Tag: smallstepsbetterthanlargeleaps

Aquarius Full Moon Goals, a few days late…..

So the moon has transitioned into its full moon stage (either last night or the night before last—depending on where you live in the world). This means that we’re half way through August, and pretty soon we’re going to be entering the last few months of the year. I’ll be happy when the temperatures cool down—I’m getting tired of the triple digits combined with the high humidity.

So the moon has transitioned into Aquarius, and there are questions that one can ask themselves during this time (again, all questions come from “Moonology: Working with the magic of lunar cycles by Yasmin Boland).

Have I been pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life?

Have I been living too much in my head and not enough in my heart?

Have I been trying to do things my way, just for the sake of it?

Have I been trying too hard to befriend people, and for the wrong reasons?

Have I allowed myself to move forwards this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, I think that my answers would be as follows:

  1. Have I been too down to earth or rational lately? It depends on what one is talking about—how I see the world? Yes, I’m way to pragmatic in seeing that the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. I’m sure that there are people who say that I’m not being rational in how I’m handling my career transition (taking a reboot break), especially since there are signs that a recession could be coming. But I’ve always been a rational person, who likes to have an idea of any and all outcomes before deciding on doing something (hence why I’m still at home and working at my alma mater—I overthink and become paralyzed and stuck).
  2. This is a toss up—I’m usually over cautious (being in my head), but at the same time I’m trying to do more things that I enjoy (and that currently don’t pay the bills—photography, reading, being outdoors).
  3. This depends again on context—what are we talking about. With my job—I do things as written in the protocols. With my life—everything is up in the air, and it’s hard to do something a certain way if you have no idea of what you’re doing.
  4. I’m not someone who makes friends quickly, so I can safely say that I haven’t been trying to befriend people for any reason lately. I know that networking is an important part of job searching and career advancement. While I have an extensive network, I know that I need to actually start putting the work into those relationships—and this something that I’m going to focus on during my reboot break (though I will start doing a little more daily beforehand).
  5. I am slowly making progress on planning my reboot break, and am proud that I’m sticking firm with stating that I’m not signing an extension contract for my current position. I know that there is something more out there, I just have to be willing to move forward to find it—and the best way to move forward is to intentionally “close” a door—that way you have no choice but to move forward.

The Aquarius full moon is a time to find balance between having a few real relationships and being the super person of the month. It is also the time to reflect on things, and figure out how to let go of the things that are no longer helpful or nurturing.

In addition to being within Aquarius, it is also important to see what house the moon is passing through as well. Currently it is moving though my sixth house, or my daily work and health zone. Again, it will be time to reflect on things and figure out how to strike a balance that will bring some peace to one’s life.

Things that one can contemplate during this time:

            Giving up bad habits.

            Restarting an exercise routine.

            Going slow and steady at work.

            Fix the habits/routines that are no longer working for you.

            Start meditating.

            Take up yoga.

So it is fitting that I’m passing through the daily work and health zone—I know that I’ve let my fitness and health routine fall short a lot (I know I’m eating way to many sweets), and I know that there are a million other things I need to be working on as well. If I were to make a small list of goals for the Aquarius full moon they would include:

            Evening meditations—I’ve been good at managing at least two to three minutes. I’d like to work back up to doing five to ten minutes. Also I should try to figure out a way of meditating during the day (instead of going for a walk to buy chocolate, I should try to find a quiet spot to just sit and be for awhile).

            Getting back into a workout routine. While I may not be able to manage a daily workout—I’ll aim for trying to workout two or three days a week, and work up to doing a daily workout.

            Work on my reboot break and transition plans—journal any and all ideas. I have to remember that this is my path to walk, and what may seem strange to others may just work out perfectly for me.

No Comments AstrologyFitness ChallengesFull Moon GoalsLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspirituality

June in Review

So we’re officially halfway through the year now—that means there is only six months (or 184 days) left in the year. That means that sooner or later, I’m going to have to really start pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone in order to make any real significant changes. One major realization I’ve had this month, is that I keep falling into an almost cyclic habit of being on target with goals one month, and then falling short and/or not doing about half of work the following month.

