Tag: selfreflections

Capricorn New Moon: self-development, self-compassion, & defining my purpose/vision

So the moon will be entering the Capricorn constellation today, and it is also the first new moon transition of 2021. I’m hopeful that things are going to slowly start mellowing out over the next few weeks/months. Joe Biden & Kamala Harris will be getting sworn in as the new president & vice-president of the United States in a week. Hopefully all the knuckle-draggers and ass-hats will just slide back under their rocks for another couple of years. Though, white supremacy is an issue that we have to address as a country, specifically heterosexual male white supremacy (not to say that Caucasian women aren’t part of the problem–but the boy’s club is a bigger piece of the pie).

So one of the long-term goals I have is to try to consistently set and post goals for each new/full moon every month. I know that I missed several throughout 2020, so I’m hoping to be more consistent this year in setting, posting, and actually working towards the goals.

So, back to the first full moon of the year, which is happening tonight (or possibly last night depending on where you are in the world). The moon is moving through the Capricorn constellation, and according to “Moonology: Working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several things that one can do during this time:

Plan for next year

Be ambitious with your plans for the next year (or few years)

Be kind (to both yourself and others)

Cede control (don’t micromanage or manipulate others)

Establish traditions (also working on your reputation–both personal and professional)

Then one should also look to see what zone/house the constellation is traveling through. You can base it off of your star/sun, rising, or moon sign. I usually do all of mine using my rising sign: Scorpio, though I could do it with my star/sun sign (Virgo), or even my moon sign (Pisces).

So the new moon in Capricorn is entering my third house, or my communication zone. This is a time to concentrate on communication, and spending time with siblings and friends. So there are several things that one can do during this time (again, taken from “Moonology”):

Take a public speaking course

Read the books you’ve got stacked up

Take a short trip

Hang out with your siblings

Study a foreign language

Really listen to others

Write those letters you’ve been putting off

So looking at the above lists there are few things that I can cross off, since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic (and it’s difficult to be around anyone who isn’t living in your house). Therefore, I probably won’t be spending too much time with my siblings (namely my older brother who is out in California)–though I am helping the younger one move back to town. Traveling is still out of the question (even a short trip), and any courses need to be virtual and already purchased (I’m trying to do a limited spending year).

So if I were to take ideas from the two lists and compile a short goal list for the Capricorn new moon they would include:

Work on developing my vision of where I would like to be in 3-5 years and what I wouldlike to be doing. In the same note, write out very specific goals/milestones that will help me achieve said vision.

Read (or finish) at least two non-fiction books that I have on my curated 2021 to-read list; and read at least three fiction books.

Finish at least one e-course from my curated 2021 to-be-completed e-course list

Work on getting better at self-compassion.

The vision will probably be the hardest goal to be working on–and one reason (at least for me), is that I enjoy learning and jumping from topic to topic. So while people might think that scientific writing is the best (and it is one of the careers I’m looking into)–I want to possibly do something that allows me to bridge STEM with the more interdisciplinary fields (such as humanities and social sciences), plus figuring out how to give back in a way that helps to improve the educational system of the United States.

So I will be using the words I chose for 2021 as guidance: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

In addition, this month has already shown that I need to focus on ‘progress, not perfection’ and to quit reading the last chapter of my life and start writing the next one.

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reflections and planning for 2021: Cancer Full Moon Goals

So tonight is the last full moon of 2020–that means there will only be two days left in the year. This has been a very long year with everything that has happened, especially the SARS-CoV2 pandemic that we’re still in the middle of; while there have been two vaccines that have been granted emergency use–I’m not eligible for either of them until probably the summer time (I’m currently in tier four for OK in terms of need). Therefore I’m probably not going to be making any major plans for any type of traveling until maybe sometime in 2022 going towards 2023.

So the full moon tonight will be moving through the Cancer constellation. Looking within “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several questions that one can reflect on during this time:

Have I been insecure, clingy, and no fun this month?

Have I been coming at what I want sideways instead of tackling it head-on?

Have I been sulky, moody, brooding, or manipulative?

Have I been secretive, and possibly even a tad paranoid?

Have I had enough family time, or time with people who feel like family?

