowly start laying the foundation for creating an ‘online’ career and presence. Moving forward, I now need to figure out how to slowly start ‘standing out’ in that crowd, but at the same time stay multi-facet (so I don’t lose interest and get bored).

2021–will be the year of growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

Random question: What are some of your favorite business podcasts to listen to??

No Comments BooksCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reviewing my first attempt at a 12-week year

So I realized that I haven’t posted much this week and that is due in part to it being the end of the second quarter and I’m deep in the reflection zone–looking back at what I had hoped to get accomplished over the past three months and then what I had actually managed to get accomplished.

With today marking the last day of June, the second quarter, and the first half of 2021–I decided that I would reflect on my first actual attempt of a ’12-week year’. If you’ve never heard of a ’12-week year’, I highly recommend reading the book: ‘The 12 Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain P. Moran and Michael Lennington.

I actually read ‘The 12 Week Year’, last year prior to the world going into lock down due to the pandemic (click on the link and it will take you to my mini-review and reflection post from last year). Over the past year and a half, I’ve tried to plan a ’12-week year’ but have always fallen short of the goal. My problem: putting too many items on the calendar or plate, and not having a good breakdown of weekly or monthly goals.

Therefore, this year I decided to merge that idea with an suggestion from another book. The other book is ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–a creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine, and her suggestion was creating focal points to focus on for whatever set period of time you wanted.

I then created a ‘central’ focal point of crafting a ‘new career’ that would be focused on freelance/remote/contract/online/consulting/blogging work allowing me to have flexibility in creating my own schedule and would also be semi-location independent.

From there I created four other focal points that would help me start ‘crafting’ that career and they were/are:

Professional Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Networking
  3. Brand Development and Management
  4. Digital Marketing
  5. Graphic Design
  6. Writing

Personal Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Physical space (developing my own definition/style of minimalism)
  3. Financial health (savings, budgeting, investing, retirement, multiple streams of income)

Health (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Mental health (focusing on emotional and spiritual health)
  2. Physical health (getting into the best shape of my life)

Hobbies (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Photography
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Crafts
    • Knitting
    • Cross-stitching
    • Jewelry design/creation
    • Painting
    • Crochet

So while these focal points all seem a little ‘weird’ and you may be wondering how they work together–they’re the four points I’d decided on earlier when I was figuring out what I needed to focus on to work my way out of my ‘burnout’ hole/pit/slump. I realized that I couldn’t just focus on personal/professional development without also focusing on my health and hobbies. They all need to be listed as a reminder, not to hyper-focus in one direction (when I do that–everything else tends to suffer).

It is suggested within ‘Renaissance Soul’ that you only have four to five focal points, and then no more than four or five goals for each focal point. I’m still working on the ‘makers’ for the central focal point, but for the other four I drafted four to five goals for each that I had hoped to get accomplished during the second quarter.

Those goals included:

Within professional development:

  1. Finishing the CSA courses: Medical Writers Organization and Clinical Research Coalition
  2. Starting to learn python programming
  3. Continuing to read and share science news articles on LinkedIn and Twitter
  4. Continuing to add value and network on LinkedIn
  5. Starting (and hopefully finishing) another CSA advance course

Within personal development:

  1. Continue refreshing my Spanish with the Mondly app
  2. Read two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through various personal finance courses
  4. Develop my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start looking into second income stream ideas

Within health:

  1. Finish the following programs: CIZE, 21-Day Fix Live, 21-Day Fix Extreme Live and then start third round of LIIFT4
  2. Daily meditation
  3. Oracle card drawings (weekly, but hopefully daily)
  4. Cook Monday & Tuesday dinners–new recipes hopefully monthly

Within hobbies:

  1. At least one walk a week at Boomer Lake with my camera (photography)
  2. Read two fiction books a month
  3. Design at least one bracelet/necklace set
  4. Doodle a cross-stitch design

So how did I do with each area?

Professional development goals:

  1. I completed the Clinical Research Coalition program, along with the Intellectual Property Pack program. These are two of the many advanced professional development programs offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association.
  2. I’m still working through the writing and editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program. I’m hoping to have those finished sometime during the third quarter of the year.
  3. There may have been a couple of days scattered throughout the quarter that I didn’t share articles on LinkedIn or Twitter–but I try to share at least one article a week (preferably an article a day). I’ve been doing better at this, since I created a separate tracking sheet for this goal.
  4. I’ve been slow in networking lately, as I’m trying to semi-narrow my broad ‘career’ area. Therefore I may only send a connection request once a week, and may also only accept an connection request every few days. I have been also trying to be better at commenting on other people’s posts as well.
  5. I haven’t started learning python, even though I’ve bought several e-courses on the subject. I even have a ‘new’ laptop set aside for this very task–I just need to download python (and possibly one or two other apps), and set aside at least 30 minutes a day to ‘learning’ the program and language.

I would say that I managed to accomplish three and a half out of the five goals–giving me a score of roughly seventy percent.

