Category: finances

November in Review: planning and looking ahead to 2023 & beyond

So, we’re in December…that means there are only 31 days, roughly four and half weeks, or 744 hours left in 2022. That means, I now really need to get serious about planning out things for 2023…because it will be here before we know it (or are possibly willing to accept it).

I’m still feeling massively tired and burnt out on life, and while I would love for the year (and decade) to be over—I’m also not ready for the good-byes that will go along with them.

I’d hoped that November would be a little mellower than the past three months—and it was, and at the same time it wasn’t; if possible it was an even tie for September in terms of being a mess.

Still dealing with the ongoing family medical issue—and the outcome is still up in the air. Then there is the fun of elderly animals…probably having to put one cat and dog down within the next few months (cat due to health issues, that I currently can’t afford to treat; and the dog due to old age and pain).

The only cool thing I can say about the news is Mauna Loa erupting this week. It’s been well over a decade since I’ve been to the big island of Hawai’i—and when I went, I only visited Kilauea (since it was within the main part of the Volcano National Park).

While I wouldn’t want to be living on a island with an active volcano—I think it’d be cool to see it erupt (from a safe distance)—cause while I did see Kilauea erupt—it wasn’t as cool looking as pictures have been lately for Mauna Loa or even when Kilauea erupted a few years ago.

Still staying off the news for the most part—mainly because of my current mental health state. Though if everyone would just grab a snickers bar and take like a three-month timeout, I think that would help things settle down.

By this time next year, I won’t be surprised if I’m diagnosed with moderate cases of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Elections were earlier this month, and hopefully Democrats can hold their slim majority in the senate, and knock heads together in the house to get things done. Sorry if that seems ‘violent’—I’m tired of seeing mass shootings in the news, and basic human rights being attacked basically every damn day.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘October in Review’ on November 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 99.3 million cases and now as of December 1st —we have reached just a little over 100.6 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.3 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I finally got around to getting my booster shot this past month—and other than a sore arm (for about four days), I didn’t have any other side effect of getting the booster. Flu shot is on semi-hold, only because it looks like I potentially have to schedule a doctor’s appointment to get it—and I don’t want to do that right now.

Still trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—therefore, I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for December, its time to look back at the goals I set for November and see how I did with each of them. The goals for November included:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finishing at least one of the many non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 22 days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily oracle card drawings, daily gratitude journal entries
  7. Craft time
  8. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  9. Getting the second blog up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

120-150K steps:

I fell short of my minimum step goal of 120,000 steps. I managed to get 116,503 steps this past month. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts throughout the years—I’m an extremely fair weather person, so in order to be outside doing some type of workout I need it to be ‘just right’. We’re heading into winter, though with climate change, the temperatures have been doing a yoyo the past few weeks.

At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement each day:

There was no walk at Boomer Lake during November. The reason—having to play ‘phone tag’ with medical staff in regards to the on-going family medical issue. I probably could have done a brief walk up there—but I did other chores instead.

I know I’ve probably moved around at least five minutes a day—but I have yet to write down what the intentional movements have been. (Need to get better at this)

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

I finally managed to finish reading INNERCISE: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power by John Assaraf. I just need to go back and do some of the exercises within the book (especially those that revolve around setting goals, and putting together routines).

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

There were six new fiction books read during November, and six re-reads:

The new books:

  1. Someone to Hold (Wild Widows #2) by Marie Force
  2. Always Mine (Honey Mountain #1) by Laura Pavlov
  3. Ever Mine (Honey Mountain #2) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Make You Mine (Honey Mountain #3) by Laura Pavlov
  5. Simply Mine (Honey Mountain #4) by Laura Pavlov
  6. The Path to You (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan

The re-reads included:

  1. Alpha Turned by K.B. Alan
  2. Protect & Defend by Francesca Hawley
  3. Hot & Badgered (Honey Badger Chronicles #1) by Shelly Laurenston
  4. In a Badgered Way (Honey Badger Chronicles #2) by Shelly Laurenston
  5. Badger to the Bone (Honey Badger Chronicles #3) by Shelly Laurenston
  6. Breaking Badger (Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston

No spend challenges:

Well, I did okay with the no spend challenge—managed 17 days (so a little over half the month)…spending money unfortunately is my coping mechanism for stressful situations (and the past several months has been a roller coaster of stress)…but I’m going to work on improving this both in December and then in 2023.

Meditation/sitting quietly, oracle cards, gratitude (aka mental/spiritual health):

Time outdoors is again becoming limited to basically evenings (and when I need to fill bird feeders) due to it being winter.

Meditation and sitting quietly at night (or actually anytime during the day) is something I’ve been fairly good at doing.

I’ve also been on top of doing daily oracle card drawings (I think there may have been one day I didn’t—but I’d done a double the day before), and doing daily gratitude journal entries.

Craft time:

I finished the one abstract science cross-stitch project, and had decided to use buttons to tie off the fabric in the back.

Latest abstract cross-stitch project

I’m currently working on a second abstract cross-stitch project and should be done with that one hopefully before the end of the year.

Working through part of a personal/professional e-course:

I’ve started watching the e-course: Master Business Writing & Editing on Udemy. I’ve watched the first three videos (so about 15 minutes of the three hour course). It looks to be a good course—so, aiming to finish this plus the 15 errors in scientific writing & how to fix them (an two hour course) during December.

Getting the second blog/website up and running:

One of the bigger goals for December

Writing, writing, and writing:

While I’ve gotten quite a bit of writing done during November (kept up with the three ‘series’ that I do on LinkedIn each week; plus the various posts on the creative blog), there is room for improvement.

I know that I need to get the second blog up and running—plus I need to decide on the various social media platforms for each blog, and get a tentative content calendar planned and actually stick with it…goal for December and 2023.

So, other than not getting any work done on the new blog/website—I managed a little on all other goals (while totally meeting at least the reading goals). As I’d mentioned in my #thoughtfulthursday post on LinkedIn today—I’ve been allowing myself to fall into the pits of ‘fear of failure’ and ‘fear of opinions of others’ this year—which has sidetracked, and sidelined my progress on numerous fronts.