Well, if I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers this month would be as follow:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been insecure or clingy this month. While I’m still not 100% certain of what I want to do with my life–I have several ideas, and need to fine-tune a plan/schedule to be able to devote enough time to each potential project. In terms of not ‘being fun’–we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and therefore there really isn’t anything to do, if one is listening to the health officials and staying home. Finding time for hobbies, in addition to the different ideas for my career are on the agenda–I’ve realized over the past year or so, I do have the tendency to be laser-focused on one thing to the determinate of other things (for example–laser-focused on career/job/school and ignoring health/fitness/hobbies).
  2. Yes, I probably have been going at what I want sideways instead of tackling it head-on. I think I found it a little easier to do it this way, since I’m not 100% certain of what it is I want to be doing.
  3. No, I have not been sulky, brooding, or manipulative. Yes, I’ve been a little moody–but hello, we’re entering the tenth month of this damn pandemic–everyone is getting a little moody.
  4. No, I have not been secretive or paranoid.
  5. Yes, I have been having enough family time (again–there is a pandemic and I’m self-isolating at home with my parents; and we’ve seen my younger brother twice since it started. We’ll probably be seeing more of him once he moves back into town). I would love to spend more time with friends, but again–pandemic, and it really isn’t safe to be getting together with people who aren’t in your immediate family/household.

In addition to the above questions, the full moon in Cancer is also entering my ninth house. The ninth house is the “Big Picture” zone. Basically this zone deals with all things in terms of personal growth, professional growth, travel, religion and philosophy, and so forth.

There are actually two questions you can ask yourself in terms of the above topics:

Have you been fussing too much over the details of your latest problems or tasks?

Is your life and mind expanding or narrowing?

If I were to number the above questions 1 and 2, my answers would be as follows:

  1. This is both a yes and no answer. Yes, I have been fussing too much over the details. I like lists, and I also like to basically have an outline (or at least rough draft) for various projects before starting things. This is more difficult to try to do when you’re thinking of switching directions career wise–especially, if you’re still uncertain about the direction. So instead of doing various things like networking, reading, listening to podcasts, and so forth I’ve been trying to make lists of skills, jobs, companies–but always second guessing and asking myself–“is this really the direction you want to be going”, and more often than not the answer comes back “I have no idea”. I don’t think I’m fussing over the tasks, but that is mainly because I’m not certain of what those tasks should be.
  2. I think that I’m slowly getting back into a learning mindset, and therefore I am slowly starting to expand both my life and mind again. I fell into a ‘closed’ mindset for awhile, more out of self-preservation since I didn’t know what I was wanting to do with my life. I now realize that instead of investigating things and asking questions, networking, reading and trying to figure things out (basically where I am now)–I narrowed my focus to just getting through the day/week to the weekend, and that isn’t the best way to live one’s life.

So the goals for this full moon period may look like a long list–but a couple of them are hopefully going to be checked off the list before the New Year (as they’re part of another goal series that I’ll share in another post).

The goals for the Cancer Full Moon include:

  1. Continue with my night tarot/oracle card reading and brief meditation.
  2. Update various goal posts (150+goals in 2002 day [next installment will be in Feb]; Level 10 life)
  3. Develop a fluid schedule/planner
  4. Make a list of books (mainly non-fiction) to read in 2021 and e-courses to finish in 2021
  5. Read at least one personal/professional development book from said list
  6. Finish one small e-course from said list
  7. Renew one professional membership

And as always the following quotes are going to be coming with me into 2021: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerCraftsfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reviewing Gemini Full Moon Goals: improving, reflecting, and starting to plan for 2021

So we’re going to be entering the last full moon of the year (and December) on Tuesday.  That means there will literally be only two days before the end of 2020, and the start of 2021. This is one of the few years that I’m actually looking forward to staying up late to see the year out—and hopefully 2021 will be a lot more mellow, laid back, and more productive.

But before I can look the next full moon, or even start trying to look back on the month or year—it is time to look back at the goals that I set for the Gemini full moon and see how I did with each of them.

What were my goals for the Gemini full moon? They included:

            Read (or finish) at least two non-fiction books, and take (or highlight sections) notes in order to also post a book review on the blog (and possibly amazon as well).

            Continue to work on improving my evening/afternoon meditations.

            Get creative in figuring out an schedule/calendar for things. I’ve had ideas of doing everything from a ‘syllabus’ (treating different areas like they were ‘school subjects’) to making a to-be accomplished list. Needless to say neither has really stuck (though to be fair on the to-be accomplished list, the first draft was more of a brain dump). I may try to make a hybrid of the three—a brain dump, cleaned up into a to-be accomplished list, which can be formatted into one or more ‘syllabus’.

