So the moon will be entering its latest full moon stage either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world—here in the US, it will be tomorrow night). That means after this full moon—there are only two full moons left in 2021, it also means that there are only 73 days left in 2021. So before looking ahead to the Aries full moon, I should look back at the goals I set for the Pisces full moon and see how I did with each of them.
The goals that I set for the Pisces full moon included:
Continue working on my third cross-stitch project, and then also start working on creating some jewelry (bracelets and necklaces to start, but maybe also some earrings).
Start reworking various pages/tabs on the website. I have a general idea of the direction(s) I want to go in, and some of the pages will be combined, others will stay the same, and the others will be renamed and/or reworked.
Personal/professional development and self-reflection
So how did I do with each of the goals?
In terms of the crafting goals, I finished my third cross-stitch project and have started a fourth.
The third one followed in the direction of the other two–more abstract in both design and color.
The fourth one that I’ve started will also be semi-abstract but nature based (I figured cactus should be a somewaht easy botany subject to mimic with thread).
I’ve got a couple of ideas in terms of jewelry—I just haven’t tried to sit down to design them yet. I also realized that I need something to put the necklaces, bracelets, or earrings on to showcase them.
In terms of reworking various pages on the website:
I’ve started reworking the blog/website over the past few weeks. I’ve combined the birding photography tab with the normal photography tab. The ‘normal’ photography tab is a sub-tab within the birding section. While most would have done the opposite (birding a sub-tab within the normal), due to the number of pages I already have created—you couldn’t see the individual bird pages that way when scrolling down through everything. I’ve also renamed the fitness tab—health and wellness, with the fitness tab being a new ‘sub-tab’ of this section. I’ve kept the travel tab, added a personal development tab, and still need to ‘rework’ a couple of the main tabs.
For personal/professional development and self-reflection:
I’ve been doing self-reflection and working through some different personal and professional development courses. The one major thing that I know I need to work on is creating a daily schedule that allows me to focus on different things without feeling like I did not get anything accomplished at the end of the day.
With only setting a few goals for the last full moon, I was able to full meet one of them (finished my third cross-stitch project), start in on one of them (reworking various pages/tabs for the website), and the personal/professional development with reflection is always going to be an ongoing, never totally finished goal.
One of the things that I learned in a personal development course earlier this year—is that it is perfectly fine to ‘slow down’ and take things easy every so often. Though this goes against the ‘hard-working, hustling, mindset’ that is getting pushed more often these days. That is what I’m trying to do—slow down so that the anxiety remains under control and I can be actually get something accomplished during the day/week/month and not feel like I’m also not heading into an anxiety attack.
Small steps are what lead to continuous progress—as long as one has more ‘forward’ than ‘backwards’ steps—it doesn’t matter how slow or small they are—just keep moving forward.
How are you ensuring that you’re moving forward toward your goals?
Well, we’re almost halfway through October—that means there are only 79 days left in 2021. I’ve been reflecting over the past two weeks on the goals that I set for the third quarter of the year (or as I was also referring to as—my second attempt at a 12-week year).
I’d mentioned in a post over the summer that I was combining the ideas of two books together and using those as ‘stepping-stones’ for goals in different areas. The ideas that I’m combining are ‘choosing focal points (or specific areas)’ to focus on (‘The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life—A Creative and Practical Guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine), and the goal setting method from ‘The 12-Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain Moran and Michael Lennington.
The four areas that I’ve decided that I’m currently focusing on are: professional development, personal development, health, and hobbies. The plan is to blend them together enough that I’ve created a career that is semi-location independent, and is focused on freelance/remote/contract writing/blogging with the possibility of adding in data analysis and/or consulting in the future.
The one thing that I’m still working on is figuring out how to divide the goals that I pick for the each month into weekly and then daily goals.
I’ve usually been trying to set four to five goals per focal area, with the possibility that one or two may have several ‘sub’ goals associated with them.
Instead of listing out every single goal that I set for the summer, I’m going to summarize the areas instead.
In terms of professional development, I had the lofty goals of completing at least two Cheeky Scientist advanced programs, learning python (coding), working through another three small e-courses on Udemy, and continuing to read/share science news and network on LinkedIn.
In terms of personal development, the lofty goals included refreshing Spanish, reading at least one (or two) non-fiction books a month, working through even more e-courses on different sites, and coming up with my own vision of minimalism and how I was going to diversify my income.
In terms of health, I was planning on continuing with BOD workouts (LIIFT4 and then Morning Meltdown 100), meditation, gratitude entries in the journal, oracle card drawings, working through a couple of courses, and trying to find new recipes to try at dinner.
In terms of my hobbies: at least one nature walk with the camera at Boomer Lake, reading, working on a cross-stitch project (or making some jewelry), and then again working through more e-courses.