June seems to have been the month where I managed to only hit probably about a third of my goals for the month. I need to draw out or plan some of the goals and actually look at them on a calendar (or a weekly/daily to-do list) and see if that helps me manage to move forward on some of the goals.

June goals were basically the same goals that I’ve had for the past few months, though I’ve added in the goal of working on my “reboot break” plan. The goals for June included:

At least 420,000 steps (14K/day)

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

Continuing with the photography challenge

Working on planning my “reboot break”

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

Continue to try to interact more on linkedin

Start back on a workout schedule (potentially alternating between weight training & cardio).

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta)

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read).

Read at least one scientific article a week and write a 500-word summary for a potential blog/science post.

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 420,000 steps (14K/day)

I managed to go above the minimum number of steps for the month, even though there were several days that I again fell below my goal of 14,000. My final total for the month was 463,429, which also means for the year I’m at 2,703,794. I’m on my way to hitting my yearly goal of five million steps, as long as I manage to hit at least 12,500 steps a day.

Striving to met my step goal has been one of the things that does keep me going—while it isn’t as calorie-consuming as some of the workouts, it is one workout I’ve managed to keep up with this year.

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

I only managed to finish reading one book in it’s entirety, and that was “The Latte Factor: Why you don’t have to be rich to live rich” by David Bach and John David Mann. I have several other books that I’m probably about a quarter to half way through reading, but I’ve spent more of the month re-reading other books that allow me to “escape reality” for awhile.

This has been one of my minor problems—I can finish reading several non-fiction books in a month, and then the following month, I may not even start one or if I do I may not finish it. I’m going to try to go back to where when I’m going between both fiction and non-fiction reading (this does help—I read personal/professional development for 30-45 minutes a day and then I go and read something that is more “escapism” for the evening.

Continuing with the photography challenge

I have managed to more or less keep up with the photography challenge. Though I did have to do a “catch-up” post at the end of the month. There were several days where I either couldn’t decide on a picture to share or I couldn’t figure out what to write with the picture I was thinking of sharing. One thing I’m going to try to do over the next couple of months is have a theme for a week within the photography challenge and see if that also helps to spark more creativity with the challenge.

Working on planning my “reboot break”

I’ve done a little work on my reboot break. I have acknowledged that I need one, and that it will probably be at least six to eight months (maybe a little less, maybe a little more). I want to get rid of quite of bit of my stuff—I don’t need all the clothes that I have, and I probably don’t need the majority of the movies either. While I don’t want to totally get rid of everything—I want to get rid of enough that I could comfortably live in a five hundred square foot apartment without feeling claustrophobic (like I did in Boston—only because I had way to much junk in a small confined area).

I also want to take the time to work on “me”—getting my physical, mental, and spiritual health back on the right path. Currently I’m feeling so burnt out, the only things I’m trying to do are my daily steps, hopefully meditating at least three nights a week, and cutting back on the sweets. I know that if I make the time I can get back on the right path and hopefully once I’m feeling better—everything else will fall into place as well.

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

While I didn’t go a full two weeks without spending money on campus, I did manage to limit the amount of spending to only about 1 day a week. Though there was a full week of no spending on campus in there as well. I’ve realized that buying chocolate is only a temporary fix for the problem (and that includes the walk as well), and that I need to try to figure out better ways of dealing with stress.

Continue to try to interact more on linkedin

I’ve interacted a little on linkedin this month, but nowhere near the level I need to be at in terms of networking to set up informational interviews. Part of the problem is that I’m still not sure what I want to be doing, and I don’t want to be wasting other people’s time in setting up an interview if I’m not at least sixty-five percent confident that is a path I want to be going down.

I do need to get back in the habit of sharing articles on linkedin and commenting on posts. I think this is something else that could probably use a little more structured time schedule in dealing with.

Start back on a workout schedule (potentially alternating between weight training & cardio).

