Tag: selfreflections

Full Moon Goals: Two completed, two started, and one forgotten

So the moon will be heading into it’s next full moon—tomorrow. Which means that I need to reflect back on the goals I’d set for the Libra full moon, before looking ahead to the Scorpio full moon.

So what were the goals that I’d set for the Libra full moon? Well, they included:

  1. Reflecting on the first quarter of 2024 & potentially ‘fine-tuning’ goals for the rest of the year.
  2. ‘Brain-dump’ for April
  3. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan 
  4. Start drafting an outline for a personal/professional growth plan (also known as personal/professional development plans—but I like using the word growth instead of development).
  5. Work on creating an fitness calendar or game board to help get me back into an fitness routine.

How did I do with each of them?

Reflections on the first quarter of 2024:

Yep…I managed to get a decent amount of stuff done during Jan-March. Did I get everything I wanted done (or even started)? Nope..but I got a decent amount of things done. The biggest thing that ‘derailed’ me—was having to ‘argue’ with a certain platform to get access back to my account. While people probably think that I enjoy following rules (since I was never much of a ‘rule-breaker’ growing up)…I only follow the rules if they make sense & agree with my values…I’m currently very begrudgingly following rules on a certain platform until I build a large enough following off of that particular site.

I’ll be ‘fine-tuning’ some goals for the rest of the year. I’d initially aimed to listen to at least three podcasts a week and watching at least three TedTalks a week, and writing a ‘blurb’ weekly on different science papers. All three goals will be getting ‘modified’ going forward. In addition—I haven’t ‘restarted’ a photography challenge…because I haven’t decided if it will be daily on Instagram and then bimonthly update on the blog or what…decisions, decisions…

‘Brain dump’ for April:

Yep…this is the second one that I’ve done this year…and it’s starting to help me get slightly organized and giving me numerous projects that I just need to ‘number’ and start focusing on. I’d kinda forgotten how much I enjoyed doing a mixing research and creative writing…now I’m working on a series of ‘creative’ interviews (currently focusing on different dinosaurs—though I’m thinking of stretching it into other areas as well).

One thing I may do with future brain dumps—after the initial, take the ideas and break them into groups, based on the amount of work that needs to go into ‘completing’ the project. So..that means I need to think of the titles for the different ‘groups’.

Continue working on the two-to-five year plan:

So, this is probably going to be a work in progress for a couple of months—the main reason, is that I’m working on merging a couple different goal setting methods into one plan: Having the ‘long-term’ (aka possibly five year goals) set via the ‘value-based’ method; then the yearly goals via the OKR (objective & key-results), with new and full moon goals weaved through as well.

I know my values: Learning/Knowledge; Creativity/Curiosity/Imagination; Authenticity/Self-Respect; Growth/Evolution/Transformation; and Spirituality/Inner Harmony.

Now…it’s just a matter of setting goals that fit within those values…and then breaking them down to yearly/quarterly/monthly/weekly/daily goals/habits.

Start drafting the outline for the personal/professional growth plan

Nope..this is on the schedule for the upcoming week (or next month). 

Work on creating a fitness calendar or game:

I have a rough-draft of a fitness board game. Last week I meant to sit down and write up the ‘rules’, tracking sheets (mainly for the weights), and start using the game…that never happened. So I’d consider this goal to be about half done. One goal for this week is to write up those rules, draw up the tracking sheets & start using the damn game. While I’m not aiming to hit any particular number on the scale…I am aiming to get into the best shape of my life (regardless of what the scale states my weight is at).

Conclusions:

I made five goals for the Libra full moon…and I managed to ‘totally’ accomplish two of them (reflections and April brain dump). The creation of the fitness game is in progress (I’d say I’m about halfway done with that), I’m making a little progress on the two-to-five year plan, and I really need to sit down and create my personal/professional growth plan (mainly for launching the different freelance businesses and to ‘focus’ my attention on different craft projects).

I’m starting to actually try and track my energy throughout the month…and sometimes it varies—but the week before either the full moon (this month) or the new moon, I literally don’t feel like doing much of anything. This was me last week…I had quite a few things I wanted to get accomplished, and while I got probably about half the list done…I could have done more—if I had the energy to do.

So..that is another ‘project’—tracking my energy throughout the day, week, & month. When I’m feeling ‘blah’…I may focus more on learning (reading and e-courses) or networking, and when I’m feeling more ‘energetic’…I will focus on more ‘research’ intensive projects. But—at all times give myself grace, since productivity can vary from day to day, week to week. What is productive for me, may not seem productive to others…and that’s fine—it’s my life, my lane, not anyone else’s.

So…now before I look ahead to the Scorpio full moon, I’ll inquire—how did you do with your Libra goals?

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To summarize the Aries Full Moon Goals: Progress not Perfection

So the moon will be entering its next full moon cycle for the year tomorrow night—which means that I should look back at the goals that I had set for the Aries full moon.

So what were my goals for the Aries full moon?