So how did I do with my various goals?
In terms of professional development:
I’ve been fairly good at reading and sharing new on LinkedIn and twitter (I try to share at least one post Monday to Friday), and I’m working networking more and adding value to connections on LinkedIn.
In terms of the various programs, courses, and programming—I didn’t really get to any of them. Though I have most of the editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization done—I just need to work on the writing assignments, plus finish up the sixth module.
I would say that I managed two out of the five professional development goals (so forty percent completed).
In terms of personal development:
I think I’ve managed to read possibly two non-fiction books over the past three months, I’m slowly working on my vision of minimalism (I need to go through the clothes and DVDs in the bedroom—and then tackle everything in the storage unit), and I’m slowly working on the ideas for generating varied income sources.
Again, the computer work hasn’t been completed.
Therefore, I probably managed another two out of the five goals (so another forty percent completed)
In terms of health:
I managed about 26 days of the oracle card sharing challenge. While I enjoyed it in the beginning, it was starting to become more of a ‘chore’ and I wasn’t getting that many interactions on the posts. I will probably share a reading here and there on Instagram, but probably won’t be daily.
With having messed up my wrist mid-June/early-July, I’ve been giving it time to heal, so I really haven’t been doing anything that requires lifting weights. I will be trying to start a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 during the fourth quarter of 2021, knowing that it will run into the first quarter of 2022.
I’ve been good with my evening meditations and daily gratitude entries in the journal. I’ve done a little over half of the explicit tarot course, and in terms of cooking—I couldn’t find any recipes that appealed to me this quarter.
I would say that I managed about half of the health goals for the third quarter.
The best area was hobbies:
I managed a walk every month at Boomer Lake with my camera, I read at least two or three fiction books a month, and I finished two cross-stitch projects and started a third. The only goal that I didn’t really touch was the one in regards to the e-courses.
Therefore, I would say that I managed three of the four goals (or seventy-five percent) for hobbies.
Overall, I would say that I managed to reach fifty percent of all the goals (and sub-goals) that I set for the third quarter.
There are several reasons why I only managed to meet half of the goals:
September was spent dealing with an ill dog and not knowing the outcome/prognosis. While we now know the prognosis, it may still be touch and go—especially when she starts to get weaned off the medication.
I also quit doing my weekly to-be accomplished lists in September (see above about the ill dog), and the daily to-be accomplished lists in August. The reason why I quit writing these out—I let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win a fight. I’m slowly working on getting back into the habit of doing both of these (slightly better with the weekly to-be accomplished lists).
Finally, when the weather is fairly nice—I’d rather be sitting outside enjoying the weather and possibly reading or journaling than being inside and working on the computer. I know that this is something that I need to work on improving (time/project management) as we move into the fall/winter months when more time will be spent indoors than outdoors.
So what are my goals for the four different areas moving into the fourth and final quarter of 2021?
Professional Development (This area is focused heavily on computer work):
Finish at least two of the following Cheeky Scientist advanced programs:
Medical Writers Organization
User Experience Squad
Regulatory Affairs Council
Business Development Federation
Finish the following short courses:
15 errors in scientific writing and how to correct them on Udemy
How to become a freelance editor on Udemy
How to become a freelance writer on Skill Success
Read and share science (and other news) on LinkedIn and Twitter
Network and add value on LinkedIn
Finish Write Your Way to Freedom course
Finish Writing Patient Materials course
Personal Development (A third to half of the work will be computer based):
Read one-to-two non-fiction books/month
Draft ideas on how to implement diversification of income streams
Work through the following short courses:
How to work for yourself on Udemy
Complete personal finance course on Udemy
Freelance writing 101: build a successful career on Skill Share
Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth on Skill Share
Health (Possibly a third to half could be computer based):
Start a second round of Morning Meltdown 100
Daily mediation and work through the course: Mindfulness for Anxiety on Udemy
Daily gratitude journal entries
Daily oracle card drawings and finish the course: explicit tarot: learning tarot through storytelling on Udemy
Hobbies (possibly a quarter could be computer based):
At least one walk per month at Boomer Lake with camera
Read two-to-three fiction books per month
Finish the third cross-stitch project, possibly start a fourth or design/create some jewelry
Work through the following courses:
How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners on Skill Share
Modern copywriting on Stack Skills
There are still quite a few e-courses that I’m hoping to finish before the end of the year—I may or may not get through all of them, but I’m hoping to have worked through at least one in each area (bonus points if I can finish all the e-courses under a specific focal point).
I mentioned in my October New Moon Goals—that I was going to be trying to face one ‘big’ fear during the next phase/month. I decided that the fear is starting my freelance/remote/contract writing business. Therefore I’m probably going to focus a little more on the courses that deal with that topic (which all but the two under health). The name of the blog (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) will probably stay the same—I may just change the website address (all depends as I work my way through the various courses).