So how did I do with each of the goals?

In terms of reading/finishing two non-fiction books—I managed to start two new ones, but haven’t really finished any of them. I think that one part of my problem this year in terms of reading non-fiction books, I have SO many of them on my personal/professional/non-fiction reading list that at times it’s hard to choose which one to read at any given time. Another part of the problem is that sometimes I’m not in the mood to read non-fiction, so I will go read a fiction book instead (and I have managed to finish at least five fiction books during the Gemini full moon).

I am still improving my evening meditation routine. If I can manage to get my tarot/oracle card reading done prior to taking the dogs outside for their last romp—I can then meditate after I bring them in, instead of trying to get the card reading done and then meditate. Though this hasn’t happened as often as I like—therefore I may try to meditate and then do the card reading.

In terms of trying to develop an schedule/calendar, I’m going to be doing a couple of different things as we head into 2021. For starters I’ve created two ‘bingo cards’—one is a 2021 goal bingo card and the second is a 2021-2023 fitness program bingo card. I’m also going to be making a shorter list of books to read and e-courses to complete—and if I manage to finish everything on the lists, I will go back to the master lists and select some more to add to each list. I’m also going to start working on ‘channel switching’ (more on this in a later post); that once I get bored (or have reached a particular time limit) with something I will go do something totally opposite. This means that if I’m doing a lot of computer work—I will go do some chores, or a walk, or play with the dogs; and if I’m doing chores, I’ll take a break and read or just sit and be for a while.

It may not have been perfect this past month in terms of meeting these goals—but this is the last month of 2020, holidays, and lets just say that December 2020 is a month that I’m more than willing to ignore for the rest of time.

I am still going to be using the following quotes as we move into 2021: “Progress over perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”; and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Time for reflection, planning, & goal setting: Sagittarius New Moon goals

So the moon will be entering the Sagittarius constellation today, and its last ‘new moon’ phase for 2020. That means there are 18 days left in December and 2020. Truthfully I’m more than ready for the month and the year to be over (but more on that in the month in review post).

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

Looking at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, you can:

            Get away—travel.

            Study.

            Search for meaning.

            Laugh.

            Be grateful.

With the moon entering into Sagittarius, this is also my second house or the “cash, property, and values” zone.  Since the world is still in the grasp of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, the holidays may not shape up the way they do normally for people (I’m actually hoping that people are smart and stay home and have very small gathering for the holidays—set up zoom meetings with family that live far away). I haven’t really been in the holiday spirit the past couple of years—at least not wanting to have a lot of gifts under the tree for myself.

There are several reasons: the main is that hopefully within a year or so I’m going to be moving and I don’t want to be adding any more boxes than what I’m already going to have to add to the ones in my storage unit.

As I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts—I’ve been thinking of working towards a minimalist lifestyle. Luckily the lifestyle can be tailored—as I know I will have quite a few tarot/oracle card decks (one thing that I am trying to limit—but at the same time I love), but will have very few books on the shelves. The books that will be on the shelves will mainly be school textbooks that will be serving as reference books for various posts/courses that I’m also thinking of developing in the future. Anyway, back to the second house—the cash, property, and value zone.

So some of the things that you can do during this time include (again, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles”):

Start a savings account.

Pay your bills, taxes, debt, etc.

Hire an accountant, if it’s all too much.

Showcase your talents.

Get a neck and shoulder massage.

Invest in an expensive neck cream.

So if I look at the above two lists, there are some items that I can simply check off already—I have a savings account (though it has been used over the past year), and I’m paying my bills, and trying to get my debt down. I would love to travel—but again, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and the holidays. Even if it wasn’t the holidays—travel (especially plane travel) is on hold until I’m able to get the vaccine for the virus and that probably is going to be late summer/early fall 2021 at the earliest. Also—not getting a massage, because hello—pandemic and not wanting to be in close contact with strangers.

With the way the year has started and is ending—I am working on trying to develop a daily gratitude practice, where I write down at least one thing I’m grateful for daily; I’m also trying to find humor in the day (but again with the state of the world—this is a little difficult).