Well, they included:

  1. Making a list of things I would enjoy doing in terms of intentional movement–and then trying to devise a schedule.
  2. Have at least two mini-book reviews written and published on various sites
  3. Work through at least part of a personal/professional development course
  4. Continue reading (and possibly finishing) at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started

So how did I do with each of them?

List of things I enjoy doing in terms of intentional movement:

Those things include:

  1. Walking (nature walks, taking Chaos for a walk, walks with friends, and ‘window’ shopping)
  2. Weight lifting (as long as I stay away from lunges and push-ups)
  3. Cardio (can be a DVD workout, impromptu solo dance parties, riding my bike, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and ebing outside)
  4. Yoga, Pilates, and stretching

Have I designed a schedule yet? Nope—this is in large part due to both the ongoing family medical issue and then dealing with the pets (most want to be in the same room all the time—and trying to lift weights when you have cats and dogs wanting in your personal space—not fun or easy).

Two mini-book reviews written and published on various sites:

The two books that I’ve gotten around to writing mini-book reviews over were:

  1. Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Ink Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan

I’m hoping to finish reading Hunted in Darkness and getting that book review posted by the end of the weekend.

Watch/work through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course:

I managed to watch a couple of short courses on Skillshare and they were:

  1. 3X your productivity with this weekly planning guide
  2. Content Calendar made easy: Save time and develop a personal brand
  3. Blogging rituals and routines: 10 secrets for increased blogging productivity.

I briefly reviewed each of the courses in my ‘October in Review‘ post.

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Well, I’ve started a couple more non-fiction books—but haven’t finished any of them yet. As I mentioned in my ‘October in Review’ post—I go in cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction.

The best way to illustrate what I mean—oscillation waves, these waves can vary in both height and width:

That is how I view my reading cycles (regardless if it’s non-fiction or fiction).

Currently my non-fiction trend is more of the top—it’s taking more time to finish a book, and then I start numerous books, and it’s a ‘uphill’ battle to finish one (or more).

Whereas my fiction reading trend (and non-fiction trends in certain months)—resembles the bottom oscillation wave, I can read several books within a short period and have no problems moving on to another book (or going back and re-reading books).

So—I know that I need to try to decrease the ‘height’ of the non-fiction oscillation wave to have it match the height of the non-fiction oscillation wave over the next few weeks/months.

Well—I managed to accomplish about seventy percent of my goals for the Aries full moon. The only one that I didn’t get ‘accomplished’ was the non-fiction reading—which based on how October went, I wasn’t shocked to see that I didn’t accomplish it.

Seventy percent works well with the motto that I’m using for the final quarter of 2022—‘Progress over Perfection’.

Sometimes it is difficult to catch all the little negative stories/thoughts that run through our heads—so when I don’t catch them right away, it means I’ve accidentally let the inner critic/imposter syndrome out to play.

But, I’m getting better at catching them…I think they only ‘played’ for a few days during the Aries full moon.

So now, I’m going to celebrate this win—and then look ahead to the Taurus full moon.

How did you do with your personal/professional goals last month?

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Progress…Not Perfection: Review of Libra New Moon Goals

So we’re heading towards the next new moon—which means there is a week left in October, and then only sixty-one days left in 2022. The end of this year is going to be turbid, up-and-down, and I just need to figure out the time blocks that will work best for research/note-taking, writing/editing, reading, crafts, and everything else in life.

But before I fall down that rabbit-hole, I should look back at the goals I set for the Libra new moon and see how I did with each of them—before looking ahead to the Scorpio New Moon.

So what were the goals that I set for the Libra new moon? Well, they included:

  1. Unplug at night
  2. Continue working at both regaining my identity and developing my personal/professional brand
  3. Facing a fear–specifically work at getting my freelance/remote/contract science/medical/health communications/consulting business up and running

So how did I do with each of them?

Unplug at night:

I managed to do this one fairly consistently. There were some nights that I didn’t ‘unplug’ right at eight, and then there were other nights that I unplugged earlier than eight.

I actually started a new cross-stitch project a couple of weeks ago–and when I unplug at night, this is what I’ve been working on:

Latest cross-stitch project

The cross-stitch project is turning out to be an abstract microbiology project…or just a bunch of shapes. Should hopefully have it finished in a couple of weeks.

Regaining my identity and developing my personal/professional brand:

This dual ‘project’ is still in the early ‘stages’.

I know who I’m ‘not’—I not the bench scientist anymore, I’m not the person counting calories, containers, or the person who’d mentally beat herself up if she didn’t push play on a workout.

I’m a science/medical/health communicator who is still looking for her group of people.

I’m that multipotentialite individual that needs to have at least two projects going to be happy—but at the same time I’m that anxious individual who is worried that she isn’t giving full attention to anyone project.

I’m working on giving myself grace and catching the negative stories that I tell myself—and also reminding myself that life currently is going every which way—so it’s perfectly fine that I’m not getting in a huge workout—if I can manage at least 4k steps a day—I’ll be happy.