In terms of personal development:

  1. I haven’t been keeping up with refreshing my Spanish, even though I had been doing a decent job of it at the beginning of the year.
  2. I have been reading non-fiction books, and it probably averages out to one and a half to two books a month, and the books read were:
    • ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking
    • ‘Permission to Screw Up: How I learned to lead by doing (almost) everything wrong’ by Kristen Hadeed
    • ’25 ways to work from home’ by Jen Ruiz
    • ‘Write to Speak’ by Mike Acker
    • ‘The Financial Diet’ by Chelsea Fagan
  3. I’m still slowly developing my ‘vision’ of minimalism. I know some of the area that I wan to minimize: clothing, DVDs/Cds, and knick-knacks. I also know that since I’m a learner at heart and a bookworm–I’m always going to have a large number of books around me. Since I’m also a crafter–I’m also going to have a good number of craft supplies around me as well. As long as I can balance things out-to where I won’t feel like I’m living in an overly cluttered hole, I’ll be happy. By limiting the items around em, and trying to keep things organized and ‘clean’–I’m also finding it helps alleviate my anxiety and depression as well.
  4. I haven’t worked through any of the personal finance courses that I’ve bought over the years yet.
  5. In terms of looking into the second income stream idea–I think I should have ‘rewritten’ it as looking into both first and second income ideas. I know that there are numerous ways of earning extra cash, and I had been doing a few of them: filling out surveys and selling used DVDs–I just haven’t done either of them lately (due in part to the pandemic).

I would say that I managed to hit about a fifty-five percent on personal development goals. Two were close to zero, but other three had at least some ‘footwork’ done on each of them.

For the health goals:

  1. I did finish my first round of CIZE, but only made it through a week of 21-Day fix live before deciding to concentrate more on intentional movements before starting up my third round of LIIFT4. While I’ve done 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix extreme before, this would have been the first time doing the ‘live’ versions. While I like the program–the reason why I called it ‘quits’ before finishing is that I’m trying to improve my relationship with food, and quit the whole diet/counting calories/macros/restricting food mindset. That type of nutritional advice is given a lot through both programs. So until I’m on a better footing with my relationship to food, I’m going to avoid workout programs that also focus heavily on the diet mindset.
  2. I have managed to do evening meditations for the most part. I may only be focus on my breathing for a minute or two–but those two minutes are essential for being able to have a good night sleep.
  3. I’ve been doing evening oracle card drawings, even if I haven’t been sharing them on social media or even writing about them in the journal. That is something I’m aiming at changing–both starting to share more (maybe an 100-day challenge), and journaling about them (possibly weekly blog posts?).
  4. In terms of cooking dinner twice a week–I’ve been doing this, though there may be a night or two where it was decided we’d have leftovers, or grill (which I don’t do), or whatever. But for the most part, I have found several new recipes that are now in the rotation for Monday and Tuesday night suppers. I’m also going to be looking for more ‘summer’ dinner recipes as well–different salads, and so forth.

I would say that I met seventy-five to eighty percent of my health goals for the second quarter. Each one was met at least partially(since there were a few days that I may have missed my meditation time or oracle card drawings).

In terms of my hobbies:

  1. I think I only made it maybe once or twice a month up to Boomer Lake with my camera. The weather was partially to blame–it has either been rainy and/or overcast, or the temperatures and heat index have been a little too high for my liking for walks. I also haven’t been getting up as early in the mornings as I use to in order to be able to get to the lake to watch the sun rise.
  2. I have managed to read quite a few fiction books over the past three months and they include the following:
    • My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
    • Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
    • My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
    • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
    • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
    • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #33) by Becca Van
    • My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
    • As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. While I have several ideas for necklace/bracelet sets, I haven’t actually gotten around to creating any of them.
  4. I have semi-doodle or drawn a cross-stitch pattern. I’m also thinking that my first ‘real practice’ piece is going to be seeing how many geometrical shapes I can fit on it, and if I can use every single color of thread at least once.

I would say that I managed to to meet about half my goals in terms of hobbies, the only one that I totally didn’t get close to was the jewelry design/creation. I managed to get at least a monthly walk in at Boomer, slowly attempting to teach myself cross-stitch, and reading (at least fiction) has never been a problem.

So I ranged from about fifty to seventy-five/eighty percent on my goals for the second quarter, and if I added them all u–over all I probably averaged about sixty percent.

Not great, but not bad for my first ‘official’ trial at a 12-week year. I know the areas that I need to focus more on (mainly the computer intensive goals). These will simply require setting aside actual time in the day dedicated to those specific tasks. I won’t try to do each one daily, but will aim for at least two-to-three times a week for each and slowly work up to daily work on each of them.

I knew that my first trial wasn’t going to be perfect–but that wasn’t my goal: my goal was progress, seeing if I could stretch my comfort zone a little more each month and branch out in different areas.

I managed to do that in terms of professional development, learning some of the basics of both clinical research and intellectual property. I think it would be interesting doing data analysis for clinical research (but I wouldn’t want to be the person overseeing numerous clinical sites), and I will be looking in to different aspects of intellectual property (mainly copyrights and trademarks), as I don’t see myself trying to climb the ladder on the patent side of things.

While reading has never been a problem–it is more of ensuring that I’m in the ‘proper’ mindset for reading non-fiction, as it tends not be quite the ‘story’ that fiction books are, and I at times lose interest fast.

I’m developing my own sense of health/fitness and will be deciding soon if keeping my Beachbody on demand subscription is worth it or not. I’ve decided that it is time to honor my body and what it is actually capable of doing–that means substituting in exercises for the different lunges, working on trying to do a normal pushup (and forgetting about tricep pushups), and just shaking my head and sitting out the tricep dips.