So if I were to make a small goal list for the Sagittarius new moon period, the goals would include:

  1. Develop a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule for getting various things done.
  2. Setting up a goal list for 2021 (working via the larger 150+goals in 2002 days post)
  3. Starting to work through different e-courses (taking notes for future posts)
  4. Setting up a dedicated work station, and a semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedroom

And as always as I head into the last few weeks of December, I am going to remind myself to keep the following phrases/quotes front and center:

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

While 2020 did NOT go the way I was hoping—it is almost over, and here is to a hopefully joyous and prosperous 2021.

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Photography Challenge Day 13: Ruby-throated hummingbird

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

I’ve always been intrigued by hummingbirds—they’re small, quick, and they beat their wings constantly.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to remember that when I was younger I felt a little like a hummingbird.

In that I could dive into a subject, immerse myself, learns as much as I could and then move on.

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the rose-of-Sharon

I did this for class projects: there was the paper over the Culture of India (and I covered everything from architecture to music to philosophy), to diving into the history of Peru (though I don’t think I ever wrote a paper over this—so that may be something to go back to) and medieval England.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds—I have quite a few bird encyclopedias in my storage unit, plus numerous articles that I had clipped out of the papers as I was growing up to make a scrap book on them.

So what does fascination with birds, culture and history of other countries, and everything else have to do with hummingbirds?

Ruby-throated hummingbird at another rose-of-Sharon

When I had taken the Clifton Strength Assessment test back in both 2017 and 2019, my top strength was learner.

This trait fits people who have a love of learning (though they have to be drawn to the topic), love digging into new things, love researching topics and ideas and gathering information.

These individual have been likened to hummingbirds in that they will deeply investigate on subject before moving on to another—similarly how hummingbirds will investigate flowers for their nectar before going to the next flower.

Until I took the test and saw the top strength as learner—I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning, reading, investigating, and putting the information together in some format.

Getting my undergraduate degrees took awhile—because I was ‘bouncing’ between ‘flowers’ (aka different subjects)—but I did manage to get my two degrees and minor (though now looking back, I should have taken that last six hours of sociology to get that minor as well).

Graduate school, allowed me to dive deeply into a subject that was still fairly new and I was learning different techniques and systems. The first postdoc was where the love of learning started to dwindle—while the topic was slightly different from grad school—what I was being taught really wasn’t, and therefore I got bored (only realizing now, exactly why I was getting bored so early—if I had realized it then, things might have gone differently had I asked for either another project or figured out a way to strike up a collaboration with another lab).

The second postdoc allowed me to dive into another system and I learned quite a bit—though I didn’t like being told to read up on other things in my spare time. I learned in both staff positions—more so in the first (only because I was working with undergrads in several different labs on several different projects) than the second. It has taken about ten months of self-reflection to realize that one of the problems that I had with the last position—I was bored; while I had been told I could ‘collaborate’ with other labs on projects, the only labs I could think of would have required me doing experiments and those aren’t something that you can schedule to only take 1 to 2 hours a day.

As I now move forward—I have to remember that I’m like a hummingbird, where there needs to be ample ‘flowers’ around for me to sample; I may hang around one or two longer than others, but at least I won’t get bored.

This is something that I will keep in the forefront as I start looking towards either my industry transition or freelancing/working for myself–I need variety to keep busy–so for me (at least mentally) it is better to be both a jack-of-all-trades and a ‘specialist’.

Have you taken the Clifton Strength Assessment Test? What was your top strength?

No Comments bird watchingcareerflowersnaturePersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

Reflections: 10 pieces of advice to my younger self–college edition.

As I sit here, my eyes are bouncing back and froth from the blank word document to the to-do list in the bullet journal. My mind is racing with the numerous thoughts on different topics I could cover—either through a new blog post here, a new page attached to the website, or even possibly venturing into publishing my first “article” on LinkedIn.

I have to pause, take a deep breath and remind myself—“Progress over perfection”. The though of publishing anything on a site that has millions of users terrifies me—so I’ve slowly started by sharing a photograph and a quote. Neither has garnered a huge number of likes or comments, but that’s okay—I’m dipping my toes into the water of LinkedIn publishing.

Why does the thought of publishing an “article” on LinkedIn terrifies me? In the most simple of terms: imposter syndrome. While I have my PhD (something that only a small percentage of people—less than 2% of the total world population holds a PhD), and I can hold a conversation with people—it is that little voice that’s says they know more than I do, and I’m only going to make a fool out of myself.