My workout routine this month has been walking (more or less). I know that I should be doing a workout program, but by the end of the day I don’t really feel like doing one and I’m not going to be getting up any earlier than what I already am for work. Come July, I will hopefully restart an program and stick with it—start with a mini reward system for doing the work until it becomes second nature again.

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta)

It seems that I basically took the month of June off from doing anything related to moving my career forward. I did buy some e-courses that were discounted, so now I have more things to work through. I want to work through the various e-courses and other programs that I have, but at the same time I just want a magic wand that I can wave and have all my problems taken care of and magically be where I want in the job I want.

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read).

I glance through the websites once this month. Since I’ve become my own worse enemy currently (as in not knowing exactly what I want to do with my life and dealing with major anxiety), I’ve fallen down on this as well. I do find it interesting to see what is going on in terms of the business side of science, but I’m also feeling like I’m looking through a foggy window. I need to figure out how to defog and keep the window clear and maybe I will be able to get more into the business side of science.

Read at least one scientific article a week and write a 500-word summary for a potential blog/science post.

This hasn’t happened—I don’t feel like trying to read a scientific paper at work and since I see it as “work” currently—I’m not going to be doing it at home in the evenings or weekends. I think part of my problem is that I’m almost right at the burnout stage, and I need to take a step back from things and try to rediscover my love for science again.

So the goals that I fell short on (basically not meeting) were the goals associated with basically professional development/moving my career forward. I know that this is something that I need to work on—as I’m the only one that can move my career forward. The main thing I need to work on is deciding which direction(s) I want to possibly go in, career wise.

I’m going to try to set up a calendar/to-do list and then break that down to a weekly/daily to-do list and see if that helps with the anxiety and stress of figuring out my life. I’m also going to have to decide when to start the reboot break and see how that goes (not sure how certain people are going to feel about it; and while their thoughts shouldn’t matter in the long run—I don’t like negative confrontations with people).

Therefore the goals for July are going to include:

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

Continuing with the photography challenge (maybe introduce weekly themes)

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

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

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

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

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

Work on my “reboot break” plan

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

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

And then remember—little steps are all that are needed to move forward. It counts as progress as long as one is making small steps forward in different areas. Not doing anything is what is harmful, progress over perfection is what is needed and what should be strived for.

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Working on the transition plan: determining and focusing in on a small set of values.

There are different definitions of the word value, depending on whether or not the word is being used as a noun or as a verb. When used as a noun (especially in terms of job searching, professional, and personal development) the definition of value then can be considered: “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment on what is important in life”.

Everyone can share certain values and then also have completely different values as well. This is one important aspect of both personal and professional development that one has to think on throughout their lives and careers. Truthfully, this is one area that I’ve always been weak on (namely because I’ve always had a hard time trying to figure out what I want to do with my degree and what direction my career should go).

So over the past year and half, I’ve read several different personal/professional development books and worked through some e-courses, and they all had one exercise in common: picking out words from a list that resonated with you in terms of both your personal life and your professional life. Some told you to pick words that resonated with both (or to have a short list that encompassed both aspects), others had you do the activity twice: once for personal and then again for professional.

So while I’m including three of my value lists (one done from a book, one from an e-course, and the other from another program). They are in picture format (love using word cloud to make pictures out of words). There are words that show up multiple times, and now it is time for me to merge these lists into one list, and hopefully then get a “core list” and an “additional” value list made from these three.

So the first list of value words came from an exercise from the book: “Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking” by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport. This was one of the first personal development books that I read last year after being laid off. It has wonderful insights and exercises for one to do, and I’m slowly starting to stop worrying about things that I can’t control and learning how to re-frame my negative thoughts into more positive ones.

This exercise had you make a list of values for both your personal and professional lifestyles (going with first your personal and then your professional). I will admit that the list for professional was shorter than the list for personal (but this is again due to me still trying to figure out the type of professional lifestyle that I would like to have).