Moving into the third quarter of the year, the goals for the four focal points will be semi-similar to the goals set for the second quarter.

Third quarter goals will include:

Professional Development:

  1. Finish up the following CSA programs: Medical Writers Organization and then either Government Careers Union or Regulatory Affairs Council
  2. Finish the following short courses on Udemy:
    • 15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them
    • How to become a freelance editor
    • Kickstart a freelance editor and proofreader career on Upwork
    • How to be a journalist
  3. Start learning python coding by working through the following courses:
    • Data Science for beignners: Hand on Python (on Udemy)
    • Complete Python course (on StackSkills)
  4. Continue reading and sharing science news on LinkedIn and Twitter
  5. Continue adding value and networking on Linkedin

Bonus Professional Development activities:

  1. Write and publish: ‘Trouble-shooting tips for Molecular Cloning’
  2. Write and publish: ‘Polymerases: why the native ‘reverse transcriptase’ isn’t a problem for the SARS-CoV2 mRNA vaccine’ (Title may change)
  3. Work through the copywriting e-course: Write Your Way to Freedom

Personal Development Goals:

  1. Set aside 30-45 minutes (two to three days a week) for refreshing Spanish
  2. Read one to two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through the following e-courses:
    • The complete personal finance course (on Udemy)
    • Reinvent your career (on Udemy)
    • How to work for yourself (on Udemy)
    • Freelance writing 101: build a successful writing career (on SkillShare)
    • Content marketing: blogging for growth (on SkillShare)
    • Writing and blogging with passion: create a flexible editorial plan and calendar (on SkillShare)
  4. Continue developing my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start trying to ‘draft’ first/second and possibly third stream of income ideas (more tied to professional)

Health goals:

  1. Finish LIIFT4 (basically around the 23rd) and then start Morning Meltdown 100 (will go from 7/26/21 to 11/2/21)
  2. Daily meditation and oracle card reading/drawings
  3. Work through the following courses:
    • Mindfulness for Anxiety (on Udemy)
    • Learn Tarot in a Day (on Udemy)
    • Explicit Tarot: Learn Tarot Card Reading through Story Telling (on Udemy)
  4. Start a daily gratitude entry in the journal
  5. New recipes at least once a week/month

Hobby Goals:

  1. At least one walk a month at Boomer Lake, and maybe start trying food photography as well
  2. Work through the following courses:
    • Food Photography (on StackSkills)
    • How to create an engaging food post (on SkillShare)
    • How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners (on SkillShare)
  3. Read at least two to three fiction books a month
  4. Continue to doodle/draw/sketch cross-stitch patterns and create the geometric/multi-colored ‘trial’ piece
  5. Design/create necklace and/or bracelets–individually or as sets.

You might have noticed that I have quite a few e-courses down for the third quarter compared to second. We’re entering the ‘dog days of summer’–where it will either be too hot, too humid, or both in terms of being outdoors for extended periods of time. Therefore, I’m planning those days now–instead of wondering what to do when I reach them.

I still need to break these goals down into monthly and then weekly goals (in addition to other goals I’ll have for each week). My main goal for the third quarter is to meet at least seventy-five to eighty percent of each set of goals, with an overall percentage foal of eighty percent (meaning by the end of September I’ve accomplished at least four out of the five goals).

Have you done a 12-week year before? If you have–how long have you been doing them? And what is your running average of goal completion?

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Recognizing my inner critic/imposter syndrome: February in Review

So we’ve made it through the first two months of 2021–we’re a sixth of the way through the year. I also have a feeling that while 2021 won’t be the total ‘WTF’ year that 2020 was, it will possibly be close.

I mean in January, we saw a bunch of supports of the orange blob storm the capital and try to stop the finalization of the election vote. We also saw the orange blog getting impeached for the second time in two years, plus the inauguration of a new president and vice-president.

This past month saw the senate trial–where only six republican senators chose country over party, so the orange blob was acquitted (for the second time). Hopefully various states will be able to throw the books at him and his family and they’ll be carted away to prison. February also saw a polar vortex push down into the US, and then several winter storms blow across the country.

We go somewhere between 8 and 12 inches (or more depending on what part of the state you are in) of snow in three days (which for Oklahoma is a lot–especially since majority of teh drivers in the state have no idea how to drive in winter weather). Luckily all the snow has melted and we’re back to the ‘normal’ winter temperatures and weather.

I figured out that for the vaccine against the SARS-CoV2 virus, I’m in the last group–so basically the ‘general’ public (phase 1-3 are for essential workers, teachers, and others). Therefore, I’m hoping that by late summer/early fall I will be able to get my first shot and then hopefully no later than October get the second shot. It is looking like this virus is going to be sticking around now, and one problem that has been pointed out–in terms of the vaccine roll out (distribution), there are possibly 100 countries that haven’t gotten any yet for their citizens. Unless we’re able to vaccinate basically everyone on the planet–if the virus continues to mutate (and it will since it is an RNA virus), it could mutate enough to where the current vaccines are of no use, and we’re back to another global shutdown.