So–yeah, now it is a matter of still trying to define my ‘brand’ and then merge everything into something ‘cohesive’.

Facing a fear:

Fear: getting my freelance science/medical/health communications/consulting business up and running.

Status: Ongoing.

I’m still working on getting the website up and functioning (it is ‘live’—just currently as a skeleton website). I’m figuring out the direction of possibly niching (cancer biology) in terms of the portfolio, while contemplating keeping the ‘blog’ portion more eclectic (different science/medical/health topics).

I’m also working on the always dreaded editorial calendar for both blogs and LinkedIn (because that is part of my online portfolio after all)—which would mean actually looking at something other than my to-do list—as I told someone the other day, I’m more of a paper and pen kind of person in terms of organization—I can use the computer versions—I just don’t like them.

So, all in all it was a good Libra ‘season’—all of the goals were ‘open-ended’, and all were focused on during the past few weeks. While it is nice at times having a cut and dry goal (something that can easily be stamped as ‘finished’)—having the open-ended goals also give you that daily sense of accomplishment and knowing that you’re slowly turning things into a habit (like unplugging from the computer at night).

Therefore—there has been ‘progress over perfection’. Could I have gotten more accomplished? Probably—but I’m granting myself grace and acceptance with acknowledging my inner critic/imposter syndrome did come out to play for awhile this past month—but I’m slowly making that forward progress.

These goals aren’t just going to be fading away—while they may not be ‘front-and-center’ as we move into the next new moon—they’ll still be around.

One big goal for the last two months—getting the website up and running, and hopefully landing either that remote communications position or possibly my first one or two freelance clients.

How are you moving towards accomplishing that one really large ‘fearful’ goal?

No Comments AstrologycareerLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Need to read more nonfiction, make the to-do lists…Aquarius in Review

So the moon will be transitioning through the Pisces constellation over the next day or two…which means that I should be looking back at the goals I had set for the Aquarius full moon before trying to set goals for the Pisces full moon.

So, what were the goals that I had set for the Aquarius full moon? They included:

  1. Finish reading Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey
  2. Get the second blog/website (that is dedicated to science/medical/health comms) up and running
  3. Write (and create the graphics) for steps three and four (restriction digestion and ligation) for ‘molecular cloning’ post series on LinkedIn
  4. Create a timeline/schedule for getting the rest of the bird pages up on this blog
  5. Start a 30-day journaling challenge
  6. Create one necklace or start/continue a cross-stitch project

So how did I do with them?

Reading:

Well, I haven’t finished reading Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey yet…I did read quite a few books during the past month, I just never got around to finishing any of the non-fiction books that I’d started.

New blog/website:

Didn’t get around to doing any work on the new blog/website this past month…other than staring at blank word documents and the semi-live website. One goal for the weekend is to at least get part of the website formatted…

Working on the LI molecular cloning series

I managed to write and create the graphics for the third and fourth step of my molecular cloning post series on LinkedIn. In addition—I managed to get to step five (an introduction to transformations was posted this past Tuesday).

The rest of the bird pages:

Didn’t get around to creating the timeline/schedule for getting the rest of the bird pages posted to this blog. I have a list of the birds that I still need to do the research on–and that includes the order and families as well…so we’re talking probably still another seventy to eighty-five pages to write.

Journaling challenge:

Didn’t start one this past month…I did write in my journal every day–just not on any particular topic/thought.

Crafts:

Nope, didn’t create any jewelry and I didn’t put any work into the any of the current cross-stitch projects I hve going

The Aquarius full moon was a chaotic period putting it nicely—there is still a family member in the hospital (and will probably be there another two to five weeks), so I’m still stumbling trying to find my new ‘normal’.

I’ve also realized that I’m letting my inner critic/imposter syndrome ‘drive’ more often that I should…this shows up as me not writing, binge buying books (when I know I already have more than enough books to read), and allowing the negative self-talk to continue uninterrupted.

This self-reflection has given me other things to also focus on as we continue heading towards the end of 2022: time and project management, in addition to actually spending time self-reflection (writing out the weekly to-do lists, breaking them down to daily to-do lists, and reflecting at the end of each day on what I managed to get accomplished).

This will require blocking out chunks of time for different projects (and different aspects of those projects)—and honoring those projects (i.e. not scrolling through social media or working on another project), and if I get ‘bored’ during the time block—I’ll make note of it and adjust things according for the next day.

I decided, I’d also end with the last few sentences that I typed last month when I was introducing my Aquarius goals:

But things are always a work in progress—because perfection is a myth…what looks perfect to one person may look lopsided to someone….

Progress not perfection, small steps, and even following a winding path are the thoughts/mantra for the next month or so.

Still curious to know: what are some of your time management tools or tricks?

No Comments AstrologyCraftsFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Content challenge and development plans: Scorpio Full Moon Goals

So we’re heading into May’s full moon tonight, and it will also be a lunar eclipse as well—so now I need to decide if I’m staying up ‘late’ to head outside to try to see the eclipse or not.

