Author: jessimatts

Admitting that I’m a procrastinator and how I’m going to deal with it in 2020

So, I’m a little over a month into my reboot break. I’ve done a little soul searching, some reading, adopted a puppy from the local animal shelter, a few walks around Boomer Lake, tried to get back into a fitness routine, and so far have put off trying to draft a master plan/outline for the year.

One thing I will admit to is that I’m a procrastinator—if I don’t want to do something I will either find something else to do, or I will keep saying that I’ll do the task tomorrow (and depending on the task—keep saying tomorrow).  I’ve realized that the procrastination wasn’t that bad while growing up—there were deadlines for homework and things like that (and as a child—at least I couldn’t get away that much with the procrastination), but it started to develop once I hit college, and has gotten slightly out of hand since.

When it was time to think about going to college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to major it (I enjoyed numerous subjects in school), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had an average grade point and had an okay score on the ACT—neither of which were going to get me very far if I wanted to go to school out of state. I already had the mindset that I wasn’t going to take out a loan for school (even if I was eligible for any that were halfway decent), therefore that meant going to the state college in town.

I had decided to go the science route (as at that time everyone was saying something along the lines of “major in what will pay the bills, and minor in what you enjoy”). I could have gone into business—but the thought of sitting behind a desk all day bored me, so I went the science route. I started off thinking wildlife ecology & management, but once I found out that the lab exams for one of the courses was out in the field looking at plants (that wasn’t so bad)—but you had to identify them by their scientific name (my spelling is bad at the best of times—I’m glad that there is spell check), I decided to switch to biochemistry and molecular biology.

I still took classes that I found interesting, and this resulted in me taking seven years to finish my undergrad—but I got two bachelors’ degrees (biochemistry & molecular biology, and biology), plus a minor in history (I was two classes shy of a sociology minor by the time I graduated). Throughout these seven years, I learned several things about myself—first and foremost the testing anxiety was still front and center. I did well in the humanity and social science classes, but the other sciences (where my majors were)—those were a struggle at times when it came time for the tests.

I’d found that certain areas of both degrees were more interesting than others—for example I enjoyed learning cell and molecular biology more than I did organic chemistry and physics. I also found that I could pull historical facts forward faster than I could pull the method and byproducts for an organic chemical reaction.

I remember that I was probably a year or so away from graduation and wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to go—but was also unsure of which direction to go in. I therefore push onward, took the GRE (got an okay score—not great—remember I have huge test anxiety issues, especially if the test is all computerized—which the GRE was at that point), and applied for different graduate programs.

I decided that I should try to stretch my wings and I applied for several different programs that were out of state (plus at the last minute, decided that I would also apply to my alma mater as well—as the ultimate fall back). So I applied to four different programs out of state, and while I managed to get an on campus interview for one of the programs—none of them panned out. Either my grades weren’t high enough, or they didn’t think I could handle the PhD program and suggested that I should apply for the masters program instead (PhD programs pay you to learn, masters programs for the most part don’t)—so I was lucky in that I was able to get into my alma mater for grad school.

This wasn’t my first choice, but I was going to make it work. I spent a year in a structural biology lab, before I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I then switched to a plant molecular biology lab, where I was actually being challenged in learning. I hadn’t worked with plants that much before joining the lab hadn’t done any RNA work, and I found things enjoyable for the first time in a few months in grad school. Also it was nice to be told that within four years I should have learned as much as possible and it would be time to move on. The only drawbacks for those years in grad school—there was no real mentoring in how to “properly” write a scientific paper or proposal, and there was no real career mentoring.

After graduation I managed to land a post-doctoral position at one of the many universities in the Greater Boston area. While I enjoyed the time out in the area, I had ignored some red flags that I shouldn’t have and struggling since to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life and career. I’ve realized that one should never really take a position in a newly started lab unless they are willing to put in fifteen or sixteen hour days six days a week. I only learned a few new things, and started to slowly realize that I probably wasn’t cut out for academic life.

Coming back home, and bouncing around at my alma mater (first a postdoctoral position, and then two staff positions), has only highlighted the fact—I still haven’t found that position/job/title/occupation that is my “calling”. There have been things that I’ve enjoyed over the past seven years, but there have also been things that I really disliked over the past seven years as well.

So how does all this tie into my admitting that I’m procrastinator?

Going to sidetrack a little and give a little background on procrastination (see how I’m procrastinating?).  For years, it has been said that procrastination is a time management issue—and that definition is easy enough to see—we do something else to avoid doing what we originally needed to do. Now it is being toted as an emotion management problem (https://www.fastcompany.com/90357248/procrastination-is-an-emotional-problem). Basically, we procrastinate or put things off that we may (or may not) have attached negative emotions to.