Luckily, with a new administration that actually listens to science we’re slowly getting the virus under control here in the US. When I published ‘January in Review’, I noted that the total number of cases in the US was a little over 26.7 million, and now we’re at a little over 29.2 million (so basically an increase of 2.5 million cases in a month–which is still a lot, but not nearly as many as we saw for January or December). I’m hoping it’s because people are getting the vaccine and listening to the experts and isn’t due to a downturn in testing.

So as I look to March (with the hopes that it will be a little more mellow than the previous two months), I also need to reflect on the goals I set for February and how I did with each of them.

The goals for February 2021 included:

At least 120-140,000 steps

Finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and start Barre Blend

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list

Read 3 fiction books

Finish up the MWO (need to do the writing & editing assignments, plus module 6), and then hopefully finish either the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council program

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (with hopefully trying something new at least once a week)

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 120-140,000 steps; I managed to meet and slightly surpass my step goal for hte month. The total number of steps for February were 146,418 steps. I managed to get in the steps without that many walks (I think I did two or three short walks during the month; onne was with Chaos, and I think the other one or two were up to the corner convenience store to buy the weekend paper).

Finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and start Barre Blend; I finished up Muscle Burns Fat Advance on February 7th, and started Barre Blend the next day. While Muscle Burns Fat Advance wasn’t a total favorite, I will probably be repeating the program (along with Muscle Burns Fat) sometime in either 2022 or 2023.

I’ve made it through the first three weeks of Barre Blend (which is two weeks further than I made it last year), and will be finishing up the program in early April (sometime between the 2nd and the 4th). Currently I’d trudging through the program–it isn’t a favorite by a long shot, and truthfully I’m not sure if I’m going to be doing it a second time or not. Though I usually say that about any new program that I’m doing and didn’t fall in love with right away. I will be posting a review of the program when I finish it in early April, and may possibly do another round in 2023.

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from my 2021 to-be read list

I finished the following books this month:

Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less by Tonya Dalton

I still need to write book reviews for these two (plus the two I read back in January), and hopefully post them by mid-March. I’ve realized that one problem I have in trying to write the reviews is that sometimes I don’t highlight anything as I’m reading–so I at times have to literally skim the book again to get something to write on. Otherwise my review would go something like this:

Great book. There was quite a bit of helpful information that I will slowly be trying to incorporate into my day-to-day life. I give this book ‘X’ out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

That short of a review would be fine for Amazon where I purchased the book-but ont on the blog. For the blog I’m aiming for at least 500-700 words, and for it to also be something taht I could possibly share on Linkedin as well.

Read 3 fiction books

I managed to read quite a few fiction books in February–but only posted one review so far.

The books that I read included:

Call You Mine (Baker Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga

Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23) by Marie Force (this is the only one that I also managed to get a review posted on as well).

Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale

I also re-read the first nine books in the Alder series as well. I also binge read the following two series by Avery Gale (characters were mentioned throughout the Alder series): The ShadowDance Club and Masters of the Prairie Winds Club. These three series by Avery Gale are definitely for adults, and not those who like the typical romance series.

Finish up the MWO and possibly the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council programs

Actually I don’t think that I did any e-course work, with the exception of watching a couple more videos in the first module of the Regulatory Affairs council program.

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

It was a limited spending month–though I did splurge on books this month. In addition I decided to try to order what I needed to finish up creating my own Wiccan/pagan altar (and I’m also done with that). While it was a ‘limited’ spending month–I know I can do better at controlling my splurges.

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Well it was rather chilly and cold (not to mention snowy) this month. Therefore most of the time outdoors was brief in the evenings with the dogs. There was one afternoon walk with Chaos through the neighborhood (the one day it got into the 60s). I think i have my evening meditation routine down now–I turn off the fans, light some candles, and turn off the lights. I’m getting better at trying to meditate by candlelight, and if I can’t seem to quiet my mind–I will stare at the flames and work on my breathing for awhile.

Daily craft time

Well I did ‘crafts’ daily–if you count doing color-by-number as a ‘craft’. I’ve found the app to be quite addictive and fun to do, and usually end up coloring at least two or more pictures a day. I did start teaching myself cross-stitching and am working on my ‘test’ piece (where I try to see what will work and what will need work).

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

Nope–the only part of an e-courses that I managed to get done was watching another two ro three videos from the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program.

So this month did bring about a large ‘aha’ moment–I realized that I’ve been letting my inner critic/imposter syndrome reel me back into my comfort zone on an almost daily basisi. For whatever reason, when I have productive months (basically meeting all of my goals), the next month or two are not nearly as productive–and I will basically state it was anything and everything other than myself that led to the downturn in productivity.

I actually have a couple of drafts going on that topic (roughly titled: self-reflection and stretching/expanding the comfort zone and recognizing the antics of my inner critic/imposter syndrome) and will hopefully have them posted within the next two weeks.

So while I may have not met all my goals (especially for the e-course work and new crafts), I did have the breakthrough on what is holding me back at times. Now that I have ‘recognized’ at least one set of actions, I can slowly start reworking my ‘reactions’ to where I stay in the stretch zone instead of popping back into the comfort zone (at least until I’ve stretched the comfort zone out).

Heading into March, the goals are basically staying the same (though the number of steps will increase), as they are also helping me step into the ‘stretch zone’ and expand the ‘comfort zone’.