Anyway, back to the May full moon and moving forward trying to find/define both my new ‘normal’ and what it is going to be looking like (mainly because the SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay and that now means making rational decisions in terms of future travels).

The May full moon is going to be transitioning through Scorpio constellation. Therefore if one looks to ‘Moonology’ there are several questions that one can reflect on during the next few days, and they are:

  1. Have I been jealous, vengeful, suspicious, or otherwise behaved toxically?
  2. Have I been living out of fear rather than joy?
  3. Have I been brooding and dark: focusing on the negative rather than the positive?
  4. Have I been cruel and cunning?
  5. Am I having the sex I need to feel good about myself (of course some people need no sex at all to feel good about themselves)?

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

  1. I don’t think I’ve been acting jealous, vengeful or suspicious towards others (I mean we’re still dealing with the pandemic, and I’m hardly around anyone who isn’t family). I’m still working on ‘fixing’ internally focused ‘toxic’ habits (mainly letting my imposter syndrome/inner critic have the wheel and not realize it).
  2. Am I afraid of failure? Yes. Am I afraid of attempting something new (and possibly failing)? Yes. This is in part to the inner critic/imposter syndrome, but also in part to how I was raised—I was raised to ‘be better than average’ (though I know my parents meant only academically)—and it is a mindset that I’m working letting go.
  3. Have you seen the world lately?? I mean with all the damn problems going on—yes, I probably have been focusing a little too much on the negative rather than the positive (especially when I can’t control the events of the world). Therefore, I need to focus on what I can control, and what will hopefully bring more positive and less negative vibes to my life.
  4. No, I have not been cruel or cunning to others or myself.
  5. Again, the answer is no—mainly because 1) we’re still in the midst of the global pandemic, 2) therefore it really isn’t in good form trying to go out and meet new people, and 3) I’m still trying to figure out my life, which may (or may not) include at least one move in the near future. Therefore I’m not in the mindset/mood to deal with another person’s opinions/thoughts on my future right now.

The moon then also moved through my first house (or my Image zone), as I usually work with my rising sign (which happens to be Scorpio; my sun sign is Virgo & my moon sign is Pisces). This house/sign is focused on yourself (personal &/or professional life).

So I’m still going through ‘cycles’ of productivity—the past month or so, has been a so-so cycle of productivity, while the month before that was a little more productive. I realize that everything is cyclic in nature—what goes up, must come down—but I also know that I can ‘minimize’ the downward trend, and try to keep those ‘dips’ rather sharp, instead of a nice steep decline, and a slow incline. As I stated last year: ‘I will still avoid doing things I know I should be doing in order to move closer to certain goals. In other words—I’m still letting the inner critic/imposter syndrome keep me in the comfort zone more often than I try to venture out into the stretch or risk zones’.

So what are a few goals that I can work on over the next few weeks to help bring myself back towards all my other goals?

  1. Continue working on my 90-day content challenge plan (goal is to do some type of research & writing daily, in addition to a craft (photography, cross-stitching, or possibly designing some jewelry).
  2. Finish setting up my 12-month plan, and the rough draft for my personal/professional development plan
  3. Continue to try to meditate daily/nightly

And above all remember—Aim for progress and not for perfection.

What is one of your Scorpio goals?

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Looking back at January of 2022: Reading goals on track, others are lagging

So, we’re officially a month into 2022—January has somehow come and went. I’d like to say that I’m going to be even more productive than last year—and I know I will be more productive, but how much more—well that is the question.

I feel like January has been a ‘tester’ month. I started out with large plans, and then the inner critic came out and tossed them all into the wind. I’m realizing that I need to find a ‘harmony’ if you will with my inner critic—a time when I’m more than willing to say ‘I’m done’ for the day, and a time when I politely tell my inner critic that there is still work to be done before playing ‘hokey’.

So, we’re now about six weeks shy of starting year three of the pandemic (the US started shutting things down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m scared that we’re starting to ‘normalize’ this damn virus and all its variants. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘December in Review’ on January 1st, I noted that we had reached almost 55.7 million cases and now as of January 31st—we have reached a little over 76.2 million cases (that is 20 million cases in a month). The numbers are going up due to the omicron variant that is more contagious than the previous variants (and doesn’t seem to care if one has had their vaccine and booster shots or not).

Its looking like the younger kids (under the age of five) could be eligible for vaccines come as early as March or April—that means if everyone does their part, we may just be able to see the end of the pandemic within a year or so. Because, as I mentioned last month—the only way this pandemic is going to get under control is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and also listening to those who have decades of experience working with infectious diseases.

I managed to get several posts published on the blog/website during January—but I didn’t get to updating/modifying the last set of pages I’ve been needing to—again the inner critic won that round of ‘battles’. I’d mentioned that I’d removed the games I’d been playing on the kindle at the end of December—only to re-download and overplay them again this month. I deleted them from both the kindle and my amazon cloud today—so there is won’t be giving into any urge to download to play occasionally.

