Category: bullet journals

Return of the monthly accountability posts

So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to ‘revive’ a blog series that I let fall by the wayside last year. That series—“months in review”. Basically I’m trying to restart my monthly accountability posts. 

I think I only managed to do a “January in Review” last year (possibly…maybe?), and then I barely posted on either blog for several months. This was due in part to the family medical issue that had started in August 2022…it continued into the early months of 2023…and ‘accumulated’ with my mom passing away during emergency surgery in May of 2023. Needless to say—in addition to trying to manage burnout symptoms, I’m also trying to manage grief as well. Then it didn’t help in October when the world lost it’s shit and any sense of sanity & common sense.

So, the ‘month in review’ posts—what were they? They were monthly accountability posts. They were posts were I listed out various goals that I attempted for the month & how I did with each of them, and at the end of the post were goals I set for the following month. They were also posts where I’d give an update on the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and various stats. This ‘new’ series will be mainly covering the goals and whether I accomplished them or not—and if not, what I plan on doing differently to accomplish that goal within the first few days of the following month.

You will also notice that I’m going to be referring to personal/professional development as personal/professional growth—because I feel like ‘development’ has a slightly negative vibe to it. I don’t need to ‘develop’ into a writer…I’m already a writer, but I can ‘grow’ into becoming a better writer, photographer, blogger, or whatever.

So, with this ‘restart’ to the month in review series, what were my goals for April? Those goals included:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least three fiction books
  3. Complete at least one 30-day challenge (working on a Sudoku puzzle, iPhone photography, something)
  4. Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can stick with
  5. Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel
  6. At least two blurbs/reviews on science papers (for the science, health, medical blog)
  7. Working through at least two e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a foreign lanuage)
  9. Post to each blog (minimum once–would like two or more times)
  10. Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science/health, medical blog):
    • Oncology series (carcinomas & sarcomas)
    • What is a microbe series
    • Metabolism series (why some supplements are ‘scams’)
    • Why some foods (chocolate, onions, walnuts/pecans) are bad for dogs & cats

These goals are in addition to the goals that I’d drawn on my April BINGO card (and actually some of these goals are from the April BINGO card). So how did I do with each of the goals?

Reading at least three non-fiction books. I read the following books during April:

  1. Top 10 most interesting dinosaurs by Daniel Bozso 
  2. 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 more discoveries from the golden age of dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
  3. Becoming What You Are: A Concise Guide to Awakening the light within by Two Workers
  4. B*tch Don’t Kill my Vibe by Reese Owen
  5. What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
  6. Waking up in the winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson

So 100% on this goal…and actually managed to double the number of books that I read.

Reading at least three fiction books. I read the following fiction books during April:

  1. Moments for You (Wilder Brothers/Cousins #7) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. The Keeper (Playing to Win #1) by Bella Matthews
  3. The Wildcat (Playing to Win #2) by Bella Matthews
  4. The Knockout (Playing to Win #3) by Bella Matthews
  5. Caged (The Defiant Kings #1) by Bella Matthews
  6. Shaken (The Defiant Kings #2) by Bella Matthews
  7. Iced (The Defiant Kings #3) by Bella Matthews
  8. Overruled (The Defiant Kings #4) by Bella Matthews
  9. Haven (The Defiant Kings #5) by Bella Matthews

Seeing a pattern? I found a new (to-me) author—Bella Matthews, and have been binge reading her backlist (after having purchased the Playing to win series). I think I’ve also (more or less) finished two other connected series…I just forgot to write them down on teh wod document that I have going to track how many books I’ve read during 2024.

Completing at least one 30-day challenge (100% complete):

This month’s challenge was attempting to finish a Sudoku puzzle everyday. I probably should have kept track of how many days I actually managed to complete the puzzle without messing up…but I’d say it was probably somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the time (so somewhere between 20 and 25 days of ‘correctly’ finishing the puzzle).

I’d started also trying to do a crossword puzzle daily as well…and I’d say the percentage I got done was around 10-15%…not great…so maybe try to work on getting better at crossword puzzles over the next few months.

Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can hopefully stick with (~60% complete):

I’ve created a basic board game for intentional movements…though I’m thinking of purchasing a hula hoop and some battle ropes to add into the mix. My problem for the past couple of years has been ‘boredom’…aka—doing the same workout programs that I’ve done in the past. In order to break that ‘cycle’ I need to mix things up—and also not focus on a number on the scale or a number on the tag of clothes…but aim to get into the best shape of my life, honor my body, and accept (plus work with) the limitations of my body—i.e. knowing that lunges, pushups, tricep dips, and even jogging/running aren’t things I should be doing a lot of…though jogging may be possible a few months down the road—the others I should avoid due to my bone structure (being knocked-kneed/bow-legged; messed up bone structure due to the hereditary multiple osteochondromas).

My biggest hurdle currently—is figuring out the ‘time’ to workout daily. I’m not a big fan of being ‘observed’ when working out…so yeah—still need to figure out the best ‘time’ of day to do things. 

Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel (possibly 5% completed?):

Not quite done with this one…mainly because I haven’t quite decided if it’s going to be solely an ‘science, health, med’ comms/topics channel, or is it going to be like me—multifaceted. The single topic channel would be in theory easier to plan than a multifaceted one…but I’m worried that I’d get bored with it…though that could just be the inner critic/imposter syndrome whispering in my ear to keep me ‘stuck’.

Two blurbs/reviews on sciences papers (for the science, health, med blog) (5% completed):

Nope..I have the notes for one blurb/review (over the leafy and weedy sea dragon genomes), and just need to go back through and edit it down—I was over thinking things and started to also create a mini-review, when I should have been making note of things I found of interest and wanted to research on their own…with then linking back to the original ‘blurb’ that brought the ‘new topic’ to my attention. 

Working through at least two e-courses (100%–I watched/took notes):

I watched two ‘short’ e-courses on SkillShare in April, and those two courses were:

“The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success” and

“Creative Business Plan for Artists: Create a Thriving Business”

Now…I just need to go back and complete the ‘assignments’ for both of the courses—in order to get the ‘certificates’ of completion. Which will then help me actually move forward with trying to launch potentially two different freelance businesses (the freelance science, health, medical comms & the creative hobby/personal/professional growth business).

30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a language) (only about 5% completed)

Nope…I managed to do this for the first few days of the month, and then I let all sorts of other ‘tasks’ take precedence over logging into Mondly for a half-hour to practice learning a foreign language.

Post to each blog (minimum once—would like two or more times) (100%—creative blog was several times; while the science, health & medical blog was once)

I usually manage to post to the creative blog at least four times a month (in regards to setting goals via of the new and full moon phases), and sometimes I manage a fifth or sixth time (book reviews or updates on what’s going on in West Asia). The site that usually I have more ‘trouble’ posting to is the science, health, and medical comms blog/website. 

I actually managed to post to the science, health, & medical blog website once last month—back on the 7th, I posted about 2024 world health day. I’m behind on the oncology blog series—only because I’ve realized that I need to divide some of the posts into multiple posts. A goal for May is to get back to a biweekly schedule of posting the oncology blog series, plus possibly posting about other topics as well (potential public/global health posts in regards to the rise of certain infectious diseases in certain areas of the world).

Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science, health, medical blog/website): (possibly about 45% done)

The oncology blog series (focusing on ‘location-based’ classification of cancers currently) ~35% done. I need to break these two outlines into ‘multiple’ outlines, as I’d noticed that the posts were getting ‘fairly’ long (i.e. getting close to almost ‘mini-review length–at least in my mind).

What is a microbe series–~80% done. I have a basic outline and some notes. But I should ensure that I have a couple of ‘examples’ of each group/family/class of microbes picked out and a outline for what I’d like to cover on those organisms.

Metabolism series–haven’t started

What various foods aren’t good for dogs and cats–haven’t started

I have notes and a rough outline for the what is a microbe series. I have a very rough draft for the carcinoma position of the oncology blog series (location based cancers part I). Since I haven’t fine-tuned the carcinoma outline…I haven’t moved forward to the sarcoma outline..which is currently ‘okay’ since I’m so far behind in writing/posting this series to the science, health, med blog. 

Conclusions:

So with April being the first month (in over a year) in which I tried to set ‘a laundry list’ of goals…I’m happy to see that there were only two or three that were less than 10% completed (refresh/learn a foreign language, planning out the YouTube channel, & blurbs on science/health/medical papers). I’m acknowledging that my inner critic/imposter syndrome was probably responsible for sidelining me for a good chunk of the month in regards to those two goals, and writing/posting to the science, health, & medical blog/website.

Reading is always something I enjoy…I’m proud of the fact that I managed to read/finish half a dozen non-fiction books this month, and am aiming to read at least three next month as well (if I can do half a dozen, great). Research & writing is something else I enjoy…I just need to get into the mindset that ‘good, decent, & done’ is a better mindset than ‘great, in-depth, and perfect’.

Perfectionism, comparing myself to others, and feeling like I need to have all the answers/solutions/every outcome mapped before moving forward is whats kept me stuck for quite a while (not to mention the whole family medical crisis/grief/finding my new normal). But I can say that I’m slowly making my way forward on my own path…

So what goals are going on my ‘laundry’ list of goals for May? They include:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least four fiction
  3. Completing at least one more 30-day challenge
  4. Start following my intentional movement (aka exercise) plan
  5. Finish the outline/mind-map and possibly launch the YouTube channel
  6. Blurbs on the science, health, medical papers
  7. Working through at least three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Post to each blog at least twice
  10. Mind-maps & outlines:
    • The two topics from last month (metabolism & foods that aren’t good for pets & why)
    • “Interviews” with different dinosaurs & extinct animals
    • What makes us “toxic/poisonous” (“interviews” with different creatures that either produce their own toxins/posions or house microbes that produce them)
    • Interviews with citizens of ancient civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus others)
    • Ancient Civilizations (Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt)
  11. Writing/working on projects for at least 30-minutes a day (minimum two different projects a day)
  12. Work on the large needlepoint project and maybe (start and/or finish) a small needlepoint proejct
  13. Create a rough draft of a coloring book from some of my black & white doodles.

There are ‘more’ goals listed for May…but several are just setting up for the research step of the project (such as goal number ten—the mind-maps & outlines). Others may be ‘competed’ quickly (such as say just reading four fiction books—but I know I’ll be reading more than just four). 

Having thirteen goals listed for May means I’ll also be working on my time and project management skills. Especially when it comes to ensuring that I’m doing my daily intentional movement, making time to be on Mondly learning a foreign language, working through an e-course, mind-mapping & creating outlines, research, writing/editing & publishing content. The overall goal for May is to complete at least fifty percent of a third of the goals; complete seventy-five percent of a third, and hundred precent of the other third. Yes, I know that with thirteen goals—it’s not an ‘even’ third.

How do you go about goal setting? Yearly? Quarterly? Monthly? What style of goal-setting do you use? SMART goals? OKR (Objective, Key Results)? WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan)? GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Will)?

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Reflecting on 2022, planning for 2023: Sagittarius New Moon Goals

So the moon entered the Sagittarius constellation yesterday, marking the eleventh new moon for 2022. That means there is a week left in November (today is Thanksgiving), and then it’s December…and then 2023.

The SARS-CoV2 virus isn’t going to be going away…it is here to stay (unfortunately)—but there are vaccines, and booster shots—so folks, go get your vaccine (or booster), try to continue practicing social distancing where you can—and wear a damn mask in the store, it’s also flu season.

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:

  1. Get away–travel
  2. Study
  3. Search for meaning
  4. Laugh
  5. Be grateful

Well, I’m slowly starting to research/plan a trip for sometime in either mid-to-late 2023 or 2024. Since the SARS-CoV2 virus isn’t going away—I’ll just wear my mask when traveling…

In terms of ‘searching for meaning’—I’m viewing that as figuring out what I want to be doing with my life and where I would like to be in say fifteen to twenty years. This is a slow work in progress…hopefully making a little headway this coming week.

I’m starting to ‘study’ again—I have numerous different e-courses that I need to be working through. I just need to buy a couple of notebooks—I’m ‘old-fashion’ and I learn better when I actually writing things down.

With the moon entering into Sagittarius, this is also my second house or the “cash, property, and values” zone. I’m totally not in the holiday mood this year—I mean today is ‘turkey’ day, and then we’re just over a month from Christmas…and I’m in a totally bah-humbug type of mood currently.

This year has currently been a year of ‘whiplash’ with various things going on—and I’m heading back towards burnout. I’m realizing this and will be putting together a plan to hopefully stop the backwards slide in its ‘tracks’.

One thing I’m aiming for in 2023—starting to live a much more minimalistic life. I have three boxes of shirts (so far) that I need to donate, numerous DVDs to sell back, and crafts to create/gift/sell. 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”):

  1. Start a savings account
  2. Pay your bills, taxes, debt, etc
  3. Hire an accountant if it’s all too much
  4. Showcase your talents
  5. Get a neck and shoulder massage
  6. Invest in an expensive neck cream

My savings account is there—just not as ‘large’ as I would like (but hey—I’ve been on a reboot break for the past few years and surviving off of it), and I’m working on getting the bills/debt paid off. There is still no reason to hire an accountant—since I’m still currently unemployed.

In terms of ‘showcasing’ my talents—I’m in the process of starting the second blog/website (dedicated to science/medical/health education/communications), in addition to brainstorming ideas on how to showcase the various crafts that I’ve been working on as well.

  1. Develop a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly/monthly schedule for getting various things done
  2. Reflect on 2022 (to-date), and determine what went well, what didn’t go so well, and start planning for 2023 (and beyond)
  3. Put in the order for the numerous journals and notebooks needed for 2023
  4. Finish setting up the dedicated work station, craft station, and semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedroom

While I managed to accomplish numerous goals over the past few months—I also realize that my inner critic/imposter syndrome has also derailed me several times as well (not to mention life in general)…but I need to just keep reminding myself: ‘progress over perfection’. In addition to not taking to heart the negative opinions of others.

While 2022 hasn’t been going the way I wanted, hopefully the last week of November will be mellower than the previous months have been.

What are you doing to ensure that 2023 starts on the right foot?

No Comments Astrologybullet journalscareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Day 14 of Photography Challenge

Decided that today’s photo would be a peek into my first attempt in keeping a bullet-like journal. The reason why I’m calling mine “bullet-like” is that I’m still writing in it daily; I’m just incorporating some of aspects of a bullet journal. I really do like the weekly habit tracker, as part of the bullet journal.

Peak into my habit tracker

This week I’m trying coloring in each block. Last week I used star stickers, and the week before I just checked the box (and I’ll admit the first week of the month was rough and there weren’t that many boxes checked).

The habits that I’m keeping track of for awhile also fit in with a couple of other personal development goals from 52 small changes: One Year to a Happier and Healthier You by Brett Blumethal (and I realize that I never formally reviewed book–I gave a brief blurb when I started the blog–note to self–add the book to the list that needs a review written over them).

So back to the habits–I’ve always been slightly bad about making sure that I take my multi-vitamin and supplements (such as an extra calcium pill, and I’ve added one or two that help with digestion and joint relief). So I’m tracking that I take those daily. Meditation is new to my list, as a way of self care, I try to sit and clear my mind for hopefully at least five minutes every night before I read (I’m go between 3-5 minutes). My goal is to get to 10 to 15 minutes of mediation a night. I know there are numerous sites that can lead meditations, but right now I prefer just sitting in a dark bedroom and listening to the fan, aquarium, and noise maker going.

I’m also trying to make sure I get enough water in. I vary with this one depending on what I’m doing daily. If I’m sitting at a desk at work for some reason I drink less than if I’m on my feet and away from my water mug. The weekends are at times difficult as well. Right now I’m aiming for at least 70 oz of water a day (halfway between the 8-10 glasses that are suggested). I know some people say take your weight & divide it in half and that is the amount of water you should be drinking in a day–but that won’t work–at times I have to remind myself to get the water I’m focused on–going up is good–but at times it doesn’t happen.

Stretching is something else I’m adding to the list, before bed to help make sure that I’m not going to be a totally achy mess in the morning. My workouts are also going to be tracked, and while it isn’t shown in the picture, below is a list of different workouts I can chose from this week (since I’ve allowed walking to be the main one for the past week and a half–I’m trying to get back into a fitness routine).

I love reading–though at times I love reading fiction more than non-fiction. So I’m trying to make it a habit to read at least thirty minutes a day from one of the many non-fiction books that I have on my kindle (then I will go and read a fiction book). I’m seeing a lot more book reviews being put on the blog this year–both fiction and non-fiction alike.

Listening to podcasts is something new as well. I’ve figure this is a good way of spending the time waiting for the bus and heading into work. Also I will listen to one while I’m marching in place/circles to get my steps in for the day (if I’m not there after work and the evening workout).

So in conclusion,

I’m slowly falling in love with the bullet journal, though I think I will keep to the format that I’m currently using a mixture of a bullet journal and a normal journal. It’s nice to have a couple pages for each week where things are planned out. Then I will use the next ten pages (or more) as the normal journal to keep track of my food, my mood, and anything else that I feel I need to.

This is the year that changes will occur, and I think writing in the journal will accomplish many of those changes

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