March 2021 goals will include:

A minimum of 135-155,000 steps, the temperatures are starting to warm up, so hopefully I can get at least one or two walks in at Boomer Lake

Finish Barre Blend (should be done within the first four days of April)

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list. Currently I’ve finished 4 out of the 89 books on the list, with the goal being a minimum of 30. Though I still need to write reviews over each of them

Read 3 fiction books. Currently (not counting any re-reads) I’ve managed to read 24 fiction books–with the goal being a minimum of 50. I think I will be surpassing the goal–though I’ve only written one review.

Finish up the MWO (power through the writing & editing assignments), plus finish up the Clinical Research Coalition and Regulatory Affairs Council programs

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

While continuing to remind 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”.

And finally keeping focused on how 2021 will be the year of growth, creativity, and curiosity which will lead to happiness and prosperity.

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Starting the year strong: January 2021 goals reviewed

Well we’ve made it through the first month of 2021. I should have known that 2020 wasn’t going to go out without a fight–I think it stole two and a half weeks or so from 2021. Congress did meet on the 6th to finalize the electoral vote–but not before a bunch of right wing nutbags stormed the capital trying to stop the finalization of the vote. This led to the former orange waffle in office to actually get impeached for the second time (there have only been four presidential impeachments throughout this country’s history and he has half of them). The trial in the senate is scheduled to start early Feb (I think next Tuesday), and here’s hoping that another 12 republican senators find their spine & do their job–country over party.

While we do have a new president and vice-president trying to clean up as much of the mess from the last four years as quickly as possible, I realize that we’re still quite a ways away from a new ‘normal’. While there are two vaccines currently in use for the pandemic (3 more are in the middle of the phase 3 clinical trials), they’re both a two-shot system meaning there is a three-to-four week wait between the shots. I’m hoping that I will be able to get my first vaccine shot late summer or early fall (depending on the supply). Though the WHO has stated that we won’t be seeing global herd immunity this year to the virus, so even if I can get the vaccine this fall–I will probably still be self-isolating (and figuring things out) until probably 2022.

As usual, the US still hasn’t totally gotten the virus under control. When I published ‘December in Review’, I noted that the US was a little under 20.5 million total cases, and now we’re at a little over 26.7 million cases (increase of basically six point two million cases in a month; similar to December’s total–but I think it is due to a downturn in testing). New variants are starting to pop up around the world (which isn’t that surprising since the virus is RNA based, and those have a tendency to mutate quicker than DNA based viruses)–but hopefully the vaccines being developed will still offer a decent level of protection against the new variant strains. Though the CDC just mandated that you have to wear a mask on any form of public transportation (plane, bus, or train), and not doing so would be considered a federal offense–so we might be seeing the ‘top’ of the pandemic mountain in the US (hopefully).

So as I look to February (with the hopes of things starting to mellow out), I should also look back the goals I set for January and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for January included:

At least 135-155,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat and starting Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

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

Read at least 3 fiction books

Finish the MWO and start another advanced Cheeky Scientist Program

No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily Craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 135-155,000 steps–I met my step goal with a total of 159,685 steps. There weren’t any walks at Boomer Lake, mainly due to the chilly temps (and yes I know it’s winter and I can bundle up—just haven’t figured out how to ‘bundle’ up my camera), and I didn’t want to risk breaking my digital camera (by the off chance of moisture getting into it).

Finishing up Muscle burns fat and starting muscle burns fat advance

I finished up Muscle Burns Fat on the 17th of the month, and started muscle burns fat advance the next day. I wrote both a quick blog post and a slightly more in-depth review of Muscle Burns Fat probably a week or so ago. I will be finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance on the 7th of February.

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list

I managed to finish reading the following:

Secrets of Six Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny

Badass Habits: cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero

I should hopefully be posting reviews of both books within the next week or so.

Read at least 3 fiction books

This month has seen me read the following:

The first three books in the Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers series by Claudia Burgoa. The books are:

Loved You Once (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #1)

A Moment Like You (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #2)

Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3)

The last three books in the series will be coming out throughout 2021.

Plus I also read ‘The Ahern Brothers Collection’ also by Claudia Burgoa.

Book reviews, again will be posted within hopefully two to three weeks.

Finishing the MWO and starting another advanced Cheeky Scientist program

While I haven’t totally finished the MWO yet (the writing and editing assignments are taking longer than I originally thought), I have started both the Clinical Research Coalition and the Regulatory Affairs Council advance programs.

One thing I’ve realized is that if I don’t find the topic interesting, it is hard for me to complete the assignment–which is part of the trouble I’m having with the writing and editing assignments for the MWO. I will be blocking out time over the next month to slowly finish the assignments though.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

This was accomplished. While I tried to have no-spending challenges last year, I usually ended up still impulsively buying e-books and/or courses. This year I decided to have a limited spending challenge–things could still be bought, but had to go into one of two categories: needed or splurge. I will be posting this week on how the first month went for the challenge (instead of droning on about it here).

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Since we’re in the middle of winter (though there have been one or two days of ‘nicer temps’–those were really windy days), the time outdoors has been brief. It is mainly at night with the dogs, or when I need to fill up the bird feeders. While I don’t mind winter temps–I have yet to find a hobby that will have me outdoors no matter the temperature.

I have been doing small nightly meditations (usually a minute or two), and sitting quietly throughout the day–not as often as I would like, but it is progress.