This also means that I may having more posts written in a specific area (such as science/medical education/communication), but at the same time keeping other posts coming throughout the month (such as book reviews, photography, and crafts).
I realize that getting things up and running will take time (especially when it comes to marketing my business, billing, and creating/sticking with a editorial schedule)—but I currently have the time to do this, so I’m going for it: the overall goal is to reach at least fifty-percent in each area and an overall all progress rate of seventy-five percent for the last quarter of 2021.
Do you use the 12-week method for planning? Best tips? Or is there another method you like?
So, we’re on to the last third of the year—there are now only 122 days left in 2021. While it feels like time is starting to speed back up again, I’m wondering when things are going to totally go to hell. The vaccination rate is still on a steady decline (though there are days when the number of shots given is high), and the delta variant is still running rampant through the country. Luckily, I’ll be able to get the J&J booster shot sometime between October and December (they state that it is most effective six to eight months after the initial shot). So, it looks like I’ll be staying in self-isolation throughout the fall and winter (with the occasional walk to get the paper on the weekend, and possibly a walk once a month at Boomer Lake).
The world is still crumbling at a decent clip, and I’m talking about everything from the issues in Central Asia (Afghanistan) to the fact that while Greenland lost a huge amount of ice—they also got a huge amount of rainfall (for like the third time in recorded history). Therefore, I’m limiting my news intake to morning/night and the occasional lunchtime checks on Facebook. When I published ‘July in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 35.7 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 40.1 million cases (so it was an increase of not quite 4.5 million cases last month—all due to the delta variant and fewer people getting vaccinated).
So the numbers are going back up, and less than 0.5% of the hospitalized cases are vaccinated individuals (break-through cases). That means over 99% of the people in the hospital for SARS-CoV2, haven’t gotten the vaccine (and a good number now are children under the age of 12 that currently aren’t eligible for the vaccine). I really wish things would go virtual for another semester or two, and if everyone wants schools opened—get the damn shot. (End rant)
Staying in self-isolation will give me the time to really start focusing on trying to get a freelance/remote/contract career started (focusing first on writing, crafts, and possibly project/product management, then stretching to data analysis, and possibly educational consulting).
Before looking ahead to September (the start of the last third of the year, and a semi-modified new set of goals, and continuing to work on my time and project management skills), I should look at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.
The goals for August included:
Restart LIIFT4 (mainly following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and roll the dice to figure out the next advancedcheeky scientist program to start
Finish reading two to three non-fiction books
Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews over at least one of them)
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries
Craft time (Continue working on the cross-stitch project)
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
So how did I do with each of them?
135-155,000 steps: I managed to get in 154,591 steps this past month. Mostly through wandering around the house and yard, though I did manage to get a walk in at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I’m thinking that for September–most of the steps will be from wandering around the house/yard, walking through the neighborhood (early mornings, so I can wear my mask), and possibly a walk at Boomer Lake.
Restarting LIIFT4: I’m still giving my wrist a little more time to heal (I semi-sprained or did something to my right wrist last month), and therefore didn’t do any lifting this past month. As I mentioned in another post (400 day update), I have until basically the end of September to decide if I’m keeping my beachbody-on-demand subscription or not. I’m trying to limit my ‘screen time’ (or as much as one can when they’re thinking of freelance/remote/contract writing as a career option). Therefore I’m thinking of working out away from the screen (lifting weights and doing other things), and doing ‘screen time’ for mainly yoga.
Finishing up the MWO program & deciding on new one: I’ve finished the editing assignments for the program, and am still working on the writing assignments. I have one module left to go through (though I may not get the certificate until I complete the writing assignments), and then would be ‘done’ with the program. I did roll the dice and decided that I’d be working through the following programs over the next several months (regardless of when I finish the MWO): User Experience Squad, Project Management Consortium, Regulatory Affairs Council, Business Development Federation, and Product Management Group.
Finish reading two to three non-fiction books: I managed to read the following non-fiction books:
I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotentialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
Though I haven’t written mini book reviews over either of them yet.
Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews on at least one of them): The fiction books Imanaged to read during the month of August included:
Vortex: A FBI Thriller (#25) by Catherine Coulter (review posted to blog)
Dawn Unearthed (Ravenwood Coven #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review posted to blog)
Wiretaps & Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday (review posted to blog)
Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday (review coming soon)
My Next Play (On My Own #3; advanced reader copy) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review coming soon)
Three out of the five books have reviews posted to the blog, and the other two books are books that I just finished within the past few days, so those reviews should hopefully be getting posted to the blog (and other sites) by the weekend.
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month:
There have been a couple of books bought, one (or two) large amazon orders–but truthfully, nothing more than usual. The breakdown for this will be in the next installment of the limited spending challenge check-in.