Word cloud of my personal and professional values from the book

My second list of core values come from my transition plan that I’ve been developing and modifying via of my enrollment and involvement in the Cheeky Scientist Association (which is an company/association that helps people with PhDs (and Masters) degrees transition into industry positions). This list is smaller than the other two, because I was trying to limit the list to no more than ten or twelve values (and one way I did this was by finding values that also could be considered combinations of other values together). This shorter list of values include:

Vitality (combination of health & fitness),

Synergy (combination of teamwork & collaboration),

Flexibility,

Dignity,

Openness,

Creativity,

Curiosity,

Evolution,

Relationship,

Intuition, and finally

Empathy.

The final list comes from an e-course that I took on the topic of career development/searching for the right job. The actual title of the course is: Deciding your career path—even if you have no idea how! on udemy.com. I found this to be a little bit of a refresher course, though it did offer one new trick on trying to match your skills with the skills that the job posting has listed (but that is a topic for another post). This short refresher (at least for me) asked that you make a list of the values that resonated with you, and then rank them to find your top five to seven. Below is my unranked list of values that I listed (and I have them covering again both personal and professional):

So as you can see—I have basically one very large list of values (both personal and professional), now I have to either rank them or choose the ones that resonate the most with me to focus on during this current career transition.

When you use a program that groups or changes the size of the word depending on the number of times you have it listed, you can get a cool picture.

I’ve also realized that there are several values added to the image that aren’t found on the list (or I’ve added in the word again); but that I also left off hard work from my value list. This isn’t to say that I don’t value

One thing I thought of doing was grouping some together under an overarching theme, and I think that the current theme could be continuous improvement (which can mean numerous things in terms of both personal and professional development). So while I’m sure that I could continue to add to the above lists in terms of things that resonate with me, the ones that I’m going to focus on for the next few years include:

            Learning, Creativity, Variety, Vitality, Synergy, Honesty, happiness, adventure, and economic security

            Learning can encompass knowledge and education

            Vitality can encompass fitness, health, and nutrition

            Synergy can encompass collaboration and teamwork

So I think that I need to be looking for companies that have a sense of community, and also programs to help employees grow as professionals. In addition if I stick with research, going a different direction from what I’ve been doing will be another way to ensure that I’m continuing to learn and gain knowledge.

So to summarize, I’m going to be focusing on aspects/values that will allow me to continue to grow and learn (something that I pushed aside for awhile after finishing graduate school), and become a better me. Those values again are:

Now to start looking for companies that will allow me to focus on both these values and also have the type of professional lifestyle that I probably would enjoy. That lifestyle I think is a mixture of both lab work and data analysis (I don’t think I really want to be sitting behind a desk all the time; and I do miss being at the bench and actually working on “my” research). In addition, while there may be some long days (and/or weekends) of work, I am duly compensated for that time. There is also an company culture that emphasizes the balance of both work and having a life away from the business (i.e. you don’t have to worry about checking emails after hours, on the weekends, or on holidays). So I am slowly starting make the progress needed for my transition from academia to industry.

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What I’ve learned from reading “Anti-Goals: Find Success by Knowing What to Avoid” by Kevin Wagonfoot

So I just finished reading “Anti-Goals: Find Success by Knowing What to Avoid” by Kevin Wagonfoot as part of my big push again into reading more personal/professional development books in 2019. This book struck several chords with me, and therefore I want to share with you.

So anti-goals are basically things that you want to avoid (and we’re talking things other than death, taxes, and getting sick—because really those are three things that no one can avoid forever). But the book also informs “you cannot know what you want, until you know exactly what it is you don’t want”.

That quote right there basically sums up my life for the past eight years for different areas of my life—namely in terms of work and health. I’ve been slightly struggling with my job search/transition because I don’t know exactly what I want to do—though I have some ideas of the type of jobs I don’t want to do (now I just need to narrow it down in terms of company culture to determine the companies that I don’t want to work for).

Another two line from the book that resonated with me were “You’re not going to know what you want until you taste it. You might not even know your own preferences yet, even if you’re 30+ years old”. All I have to say is—Yes, yes, yes—I have no idea of what all my own preferences are yet. Right now I’m still learning the things I want to avoid (mainly in terms of personalities of people to try to avoid being around).