So, I’ve admitted that I’m a procrastinator—which means that I’m admitting to having negative emotions attached to certain ideas or tasks. So which tasks/ideas/goals have I either consciously or subconsciously attached negative emotions to?

            Getting back into shape—I’ve been out of shape majority of my life (never was really big on sports growing up nor being all girly and dressing up/wearing makeup). I had managed to lose a good amount of weight twice in my life—first time was out in Boston (I was walking my dog at least twice a day, and cooking for one—though most of the time weekday dinners were a peanut butter sandwich), and then again about six months or so after moving home. At that point I joined an accountability group on Facebook that was being run by a old high school classmate—I lost probably about twenty pounds or so, but then after a bike accident (where I royally bruised my lower left leg) and job issues—I’ve put the weight back on (with added interest—I’m probably at my heaviest since college). Why do I have negative emotion attached to getting into shape? In part—I was picked on throughout school (or at least up to going to college) about my appearance and weight. So there are still those issues that I need to work through—basically I need to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m losing weight to live my best possible life—not someone else, and I’m not losing the weight to make anyone else happy either.

            Transitioning into an industry position—this is more tied into my anxiety, and the worry that I’m going to make another wrong turn (like I did with my first postdoctoral position). For the most part, I like to have a good idea of how things are suppose to go—I knew that with the postdoctoral positions, I had to work hard (though I did limit the hours to more or less “normal forty hour weeks”) and I would have to read a lot to brush up on the subject matter (as both were new to me areas). Going into industry—there are numerous different directions that one can go in, the job may or may not be totally steady (depending on if the company is bought out, merged with another, or if it somehow goes bankrupt), and about a hundred different other issues. Also it comes down to whom you know, and who is willing to put in a good word for you—and this is totally tied in with my anxiety.

            At times I have problems with trying to do small talk, and networking—it isn’t that I don’t want to meet new people and expand my network—I do, but I have this underlying fear from childhood that people are going to be interrupting me and correcting my speech. This comes from the fact that when we moved to OK from MA, I ended up in speech therapy for years because of the fact that I learned how to talk in MA. In case you didn’t know people in MA have a tendency to drop the “r” in words—so since I learned how to talk in MA, I had a northern accent. The teachers and school officials decided that I needed speech therapy to learn how to pronounce my “r”—I spent five years in speech therapy, plus had teachers correcting my speech in class. I then got into the habit of not really talking in public settings—and this is something that I’m trying to work on. I know it is a slightly irrational fear, but it is still there lurking in the back of my mind.

            Choices—there are so many different choices for what one can do in industry, it is almost like being a kid in a candy store. While I have several different options listed out about what I’m curious about—I have a fear that the one I may chose could be the wrong path. Though as I’m told—I won’t know if I like, unless I try it. This is also tied into the networking problem—I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting people’s time if I decide that their path isn’t the same one that I actually decide to go down.

            Needing to have everything planned out. I will admit that I do like to have an idea of all the steps, and any and all possible results and endings before starting something. I mean instead of picking just one area of Indian art for my paper for art history in high school, I wrote basically a thirty-page paper covering everything that could fall under the umbrella of Indian art.

            This is also coming from again my first postdoctoral position—I thought I had everything planned out, but then the rug was metaphorically pulled out from underneath me. It isn’t fun realizing that one needs to move back in with one’s parents in order to get out from the mountain of debt that one finds themselves in. So now I’m trying to figure out how to plan out every single step of everything and finding myself in motion paralysis.

So now that I’ve admitted to being a procrastinator and the two main areas (health/fitness and career) that I’m procrastinating in, how will I go about getting past the procrastination and making progress on each area?

As I was reading some different pages on procrastination and emotions I found the following three sentences to be profound:

            “Viewing the whole task (e.g. project or paper) all at once will only frustrate you if you have unrealistic expectations. Realize you must break the task into smaller pieces and you cannot do them all at once. The next key is just start whether you feel like it or not.” (https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/procrastination-wasting-our-time-and-increasing-our-anxiety).

Then I found the following ideas that had to deal with procrastination along with social anxiety:

            Make a list of tasks and prioritize what needs to be done

            Reward yourself for completing difficult tasks

            Use relaxation strategies to deal with anxiety about completing tasks

                        Some of the techniques include: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and guided imagery.

(https://www.verywellmind.com/procrastination-and-social-anxiety-disorder-3973931).

So now I’m going to name the two big tasks (relating to fitness/health and job transition). Then I’m going to brainstorm how to break those two big tasks into easier to handle tasks. In addition I’m going to brainstorm an award system for each big task. Finally I’m going to break down the tasks into monthly/weekly/daily goals—with the rewards being based on hitting the larger (weekly or monthly) goals. In other words—I’m going to be working on my long term plan (other wise known as five year (or ten, twenty year) plan.

Sites with their links have been included that I found interesting and used in the post.