Taking today out of the equation—there are thirty days left in the month. I know that I probably won’t be super productive this month (holidays and the on-going family medical drama), but I need to start setting things up so that I can hit the ground running in the New Year.

That means measuring things in the bedroom and rearranging furniture—to hopefully create an ‘office’ space that I actually feel comfortable working in, in addition to creating a portable working space in the living/dining room area (elderly dog likes to be in the same room—and has trouble navigating areas that lack area rugs).

It means getting in the different bullet journals and getting the tracking sheets set up for at least the first several months (besides the ones I did for 2022, introduce some new ones for 2023).

It will mean actually taking the time each day (morning and night) to plan and then reflect on how I did each day. It will also mean creating content calendars and trying to stick with them.

I’ll be spending some time during the next month or so deciding on what other social media channels I want to be active on for each blog…some might overlap (Instagram, Medium, and possibly having a Facebook page for each of them), but others will be specific for one or the other.

Therefore, I’ll still be working on improving my time and project management skills as well throughout the month of December.

The goals then for December will include:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. Partial walk at Boomer Lake, and intentional movements daily
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Commit to the no-spend challenges
  5. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  6. Mental/spiritual health (meditation, daily oracle card drawings, daily gratitude journal entries)
  7. Craft time
  8. Get the second blog up and running
  9. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing
  11. Set up the ‘master’ goal list for 2023; and start the ‘master’ blueprint plan for 2023-2028

The December goals are basically the same as what I’ve set for September, October, and November—with the addition of setting up the ‘master’ goals or plan for 2023 to 2028. What I need to do in terms of that ‘goal’ is start with the five year goals, and work my way backwards. That way hopefully each year I’ll be working towards those ‘larger’ and loftier goals.

As I mentioned the only goal that I didn’t really touch was getting the second blog/website up and running. I have an idea of what I want to write for my about me page (helps that I got my functional resume finished), and hopefully will have at least one blog post in addition to various pages ‘live’ by New Years Eve.

All I can try to do is devise a schedule/plan that will hopefully be able to bear the brunt of whatever happens during 2023…that will be a large focus this coming month.

Becoming more consistent will really let me lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

Time/project management goes hand in hand with consistency and productivity. I’m going to be making more use of airtable (for content/project management—it’s a calendar and spreadsheet in one space), an old fashion timer, and pen/paper to manage my time and projects.

Curious to know what is your favorite time, project, or productivity tracker/manager?

Namaste….

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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?

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Time & project management improving–time to focus on the second blog

So, we’re in November…that means there are only two months, 61 days, roughly nine weeks, or 1,464 hours left in 2022. It’s the final sixth of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of November and the end of 2022.

As I mentioned last month—I’m tired, burnt out (more on life overall than career), and really ready for this year, and the decade to basically be over.

October was even a bigger mess than September—which is saying something. So how was it a bigger mess than September?

Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned having started in my August in Review (and touched upon in my September in Review)—it’s still ongoing, and there was a point where it wasn’t looking very good. Currently we’re back to the fifty-fifty chance of it going either way.

I’m also trying to stay off the news (I know that this is showing my privilege—but with my current mental health state—I need to stay off of it). But I will just say—Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council and kicked out of the UN in general.

By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.

Elections are coming up next week for the US—and this is where I’m going to share my two-cents.

Basic human rights are on the ballot this year. Women’s rights (voting and health care), sensible gun laws, the environment, education—all of it are on the line. For whatever reason there is a major dichotomy between the two major political parties within the US—and I don’t mind debating how each view finances, the budget, and those topics—but I won’t debate my stance on women’s rights, education, gun control, the environment, or issues I consider to be general ‘moral’/’common sense’ issues.

Therefore, if we elect more common sense and/or liberal individuals to Congress—we can end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

And I’ll end my political/social/economical ‘rant’ here, before it takes over the post.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘September in Review’ on October 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 98.2 million cases and now as of November 1st —we have reached just a little over 99.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.1 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I thought I’d manage to get my booster shot in October—but with the way the beginning of the month went…this task fell by the wayside. Hopefully I can get around to scheduling it for sometime in November (and possibly the flu shot—if its free as well).

While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.

So before setting goals for November, its time to look back at the goals I set for October and see how I did with each of them. The goals for October included:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  9. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each goal?

125-155K steps:

I managed to get 134,240 steps in during the month of October—basically right in the middle between hitting a little over 4K steps a day and the ‘goal’ of 5K steps a day. I managed two walks at Boomer—a partial and a full, plus took Chaos through the neighborhood once. Hopefully I will be able to get Chaos out on more walks in November, plus have an late morning/early afternoon walk at Boomer Lake at least once or twice in November.

At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed to get in one partial walk and one full walk at Boomer Lake, plus a walk through the neighborhood with Chaos. I probably managed about five minutes or so each day of ‘intentional’ movement (which for me means helping our elderly, arthritic dog in and out of the house).

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

I’m still reading Trilobite: Eyewitness to evolution; and I’m about thirty percent of the way through the book. I’m almost finished with INNERCISE; and I’m about eighty percent of the way done with that book–so I should possibly finish it sometime in November.

I’ve realized that I have cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction books—I can read several in a month (or over a period of say two months), then I go for a month (or longer) where I only end up reading a little bit of different non-fiction books (as none really grab my full attention).

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

I’m pretty certain that I read more than four books during October (but didn’t track how many were re-reads). But teh four fiction books that I know I read during October were:

  1. Give Me Love (Rose Canyon #2) by Corinne Michaels
  2. Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review was posted last week)
  3. Fractured Sky (Tattered & Torn #5) by Catherine Cowles
  4. My Favorite Mistake (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga

In addition, I also finally got around to writing and posting the book review for Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan.

Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge

My goal for October was a minimum of 22 days but aiming for 29.