But before I can look ahead to setting goals for February, I need to look back at the goals I set for January and how I did with each of them.

The goals for January included:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Continue with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 (may only be M-F)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction book BINGO card
  4. Continue setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond)
  5. Read two to four (if not more) fiction books (and write mini-book reviews to be posted on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/ Limited spending week
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  10. Assignments for the diamond group
  11. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card

So how did I do with each of them?

130-155,000 steps: I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps (144,123 steps or 58.91 miles to be exact). There was a walk at Boomer Lake, and a walk with Chaos through the neighborhood this month. I would have preferred to surpass the 155K steps—but I didn’t, though I did get past the bare minimum number of steps.

Continuing with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100: This didn’t really happen. I started it back up at the beginning of the month, but just didn’t feel like pushing play daily. I’ve realized that this is a ‘theme’ at times for me—I complete a program, decide to repeat it and then fizzle for a while before I actually manage to repeat the program (happened with LIIFT4).

Currently I’m thinking of just putting on music and lifting weights three to four times a week, streaming a yoga/Pilates/cardio workout once or twice a week, and then trying to get in a walk on the other day of the week. We’ll have to see how this plan goes.

Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction BINGO card:

I managed to finish reading the following books:

‘Work Quilting’ by Vicki Walton

‘Girl, Take Back Your Career’ by Solange Lope

I’m now bouncing between several other non-fiction books (like I usually do), though some of them aren’t currently on the 2022 non-fiction BINGO card.

Continuing setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond):

I mentioned in my Capricorn New Moon goal review post that I’d let my imposter syndrome/inner critic derail me for a good portion of the month, so this was one of the goals that fell by the wayside.

Read two to four (if not more) fiction books:

I managed to read quite a few fiction books this month, though I only wrote and posted mini-book reviews for two of them.

The ‘new’ books I read during January included:

Dusk Unveiled (Ravenwood Coven #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

Nothing But Ink (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3.5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

The following books by Michele Miller:

From the Wreckage

Out of Ruins

All That Remains

West: Male POV

Into the Fire

After the Fall

Until We Crash

The entire Maverick Billionaire series by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully; the seventh was just released and I went back and read the first six that I’d bought over the years.

Inked Fantasy by Carrie Ann Ryan

In addition to several ‘re-reads’, that I decided I didn’t need to list out, but I am keeping track of in a spreadsheet so that I can include them in my end-of-the-year total.

No spend days/no spend weeks/Limited spending month:

Nope—January was a bad month in terms of spending. I did delete various games again from the kindle, and then went ahead and deleted them from the ‘cloud’ as well. Hopefully this will help me really curb the impulsive spending.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings

There was some time spent outdoors this month. With the temperatures bouncing back and forth—there were days spent sitting outdoors, while the next day I barely stepped foot outside.

Mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings only happened really for the first half of the month, and then inner critic/imposter syndrome derailed me.

Craft time:

I did a little crafting throughout the month (some photography, and color by number). I’m going to try to start another abstract cross-stitch project this coming month as a way of switching things up.

Continue working on updating the blog/website:

Nope. I only managed to post nine blog posts last month, though there was a decent amount of traffic to the page (at least according to wordpress analytics). This will probably be yet another goal for the next two or three months (as I don’t see me getting all the pages I needed redone done in just a couple of weeks).

Assignments for the diamond group:

This has been slightly slow going—remember the saying ‘you are your own worse enemy?’—Well that has been me. I’ve been getting in my own way on a lot of the assignments. I’m slowly working through the mindset/reflective questions (and am thinking that at least one or two of them may become a slightly longer ‘essay’).

There is still another month or so of the group—and I’m aiming to transition by the end of the summer (or at least then find a part time job possibly on campus since I’ll be really tight on funds by then).

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card:

I’m working through two of the courses on the BINGO card:

Write Your Way to Freedom (a course on becoming a freelance copywriter), and How to work for yourself (an course on Udemy talking about freelancing/side-hustle)

But I did finish watching two other short ‘courses’ on Skill Share:

Productivity Basics: How to become more productive in 4 steps

Personal and Lifestyle Branding: Building your story

It is slightly funny how I started the month with big plans to be highly productive (and even watched a small course on it)—and ended the month being somewhat unproductive.

While I wasn’t perfect with all the goals (and some I wasn’t even in the ballpark of being ‘okay’ with)—acknowledging those mistakes are progress in and of themselves.

I’ve deleted all the games on the kindle that I would spend way too many hours and way too much money on playing. While I bought quite a few books this past month—I read most of them (at least most of the fiction books I’d bought). I’ve also realized that I do get antsy during the day (at times), and that I really do need to find a variety of recipes for protein-rich breakfasts (since I’m pretty certain I’m not getting nearly as much protein as I should be getting).

I’m still debating on whether or not to do the monthly spending challenge updates (especially in light of how much I spent this month)—but it is a way of keeping myself accountable.

So, January wasn’t the ‘perfect’ month—but I’m not aiming for perfection, I’m aiming for progress, and progress was made.

I read two non-fiction books, and have started several others (and I’m over halfway through one of those), I watched two short courses, and spent part of the time earlier this month working through a couple of other courses.

I deleted the games (not just from the kindle, but from the amazon cloud as well)—that means I have to ‘search’ for them if I want to download them again, and not to mention having to ‘start’ from the beginning.

The goal is still to ‘change’ this year—getting a remote position, starting the freelance side-gig, and everything else that I want to be trying to do—I’m not going to let ‘Pam’ stop me, she may slow me down quite a bit—but I’m going to keep moving forward.

Therefore the goals for February will include:

  1. 120-140,000 steps
  2. Daily Intentional Movements (walks, chores, lifting weights, yoga, and so forth)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book (preferably from the BINGO card, but not required)
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (and have mini book reviews posted on the blog and other sites)
  5. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Daily craft time
  8. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course on the 2022 e-course BINGO card

In addition to the above goals—I’m also going to work on improving my time and project management skills as well (as being better at both will help me reach the above goals and all other goals as well).

While I may have ‘missed’ a few goals (or at least completed ‘half’)—I still made progress. Knowing that I was sabotaging myself, and how I was doing it—half the battle, the other half is determining how to ‘fix’ the sabotaging problems so that I am productive as I go forward.

What are some of your favorite time/project management tips or tricks?

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Review of Taurus goals: slow progress, but still progress

So the moon will be entering its last full moon stage for 2021 over the weekend. For most of us within the US that will be today—December 18th. That means there are basically only two weeks left in the year—fourteen days, and then it will be 2022. But before I look ahead to the next full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Taurus full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I set for the Taurus full moon included:

  1. Starting my second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Continuing to mend my relationship with food and movement
  3. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  4. Work on updating my LinkedIn profile
  5. Get back into meditating nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

I’ve been ‘on/off’ in terms of doing Morning Meltdown 100—not because I don’t like the program (I really do like it), but its more of needing to get the dogs out the room, have the workout done by a certain time on certain days of the week, and just finding the ‘energy’ to push play.

I’m hoping that once I have the numerous presents in the bedroom wrapped and set out next week, and things slightly rearranged again, I’ll be in the mindset to start pushing play again. I have decided that one of the goals for 2022 is 365 days of intentional movement.

Breakfast is still my ‘hardest’ meal to eat—I’m still trying to ‘attach’ positive feelings to the meal and the start of the day. In the past, I’d usually be quickly eating breakfast to get out the door by a certain time to catch the bus, the train, or bike to work to get my day started. It always marked the ‘start’ of the day, whether or not I wanted the day to ‘start’.

That is one reason why I’d like to start my own business and do freelancing—I can decide when to start the day. Breakfast wouldn’t necessarily be the ‘start’ of the day—it could be the ‘mini-break’ in the morning.

Updating the blog/website again fell by the wayside this past month. I think the problem has been my inner critic/imposter syndrome winning those ‘unheard’ arguments I’ve been having with myself.

I know that in order to succeed at setting up a freelance business—I need to have a portfolio of different pieces written and published, both here on the blog and other sites as well (such as LinkedIn, Medium, and other sites)—I have a literal ‘laundry’ list of ideas I’d like to write about—I just need to pick one, and go with it as my first piece.

I’m slowly updating the LinkedIn profile, and realize that with having joined an larger accountability group within the one professional development group I’m in—I should have it updated within the next few months, showcasing my desire to pivot in the direction of remote/online/freelance writing and/or data analysis.

In terms of the nightly meditation—I’m doing it, but not how I’d been doing it earlier in the year (lighting candles, and sitting on the floor). Instead, after reading I’ll sit quietly in bed and try to focus on my breathing for a couple of minutes before lying down and falling asleep.

So, the goals were semi-met (mending one’s relationship with food and movement isn’t something that can occur within a short time frame) during the Taurus full moon. I’ve realized that between the time change, season change, and my inner critic/imposter syndrome I have the tendency to focus on things that allow me to ‘escape’ mentally, but don’t help me reach my goals. The focus for the New Year will be trying to catch that ‘escape mentality’ and only allow it to flourish every so often.

How have you been managing your stress and/or anxiety over the past year and a half?

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Balancing the coin between personal and professional development goals

So the moon entered its latest full moon stage last night (November 19; I’m a day or so behind in my writings). This means that there are only ten days left in November, and forty-one days left in 2021. Hopefully 2022 will be a slightly mellower than 2021 has been.

Since we’re into fall (or early winter), I will hopefully be getting a walk in this weekend—but remembering all camera gear, that way if I need the longer lens for the ducks in the middle of the lake, I’ll have them.

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

Have I been lazy or overly self-indulgent this month?

Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

Have I done enough exercise?