No Comments careerfitnessHealthjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Update on Reboot Break

So I’m about a month into my reboot break, and am still trying to figure out the best routine. One thing I’ve noticed after going through notes that I’ve taken over the past couple of years—I need to try to find (or actually rediscover) my “voice” or who I am. I’ve realized that I’ve spent the past couple of years just drifting along, and when it comes to trying to answer personal/professional development questions such as “who are you” or “what is the difference between you and someone else for this role”—I can almost generically answer the first one, but can’t come up with answers of what makes me unique for roles. I realize that I’ve spent years blending in with my surroundings and trying to stay in the background unnoticed. This all comes from childhood and being a victim of bullying—not of which was physical, and I learned it was better to pretend to be invisible and blend into the background than draw attention to the situation.

While it is nice that I’ve identified the problem (my unconscious moves to blend into the background), now I need to work on breaking those patterns. I need to rediscover things that I enjoy doing (things that make me uniquely me), and then determine the best ways of weaving those hobbies into “transferable skills” for job interviews. I would say that I’m fairly confident that I should move R&D scientist down the list on interesting job titles (as it is more or less my comfort zone), and start trying to step outside of what I’m use to doing to see what grabs my interest in terms of the other possible job titles.

I’m thinking that the list is going to now look something like this:

            Health Economist

            Market Research Analyst

            Scientific/Medical Writer

            Market Communications Specialist

            Clinical Data Analyst/Manager

            Quantitative Analyst

            Patent Analyst

            R&D scientist (up to R&D manager)

Though the top seven are more or less fluid (I just rearranged a few from how I’ve previously listed them).

So this week is going to be spent getting back into a workout routine, spending some time practicing photography, puppy training (I adopted a puppy just before Christmas), reading, working a rough draft of everything that I would like to accomplish this year, and looking more into the above roles.

Once I remember (or better yet remind myself) of things I like to do, that aren’t related to work, I will be that much further on my path to finding the optimal industry position to transition into this year.

No Comments 101 Goalscareerjob searchingLifestyle Challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Decade in Review: 2010 to 2019

So most people were doing the decade comparison in pictures over various social media sites—I’m not going to do that, mainly because I let my health and fitness slide enough that I’m back to basically the same weight. But I can try to summarize the past decade and maybe that will allow me to try actually projecting ahead a few years (so that I can actually push myself out of the “weeds” or “quicksand” that I feel like I’ve been stuck in for the past few years).

I started out the decade by finally finishing graduate school. I had promised myself that I would be done with school by the time I hit my 30th birthday and I was (more or less). I managed to finish two out of the three requirements (the third was what held up my diploma another five months). But I walked across the stage and accepted the diploma holder for my PhD in May, I presented and defended my dissertation in July, and then dealt with rewrites of my dissertation that finally earned me my diploma in December of 2010.

I took a post-doctoral position out in the Boston area in July of 2010. This required me finding an apartment that was close to public transportation (since that was how I was going to be getting to work every day). I managed that, but then hired the worst possible company to move my stuff out there (luckily they’re now out of business)—to the point that I slept on an air mattress for a month before my furniture and things showed up. I also hired pet movers to move my dog (Chewi) and cat (Pancakes) out there, and I will use them again when I move for my next position (as I also hired them to move Chewi and Pancakes back home when the job folded under me and I had to move back home in 2012).

So from August 2010 to December 2012 (with a short visit back for Christmas in 2011) I was on the east coast. I did manage to visit Maine, NYC, and Connecticut; with drive-troughs of New Hampshire and Rhode Island (to get to Maine [New Hampshire—though I think it was also a brief stop] and then Connecticut & NYC [Rhode Island]). I didn’t do as much traveling in the area as I would have liked, due to 1) not having that much money—postdocs aren’t paid great, even in large cities [they don’t take cost of living into consideration], and 2) I didn’t feel comfortable always hiring a pet sitter (did that once for the trip back home for Christmas 2011).

But I did visit Salem and Rockport, in addition to wandering around Boston. The trips out of state to visit friends and family allowed me to see a little bit of other states—though if I move back there I would like to spend more than 24 hours in NYC playing tourist.

Being out in the Boston area was fun—I made numerous friends and enjoyed exploring the area. It wasn’t the greatest decision career wise though—I only learned a few new techniques, and the position ended on a sour note between my advisor and me. One thing I learned is that I should always try to listen to that voice that warns that there could be issues with the job—I ignored it, and found out that yeah, there were issues with the job.

Christmas 2012 saw me moving back home from Boston. While I could have tried to find something in the Boston area, truthfully at this point I was pretty well financially broke, and emotionally burnt out. I decided that it might be best to regroup, where I knew that I could save money, and maybe figure out what I was doing with my life. But of course, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing—I just knew that I really needed to find some job so that I could start paying off all the credit card debt that I built up living in Boston (see above note about how postdocs are paid).