Well, I managed seventeen days (just a little over half the month) without buying any extra e-books, or other stuff. But since how bad the beginning of the month was (in terms of the family medical issue)–managing seventeen days isn’t too shabby.

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

There was time outdoors—possibly not as much as I would have liked—but we’re heading into the cooler months, and unless the sun is directly overhead, it can get chilly sitting outside (even in a sweatshirt).

I’ve been making use of the soothing pod mediation app at night—and managing to sit and focus on the mediation for at least five minutes (some of the meditations are upwards of ten to fifteen minutes).

I’ve been on track doing my daily gratitude journal entries, and doing daily oracle card drawings. For October I was using the Oracle of the Shapeshifters deck:

Thursdays–I share the oracle spread on LinkedIn as part of my Thoughtful Thursday series

Craft time:

In addition to creating graphics and other multimedia items on Canva—I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time working on a new cross-stitch project (that I’ll hopefully have completed sometime during the month of November).

My current cross-stitch project: An abstract ‘microbiology’ petri dish showing different bacterial, fungal, and viral growth.

Getting the second blog up and running:

Still working on this….

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I watched three short courses on Skillshare during October, and they were:

3x your productivity with this weekly planning guide

I liked the course–though I didn’t print off the planning guide. Basically you’re given ten tips on how to improve your week (and those tips could also be applied to one’s monthly or even yearly calendars).

The tips that the instructor gave were:

  1. Visualize your goals
  2. Schedule self-care
  3. Celebrate and appreciate small and big wins
  4. Just say No (to things you don’t want to be doing)
  5. Major lessons and inspirations (from the previous week/month)
  6. Failure is feedback
  7. Who can I help? Who would I benefit from?
  8. Feed your soul
  9. Focus (top three priorities for the week)
  10. Daily goals and review (break the three top priorities down into actionable steps for each day)

Needless to say—I’m still working on incorporating some of these tips into my schedule/life.

Content Calendar Made Easy: Save Time and Develop a Personal Brand

This was a decent course—it talked about taking your top traits (but traits in terms of what works best for content development) and mixing them with different types of content prompts (such as FAQs, behind the scene, future plans, and so forth).

I know my strengths/values—but am still working on how to meld those into my brand, but also realize I should be thinking of traits as well (would be having to brainstorm with others on this one).

Blogging Rituals and Routines: 10 secrets for increasing blogging productivity

This was a good course, and similar to the other productivity course gave ten different tips on how to improve one’s productivity.

The ten tips this instructor gave were:

  1. Clean up your office/desk space
  2. Organize drawers and files
  3. Clean up your computer files
  4. Remove things that don’t belong in the office (ties in with #1)
  5. Write at the same time everyday
  6. Have a daily, weekly, or monthly word count goal
  7. Have a daily time goal for writing (say fifteen minutes each day)
  8. Go on a ‘blogging retreat’
  9. Go on a weekly solo artist date
  10. Put on your ‘writing’ clothes each day

In addition, there were the suggestions of going for a morning walk, and changing your scenery (going somewhere other than your home ‘office’) to help improve your productivity.

There are several things that I need to do to help improve my productivity—and the big one is to create a couple of functional (but fun) work spaces in the house. One in my bedroom (which will be the biggest challenge), and then another in either the living room or dining room (since I split the time I spend working in different areas of the house).

Writing, writing, and writing:

I managed to get quite a bit of writing done overall during the month of October. I think I managed to do all three of my weekly post series on LinkedIn (Science Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and the Oncology Friday), plus several posts for the creative/reflective blog.

I still need to work on drafting more blog posts (especially for the medical/science/health blog) in addition to starting to build out a portfolio of different communication style projects (mini-reviews; clinical trial summaries, slide decks, posters, and infographics).

What other lessons did I learn in October?

Trust your gut. I almost landed a freelance client for a writing project—but the payment method that they wanted to use was extremely phishy—so I politely declined (after having drafted an contract), and two days later—they’d blocked me on LinkedIn and the conversation thread disappeared as well (I wonder if I try to send another email if it would go through???).

Slowly dip your toe outside your comfort zone—but be completely honest and transparent with the other party.

A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn about a potential remote writing position focusing on oncology—great, I’m dipping my toes into the field, but was honest that I didn’t have the post-doc or publication experience that their client wanted. The recruiter thanked me, and basically then terminated the conversation (in all it was less than a five minute phone call).

In addition last week, I reached out to someone who was looking for a freelance science/medical writer—and while they aren’t sure if they’re going to be taking on that particular project—they gave me the idea/suggestion of possibly doing consulting work for training/on-boarding science/medical writers.

So, while I may not have made progress with all the goals (still need to carve out time to focus on the other blog/website)—overall progress was made during the month of October. There should always be room for improvement (if nothing else—extending the ‘goal’ line [in terms of steps for fitness, or words/time for writing).

So looking further into November, what are my goals going to be? Well, they’re going to include:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at leat 22 days; goal is 27)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily oracle card drawings, and daily gratitude journal entries
  7. Craft time (finish the one cross-stitch project, start a new one, and/or possibly create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  9. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So the goals for November are basically identical to the goals for October; and technically are identical to the goals for September.

The only goal in October that I really ‘fell’ down on was getting the second blog/website up and running. It is technically ‘live’—I just need to write the copy for the various pages, get the blog up and going, and start developing the portfolio.

In terms of how I’m hoping November will go—I’m going to be pessimistically optimistic, and just try to take things a day/week at a time. This means that I might have to scrap the weekly to-do list if something goes south—or I might get more accomplished, because I’ll be hyper-focused on something other than the family medical issue.

I’m still going to be aiming to become more consistent—especially in terms of posting to the different blogs (I have a editorial/content calendar created [more or less] for LinkedIn, and semi-created for this blog—just need to work on one for the other blog).

Becoming more consistent will really let me lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

Time/project management goes hand in hand with consistency and productivity. I’m going to be making more use of airtable (for content/project management—it’s a calendar and spreadsheet in one space), an old fashion timer, and pen/paper to manage my time and projects.