Also there was the addition of phrases to avoid, which mainly leads to self-doubt, negative self-talk, and procrastination. Those phrases include: “I’ll start on it tomorrow”—I will admit guilt to using this phrase. I am now going to try to be better at starting projects on time (even if they’re something I rather not be doing). “We’ve never done it like that before”—if I’ve used this phrase it usually is in a lab setting and would be followed by ‘how is different from our current method’ or something similar. “I don’t know what to do”—I’ve only said this to myself when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack thinking about all the different possible job directions I could go and the ways I could get there. I will try to get better at not thinking (or saying out loud) as I work on transitioning into industry. The phrase that is suggested that you also avoid using is “this is in my way”. Now that particular phrase can be mentally thought when looking at anything or anyone; while I probably do mentally use the phrase—it is so subconsciously that I truthfully can’t remember the last time I thought it in a negative way against someone. I probably mentally say it around things at home or when looking at a calendar and wanting the next break.

So getting back to the setting of the anti-goals, you can pick as many different parts of your life to look at and list out the things you dislike and would like to avoid in each area, and then list ways that you could possibly avoid doing those things (while realizing that some anti-goals may still crop up in life and you will then just have to face them head on).

I then realized that this could almost blend in with the Level 10 life—here you always want to raise the level of different areas of your life, and with the anti-goals you want to avoid hitting zero. I think that they could almost be a balance of each other (in certain areas).

So if I were to list out different areas of life and the things I would like to avoid they would probably look something like this:

Work

            Continuously long work days.

            Working on the weekends

            Not getting paid what I’m worth

Finances

            Large amount of credit card debt

            Not enough in the retirement account

            Struggling to survive month to month

Health and Fitness

            Being overweight and out of shape

            Not getting good night sleep

Physical Environment

            Having more stuff than I need

            Feeling “cluttered and disorganized”

Friends & Family

            Losing touch and not staying connected

So my anti-goals would then be for each area:

Work:

            Position that would only require occasional long day (or weekend) but with compensation (days off in return)

            Move into a job sector that will pay people with high level of scientific training what they are worth

Finances:

            Avoid using credit cards when ever possible & keep the debt low enough to be paid off monthly

            Figure out different ways of being able to get more money into a retirement account (safe alternatives to the stock market)

            Have a job with a company that pays what you are worth, and also one that takes into account the cost of living in that particular city/area

            Being financial responsible and realizing that less is actually more.

Heath and fitness:

            Starting to workout at least three days a week.

            Aiming for at least 14,000 steps/day

            Cooking more at home, and trying to cook healthier versions of different meals

            Aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night

            Meditating before bed

            Not checking the news/social media before bed

            Not counting calories/macros & giving up the word “diet”

Physical environment

            Selling back movies that I haven’t watched in years (this should be fun, since I technically haven’t watched any of the movies in my storage unit in the past 6 years)

            Donating clothes that I don’t wear that often

            Start to realize that less is actually more and get rid of stuff that I don’t need (or really want)

            Set up a cleaning schedule and actually try to stick with it for once

Friends & Family

            Keeping in touch via social media (if I don’t have their telephone number or email address)

            Trying to get together for coffee, or a walk, or something sort of social event

            Actually accepting invitations to social events and then actually showing up to them.

            Let friends/family know when I’m in the area on vacation/work so that maybe can get together for coffee or dinner

All in all, this was a good book with some very good points (and the sad thing is—is that all the points were basic, common sense points that as a society we’ve seem to have lost connections to). I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to figure out why they’re stuck where they are in life, but also remember that change doesn’t happen over night and that like anything in life slow, sustainable progress is better than quick, fast changes that you might not be able to maintain over the years.

While the anti-goal list seems lofty and extensive-I’m not going to be doing all of them every day of the week. I may try to focus on one area one week, and then maybe another area the next week, while still incorporating some of the previous week. Small steps will still get you to the finish line–and life shouldn’t be a race, we will all get to our own finish lines at the correct time.

No Comments Book ReviewsfinancesfitnessPersonal Developmentprofessional development