2011 also saw my parents bringing another dog into the family—a Great Pyrenees/Bearded Collie mix that we named Boozer (she was fascinated by the sounds of cans opening when she first came into the house). She was also served as a transition dog for my dad, as we weren’t sure how much longer the St. Bernard had (though she lasted another three and a half years).

I managed to get another postdoctoral position within my alma mater department working with yeast. This meant that I was learning a new biological system (previously I’d work with plants, bacteria, insects, and cell cultures), and new techniques. Alas, the money for that position only lasted a little over a year (and the fellowship I tried for I didn’t get [in part due to being back at my alma mater and not asking my first postdoc advisor for a letter of recommendation]), 

Luckily I managed to find a one-month teaching position that paid well. It kept me busy during part of summer, and reminded me that I did enjoy working with students. I spent the next few months putting out job applications—I luckily managed to get another position within the department this time working directly with undergraduate students. I had to write my own job description after being hired as no one knew exactly what the position was suppose to entail. I coined the job title “senior research specialist/undergraduate research techniques instructor” as I was doing both—research and trying to teach students the basic techniques they would need to know for doing research in a lab.

This was a job that I really enjoyed for the most part—working with students, working on different projects and just generally not being bored (again for the most part). The only drawbacks were working with certain people (and you can have personality conflicts no matter where you go). So this position lasted from basically mid-September 2014 through July of 2017; it was terminated due to funding issues and I became unemployed for the third time. This unemployment period lasted longer than the other two (probably could be considered a sum of the other two), but again I managed to get another staff position within the department just after Thanksgiving in 2017.

2015 was also a slightly off year as it was the year that we had to say goodbye to our St. Bernard Speedbump. She was a loving goof ball that got along with all dogs, and was a cuddle bug.

Now this position taught me a few more things, and it was a paycheck. It was a yearly position that would be renewed if there was funding available for it—so always fun working and wondering if there would be another contract to sign or if you were going to be told sorry only ‘x’ months left. So after signing another contract in November of 2018 I decided that no matter what, this would be basically the last year at my alma mater.

2018 was also another off year as we lost three more dogs—we lost Spelunkers in February due to cancer, and then we lost two other dogs in October (within a span of four days) due to both old age and other health issues (heart problems and cancer). So to say that I was more than happy to see the tail end of 2018 was an understatement.

2019 was an okay year—we adopted two more puppies (my mom got her puppy in May—a boxer mix that we named Rolex (so she could say that she had her watchdog), and then I adopted a puppy about a week before Christmas (a male blue heeler/border collie/aussie mix that I named Chaos—because bring another dog into the house right before the holidays was to introduce Chaos). So yes, two new puppies with names that make a play on words.

This was also the year that I decided that I would quit my job and take a “reboot break”. Since I realized that I could truthfully say that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I needed to take a break, regroup, and then focus on my career—I don’t want to say that going through college and earning a PhD was for no reason—I’m going to dedicate time to figure out what the best path for me is in terms of a career change that still will allow me to make use of the skills that I picked up over the past twenty plus years (yes, I figured out that my academic career reached the legal drinking age awhile ago—and since I wasn’t totally happy within that arena it is time to figure out what arena I want to be in).

Here is to 2020—the start of a new year, and a new decade. It is a blank slate and I am capable of writing whatever narrative I want for my life. I control the direction that my life goes—all I need to do is fix the oars, patch the leaks, and look up to the stars. I open myself up to what the universe will send my way.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

2019: A Year in Review

So 2019 has come to a close, and now it’s time to reflect back on the year (with its ups and downs, hills and valleys).

This was the year that I decided that I needed to do some type of major shakeup career wise—this wasn’t to say that I was totally unhappy with my job—something needed to change though. I had decided that I would hopefully either transition into an industry position, or I would resign my position, take some time off to re-center myself and then refocus on my job search. I ended up going with option number two—my “reboot break” started shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ve realized over the past few months that I’ve more or less been in a “coasting” mode for the past couple of years—never really thinking of where I want to be in five or ten years, just focusing on trying to get through the day and the week to the weekend. It’s hard to figure out the next direction to go in, when you’re stuck in the weeds with nothing but a slightly broken oar to propel yourself—you don’t get very far.

I’ve also realized that I’ve been trying to focus on too many different areas at once (health/fitness, finances, moving my career forward, and trying to find time to do crafts to balance things out), that I’m going to try to focus on just two to four areas (health/fitness and moving my career forward are tied for number one, and then it will probably be personal/professional development (tied for number two, and tied into both areas at number one), and then some time for crafts.

This was I can probably set up an monthly calendar easier with just those “three” areas instead of considering them four to five different areas. This should also mean that I have more ideas for blog topics throughout 2020 as well (which is one area that I felt that I didn’t push forward enough throughout the year).