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries:
I’ve been able to spend time outdoors this month–though there was only one walk at Boomer Lake (due to combination of temperatures and the delta variant). I am very grateful that my parents have a decent size backyard that one can be out in during this period of time. I’ve been doing my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments for at least a few minutes (hoping to add this to the morning routine as well).
In term of the daily gratitude entries–I’ve been pretty good with these, even if they’ve been something along the line of being grateful that I don’t have kids and therefore I don’t have to worry/stress about navigating things with the pandemic still raging.
Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project):
I actually finished my first small abstract cross-stitch project the other day. Instead of trying to find a pattern, I’m sticking with abstract made up on the spot designs. The reason: I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, and trying to write letters on the fabric was giving me a headache, though I do know that with practice I’d be getting better at both of them).
I should be getting in my glue gun by the end of the week, and will be gluing some of the fabric to the backside of the framefor a more completed look.
I’m starting on a second and larger cross-stitch project, and am finding it therapeutic stabbing the fabric over and over again with teh needle and thread. It seems that the amount of time spent on the project is directly correlated to how irritated I am with the world.
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course:
I started two different short e-courses this past month, and finished one of them:
Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence on Udemy
With the way the world is going today (especially in terms of the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers), this is something that a lot of people seem to be lacking. Out of the five main concepts (self-awareness, self-control, social skills, empathy, and self motivation)—I feel like everyone needs a good dose of empathy.
While I may be getting tired of being in self-isolation (more or less) daily, at least I know that I’m doing my part not to spread the virus. Just like I know that wearing a mask in public, helps slow the spread of the virus (even though I shouldn’t be carrying it—it would still help protect me from catching it).
Everyone that is screaming ‘it’s their right’ on whether or not to wear a mask, or get vaccinated, or whatever—yes it is your right, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. We’re a global society, and we really should be looking out for each other (instead of being of the ‘me-and-mine’ mindset).
After taking the course, I’ve realized that I need to work on the self-motivation (keeping the inner critic/imposter syndrome in check) the most, with maybe self-awareness coming in second. I’m usually aware of my emotions, and while I try not to let them get the better of me, sometimes I don’t always control my facial features as much as I should.
Another thing I did last month (and actually at the very end of the month)—I submitted a ‘application’ for paying freelance writing gig. The opportunity came from the company that I’m doing the volunteer writing for (one of the editors wants the pages on another site rewritten), so I sent a response with links to both the blog and my LinkedIn profile (as my portfolio) to the editor I work with and we’ll see what happens.
Even if I don’t get the job—I managed to quiet my inner critic long enough to ask some questions in one of the medical writing Facebook groups I’m in, and put together a response and emailed it back in the afternoon. This is a really big step for me, since I’m more likely to try to let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win and not try to go for things.
I decided earlier in the month that I was going to be keeping the website url, and running tagline for the blog. I will be updating the site over the next few months (especially with a ‘portfolio’ section to highlight various science/medical writing styles/topics, and other writing examples).
I’m not going to change up my ‘goals’ that much, though I will be trying to put a little more time into the other ‘writing’ projects that I’ve got on my plate.
The other goals for September will include:
130-150,000 steps; I’m hoping to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake this month, in addition to maybe one or two walks through the neighborhood in the mornings (when I shouldn’t run into anyone who could be potentially ‘anti-mask’)
Start my own fitness routine (weight lifting, shadow boxing, yoga/stretching)
Start working through the User Experience Squad program, work on the writing assignments for the MWO and finish the sixth module of the MWO program
Read one to two non-fiction books
Read two to four fiction books (have small book reviews written and published)
No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
Craft time (continue working on the new cross-stitch project)
Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
I’m keeping the goals similar to the ones for August—though I’m changing up the fitness/intentional movement goal. Instead of streaming workouts (though I might do that for the yoga), I’m going to just put on music and either lift weights (focusing on certain muscles) or shadow box. This way I’ll be getting in my fitness/intentional movement for the day, but at the same time will be having some ‘screen free’ time as well.
I’ll also be trying to figure out what other types of writing I’d like to be doing, so there may be a variety of blog posts (or pages) popping up throughout the month as I try my hand covering different topics.
While I’ve semi rewritten the ‘work with me’ page, that page and the welcome page may get updated throughout the fall as I slowly make my way into the freelancing world of writing, editing, proofreading, and crafting.
So, while time is starting to ‘speed’ up, I hope that everyone is getting their vaccination shot(s) against the virus, and if you have kids—they’re getting theirs as well. As that (along with masks and social distancing when needed) is really the only way we’re going to be able to get to a ‘new’ normal.
While I’d asked this question last month on what types of posts people would like to see more of (science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths), I decided that I will continue forward with a mixture of all (as that fits my personality and my top two strengths: learner and intellection).
I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.