Daily craft time

I decided that for January I wasn’t going to be picky in terms of what I did for my daily craft time. For the month it was basically the color-by-number pictures on the kindle. I downloaded an app last fall, and I usually color at least two to five pictures a day (and I have also realized that this is one thing I need to cut back on slightly). I also managed to get a little photography done with the iPhone–but that has been the extent of my photography so far for 2021.

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

I watched three other short ‘e-courses’ off of Skillshare and they were:

Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content

3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog

Finding your inner creative

Mini-reviews for the three courses can be found on the review of December 2020’s Cancer Full Moon Goals.

So I was able to basically meet all my goals for January. Though I need to work on the timing for a few of them. While I enjoy reading (and do it daily), I need to block out time throughout the week to also work on various e-courses. My current method is to look at the calendar, slightly freak out at the date, and then try to see how many e-courses I can get done over say a forty-eight hour period.

Moving forward this year, I’ve realized that I do need to prioritize my health (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) ahead of almost everything else–for the simple reason I usually put myself last in terms of most things. If I’m going to be able to transition to industry (or even start going freelance/remote/independent)–I need to ensure that I’m taking care of myself.

With that thought being at the forefront of all my decisions moving forward I’ve decided that the goals for February will include:

At least 120-140,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and starting Barre Blend

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list (and hopefully post reviews within the same month)

Read 3 fiction books (again, hopefully posting reviews within same month)

Finishing up the MWO (blocking out the time needed to work through the assignments), and finishing either the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council program–bonus if I can complete all three

No Spend days/No spend week/Limited Spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (with trying something new at least once a week)

Finishing at least two other e-courses from list

While continuing to remind 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”.

In addition keeping my five words for 2021 at the front as well: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

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Reflections on last month’s Cancer Full Moon Goals

So tomorrow is going to be the first full moon of 2021. That means that there will only be three days left in January, 232 days until my 41st birthday, and a little over 11 months left in 2021. Also it’s been a wild January, and I’m hoping that once we hit say March (since I know that February is also going to be a little nuts), things start to mellow a little.

But before looking ahead to the next full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Cancer full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Cancer full moon included:

Doing both a nightly tarot/oracle card reading and meditating nightly (even if its only for two or three minutes)

Updating various goal posts (150+goals in 2002 days; Level 10 life)

Develop a fluid schedule/planner

Make the lists of non-fiction books to read in 2021 and e-courses to finish in 2021

Read at least one personal/professional development book

Finish at least one more mini personal/professional development e-course

Renew a professional membership

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of the night tarot/oracle card readings and meditation time–I’ve managed to this nightly. Currently, for January I’ve been using Nature’s Whisper Oracle card deck for my readings (review of the cards coming at some point this spring). I usually then try to sit and reflect on the cards for a few minutes before heading to bed–though the time frame can still use some work.

In terms of updating various goal posts–I drew out a new Level 10 life for starting 2021, and I’m slowly updating the 150+goals in 2002 days (update coming soon, when I reach 200 days into the challenge). In addition, I decided that for this year I was going to do ‘resolutions’ as a bingo card. I also made a two-to-three-year fitness bingo card as well (stretching from 2021 to 2023).

The fluid schedule/planner is still needing fine tuning, as I’ve realized I need to figure out how to balance being overly busy with extremely lazy (I seem to swing from one extreme to the other, and I need to find a way to just hang in the middle). Better time and project management are major goals for this year.

I made my list of non-fiction books to read and my list of e-courses to finish this year. While I have a low-ball number picked for both (~30 non-fictions books and ~20 e-courses), the lists have basically almost three times the number listed, giving me a good selection to chose from throughout the year.

I managed to finish two non-fiction books so far this month and they were:

Secrets of Six Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny (review coming soon)

Badass Habits: cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero (review coming soon)

I’m also currently reading: Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

In terms of finishing ‘e-courses’, I managed to finish several this month. The first one was Listen to Your Body Method. This was a personal development coaching class that went through various personal development topics such as listening to ones intuition/inner voice, self-compassion, values, purpose, and setting boundaries. As our coach said–these are things that we should always be working on, that there really isn’t a one and one with the course, but we finished our weekly calls mid-month. Now I need to continue working things.

I also watch a couple of short courses on Skillshare over the weekend, and they included:

Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content. Rate 4/5

This short course was about a half-hour long, and I felt it was crafted more for established entrepreneurs, bloggers, and social media experts. While I did find the course to be helpful, it may be awhile before I can use the tips from the course. The rating was because I felt the title was slightly misleading.

3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog Rate 4/5

This was another short course (about twenty minutes or so) and quickly covered three topics:

Google Adwords–to help you choose your key words(s) or phrase(s) for your blog and content

Suggesting that you should probably aim to put out at least 1 large article/post (~1500 words) compared to shorter articles, plus embedding in an audio transcript for the article as well.

The final suggestion was making use of pintrest.

My takeaways: I know that larger articles at time get more views and visitors to the blog (depending on the topic and where it is shared), I do make use of pintrest (just not as much as I should), and will be looking at both Google Adwords and possibly embedding in an audio transcript (once I find an application that is easy to use to create them). The rating was based on how short the course was.