I’m slowly trying to convince that ‘perfectionist/quiet/wallflower’ persona that it’s fine that others know more than I do on various subjects, and everyone makes a fool out of themselves at least once in their life, and they survive.

While this has been my ‘persona’ around most people—the ‘perfectionist’ has only tried to pop out in the past few years—mainly in terms of trying to figure out what to do next career wise. She is scared of making a jump that could possibly end as abruptly as her first postdoc position did, and not have a backup plan.

While this is a legitimate concern (especially now with the SARS-CoV2 pandemic still holding on), she is forgetting that she is resilient and can bounce back.

I’ve realized that there are several things that I wish I had done differently throughout my undergraduate and graduate careers, and if I could send a message back to my younger self, I would tell her:

  1. Take the time to actually take a couple of business courses (such as marketing or finance)—don’t judge all courses by the single one you took. They will be beneficial down the road.
  2. Don’t feel rushed to declare your major; also don’t feel pressured by various people to take certain courses. If you want to take the intro foreign language course—take it (again, it will be beneficial down the road).
  3. Don’t just live in the lab—try to find an organization (or two) on campus to join (and actually participate in).
  4. Network early—I know that you’re an introvert with deep reservations against talking in front of people, but you never know who you’ll talk with that could spark an interest for you in something different.
  5. Go to seminars that are offered by different departments—again keeps your interests broad.
  6. Once you’re in graduate school—again take additional classes that interest you. You might have to audit them (since they may not go with your plan of study)—but they will keep you well rounded.
  7. Read, read, read—not just the papers in your field, but whatever other subjects interest you. Also remember that you can also stretch your fiction/non-fiction wings as well.
  8. Continue to network—try to get to conferences, go to other seminars, get involved in different campus organizations.
  9. Figure out what your plans A, B, C, and D are—nothing is going to go the way you originally thought, so now is the best time to be trying to determine which direction(s) to swerve when things start to turn south. Start developing your own personal/professional development plans for your future.
  10. After graduation and you move—still make time to network in your new location, learn about different paths you can take with your degree, and above all else—realize a short break from ‘learning’ is fine but stretching too long will cause the anxiety to reach new levels and you’ll feel like you’re on a hamster wheel.

I’m getting a little better at some things:

  1. I’m remembering how much I did enjoy learning, and the different subjects that I enjoyed (such as ancient/medieval history, art history, geography, archaeology, paleontology, anthropology, in addition to science).
  2. There is no time frame/clock on when to finish the various e-courses that I’ve bought—but working through one or two a month will help me get back into the ‘learning’ game.
  3. That slowing down is actually okay—going full speed for so long, I almost hit that brick wall, but managed to slow down enough just before seeing it.
  4. Everyone’s paths are different—there are those who know exactly what they want to do, and they don’t deviate from the path; and then there are those who try numerous things before finding what it is they were meant to do—I’ve realized that I’m in the second boat.
  5. Having conversations with people on-line. While still difficult, I’m making slow progress on this front—baby steps.
  6. Changing directions in terms of the career—there is going to be a learning curve, and there will be people who know more on the subject(s) than I do—and that’s perfectly fine. There is more to life than just work, and it’s fine to take things slow.
  7. Realizing that everyone is probably going to have an opinion on what I’m doing—I shouldn’t internalize any of their opinions, I can acknowledge them, but I need to listen to my own internal voice (intuition).
  8. Working through the various issues (and triggers) of my anxiety will take time—no one is perfect, and I really don’t need to give in depth explanations to anyone in terms of certain aspects of life.
  9. While making personal/professional development plans are a pain in the ass—they are beneficial. I just need to remember that I don’t have to try to cover all aspects of life in a single year—I can focus on one or two things, and then build/branch out from there for the following year(s).
  10. And finally—realizing that the first person who I should be absolutely loyal to is myself. I need to step into my own power, embrace my strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and everything in between. I acknowledge that by being (and staying true) to myself—not everyone will like the ‘new’ me, and that is perfectly fine. It’s time to figure out who really belongs in my ‘tribe’ and who only liked me for trying to blend into society.

All in all, the past ten months have been productive in terms of self-reflection—I know where I slipped up in terms of professional development when I was younger. It may take a little more work to play ‘catch-up’, but if I go at my own pace I will get there. Anxiety isn’t the happiest of companions to have on the trip—but if I make time to sit and talk with ‘her’ weekly I think we can find ways of working together on this journey called life. And finally—realizing that it is perfectly fine being a compassionate, caring, empathic person. While I’m not sure when those traits became politicized—I’m not going to apologize for being that type of person, neither am I going to apologize for being more spiritual than religious.