Curious to know what is your favorite time, project, or productivity tracker/manager?

Namaste….

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Scorpio New Moon Goals: emphasis on personal/professional development

So the moon is going to be transitioning through it’s new phase tonight, and moving through the Scorpio constellation. It was also a partial eclipse today as well. That means there are only six days left in October, and then sixty-one days left in 2022.

Looking back at what I wrote the past two years for the Scorpio new moon (in terms of SARS-CoV2 cases):

2020—the world had over 54 million cases, the US was topping 11 million, and there were over 1.3 million dead.

2021—the world had almost 248.5 million cases, the US was almost at 47 million cases, and there were over 5 million dead.

2022—the world has almost 632.8 million cases, the US has over 99 million cases, and there are over 6.5 million dead.

I don’t know if we’re ever really going to be out of the pandemic/epidemic roller-coaster for this virus—but that is a post in and of itself.

So, what can one do during the Scorpio new moon? Well according to ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, you can:

  1. Get sexy
  2. Invest wisely
  3. Make inner peace
  4. B-r-e-a-t-h-e
  5. Drop grudges

In terms of the above items—the only one that I’m uncomfortable trying to do—is the first. Though, it can also refer to doing something to boost your self-confidence—which is how I’m going to be looking at it.

This moon is also moving through my first house or my image zone (how one presents themselves to the world). While the Aries new moon is the start of the zodiac calendar—when the new moon passes through your first house, it can also seem as the start of a “new year” (we can have a “new start” twice a year if necessary).

So what are some things that one can do in reference to their first house during this time? They can:

  1. Surprise friends with the ‘new you’
  2. Throw out all your old make-up and start again
  3. Get married or meet someone new
  4. Good time to move
  5. Splurge on something in a vibrant color
  6. Have a facial
  7. Get your sight checked

Looking at the above list—there are a few things that can still be automatically crossed off—throwing out make-up (currently I don’t wear any make-up, since I really haven’t left the house in like two years, and currently all the chats I’ve been doing have been virtual); getting married or meeting someone new (with the various things that are going on right now—literally don’t have the time for this); getting a facial (can do it at home for a fraction of the cost); and moving (on-hold for quite awhile currently).

I’d love to surprise people with the ‘new me’—I just have to figure out who she is—though I know this can be a simple as getting a new hairstyle.

So what are the two to five things I’m going to try to focus on for the Scorpio New Moon? Well, they are:

  1. Working on healing my relationship with food and movement. This includes having random dance parties in the living room on a 15-minute break between task, or getting out of the house with my dog for a quick 20-minute walk through the neighborhood
  2. Work on getting the second website up and going (focusing on science/medical/health communications), in addition to also focusing on trying to get a remote communications position as well
  3. Start working through various finance e-courses that I’ve bought over the years
  4. Continue to unplug at night (putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 8pm)
  5. Continue figuring out my personal/professional brand

All in all—focus on progress and not perfection. All of the goals are ‘open-ended’—including the e-course goal (mainly because I’ve forgotten the exact number of finance related courses I’ve bought over the past three or four years).

That means—even if I only manage a few days (or even a just a week) focusing on each one—that is progress, baby steps forward is progress—and that is what I’m aiming for—the slow steady progress that would result in finishing a marathon.

Though there are some that are more ‘internal’ work than other–such as figuring out the personal/professional brand, and healing my relationship with food and movement.

But we’re also getting into cooler weather–which means hot chocolate, apple pies, apple cider, and all things fall. This is one of my favorite seasons–if we could just somehow take the cooler temps of spring and fall and meld them with the longer days of summer I’d be extremely happy.

Curious to know: what is one of your favorite things about fall?

No Comments AstrologyfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development Challengesprofessional developmentReflections

On to the final quarter of the year: September in Review

So, we’re in October…that means there are only three months, 92 days, roughly 13 weeks, or 2,208 hours left in 2022. It’s the final quarter of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of October and the end of 2022.

Truthfully, I’m tired, burnt out, and just ready for 2022, the decade, and the century to be over.

September was a mess—while there was my birthday, it was a nice low-key day—but the rest of the month was a mess. How as September a mess?

Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned briefly in my August in Review—it’s still ongoing, and we’re not sure how it’s going to resolve (there is a fifty-fifty chance of it going either way right now).

There’s numerous things going on in the world—ranging from Russia’s still illegal invasion of Ukraine (by the way—I think Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council…just sayin’), to the death of Elizabeth II, to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘August in Review’ on September 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 96.3 million cases and now as of October 1st —we have reached just a little over 98.2 million cases (an increase of not quite 2 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

Once I call a local pharmacy to schedule an appointment, I’ll be getting my booster shot sometime during October (and possibly the flu shot as well).

While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.

So before setting goals for October (and possibly the fourth quarter), its time to look back at the goals I set for September and see how I did with each of them. The goals for September included:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finishing one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
  4. Read at least two to four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card darawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Getting the second website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

120-150K steps:

I managed 126,581 steps during the month of September. In part due to a partial walk up at Boomer Lake on Labor Day, and the weekly walks to the corner convenience store for the newspaper on the weekend.

One partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement:

I managed a partial walk up at Boomer Lake on Labor Day. Since it’s been a while since I’ve walked all the way around the lake, I’m slowly getting back into the routine. I’ll probably aim for at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake each month (especially as the weather get colder), and hopefully by the spring—be walking all the way around the lake again.

In terms of the intentional movement—the step tracker states that I’ve been moving at least five to ten minutes a day—but I haven’t been writing down what I’ve been doing each day (need to improve on that).

Finishing at least one of the non-fiction books I’ve started:

Nope, didn’t finish reading any of the non-fiction books that I’ve started.