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

  1. Yes, I have been slightly lazy and self indulgent this month, so far. I need to get back into a fitness routine, which means having the dogs and cats out of the room by no later than quarter after eight so I can do a twenty to thirty minute workout. I also need to quit spending money on the silly game I’ve been playing for the past couple of weeks as well. November is shaping up like March in terms of splurging.
  2. Looking back at last year’s answer: I’ve never really been one for status symbols. I’m not obsessed with money—though I’m now really thinking more on the direction(s) for my transition, since I’ve managed to run through a good amount of my savings during the past two years.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through grad school (and all four positions afterwards as well). Last year I mentioned how I was only slightly jealous of countries that were handling the pandemic decently—and those are the ones I’m still slightly jealous of. The only thing I’m becoming slightly possessive over is my ‘me time’ or my quiet time—time where I’m really not having to deal with other people, and its one of the reasons I’m really leaning in the remote/contract/freelance direction—I can have my waking up time in the mornings.
  4. This is a yes/no question. No, in the sense I don’t like the phrase ‘comfort eating’. Food is meant to comfort and fuel us–calling it ‘comfort food’ can have a ‘negative’ feel to those who are trying to heal their relationship with food. Yes, in the sense that I’m eating foods that ‘comfort’ me–some may have a little more nutritional value than others.
  5. We finally got our Wi-Fi problem corrected. This means that I should be able to stream workouts, without there being constant buffering. I will probably start my second round of morning meltdown 100 on Monday.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves.

For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), I’m still not working, therefore that means focusing on other relationships—(family, and friends).

In terms of trying to spend time with friends—we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and therefore it isn’t safe to really get together with anyone outside of family. In terms of family—it isn’t safe to try to visit anyone who is living out of state—that means I’m usually just around my parents (and my younger brother since he moved back to town).

This has been another weird year (we’re still in the grasp of the pandemic, even though vaccines are available for everyone over the age of five; we have competent people in the White House, but the world is still tumbling in a downwards spiral), and I acknowledge that I’m still trying to do the best that I can—even if it looks like I’m moving backwards in some areas.

So if I were to pick a couple of things to work on during the Taurus full moon period they would be:

  1. Start another round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Continue mending my relationship with food (start eating yogurt/fruits/nuts again for breakfast at least two days a week)
  3. Continue working on updating the blog/website to focus on the slight ‘swerve’ towards adding in more science/edical, health/wellness, and personal/professional development writing pieces
  4. Work on updating my LinkedIn profile to showcase my interest in moving towards more of a writing career (key words, companies to follow, and building up my network in those areas)
  5. Get back into a nightly meditation routine

In order to try to finish 2021 on the ‘right’ note—there is quite a bit of computer work to be done, and I know that if I start again with fitness (and getting in more protein), I will be able to get my anxiety and stress under control.

How have you been managing your stress and/or anxiety over the past year and a half?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Limited-spending Challenge Check-in #7: still splurging on the e-books

So, it’s that time again–checking in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

A brief recap for those who are new to the blog–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and totally splurging), I would do ‘limited’ spending months, and items would fall into one of two categories: needed or splurges.

I did really well with the challenge in January, and then started slipping a little each month since (I think I got a little too proud of myself and the inner critic/imposter syndrome has been slowly derailing me since). Last month (June) I planned on doing a ‘rebound’ and really honoring the challenge, but still ended up splurging a little. Though if you don’t count the books (I am a total impulsive book buyer, especially in terms of e-books), I did okay.

So how did I do for July?

Well, there were still purchases, and a few splurges.

I bought myself an early birthday present of two new pairs of workout leggings (also to be worn throughout the year).

I bought a few ‘physical’ books–but they’re to serve as ‘references’ as I move forward in science communications/education:

  1. Medical writing: A guide for clinicians, educators, and researchers by Robert Taylor
  2. Molecular and Cellular Biology of Viruses by Phobe Lostroh
  3. AMA Manual of Style, 11th Edition by the JAMA Network Editors

Then there were the e-books:

  1. A Tainted Mind (Windsor Series #1) by Tamsen Shultz
  2. What if it does work out? How a Side Hustle can Change Your Life by Susie Moore
  3. Wiretaps and Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday
  4. The Misters: Seven book box set by JA Huss
  5. The Varsity Dad Dilemma by Lex Martin
  6. African Goddess Initiation: Sacred Rituals for self-love, prosperity, and joy by Abiola Abrams
  7. The Dark Emeralds Series (#1-3) by Jerry Lambert
  8. The Mixed Six-Pack (#1-3) by Danika Bloom
  9. Forever & Storm (the last two Linear Tactical books that I was missing) by Janie Crouch
  10. Absolution (Anderson & Costello #1) by Caro Ramsay
  11. The Girl in the Motel (Joe Court #1) by Chris Culver
  12. Shadow Forces by Camilla Black and Kimberly Griggs
  13. The Perfect Death (Brannon House #1) by Stacy Clafin
  14. Cunning Devil (Lost Falls #1) by Chris Underwood
  15. More of Us to the West (The Adrift #1) by Trinity Dunn

In addition to the dozen or so that I got for ‘free’ through various promotions last month. I’ve realized that the biggest problem–seeing all the ads on Facebook for the various books. I think that is how I found basically all of the e-books, was through those ads. I need to start using the time management app Self Control again, and then only be on Facebook in the evenings for specific reasons (that way hopefully limit the possible splurges and new author buys).

The cost of the three physical books was probably equal to the cost of the e-books for the past month or so (and I won’t even add in the cost of the ‘physical’ books that I bought back in June), since the larger the book (and/or hardback), the pricier the book. I know that I could have gotten the ‘physical’ books as e-books, but in terms of ‘reference’ books, for the most part I prefer to have the physcial book.

I did add another e-course to the list: How to write Patient Materials offered by Health Writer Hub. This is a three-week course, which is self-paced, with lifetime access (which is nice, since I’m way behind schedule on completing it).

While I added the above course to the list of things to work through, I did decide against adding in others (including learning how to set up a freelance writing business, and a personal development/health course). The goal now for the last five months of the year is to work through several of the large courses that I bought, read more of the books I bought (though I still have a list of books that have been preordered throughout the rest of the year), possibly only buy another three to four ‘reference’ books, and ‘honor the limited spending challenge’.

I’m hoping that for the last five months, the main purchases will be health/beauty items, dog treats, and the possible three or four other ‘reference’ books that I may find beneficial to have (such as biostatistics for dummies, and statistics for dummies).

Curious–how many fiction books do you read a year, and who are some of your automatic-buy authors you follow?

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Stretching the comfort zone by introducing the bounce zone

So I decided earlier this month to ‘update’ my comfort zone diagram, as it had been almost three months since I drew the first one. Then it took several days to decide what to ‘write and share’ about it, as there is a ‘character limit’ for a LinkedIn post versus a LinkedIn article (and I’m not quite up to ‘writing’ personal/professional development LinkedIn articles yet).

Luckily, that (character limit) isn’t really a problem with blog posts. So, this post is an expansion of the LinkedIn post that I did earlier in the week.

First comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram

Looking at the first diagram and reflecting/pondering on what could be moved around in the various zones, I realized that I actually needed to add a zone–the bounce zone.

This is the zone/area of things that I’m doing on a somewhat consistent basis, but they haven’t become ‘comfortable habits’ yet.

Introducing the bounce zone……

When I looked at the newest version of the diagram I realized several things:

  1. The professional development area hasn’t been ‘stretched’ as much as the personal development area
  2. I’ve unintentionally allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to run the show for the last month or so by falling into overthinking and the analysis/paralysis loop
  3. I’ve been uncomfortable with the fact that I’m still unsure of the direction(s) I want to go in terms of my job transition
  4. I’m also still slightly uncomfortable sharing the fact that I have a blog up and running

These realizations had me looking back at this quote that I had highlighted in ‘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:

“When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you’ve gotten what you came for; you completed your mission. […] That’s why you lose interest: not because you’re flawed or lazy or unable to focus but because you’re finished.”

Re-reading that quote had me realizing the following:

  1. While I can’t control how others perceive (or like) my blog or writing style(s), I can control how I react.
  2. I won’t know if a particular direction will work in terms of a job transition, unless I investigate them more (which means getting out of the comfort zone)
  3. I am making progress forward, even if it looks like baby-steps or crawling to the outside world–progress is being made.

Therefore with summer around the corner–it is time that I start getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable (I can even start small, since baby steps are better than large leaps). I fully acknowledge that not everyone will like what I’ve written (or how I write) or even how I have the blog/website set up, but I need to continue in my ‘lane’ to find my ‘tribe’.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been overthinking–thinking about the various learning curves (for new subjects), the vast amount of information (for any subject), and wondering how to break everything down into easier to handle goals.

Therefore I’m slowly creating a multi-prong/step approach to continuing to stretch the comfort zone, while dealing with my inner critic/imposter syndrome.

The multi-prong step/approach is going to include the following:

  1. I’m creating a ‘bingo-like’ card that has different items listed. I’m saying ‘bingo-like’ in the fact that I’ve expanded it from a 5×5 grid to a 7×8 grid with no free space. The columns will be numbered 1-8, and the rows will be 1-7
  2. Each square will either contain a book to read, or a topic to investigate (or review). There will be two fitness squares–one will be automatically selected as a ‘continual square’ for the time frame needed to complete the listed programs.
  3. I will be making use of multi-sided dice (more than 1-6) for picking ‘squares’ to focus on
  4. I’m slowly creating the ‘rules’ for the game
  5. Once a square has been completed, I’ll stamp it with the check-mark stamp I bought earlier this year.

A longer (more fleshed out) post will be up by the end of the week on the ‘game’ after I get everything figured out and ‘finalized’

As I mentioned yesterday with my update on my 100+ goals, the name of the blog/website will probably be changing come fall/winter when I have a better idea of the direction(s) that I’m headed in both in terms of personal/professional development and online services that I can provide to the greater public.

Have you done the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram before? How long did it take you to draw your first one? How often do you look back at it and revise it?

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