Have you ever wanted to write a letter to your younger self?

No Comments Reflections

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”.

No Comments AstrologyBook ReviewsFull Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Month in Review: July 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

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

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

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

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

So how did I do with each goal?

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

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

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

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

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

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

And finally,

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

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

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

Therefore, the goals for August will include:

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

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

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

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

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

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

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

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

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

100+ Goals to accomplish in 2002 Days

Start Date: July 19, 2020

End Date: January 10, 2026

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

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

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

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

            Try to organize the challenge list into categories

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

            Balance is needed

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

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

            Always strive for progress over perfection

So below are my goals—but broken up into different categories (such as professional development/career, personal development, both personal/professional development, travel, health & fitness to name a few categories). I’m going to extend the time frame to 2002 days (which is not quite 5 ½ years—but considering 2020 has started the decade off with a global pandemic—this a good time frame).

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

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

Professional development and career:

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

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

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

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

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

            10. More interacting on Linkedin

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

                        12. Commenting on posts

                        13. Giving/Asking for recommendations

                        14. Start writing my own posts

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

            16. Renew professional memberships

Both Personal and Professional Development

            17. Become fluent in Spanish

            18. Become fluent in German

            19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books

            21. Finish the books on scientific writing

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

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

            24. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photography

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

                        28. Update photography pages on blog

            29. Make my own jewelry

            30. Learn to cross-stitch

            31. Get a new sewing machine

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

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

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

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

            36. Start writing a book

            37. Learn Photoshop

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

            39. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            40. Learn basic sign language

            41. Start a virtual book club

Finances

            42. Create monthly budgets

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

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

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

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

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

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

Fitness & Health

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage at least 2000 days of Beachbody workouts

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

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

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt

                                    54. 10 Rounds

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

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

                                    58. 22 Minute Hard Corps

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    61. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    62. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    63. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    64. 6 weeks of the work

                                    65. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    66. Brazil Butt Lift

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

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

                                    69. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    71. Muscle Burns Fat

                                    72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

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

                                    74. 9-week control freak

                                    75. Shawn Week

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

            76. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            77. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            78.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            79.  Hold a 90 second plank

            80.  Meditate nightly

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

            82.  60-80 oz of water a day

            83.  Stretch daily

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

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

Blog and Social Media

            86.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            87.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            88.  Finish blog to biz course

            89.  Launch a YouTube channel

            90. Launch an online course

            91. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            92. Rebrand myself (?)

            93. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            94. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            95. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            96. Publish at least two blog series

            97.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        98. Blog

                        99. Instagram

                        100. Facebook pages

                        101. Twitter

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

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

            104. Various top 10 author lists

            105. Various top 10 book series lists

            106. Launch a podcast

Spirituality

            107. Full/New Moon Goals

            108.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

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

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

Others

            111. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            112. Design a science based board game

            113. Create and update digital vision board

            114. Reorganize my storage unit

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

            116. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

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

            118. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

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

TV shows to binge watch

            120. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            121. Grimm

            122. The Librarians

            123. Once Upon A Time

            124. Blacklist

            125. Numbers

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

            126. Re-pierce my ears

127. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        128. Present at a scientific conference

            129. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

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

            131. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            134. Visit at least one new zoo

            135. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            137. Visit at least one new city

            138. Visit at least one new state

            139. See the northern lights

            140. Attend at least one blogging conference

            141. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            142. Swim with whale sharks

            143. Parasailing

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

Once I move:

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

            146. New couch & chair for living room

            147. New dresser for bedroom

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

            149. New TV & stand

            150. New desk/craft workstation

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

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

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

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

Self-isolation ramblings and Cancer New Moon Goals: 2 in 1

So this is going to be a mixture post—part reflections (and ranting) and then moving into making goals for the June new moon (yeah, summer solstice—though personally I can’t wait for 2020 to be over).

Okay, so I guess I haven’t done a new moon posting since March (which would have “restarted” the new moon calendar with Aries). I know that I missed posting both my review for the March full moon and then the April full moon goals—but I hadn’t realized that it stretched to missing two months for the new moon. So the new moons that I’ve missed setting goals for include: April (with the moon going through the Taurus constellation), and May (moon going through the Gemini constellation). Plus never posting a review of the goals I had made for the Aries new moon.