Read at least two to four fiction books:

I managed to read seven ‘new’ fiction books during September (and probably a good dozen or so re-reads). The new fiction books were:

  1. Home Base by Abbie Zanders
  2. Legacy (Montgomery Brothers #1) by Laura Pavlov
  3. Peacekeeper (Montgomery Brothers #2) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Rebel (Montgomery Brothers #3) by Laura Pavlov
  5. State of the Union (First Family #3) by Marie Force
  6. Collide with Me (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #7) by Claudia Buroga
  7. Shattered Sea (The Tattered and Torn Series #4) by Catherine Cowles

Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge:

I managed 22 days of not spending any money during the month of September—which considering how bad of a month it was—is a victory in itself. The goal for October will be a minimum of 22 days and a goal of 29.

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

I’ve managed to get better at evening meditations—mainly through the use of the soothing pod app on my iPhone. I’ve also managed my daily oracle card drawings and daily gratitude journal entries.

The time outdoors has either been brief (when I take the dogs out), sporadic (sitting outside on and off throughout the day), or semi-long (spending the afternoon outdoors or walks).

Craft time:

Well most of my craft time was spent on Canva creating various images for different LinkedIn posts throughout the month, in addition to using PowerPoint for image creation as well. I spent a little time using doing some photography as well.

Crafts, such as jewelry design/creation, cross-stitching, coloring, or doodling didn’t really happen—goal is to do more of those crafts throughout the fourth quarter.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

Nope…this didn’t happen.

Getting the second blog/website up and running:

Nope…this didn’t get accomplished either.

Writing, writing, and writing:

This is one where I did do a fair amount of writing—I managed to keep two weekly series going on LinkedIn, and even started a third one. In addition, I managed usually some type of ‘original’ content another two to three days on the site. While I didn’t get much writing done for the various blogs (though I did get at least five posts on this blog done last month)—I did manage to write somewhat consistently all month.

August, September, and now October (and probably November and December) were/are also focused on trying to find my new normal.

With a family member in the hospital (now going on nine weeks), we’re hopefully that they’ll be released hopefully by Christmas—yes I’m well aware of how far off that date is currently.

That means—I need to have a schedule in place that will allow me to get my work done (writing, reading/research, crafts/hobbies, and so forth), while also being able to help with the potential home care for said family member.

I’m still working on figuring out that schedule. Every time I think I have it partially figured out—the inner critic/imposter syndrome loves to pull me back into my comfort zone—or throw out an idea/thought that has my anxiety spiking.

Looking back at what I wrote at the end of August—I claimed that I was going to aim for consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

Well, I managed to be consistent in reading fiction books (seven new books, and probably a good dozen or so re-reads), and was somewhat consistent in the research and writing.

Moving forward into October, the goals are going to be:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two to four fiction
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 22 days, goal is 29)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Getting the second blog up and running
  9. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So the goals for October are basically identical to the goals for September—with the exception of the steps (October is a little higher—at both ends).

As I stated in my review of August (and it definitely applies for September):

 “Also, since I ‘fell’ down on a few of the goals last month, by repeating them—I’m giving myself grace for not being ‘perfect’ and another shot on hitting the goal this coming month.”

I have my fingers crossed that October won’t be any worse than September (and I’ll have a ‘rough’ idea on that come the end of the first full week of October)—but if it is by some chance worse—I’ll just have to give myself grace and remind myself: Progress over Perfection, and sometimes ‘okay, and published’ is better than ‘perfect and forgotten’.

I’m still going to aim for consistency—consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

Aiming for consistency allows me to lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

I mentioned last month that I was going to try to ‘unplug’ from the computer at night to read or work on a craft project—and I think I only managed it a few times throughout the month—so another ‘mini-goal’ to work towards (no computer after 8pm at least four days a week).

With fall here—what is one of your fall goals?

Namaste…

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesoutdoorsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Reflections: Personal/Professional at the heart of Libra New Moon Goals

So we’re going to be entering the next new moon phase tonight—which means there are five days left in September, and then ninety-two days left in 2022 (as of the upcoming Saturday). I’m hoping that the last quarter of 2022 goes smoothly—though I also know not to hold my breath on the turbidity of the upcoming weeks and months.

With the moon moving through the Libra constellation over the next day or two, there are various things that we can look at or work on over the next few weeks and they include:

  1. Look at how you’re relating to other people (are you helping more than asking).
  2. Look into your partnerships (any issues that need addressing?)
  3. Negotiate–try to bring things into balance if needed
  4. Look gorgeous–work on improving your self-image and self-love
  5. Regain your identity–figure out how to resolve any unhealthy co-dependency issues if needed.

This is how I’m viewing the above ‘tasks’:

  1. I’m trying to help/give value more than asking for help (especially on LinkedIn)—though there is also a time when we all need help, and should ask for it. I’m still in the mindset of semi self-isolation (the SARS-CoV2 virus is still around), therefore I’m really not around that many people (though that has changed a little over the past few months due to the ongoing family medical issue).
  2. Well, I’m not in a relationship with anyone right now. In terms of family ‘partnerships’, I’d say that everything is about as ‘normal’ as they would be within the family
  3. I can’t think of things with other people that need negotiating—I know that I probably need to negotiate quite a bit with myself
  4. I’m slowly working on improving my self-care/self-love routines, plus how I see myself (self-image).
  5. I’m also slowly working on trying to regain my identity—mainly from the negative thought patterns surrounding body image and my writing ability

The Libra new moon is also moving through my 12th house—or my secret zone. This is the time/house when you really just want to retreat from the world and work things out for a while. In terms of self-care/self-love what are some of the things you could focus on during this time?

They include:

  1. Practice yoga
  2. Take a break from social media and/or numerous social obligations
  3. Start a dream journal
  4. Face one big fear
  5. Trust your intuition
  6. Buy a meditation CD and use it every day for a month
  7. Write poetry from the heart
  8. Share one of your secrets

So once again, this new moon is urging me to focus on finding a balance (or harmony) between social obligations and self-care/self-love. Since I’m still semi self-isolate, this will probably be fairly easy to handle. While I might have a monthly lunch meet-up with a friend, every other ‘obligation’ is usually via zoom or Google chat—and most of those are only for like a half-hour or so, the ones that are longer, are social chats.