The final short course that I watched was Finding Your Inner Creative. Rate 4.5/5

This was another thirty-forty minute course with suggestions for different ways to connecting to one’s inner creative. Unlike the other two short courses, this one actually had ‘assignments’ at the end of various videos–which I am going to be incorporating into my schedule over the next week or so. I did find this course to be insightful, especially the exercises (which I will give more details on once I’ve completed them).

I haven’t renewed a professional membership yet for a couple of reasons: 1) it is too expensive to renew all of them at the same time (four to five memberships at ~$150 each–that is ~$750), and I can’t afford that right now. The second reason is that I haven’t decided which membership is more beneficial and pressing to my career transition. Hopefully I will be deciding by April or May, which professional membership will be the most beneficial.

So I managed to basically meet all the goals (with the exception of the last one), for the most part. Though I will admit, that the completion of the goals isn’t at a nice steady pace–some get done quicker than other, and some were done over the entire period (such as oracle card readings/meditating/reading books). But I feel like I’m on a slightly more solid foundation for starting 2021 than I was for starting 2020.

Here is to 2021 being calmer, more productive, more at ease, and less anxiety/worry than 2020 was. Also I’m still basically using the same quotes for 2021 that I did for 2020, and they are: “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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Two months left in the year–reviewing how October went

So October is over—we had Halloween, a full moon, plus had to set the clocks back an hour (what could go wrong???). The US presidential elections are in just a few days (fingers crossed that the election goes the way I want it to), and there are only 61 days left in the year.

Last month I tried the experiment of “scheduling” time for both checking my email and being on social media (namely facebook, instagram, and twitter)—the experiment lasted about a week and a half. I’m not doing it quite as often (at least checking mail), but also I didn’t like the ‘structure’ of it—what if I felt like it was the best time to post/share something?? So time management (in terms of email and majority of social media) is still a work in progress (especially on the weekend).

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘September in Review’ I noted that the US had over 7.4 million cases and now the US is a little over 9.4 million cases (that is an increase of over 2 million cases in a month). With elections just a few days away, it will be interesting to see how it turns out—I’m hoping the way I want, that way the virus can be brought under control and then travel may be possible by sometime late 2021 or early 2022. I’m still planning on at least (hopefully) one mental health trip somewhere.

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

The goals for October included:

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

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

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

Then complete at least two other short e-courses

So how did I do with each one?

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

            I managed to hit and surpass my goal of at least 155,000 steps. I actually managed to get in 223,675 steps for the month. Some days were slightly under 5K and other days were usually between 6-9K steps. The main thing going forward I need to do is figure out things to do during the day that will have me moving around more than me sitting on my ass.

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

I’ve been continuing with my calendar—though I have taken a week break from Yoga Booty Ballet. This was mainly because I was feeling so tired and blah. I will still be able to finish on time next month, since I had actually added in an extra week of Yoga Booty Ballet to the entire calendar. Plus I can always add in a couple of days of Yoga Booty Ballet to the next program as well.

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

I managed to finish the following books:

How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emilie Wapnick

            This was one book that was bought mainly because of the title originally. While I’ve been on my reboot break and contemplating what I want to do with my life, nothing was actually jumping out at me as the direction I wanted to go in—and I finally realized why—I’m a multipotentialite. In other words I need to have several different things going at once to keep happy.

            Which is why looking back, I enjoyed college so much—I had a wide range of classes to chose from and was able to figure out a major (actually 2) and a minor that allowed me to have variety during the day. Grad school allowed me to dive deep into a subject, the first post-doc allowed me to dive a little deeper, and then I totally switched with the second post-doc and then following staff scientist positions.

            While I could have stayed in academia and figured out a way to be multipotentialite—I’m happy that I figured it out on my reboot break. There is one quote that really sticks out to me from this book and it was “We let the fear of being judged keep us stuck in careers that no longer serve us, and identities that no longer fit [us]”. That totally sums up the last few years of my life professionally—since I’m still uncertain about how I’m going to do my transition into industry, I let the fear of judgment keep me in academia longer than I wanted to be there.

Two other little pieces of advice that I’m taking from the book: 1) It is impossible to actually be the best; and 2) if you were an actual imposter—you wouldn’t get imposter syndrome.

I’m going to be taking nuggets of information from various books and blending them together and forging my own path forward.

            I’m giving this a five out of five star review.

‘Don’t keep your day job: turn your passion into your career’ by Cathy Heller

            One thing I liked about this book was that there were numerous self-reflection questions one can ask themselves when trying to figure out what passion to try to turn into a career, and that there are also four different roles that one can take: creator, teacher, curator, and investigator. Currently—I’m still investigating which of the four I think would be the best fit for myself.

            There are also questions to ask about creating a side hustle, and steps that one should take for starting that journey. The two core things I’ve found the most helpful: be yourself on social media (which I try to do anyway), and then I’m also working on trying to identify the 9 to 12 categories that are most dominant in my life—as those are the categories I should be creating my content around.

            And the one quote I’m taking with me from this book is “Use your fears to fuel you and raise your standards to the life you believe you deserve”.

            I would give this a five out of five star review.

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

There have been a couple days where I did spend some money—not as many days as I’ve had previously, but I still haven’t worked up to a totally no-spend month. Most days it was just a few e-books—but it did add up by the end of the month. One goal for the coming year is to actually try to minimize my spending and see how many days I can go without buying something.

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

            Currently I have finished the first two modules and I’m halfway through module 3. I’m hoping to have this program finished by mid to late November.

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

            This didn’t happen. I spent more of the month reading than I did working through e-courses.

Then complete at least two other short e-courses

            This didn’t happen. I spent more time reading and being outside (since we are now heading towards winter, there won’t be many days left that are nice for sitting outside).

I’m working on self-compassion and realizing that even if I don’t meet every goal for the month—I’m still making progress. I managed to finish two books, continue with my workout schedule, and get an additional almost 69,000 steps in this month.

I have to keep reminding myself that I shouldn’t be concerned with the opinions of others—there are going to be people who like me, who hate me, and everywhere in between. It is time to start living my life on my terms, following my dreams, and working towards fulfilling my goals and aspirations and no one else’s dreams/goals/ambitions.

Goals for November will include:

At least 130-150,000 steps—I’ve realized that as it gets colder, I’m less likely to take my dog out for a walk and I usually am sitting more than anything during those days. Therefore I’m going to have to figure out something to do (possibly put on movies or something and march in place to get the steps).

Finish up the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4; then start 10 Rounds (which is 6 weeks and should take me right up to Christmas), with a little Yoga Booty Ballet tossed in here and there

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

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization program

Get half way through either the Management Consultant Firm or the Project Management Consortium programs

Start working through at least one e-course that deals with Python

Complete at least two other short e-courses

Start refreshing Spanish

Any small step is still a step towards progress and achieving my goals/vision. I’m reminding myself daily that going all-out and full-speed ahead is what almost brought me crashing into that metaphoric wall. Now I’m trying to slow down and ask myself—does this actually align with something I want—and not what someone else may want for me?

2020 may not be going the way I wanted it to go—but I know I can head into 2021 curving towards the direction I want to be going in—I just need to keep taking the baby steps towards that direction.

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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Update on goals set during the Pisces Full Moon

So the moon will be entering its first of two full moon stage either Thursday (marking the full moon at the very beginning of the month) or Friday night. This full moon is the closest one to the fall equinox (which was last Tuesday). The full moon later in the month will be the “blue” full moon. This also means that we’re entering the last quarter of 2020………

So before looking towards the next full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Pisces full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Pisces full moon included:

            More creativity time (namely trying to teach myself cross-stitching)

            More time on self-reflection (meditation and journaling)

            More time on personal/professional development

So how did I do with each goal?

            In terms of creativity time—this is something that I still need to work on. I make the time (usually) for practicing my photography skills (currently mainly in the backyard), but I haven’t actually sat down and tried to learn a new craft. I think in part it’s due a little to imposter syndrome—never done it before and therefore I’m immediately judging myself poorly, instead of treating myself with compassion and understanding. This is something I notice myself doing quite a bit of lately, and it is something that I’m working on fixing—being more compassionate and caring with myself.

            In terms of the self-reflection—I would say it was a minor improvement in terms of journaling. For the most part I managed to do a oracle card reading (there were a couple of nights that I didn’t manage), and I feel comfortable in the path that I’m on. I am doing a balancing act—taking it easy, but at the same time moving forward. The biggest insight is that I realized that once I start to feel ‘bored’ on a job, I’d let my thoughts wander during the day—instead of being laser focused on the job. Therefore moving forward I need to make sure that the position is one that will constantly be challenging—also I need to remember that if I feel like I can do more, ask for more responsibility on the job.

            In terms of personal and professional development—I managed to finish the Data Science Syndicate program (and will be writing up my thoughts on both the program and possibly going that route), and downloaded the python program to my computer. I now need to start working through one of the other e-courses that I bought that focuses on python.

            I had just published a post ‘self-reflection, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ vs ‘specialist’, & now more planning’ earlier this week. Within the post I made note on what areas I was going to focus on, where I would consider myself either a jack-of-all-trades or specialist. I also manage to finish at least one book: ‘Careergasm: Find your way to feel good work; bullshit free advice to help you get after it’ by Sara Vermunt. One thing that I hadn’t been thinking on was what if I need to redo my goal list (again)?? I love this passage:

 

           “Sometimes the best thing to do is let go of some old goals that simply aren’t serving you anymore. Lighten your load. Let ‘em go. Make room. It’s time your goals start working for you again, and not the other way around”.

I think that is one of the major things I’ve been doing—recycling/renaming old goals and trying to make them look fresh. I in theory just made a new 150+ challenge list to complete in 2002 days (I decided to ‘modify’ the original 101 goals in 1001 days challenge). Now I’m thinking that I may be having to back to that list and modify it again—though the goals are all ‘me’—I’m just not certain that they’re for the ‘future’ me or the ‘past’ me—and I want to be working towards the future me, not being held back by the ‘past’ me.

So over all, I think I did well with the goals. Yes, I could have spent more time doing creative work—I will probably start doing more, once I remind myself that I don’t have to share the finished product with anyone if I don’t want to (and I think that has been one thing that has been holding me back—fear of what others will think). Self-care is always something that I can strive to be better at (this comes from the fact that I spent way too many years in academia pouring my heart and soul into something that really didn’t give anything back), and personal/professional development should be a never end road—and it is, I’m just slowly finding my way back to it, and will be traveling the road at my speed.

As I keep moving forward, I will also be remembering 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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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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