In all honesty, missing the posts have been due to a combination of forgetfulness (I’m still trying to figure out the best type planning system that I can stick with), and still trying to determine the healthiest way of dealing with extreme irritation and anger (the SARS-CoV2 pandemic is still raging, and will probably rage for quite awhile, especially here in the states). I know that I should just acknowledge the feelings and move on—and there lays the problem, trying to figure out how to move on. This pandemic has royally shaken the world—boarders have been closed, planes grounded, and countries going in and out (and possibly back into) lock-down to deal with this virus.

I had ideas of how 2020 was going to go—there was going to be at least one networking trip, and one (possibly two) trips just for the fun of traveling done sometime between April and October—well the networking trip in April never came to be (I actually totally forgot about it being moved online and virtual), and most countries while they’re reopening for tourists—US tourists aren’t allowed in yet. So if I’m thinking of any types of trips, they will need to be within the US—and that is a problem as most states are still in their first wave of the damn virus. So, the best I can do currently is to try and plan out trips that may (or may not) happen probably sometime after 2021.

I have also come to the conclusion that in terms of personal and professional development—it isn’t a short race, but life long journey and therefore I can (and should) slow down and actually try to start enjoying learning again. Previously I had been trying to get through various courses as fast as possible, and really not retaining that much information from the courses. Now I’m setting small realistic goals of doing one video per day (that way I can actually try to do and appreciate the assignments) instead of rushing through things.

Okay, so that was my mini-rant/reflections for the past few weeks and how I’m still struggling to find the best way to deal with things. Now to move to the Cancer new moon, the moon should have transitioned through the Cancer constellation (and it’s new moon phase) over the weekend, for us in the US is should have been on Father’s Day (which was Sunday).

So what are some of the things that one can focus on during the Cancer new moon?

            Family time (checking in with relatives)

            Banishing insecurity

            Get in touch with your caring nurturing side

            Review your goals

            Take a hot bath

So some of the things seem pretty straight forward (family time, reviewing goals, taking a hot bath), but others don’t seem that straight forward (banishing insecurity and getting in touch with your caring and nurturing side).

            In terms of getting in touch with your caring and nurturing side—basically this means that you’re going to try a little harder this month in terms of self-care. You’re going to try to rephrase negative self-talk into more positive self-talk, you’re going to take time to focus on your breath, and you are going to be more gentle and understanding with yourself.

            In terms of trying to banish insecurity—this means being honest with yourself in terms of different areas of your life. Do you feel insecure in an area? Fearful? Or are you being overly possessive of things? The best work is to try to identify and work at getting rid of barriers in different areas of life (if possible).

If one also looks to see what house the moon is moving through, it will give you a few other things to also take into perspective. For me, the moon is moving through my ninth house (or my big picture zone). This is all about adventure, travel, and personal development.

Well, thanks to the current global pandemic—there won’t be any physical traveling being done for probably at least another six to eight months. But there are other ways of “traveling”—reading, communicating with others (email, online meetings, phone calls), and writing (creative, poetry, and journaling). So what are some of the things that one can do in regards to their ninth house?

            Find a way to explore the world.

            Read those books you know you should be reading.

            Do a personal development course.

            Manifest a new spiritual teacher.

            Think about what you have faith in—and what you don’t

            Make a cyber pal on the other side of the world

            Have something you’ve written published

So it is fitting that the universe is pushing personal development again—this is something I do try to work on, but have realized that at times I make it a race (see how many courses I can finish), and then I’m unsure of what I’ve learned (or retained). So I’ve made a promise to myself to actually take my time doing personal development, and reflect on the different courses and information as I learn it (plus figure out how to then share that information with others).

So what are a few goals that I can set during this time?

            Continue reading the various personal/professional development books that I have (I think the total list is well over 360 books). I’m going to aim to finish at least two books during the next few weeks.

            Continue working through various e-courses. These courses vary in length (some are only thirty minutes long and others could be done over a couple of days). So I’m going to aim to finish possibly one course (or start two to three different courses on different subjects).

            Create a new 12-month goal/plan for various areas of my life (I don’t think I actually managed to do this during the Aries new moon).

            Continue meditating nightly.

            Try to get back into doing a daily tarot/oracle card reading (even if it isn’t shared on social media).

And remembering: Progress over perfection.

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