I’m going to try to get back into a yoga routine–but I’m not going to add it to the goal list, as I’m wanting to try to keep it ‘short’–as the items on the list aren’t exactly ‘easy’ to accomplish.

The goals for the Libra New Moon include:

Unplugging at night (and possibly throughout the day):

This will help with time/project management. If I’m off the computer after a certain period (say 8pm)—I can either read (try to get back to reading nonfiction), or working on craft projects (cross-stitching or possibly creating some jewelry; or even doodling). Unplugging at night would also encourage me to reflect on the day, what I got accomplished and what I would like to try to get accomplished the next day.

Work at regaining my identity and developing my personal/professional brand:

While I’m working at resolving the unhealthy diet mindset that I held on to for too many years, I’ve also realized that I need to resolve how I see myself professionally (if I’m no longer a scientist at the bench—who am I?).

Facing a fear: getting the freelancing/consulting/remote business up and running

The savings account has pretty well dwindled down to almost nothing—so unless I want to be stuck at the bench—I need to get this ‘dream’ up and running. It is something that I have in my ‘risk and die’ zones on my comfort diagram—I figured it is risky trying to set up a part-time business, and an anxiety inducing dilemma trying to set up a full-time business. I’m going to try—the worse that comes of it, I keep it part-time, the best that can come of it—I manage to double (if not triple) what I was earning in academia within the first year of doing freelance writing.

The motto for the last quarter of the year is going to be ‘progress over perfection’. I know that the last quarter of 2022 isn’t going to be an easy one—therefore, I need to make sure that I’m unplugging often enough that I can reflect on the day and/or week and readjust the upcoming schedule as needed.

What is something you’ve always wanted to try to do, but haven’t done yet?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

My birthday goal challenge: 43-things to do before turning 43

So my birthday was a couple of days ago, and I’ve been slowly reworking various goal and bucket lists.

Reworking the bucket lists—because I need to be totally honest about how much travel I will probably be doing over the next few decades (especially international).

Reworking the 101 goals in 1001-days list—because there are few things that just haven’t happened and I’m not sure if they’re goals I was putting down for myself or things I thought were needed.

But, one thing I’ve done—I’ve created a list of 43 things I want to do before I turn 43. Some of things I’m already doing (such as meditating, daily oracle cards, and monthly new/full moon goals), but there are others that I attempt and never make that much traction with—I’m hoping that this is the extra little push I need to accomplish those items.

My 43 things to do before turning 43 list

The list contains goals such as researching the origins of my last name. Which is a semi-easy goal—since my grandfather did a good amount of the research back in the 1980s when he was composing a family tree.

But it also contains goals such as defining my vision of success, learning about body confidence, and creating a happiness plan.

Then there are goals associated with finishing certain courses that I’ve bought over the years—such as the project management consortium, management consulting firm, and business development federation courses offered by Cheeky Scientist.

The goal is that by my 43rd birthday I will have accomplished at least eighty percent of the goals (a minimum of 34.4—or 34 goals). I’ll be keeping track of some of the goals in spreadsheets (such as the 365-day photography and writing challenges; what books I’ve read).

Time to start pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, and expanding the bounce zone while shrinking the risk and stretch zones—I’ll be giving updates throughout the year, just haven’t figured out the approximate time frame.

Within the next week or two, I will also be posting an updated 101 goals in 1001-day challenge as well.

Have you done a birthday year inspired goal challenge before? If so–how did it turn out?

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Two-thirds of the way through 2022: August in Review

So, we’re in September…that means there are only four months, 122 days, roughly 17.5 weeks, or 2,928 hours left in 2022. I’m now nineteen days from my next birthday…I thought I’d have gotten more done during August—but it was a total mess of a month.

I’d like to ask again–whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

How was August a mess? Well, we’re currently dealing with an ongoing family medical issue—that may or may not be resolved by Halloween—so yeah, it’s been a hellish month.

I could on and on about being pissed about Roe v Wade being overturned…but I’m trying to stay on a somewhat upbeat outlook of life (due to the ongoing family medical issue)…

While the anxiety has been acting up—I’ve been getting better at meditating at night (soothing pod meditations help), and am working on catching the imposter syndrome/inner critic as it pops its head out to yell…

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘July in Review’ on August 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 93.1 million cases and now as of September 1st —we have reached just a little over 96.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 3.2 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I need to get my booster shot soon, but am waiting for the next Pfizer one to be released (since it is suppose to also protect against the omicron variants).

As I alluded to the past few months, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for September (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (and have at least one mini-book review written)
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no-spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for 20 days; goal is 30 days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one personal/professional development e-course module
  9. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

125-155K steps:

I managed 132,940 steps during August. Between the weather and the ongoing family medical issue—I didn’t get any long walks in at Boomer Lake, just several walks up to the corner store on the weekend looking for the paper.

One partial walk at Boomer Lake, and five-to-ten minutes of intentional movment:

There weren’t any walks at Boomer Lake this month (refer back to family medical issue), and I would have to say that I probably managed five minutes of intentional movement each day.

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Nope…I’ve started reading quite a few non-fiction books, but haven’t finished any of them.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

I did manage to read quite a few fiction books (though I have yet to write any mini book reviews). The books I managed to read include:

  1. Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. Help Me Remember (Rose Canyon #1) by Corinne Michaels
  3. My Grumpy Billionaire by Nadie Lee
  4. Frayed (Willow Springs #1) by Laura Pavlov
  5. Tangled (Willow Springs #2) by Laura Pavlov
  6. Charmed (Willow Springs #3) by Laura Pavlov
  7. Sealed (Willow Springs #4) by Laura Pavlov
  8. Claimed (Willow Springs #5) by Laura Pavlov
  9. Off Limits (Rixon High #1) by L.A. Cotton
  10. Tragic Lies (Rixon High #2) by L.A. Cotton
  11. Ruined Hopes (Rixon High #3) by L.A. Cotton
  12. Broken Ties (Rixon High #4) by L.A. Cotton
  13. Missed Notes (Rixon High #5) by L.A. Cotton

Plus I think I reread The Callaghan Brothers series by Abby Zanders and the Winters Saga by Ivy Layne as well.

Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge:

I did okay with the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge. I managed 22 days of not spending money…eight days shy of my goal of thirty days no spend. I’m hoping to do a minimum of twenty-four days no spend during September.

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

I’ve gotten better at evening meditations (the soothing pod meditation app helps), writing at least one thing I’m grateful for each night in my journal, and doing a daily oracle card drawing.

Time outdoors has been sporadic—mainly in the evenings, though there were a couple of days that I did manage to sit outside during afternoon/evening hours.

Craft time:

Well, it depends on what one would classify as ‘crafts’…I did spend some time trying to design new graphics on Canva, did a little iPhone photography, and possibly colored one or two color-by-number pictures on the kindle.

I do need to try to do other crafts (such as design some jewelry or work on a cross-stitch project) over the next few months.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I don’t think I got much personal/professional development done. I am in a boot camp course for career confidence (but have only been able to catch one class ‘live’ and am behind on the homework).

Writing, writing, and writing:

Well, there was some writing done this past month…I think I managed the science Tuesday posts on LinkedIn and only missed one thoughtful Thursday post. But—I know that I can (and will need to) do better in terms of writing daily.

So I would say that I managed to hit probably half the goals for August…the month had its problems—and while I didn’t ‘hide’ from them…I also fell into some bad coping habits (buying ebooks for example)…

I have no idea of September is going to be any easier than August…but I know that I need to stay focused on the goals of finding either a flexible remote position or really trying to start up a freelance business…

Therefore the goals for September will include a mixture of personal/professional development (as they all usually are) areas:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five-to-ten minutes fo intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (plus write at least one mini book review)
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 24 days; goal is 29)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to create at least one necklace, one bracelet, and one pair of ear rings)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (taking notes)
  9. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and more writing

Goals are basically the same as last month (with the addition of getting the second blog site up and running)—but that is how you build consistent habits—repetition. Also, since I ‘fell’ down on a few of the goals last month, by repeating them—I’m giving myself grace for not being ‘perfect’ and another shot on hitting the goal this coming month.

I can already tell that September isn’t going to be any easier than August (and potentially could be worse)…but instead of falling under the ‘influence’ of my inner critic/imposter syndrome (which would result in very few things getting done)…I’m going to aim for consistency—consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

By aiming for consistency—I’m leaning into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

I mentioned last month that I was going to try to ‘unplug’ from the computer at night to read or work on a craft project—and I think I only managed it a few times throughout the month—so another ‘mini-goal’ to work towards (no computer after 8pm at least four days a week).

With fall around the corner—what is one of your fall goals?

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Virgo Season: Time to start planning the goals

So, we’re going to be heading into another ‘new moon’ phase this weekend (and I’m probably going to be a day late in posting).

We’re entering Virgo season…I should be counting down the days until my birthday—but I’m not (and that’s another story for another day)…

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

  1. Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.
  2. Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.
  3. Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.
  4. Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play
  5. Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward

While most would think that the new moon would be moving through my first house (since my star sign is Virgo), it actually moving through my 11th house (or friends’ zone), since I’ve been going with my rising sign (which is Scorpio).

Looking back at what I wrote over the past two years—my ‘new normal’ is still social distancing (with a some exceptions), wearing a mask, and really just being considerate of others…

Some of the things one can do in regards to their 11th house include:

  1. Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do
  2. Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met
  3. Wish on a star every night for a month
  4. Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now
  5. Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to
  6. Thank your best friend for being there for you

Well, besides the fact that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic/epidemic—I’m not getting out that much still. Therefore, there are still several things that I probably won’t be doing in regards to my 11th house.

I’d say that there are probably only two things that I could do in regards to my 11th house: wish on a star every night for a month, or thank my best friend for being around still. I am starting to do more virtual ‘coffee/water’ chats as well.

I had lunch with a college classmate a few weeks ago, and may try to get together again sometime in September (but it depends on a whole slew of other things).

So, since I’m still in semi self-isolation, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include:

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life (research/writing/editing, crafts/hobbies, fitness, and mental health/spirituality) and try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (alternate between weight lifting and shadow-boxing).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, and block out periods of time (or set certain days to certain tasks) and see if that helps improve my productivity
  4. Work on the outlines/drafts for the following items:
    •  My LinkedIn oncology post series
    • The follow-up(s) to my LinkedIn molecular cloning series: Introduction to biofuels, Introduction to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and Introduction to vaccine development
    • Digestion, absorption of nutrients, and the nucleic acid biosynthesis pathways
    • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells: Similarities and Differences
    • Antibiotics and the rise of Antibiotic Resistant Microbes
  5. Continue with the evening meditations

Since the next few months are going to be extremely crazy (and that’s putting things nicely)…my motto is going to be ‘progress over perfection’…which means I need to spend a little time each week working on my other blog, doing research and starting to write on various topics (see fourth goal above).  I also am not going to let the opinions of others deter me from the path that I’m starting on, as I know it will be a windy and bumpy road.

How do you handle things when everything seems to be going to hell?

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

Six months down…six months to go…June Goals in Review

So, we’re in July—which means we’re halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: six months; or 184 days; roughly 26.3 weeks; or 4,416 hours.

Whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

The year isn’t mellowing at all…and seems to be trying to spiral downhill faster and faster each month…

The supreme court overturned Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

Thanks to six jackasses on the court (all of which should be impeached for lying under oath—opinion on Roe v Wade is usually asked during their confirmation hearings and at least five stated it was law) I have to add another layer to the job search (figuring out which companies are going to support women’s right to choose).

Needless to say—the anxiety has been acting up royally.

Now it is easier to get a damn assault rifle than it is for a woman to get life saving medical care.