In terms of health and fitness—I’m slowly making my way back to a routine that works for me. I will probably stick with the workouts provided by Beachbody, but figure out the best nutrition plan on my own. I know that I have a major sweet tooth, and instead of depriving myself (and ending up binge eating sweets), I allow myself some sweets and try to balance it out with more fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I’m pretty sure that there will be more posts on nutrition and fitness throughout 2020 as well, as I work to get into the best shape of my life (I’m thinking of some trip later in the year that would require me to be in better physical condition than I am currently).

We also adopted a puppy back in May shortly after mother’s day. My mom decided that it had been long enough since losing her dog, that she was willing to get a puppy. So we adopted a boxer mix, renamed her Rolex and it’s been a crazy ride ever since. Then basically a week before Christmas, I decided that I really wanted a puppy (I know that I will never be able to replace Chewi), so I went with my brother to the animal shelter and adopted a blue heeler/collie/shepherd mix. Now we have a period of adjustment—Rolex is a little jealous of the puppy (mainly the amount of attention that I’m giving him)—but I chose the right name for him—Chaos (since I was getting him right before the holidays—I knew that I was going to be bring chaos into the house). Now, as I start looking forward again on my job search—the position/location will also need to be puppy friendly (nearby parks and so forth).

In terms of personal development I managed to read nineteen different books (though several of them were challenge books—where you pick a topic and try to work on it for a month or so). Several of the books related to finances (mine are okay—which is why I’m able to do the reboot break right now), decluttering (something that I really need to do—both for myself and ease my parents into it as well), and then just some good old fashion self-care (reboot break, and being reminded that I shouldn’t be waiting for others to give me a ‘permission slip’ to live my life). I’m hoping that in 2020, I double the number of books that read in terms of both personal and professional development.

I had gotten back into doing oracle/tarot card readings for a good portion of the year (quit doing them the last few months), and realized yet again my pulling back was due in part to me trying to fit in to molds that I don’t belong (worry about what prospective employers might think if they come across my instagram account). But I was reminded with reading a couple of books last month that I shouldn’t be waiting on a ‘permission slip’ from others—it’s my life and I doubt that I would be wanting to work for any company that doesn’t value everyone’s spirituality.

I had wanted to travel a little during 2019, but those plans never came to fruition—either due to not having enough vacation time earned, the weather (one major “fear” earlier this year was being stranded somewhere due to the weather and losing money since I wouldn’t be working & would have used up all my vacation time), or just not being able to decide where I wanted to go.

Hopefully in 2020 there will be more travel—both for mental health (since I’ve realized it has been over a year since I’ve taken a vacation) and networking/job search/hopeful job interviews, or a combination of the two types.

So while there was some change in 2019—there wasn’t as much as I’d hoped for—but I did manage to plant the seeds for change (namely in quitting my job) to occur in 2020. As we head into a new year and decade I need to remember that for 2020 I’m going to focus on “grow (th)”, “change”, “achievement(s)”, and “success”.

And remember: Progress over perfection. I’m also going to remember to “evaluate the people in [my] life; then promote, demote, or terminate. [I’m] the CEO of my life”.

No Comments careerHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsprofessional developmentYear in Review

Month in Review: December 2019

Well December, the year, and the decade are all officially over. I also realized that I forgot to post my November in review last month (December was a little crazy with the start of my reboot break, and trying to get into a new groove), in addition I don’t think I posted my new moon review or goals for the new moon at the end of the month.

So I’m not going to beat myself up over the fact that I was lagging in posts for the last couple of weeks/months. If you check out my earlier post (Happy Holidays and updates), I actually talk about the main reason for this. Hopefully this is something that I can conquer during 2020. But for now since we’re officially in a new month and decade, it’s time to look back at the goals that I set for December of 2019 and see how I did with each one.

The goals for December included:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading three non-fiction books

Money log/weekly check-in

Back into some type of workout routine

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

No Spend days

Personal and professional development (listening to either podcasts and/or working through e-courses).

So how did I do with each one?

At least 434,000 steps

            I was below on my step goal last month. This was in part to the fact that I knew that I had already reached my yearly goal of 5 million by the second day of the month—the rest of the steps of the month were basically bonus steps. Also I adopted a puppy on the 19th, the weather turned colder and therefore I didn’t really do any daily walks for the second half of the month (more or less). My step total for December was 341,618 (which is still above the minimum step total of 310,000—10K/day).  This brought my yearly total to 5,351,200 steps (which was not quite 72,300 steps above what I managed in 2018). So I think I will stick with trying to make a yearly goal of 5 million steps.

Reading three non-fiction books

            I managed to read two non-fiction books (and about half way through a third by midnight on the 31st). The two books were:

                        Girl Code: Unlocking the secrets to success, sanity, and happiness for the female entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba

                        Girl on Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blzae Your Own Trail in Life and Business by Cara Alwill Leyba

I enjoyed reading both books, and hopefully will be getting to writing reviews for both of them to post on both the blog and amazon in the coming weeks.

Money log/weekly check-in

            This was something that I fell short on again. While I kept my purchases down for the most part (it was the season of Christmas after all), I didn’t keep a log of what all I bought when.  So this is something else that I will need to continuously work on going into 2020.

Back into some type of workout routine

            Nope, this didn’t happen during December. I’m going to break out of my ‘uncomfortable’ comfort zone in 2020 and get back into a workout routine (I actually bought early access to Barre Blend and will be starting that on Monday). One thing with the current books I’ve been reading—I am my own worse enemy and I need to come to an agreement with my subconscious so that I can quit sabotaging all my plans and goals going into 2020 and beyond.

Working on my reboot break plan & transition plan (revamping this one)

            So I managed to plan out at least my workout routine for the first few months of my reboot break (namely Jan-March). In terms of everything else—those are still in limbo (in terms of both the type of jobs I want to target and everything that goes along with them). But this is a goal for January—to have a rough draft by the end of the month so that I can have a semi-permanent draft by the end of February. Notice I said semi-permanent—I realize that plans and ideas can change, and therefore the plans and ideas that I currently have in place need to be fluid enough that they can change as needed as I pivot on my path.

No Spend days

            I think there were several no spends days in December—unfortunately I only made note of the first three (as those happened before I got the puppy—and everything else fell by the wayside for a week or so). This is something that I’m hoping to accomplish throughout my reboot break—several no spend days that accumulate into a no spend week (or weeks) and then no spend month (other than the automatic payments of bills).

Personal and professional development (listening to either podcasts and/or working through e-courses).

             I listened to several episodes of the onward creatives podcast over the last week of the month, and started to work through several different e-courses as well.  One thing I’ve noticed is that one really shouldn’t try to distinguish personal development from professional development (they are two sides of the same coin—you). While I managed to get several things accomplished during 2019—there are still numerous things left on the list, and the list is going to be revamped going into 2020. I’m also going to remember that doing personal development can help in job searching (the professional side) and doing professional development (learning a new skill) can also aid the personal side (things to talk about with others).

So going into 2020 I’m going to be focused on four words and two main phrases:

The four words are “grow”, “change”, “achieve”, and “succeed”; my phrases for 2020 are going to be “progress over perfection” and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life”.

It’s time to take back control of my life (instead of just bouncing along), and figure out what I want to do with the second half of my life, where I would like to be, and most importantly—who I am.

The goals for January 2020 will be the following:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

And for January the phrase: “Progress over Perfection”

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Happy New Years and some updates

So Happy New Years (a day late)!! I’ve realized that I forgot to save several documents as I was writing them (so I’m going to be in the writing cave for awhile), but the next few days will see update posts (Dec 2019 in review, a review of 2019, possibly a review of 2010-2019, and maybe an updated Level 10 life and goals). I’ve decided that one way that I’m going to try to work my photography into blog more is to make use of my photos and inspirational quotes to make my own memes. In addition I’m going to work them into the cover photo for the blog topic as well.

I’ve realized the major reason why I had trouble posting towards the end of last year, I was totally and completed frustrated with where I was in currently in life—I didn’t hate my job, but knew that I needed to finish out the contract (which went two weeks longer due to other circumstances), so I spending a lot of my energy just trying to get through the work day. I wasn’t happy with the fact that I let my health slide again (I’m currently at my heaviest again since college), and I’m still battling with writers and creativity block.

Well I’m now on my reboot break, and I’ve decided that instead of just one word to describe the year (last year I chose the word change), I’m going to have four words and two phrases. The four words are “grow”, “change”, “achieve”, and “succeed”; my phrases for 2020 are going to be “progress over perfection” and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life”.

The four words are to continuously remind me that in order to transition out of academia and into industry I need to start cultivating and keeping a growth mindset—start taking baby steps to reclaim control of my life (control I had been unconsciously been giving away), and the phrases are to remind me that it is both okay to stumble, and that some friendships are meant to end and new ones formed as we move through our lives.

I may get back into doing a daily photography challenge, and those photos may or may not have a lengthy text post accompanying them (which was one of my hurdles with the photography challenge last year; that and feeling like I was posting the same thing over and over again).

I have a good feeling that this is going the be the year that I manage to shed my “old skin” and transform into who I have always wanted (and have been meant) to be. Here is to a new year, a new decade, and new adventures and stories.

So stay tuned for more posts, and I do intend to try to make sure that I’m posting at least three days a week.

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Gemini Full Moon Goals: The last full moon of the year & decade (a few days late)

Well we’ve hit the last full moon for both 2019 and the decade this week. The moon will be transitioning through Gemini, and in less than three weeks we’ll be in 2020 (and a new decade). I swear that time goes by quicker now that I’m no longer taking classes, and having to have a set schedule daily (though with work it seemed that the workday dragged and the weekend flew by).

So what are some questions that one can contemplate during this time? Looking at “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are five questions that one can ask during this full moon:

            Have I been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month?

            Have I been glossing over other people’s feelings?

            Have I been too quick to change my mind, or too restless?

            Have I been too much of a silver-tongued hustler?

            Have I done enough reading to keep expanding my mind?

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

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month. Truthfully, there are very few people that I talk to on a regular basis, and that is usually to catch up with each other since the last time we’ve talked/gotten together. I do try to keep the social engagements that I agree too as I don’t get out all that often.
  2. I don’t think that I’ve been glossing over other people’s feelings. Again, there are very few people that I interact with on a daily basis (that list is even smaller currently since I’m on my reboot break), so I do try to at least acknowledge where the other person is coming from.
  3. I doubt that I will ever be accused of being too quick to change my mind—if nothing else I overthink things and become “frozen”. I actually need to develop the skill of starting to try new things without any fear of failure, and then hopefully things will go a little more smoothly in my job search/transition.
  4. Again, I doubt that I will ever be accused of being a silver-tongued hustler. This is in part due to my introverted nature (being quiet and soft spoken), and also social anxiety. I would love to get a couple of side businesses going to help bring in extra money—but they will be slow going because of the above issues—being quiet, soft spoken, and dealing with social anxiety (and other issues).
  5. No, I haven’t been doing nearly enough reading to keep expanding my mind. Currently I’ve been in a rut to where I go back and reread different romance series, just because I’ve been in the mood for more of “happily ever after” than dealing with current state of the world. This is something that I’m going to be working on over the next few weeks and months as I continue on my reboot break and start really putting more effort into my transition plan and moving into an industry position.

So I’m also going to see what house the moon will be transition through during this time. Using my rising sign (which is Scorpio), the Gemini constellation is moving through my eighth house—this house deals with “death and rebirth, reinvention and transformation”. So in one aspect it is fitting that 2019 is ending with a Gemini full moon—as I resigned from my most current position at my alma mater (so the “death” of my job), and I’m in the process of going through both a personal and professional reinvention and transformation.

So this is the time to try to find balance between slowing down, rushing to learn things, being real with people, money, and determining one’s self worth.

So if I were to make a small goal list for the end of 2019, the goals will include:

            Read 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 mediating nightly.

            Start designing/creating a monthly editorial calendar—possibly start treating different areas of life as “classes”—create “syllabus” for each area (with “due dates” for specific things—treat things as “homework”).

And as I head into 2020 remember: Progress over perfection, and 2020 will be the year of change!!

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Taurus Full Moon Goals: A review (a few days late).

 So the moon will be transitioning into it’s latest full moon phase—and it will be both the last full moon of the year, and the last full moon of the decade. There is now less than three weeks left in the year—three weeks from today (Dec 11th) will be New Years Day. So the next constellation that the moon will be going through is going to be Gemini. So now it’s time to look back over the goals that I set for the Taurus full moon and see how I did with each one.

So what were my goals for the Taurus full moon?

            Meditating nightly (yes, this is focusing on me a little—but if I keep myself in the right mindset, I’m more polite and easier to be around other people).

            Reaching out to friends on-line (it’s a small step to start with, especially since there are only a few people within town that I probably still talk to, and I think better to start slow).

            Figure out when exactly my reboot break is going to start—that way I have an idea of when I can refocus on my nutrition and fitness.

Above all remember: progress over perfection.

So how did I do with each one?

In terms of reaching out to friends on-line—this has been slow going. This has been due mainly to trying to figure out the best way of reaching out, also due to extending my work schedule another couple of weeks—I hadn’t felt like being on the computer at night.

I’ve managed to meditate almost every night (and I’m getting better at it with not having a full schedule the next day—i.e. if I want to doze a little after the alarm goes off I can). I do feel better at night after having spent anywhere from three to seven minutes meditating. Now I’m also going to try to work that into my morning routine (meditate before getting up to deal with the animals).

So my reboot break started this week (December 9th), and I’ve managed one workout in addition to daily walks at Boomer Lake (to practice my nature photography). I’ve realized that walks may not happen every day (due mainly to weather and temperatures), so I’ll need to figure out the best times for doing one (or possibly two) workouts—possibly in the morning when I want a break from doing other things, and then again in the afternoon. Nutrition will be a little slower (true there aren’t as many sweets at home as there were at work—but there is the possibility of making cookies, muffins, and so forth), but I’m going to focus on trying to do my best each day and not beat myself up if I do slide a little.

So I managed to make an inroad with two of the three goals that I set for the Taurus full moon. I’ve always been a quiet person, who usually keeps different parts of my life in different “boxes” that usually never overlap. I’ve realized that this is almost all done unconsciously, due in part to my introverted nature—I don’t mind spending time with other people, but I need time alone then to recharge.

So progress is being made (slow progress, but progress none the less), and the baby steps will help make 2020 the best year yet.

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Hiatus almost over

Well I’ve realized that it’s been probably a month since I’ve published anything on the blog. In large part due to trying to finish things up at work (and that stretched an extra two weeks), and then trying to figure out the best way of possibly restarting the photography challenge.

I’ve found that doing photography on the weekends relaxes me. I’m focusing on really nothing but trying to find another great nature shot–my only goal on the walk is to get at least fifteen to twenty good pictures out of the possible eighty to ninety pictures that I take. But I’ve noticed that with just walking at Boomer Lake, the poses of the birds change–but object of the picture doesn’t change that much. So now I’m trying to look for more song birds (and in the spring, summer, and fall–I’ll be looking for other things as well).

In other words–I’m trying to find more variety in the nature photography that I’ve been doing. One nice thing with starting my reboot break–I will have the time to try to do that (since I’m going to try to do a walk daily, though it may not always be in the morning). I’m also going to try to structure my time more so I can actually sit down and write more–blog posts (need to start drafting lists of different topics–have an idea (or possible request)–drop it in the comments), short stories, and then articles for linkedin.

2019 is going to be coming to an end soon (and where has the year gone?), and it will be the start of a new decade. I’m determined that this coming decade is going to contain better chapters of my life than the last decade has (yes I got my degree–but the career path has been bumpy to say the least). So here’s to making the goals and then breaking them down to a monthly/weekly/day plan to ensure that they’re achieved.

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Taurus Full Moon Goals—a few days late

 So the moon has transitioned into it’s latest full moon phase and was going through the Taurus constellation; and I am going to be several days late in posting this as well. We’re somehow down to the last approximate seven weeks of 2019 and then we’re into 2020. My reboot break is starting in about a week and a half (more on that later). The weather is now bouncing between late spring, mid-fall, and winter temperatures and I have a feeling it will be doing that up until the official start of winter and then we’re into the cold temperatures.

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

            Have I been lazy or overly self indulgent this month?

            Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

            Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

            Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

            Have I done enough exercise?

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

  1. I haven’t been overly self indulgent this month—but I will admit to being somewhat lazy. I manage to usually get all of my steps in during the day (and that usually correlates to at least 25 minutes of moderate walking throughout the day), and then two long walks on the weekend. I know that I need to get more stuff done and everything—but currently I’m battling the procrastination bug (and it’s slightly winning).
  2. No I haven’t been obsessed with status symbols, or overly obsessed with money. Currently I’m just trying to make sure that I have enough money to cover everything while I’m on my reboot break and reestablishing my job search.
  3. No I haven’t been possessive, jealous, or overly stubborn (I can’t rule out being a little stubborn—because that is how I always am). The only thing that I may be a little possessive over is my sleep—I would rather have things linger on the to-do list than stay up later than I normally would to finish something.
  4. Yes, I have been doing way too much comfort eating. This is one thing that I need to work on—when I’m stressed, depressed, having an anxiety attack, or just feeling off I usually will go for the high carb, high fat, really tasty (but “empty” calorie) foods. I’m pretty sure that once I’m on my reboot break, I will be getting my nutrition back under control.
  5. No, I haven’t been exercising enough lately. As I stated in question one (in terms of being lazy)—I usually try to get my steps in during the day (aiming for ~14,000/day) and usually call that good since it also usually correlates to at least 2 13 minute walks a day (but usually more). I know that I also need to start working out again, and I’m thinking that once I’m on my reboot break (I’ve lost the excuse that I’m tired after getting home from work), that I should be able to hopefully get back into some type of workout schedule and routine.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves. For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), so that means focusing on other relationships (work and friends).

Work wise, it will be trying to finish up what I need to over the next week or so, and to make sure that I have things written down for the next person who comes in. I’m also possibly staying on a little longer as there is someone out currently with family issues (and it could possibly overlap with my exit date). I’m also hoping to leave work without losing my cool with anyone, but remain cool and professional.

When it comes to spending time with friends, this is usually at times a spur of the moment depending on other people’s schedules—but I am going to try to be better at getting together with people.

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

            Meditating nightly (yes, this is focusing on me a little—but if I keep myself in the right mindset, I’m more polite and easier to be around other people).

            Reaching out to friends on-line (it’s a small step to start with, especially since there are only a few people within town that I probably still talk to, and I think better to start slow).

            Figure out when exactly my reboot break is going to start—that way I have an idea of when I can refocus on my nutrition and fitness.

Above all remember: progress over perfection.

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