It’s time to end the filibuster, expand the court, and enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘May in Review’ on June 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 85.9 million cases and now as of July 1st —we have reached just a little over 89.3 million cases (an increase of a about 3.4 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for July (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for June and see how I did with each of them. The goals for June included:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish two non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini-book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps:

I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps in for the month…144,303 steps to be exact. I managed to be somewhere in between the minimum and maximum in terms of steps—I would have been able to hit and surpass the goal if the weather had been slightly cooler (I only managed two walks up at Boomer this past month).

At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed two walks up at Boomer this past month. We’re in summer—which means that our daily temperatures are ranging somewhere in the 90s to 100s. The two mornings that I managed were two days that we had ‘cold’ fronts moving through the state.

I’m still working on trying to ensure that I’m doing five to ten minutes a day of intentional movement…it’s difficult to get in, when you have a 100 pound dog sprawled across your bedroom floor a good portion of the day. Both Boozer and Chaos basically are my ‘shadows’ for majority of the day…workouts might be ‘returning’ in the evenings when everyone else is home and I can ‘lock’ the dogs out of the room for thirty minutes or so.

Finish two (of the many) non-fiction books I’ve started to read. I managed to read:

  1. The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor
  2. UNLIKE A BOSS: Positive Leadership Skills You Wish Your Manager Had by Alexander N. Andrews

Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published). I managed to read:

‘Re-reads’ included the entire Gansett Island series (currently at 24 books) by Marie Force–the 25th book is scheduled to be released on July 19th; and I also read the Buchanan/Renard/MacKenna family series (currently at 13 books) by Julie Garwood, as the 14th book is also due to be released on July 19th.

The ‘new’ books that I read this past month included:

  1. Montgomery Bites (Anthology & Cookbook) by Carrie Ann Ryan & Suzanne Johnson (book review written)
  2. Forever with Me (Everhart Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. Can’t Help Love (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  4. Hidden Waters (Tatter & Torn #3) by Catherine Cowles
  5. Inked Temptations (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (Book review coming early July)

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 12 days)

I decided last month that the new ‘goal’ was to be a little better than the month before. The ‘minimal’ goal for June was set at 12 days of no spending and I managed 16…so slightly over half the month…and that will be the goal for July…at least 16 days of no spending…

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

Well, since summer has made it’s presence known—the time outdoors has been regulated at times to the evening when I take the dogs out, or earlier in the day.

Thanks to various things this month—I need to get back into mediation/sitting quietly, writing in the journal, and doing daily oracle card drawings.

I’ve found that as long as I do a few stretches before bed, I sleep somewhat decently—no stretches, and that is when I toss and turn.

Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry):

I created one needlepoint tapestry this month. I decided that before working on Rolex’s memorial tapestry (since it will rather complex), I would do a couple of smaller pieces to get the hang of working with the cotton fabric.

The first one I completed was a flower:

Cotton tapestry #1–freestyle drawn flower…

I still need to work on tying off the fabric and the different types of stitches…but not bad for the first time working with the cotton fabric.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)

I managed to finish the LinkedIn Unlocked course (I just need to go back through and make a list of the various action items). It was a really good course that highlighted a couple features of LinkedIn I was unaware of—but am slowly starting to use more often (especially the ‘build your resume’ feature).

Writing, writing, and more writing:

I managed to get some writing done this past month—I’ve been posting on LinkedIn some graphics and slowly introducing the molecular cloning series as posts (I’m also through the ‘planning stage’ of the experiment).

I’m in the planning stages for various projects for the blog and other sites—as I’ve realized that I really need to figure things out, get a portfolio together, and start seriously job hunting…

So how did I do overall: I would say that I managed to meet eighty percent of the goals that I set for June. The reading goal was at 100%, as was the craft goal (different tapestry—but it was finished), the rest were somewhere between sixty and eighty percent and it all averaged out to eighty percent.

July goals will be almost identical, though I know that I won’t be spending huge amounts of time outside, and I’ll be lucky to get a single walk in up at Boomer (so I’m not really going to aim for weekly walks).

We’re entering the second half of the year, and the third quarter. Its time to reset, refocus, and commit to various long term goals: getting a remote position (or starting a freelance business), getting into the best shape of my life, and focusing on my strengths and values: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative; knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/transformation.

So what will be my ‘repetitive’ goals for July? They will include:

  1. At least 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 16 days)
  6. Time outdoors (probably briefly in the evenings), mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drwings
  7. Craft time (work on a needlepoint project and/or create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course (looking at possibly either seven best ways to get paid as a writer and/or the sorthcourse on podcasting)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

I recreated a new bingo card for the second half of the year, and will be creating a bingo card for the third quarter and then for July (some of these goals will be finding their way to that bingo card). I’ll also be working on the multi-prong personal/professional development plan that I originally tried to put together last month (and ended up having an anxiety attack over).

I mentioned to a couple of people that my biggest ‘problem’ is that I’m overzealous and try to cram months worth of ideas/goals into a shorter time period, and then allow my inner critic/imposter syndrome to drag me back into the comfort zone when I ‘fail’ to achieve a goal in say five days when in reality it would take five weeks to achieve the goal.

I also will be trying to decide on a new web addy for the blog/website, as I still want to have a multi-facet site (the ‘professional’ communication side and the ‘personal’ hobby/creative/reflective side)…and everything is up for renewal this coming month.

I’m actually thinking of restarting both the 90-day content creation/research challenge as well as restarting the 101 goals in 1001-day challenge (I’ve tried this one several times; latest was doubling the time frame to 2002 days).

The goal of restarting both is to be a little more focused on things (at least in terms of the large number of goals).

I truthfully don’t think a single month has gone ‘smoothly’ so far this year…I’m just trying to roll with the tide and punches…

I deleted the one game from the kindle again, and once I feel like I’m on ‘auto-buy’ again, I’ll save things on the computer, shutdown the computer and go outside for a few minutes (minus all electronics).

How are you handling the stress that is 2022?

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections