Category: finances

March in Review, a few days late

Well we’re now a quarter of the way through the year (and I’m a few days late in posting)—and I’m pretty sure we can all agree that either we need to restart 2019 (because the end spilled over into 2020), or lets just skip to 2021 (maybe 2022). The novel coronavirus-SARS-CoV-2 has become a global pandemic, with travel basically shut down around the world. The US is now the current epicenter for the pandemic (we’re over 200K cases and climbing). So any travel I had planned for this year isn’t going to be happening—in fact there are a lot of things that I had planned that either aren’t going to be happening, or I’m going to fall short on—these include the yearly step goal (5 million), and possibly transitioning into industry (hiring is slightly down, plus I’m still not a hundred percent certain which direction I want to be going in).

Luckily, things are transitioning online—so the once networking event I was thinking about going to in Boston later in April—it is online, so I can hopefully attend from the comfort of my own room. So we will have to see how things are going to go (I’ve already missed one online networking event—I forgot about it and streamed a workout instead).

            I’m still trying to figure out what exactly I want to be doing with my life—I’ve realized one reason why I’m leery of trying to be an “expert” in a certain topic—I enjoy learning, and if I feel like I’ve learned all there is for the topic, I tend to lose interest and move on to something else.

                        I do this a lot with movies—there is only a small number of movies that I’m willing to watch more than once (and that is usually as I’m doing something else at the same time and I use the movie as background noise). The funny thing is I don’t do this with books—I can re-read a series over and over again, and usually not get bored by it (it probably also helps to have a couple of hundred (or more) books on the kindle).

So what were the goals for March?

The goals for March included:

At least 465,000 steps (breaks down to 15,000 steps/day)—this is to get back on track to hit the 5 million steps goal by the end of the year.

Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

Money log/Weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—actually try to have a bare-minimum spend month (again blog post coming later this week, early next week)

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Determine the best direction(s) for the blog to go in for 2020 and beyond.

So how did I do with each one?

At least 465,000 steps (breaks down to 15,000 steps/day)—this is to get back on track to hit the 5 million steps goal by the end of the year.

            This goal I fell way short of—I only managed to get a little over 130,000 (130,709 to be exact). Walks are still permitted during the “shelter-at-home/shelter-in-place” period—but everyone seems to be doing those. While I can keep six feet away from people, others are still out in groups and I just don’t trust that someone isn’t going to cough (and not into their forearm). So I had only been hitting about 5K steps a day. My yearly total is down as well (it is at 693,486 for the three months; when it should be somewhere between 900,000 (at 10K/day) and 1,260,000 (at 14K/day); this means that I should be doing almost 16,000 steps a day to get to 5 million by the end of the year—or 11K a day to get to the base minimum of ~3,660,000 steps.

Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

            I did manage to read at least two books, and they were the following:

Never too busy to cure clutter: simplify your life one minute at a time. More than 365 tips to make room for what’s truly important by Erin Rooney Dola

Leave your mark: land your dream job, kill it in your career, and rock social media by Aliza Licht and Donna Karan

I also started a couple of other books, but am also trying to work through the exercises as I’m reading them, so they will hopefully be finished during April.

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

I’m sticking with Morning Meltdown 100—and should hopefully be finished it with in early June. There have been a couple of days where I didn’t do a workout, but have only allowed that to stretch to two days and no more.

This is helping me control my stress and anxiety somewhat—I know that I should also be focusing on my nutrition during this time as well, but currently between working out and having chocolate they’re both helping me keep my calm.

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

I’ve been listening to podcasts quite frequently (usually when I’m working on crafts or trying to write). One that I was listening to the other day really resonated with me as it had briefly mentioned the book/concept YouMap—which I had read last year (and worked through numerous exercises). The concept of the book is to look at four different areas and then determine what works best for you that encompasses those things. They mainly talked about the strengths aspect—and that really is my sticking point—my top strengths are Learner, Intellection, Input, Achieve, and Deliberative (or Ideation). I need to figure out what direction/focus to go in that will allow me to use these strengths, while at the same time trying to improve others.

Money log/Weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—actually try to have a bare-minimum spend month (again blog post coming later this week, early next week)

Well this didn’t go quite as I had planned. I will be trying to repeat this challenge come April (and possibly May as well). There will be a blog post coming to update on how I did for this challenge in the coming days.

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Determine the best direction(s) for the blog to go in for 2020 and beyond.

So, this is still a work in progress. The only calendar that I’m semi sticking with is the workout calendar for morning meltdown 100 (and I’m off a couple of days on that). I think that my main problem is trying to fit everything into a day, instead of trying to figure out how to stagger the work (something to work on over the next few weeks as we’re still self-quarantining).

So I did well on a few things, and fell short on others. I wasn’t too shocked when the virus was actually declared a pandemic—I was hoping for a better response from the US (but again, not shocked at the poor response considering who is sitting in the White House). I would say that I’m going to buckle down and get all sorts of things accomplished during April, but I’ll be honest—there might be a decent size list, but I’m only going to be aiming at hitting 75 to 85% of the goals (which is better than not setting any goals for the coming month).

Therefore the goals for April are going to included:

At least 300,000 steps (should try to aim for ~10,000 steps/day)

Reading at least two non-fiction books

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin

Money log/Weekly-check in/No Spend days

Work on developing an editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Also still try to determine the best direction(s) for the blog to in for the rest of this year and beyond.

Then remember: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthMonth in ReviewPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Minimal Money Spending Challenge

So I noticed that over the past two months, I had been spending quite a bit of money on certain things—namely more e-books—I am an avid reader, and have the tendency to buy books before I finish reading ones that I already own. For example—after my first staff position was terminated I decided I was going to focus on personal and professional development and started buying numerous books. I think by the time I managed to get my second staff position the number of books bought were up to about seventy books. Fast-forward a little over two years and that list has ballooned to almost three hundred and fifty books, I’ve read about forty-five of them and consider another ten to be “reference” on a topic—that means I have probably another 280 books on the list to read. I also have bought numerous other books as well—so yeah, I shouldn’t be getting anymore books for a while (at least in terms of personal/professional development).

I also had been buying extra lives on a silly match-three game during the past couple of months. So the two combined to more money spent than I really meant to spend.

Therefore I’m declaring March to a minimum-spending month. What do I mean by that? Well, other than books that have already been pre-ordered (and there are only about six or seven of them), taking my dog to the vet, a possible physical order from amazon, and possibly meeting up with a friend for lunch—I’m not going to be spending any money.

I’m going to turn my focus to the things that I already own—the large number of books (both fiction and non-fiction), which I should be reading. I’m going to attempt to have a book review or two done monthly (though with some of the non-fiction books, it could wind up being some type of monthly challenge). I’m also going to focus on working through the various electronic e-courses that I’ve bought (hopefully remembering to take good enough notes for possible blog posts).

I also will just take a deep breath and not worry how long it takes me to get through various levels on the match-3 game in the morning or at night.

The goal is to only have spent money possibly a dozen times this month (not counting bills being paid); if it works well it will continue through the rest of the year (with various changes to what I’m possibly spending money on).

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

Decade in Review: 2010 to 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Take Three of the 101 goals in 1001 days

So in one of my many self reflection periods this past month, I realized that I hadn’t been looking at my 101 goal list and seeing how close I was to any of the goals (with the exception of my step goal). I also realized looking at the list, it was all jumbled together and that made it hard to see which goals could “feed” off of each other in terms of the daily/weekly/monthly goals that I should be setting to reach them.

Therefore, I took the time and rewrote my list—this time grouping things into different categories. I’m going to be hitting restart on the time, to where if I start on November 2, 2019—I should then be finishing up around July 29, 2022.

So below are my goals—but broken up into different categories (such as professional development/career, personal development, both personal/professional development, travel, health & fitness to name a few categories).

Professional development and career:

            1. Transition into an industry position (tied to latest self reflections post); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language

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

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

            6. More interacting on Linkedin

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

                        8. Commenting on posts

                        9. Giving/Asking for recommendations

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

            11. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        12. Present at a scientific conference

            13. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            14. Renew professional memberships

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

Both Personal and Professional Development

            16. Become fluent in Spanish

            17. Become fluent in German (or maybe French)

            18. Read at least 100 personal/professional development books

            19. Finish the books on scientific writing

Personal development and hobbies

            20. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            21. More photography

                        22. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        23. Update photography pages on blog

            24. Make my own jewelry

            25. Learn to cross-stitch

            26. Finish my latest afghan

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

            28. Start writing a book

            29. Learn Photoshop

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

            31. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            32. Learn basic sign language

Finances

            33. Create monthly budgets

            34. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

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

            36. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

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

Travel

            38. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            41. Visit at least one new zoo

            42. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            44. Visit at least one new city

            45. Visit at least one new state

            46. See the northern lights

            47. Attend at least one blogging conference

            48. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            49. Attend Beachbody Coach Summit 2020

Fitness & Health

            50. Get into the best shape of my life

            51. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            52. Manage at least 250 days of Beachbody workouts

            53. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            54. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            55.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            56.  Hold a 90 second plank

            57.  Meditate nightly

            58.  30-day Zumba challenge

            59.  60-80 oz of water a day

            60.  Stretch daily

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

            62. Get at least 14,014,000 steps (breaks down to 14K/day)

Blog and Social Media

            63.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            64.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            65.  Finish blog to biz course

            66.  Launch a YouTube channel

            67. Launch an online course

            68. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            69. Rebrand myself (?)

            70. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            71. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            72. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            73. Publish at least two blog series

            74.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        75. Blog

                        76. Instagram

                        77. Facebook pages

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

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

            80. Various top 10 author lists

            81. Various top 10 book series lists

Spirituality

            82. Full/New Moon Goals

            83.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            84. Weekly tarot/oracle card readings

Others

            85. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            86. Design a science based board game

            87. Create and update a digital vision board

            88. Re-pierce my ears

            89. Reorganize my storage unit

Once I move:

            90. Get a new sewing machine

                        91. Make a new quilt

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

            93. New couch & chair for living room

            94. New dresser for bedroom

            95. New mattress & box spring for bed

            96. New TV & stand

TV shows to binge watch

            97. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            98. Grimm

            99. The Librarians

            100. Once Upon A Time

            101. Blacklist

So that is my update and “organized” 101 goals in 1001 days. This time I’m trying to balance things out—personal and professional development, career and then just odds and ends. Hopefully with it being organized, I will be better at tracking how close I am to completing certain items and which items when completed will flow into another one being started.

No Comments 101 GoalsCraftsfinancesFitness ChallengesFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentspiritualitytarot cardstravelZoos/Aquariums

Reboot Break Update I

So I’ve managed to decide on a start date for my reboot break—it will start roughly right around the Thanksgiving holiday. Many may think the timing is bad, but when you start a job right after the holidays, the contract usually ends right before it the following year. I more or less gave four months notice two weeks ago, so now I’m on a countdown clock.  I just haven’t decided on a end date for the reboot break—I know that it will at least stretch into the early part of 2020.

I’ve also decided that this is going to be a three-prong reboot break: course-correction/career reinvention, emotional/mental healing, and life enhancement. Currently I see all three as interconnecting—if I can get back on a even keel in terms of mental/physical health, I will be able to readjust my career trajectory and enhance my life at the same time.

I’m planning on spending a good part of early December trying to get my storage unit in better order; I started it last year right after the Fourth of July holiday, but haven’t had the time to repack anything that needs it. I’m hoping that in addition to repacking the boxes that have fallen apart, I will go through others and start paring down my belongings.

I’ve realized that I will probably always be living in an apartment (or condo)—I don’t really see myself trying to buy a house anytime soon. Therefore, I need to make sure that I’m not taking a lot of stuff with me that will just clutter up the space.

I’m also planning on working on my mental and physical health as well. By the time the reboot break starts, I will hopefully have finished a second round of Country Heat, the first round of Yoga Booty Ballet: Abs and Butt, and maybe be working through a second round of LIIFT4. In addition, I will start meditating twice a day (morning and evening), and writing more in my journal. By removing myself from a semi-toxic work environment, hopefully within a few weeks some of the mental cobwebs will be gone.

My traveling will probably be done during the springtime—at least one trip somewhere for enjoyment, and then one or two for networking/job hunting. I have a couple of ideas percolating for the networking trips—which one(s) I go with, will depend on the time of year, and how much groundwork I’ve done via online networking.

In addition, I have so many different e-courses that I’ve bought over the past few years, that I will finally have the time to sit down and actually go through and learn something that I can possibly use moving forward. I won’t feel guilty listening to videos taking notes on things unrelated to my current position. If I can also relearn a foreign language (such as Spanish or German)—it will allow me to travel more with a little more confidence.

So a recap:

Reboot break is starting end of November 2019. During the month of December I plan on getting my storage unit in order, starting to work through more of the e-courses, declutter things in my bedroom, and hopefully settled into a exercise/meditation routine as well (getting my mental and physical health back on track).

I will also then be planning out what I hope to accomplish during the first few months of 2020 as well. Those plans will be posted in an update, once I’ve posted pictures of the cleaned/organized storage unit and decluttered bedroom.

No Comments financesfitnessHealthLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreak

Check-in on 101 goals

So we’re officially a little over halfway through 2019, which means that there are 815 days left in this challenge (as today is July 5th 2019). So I decided that I should probably do a check-in on the goals and see where I’m at with them. Updates are in bold.

The dates for my 101 goal challenges are:

So my original start and finish dates were:

Start Date: January 1 2018

Finish Date: September 28 2020

My new start and finish dates:

Start Date: January 1, 2019

Finish Date: September 28, 2021

Here are my 101 goals for the next 1001 days (random and non-grouped):

  1. Transition into a biotech or biopharma company as a research scientist
  2. Become fluent in Spanish
  3. Become fluent in German
  4. Learn to program (R and maybe python)
  5. Visit at least three new countries (0/3)
  6. Finish the various other e-course bundles that I bought (list out later)
  7. Move to a new(ish) city for #1
  8. Make it through at least 250 days of beachbody workouts (share on twitter?) (0/250) *Luckily it doesn’t have to be consecutive days (though I would like that)—I haven’t done a Beachbody workout in awhile (I also can’t remember how many I’d done before I hit my slump).
  9. Paint & frame at least one original painting (0/1)
  10. Finish the Dream Job Hack program
  11. Finish the Youtube for bosses course
  12. Finish the Youtube course creation for bosses course
  13. Launch a youtube channel
  14. Launch a online course
  15. Get blog traffic to 500+ views/day
  16. Publish 5-10 scientific blog posts (0/10)
  17. Practice more photography (1-2 posts a week) I’ve managed to stick with the photography challenge so far, so at least on the blog there have been new pictures post on a semi-constant basis (at least for the past three-four months).
  18. Get instagram followers to 800+
  19. Showcase crafts on blog (afghans, artwork, jewelry)
  20. Learn to make my own jewelry
  21. Re-pierce my ears
  22. Finish at least 200 personal/professional development books (and post reviews) (35/200) *So out of the 274 books I have on my book reading list for both personal and professional development (and this number is growing)—I’ve read 20 in 2018, and 15 so far in 2019—that means I only have another 238 books to read to finish the list (and that is only if I don’t add anymore books to the list).
  23. Interact more on Linkedin (actually network with connections) (at least 4 a week) (0/140)
  24. Reach at least 14,014,000 steps (0/14,014,000); though if I add in the steps from 2018—this could actually be closer to 20,000,000 steps (goal—19,124,000 by Sept 28 2021 (as of yesterday (07/04/19) 8,047,645/19,124,000).
  25. Visit at least one new national (or state) park (0/1)
  26. Visit at least one new national (or state) monument (0/1)
  27. 5 pushups on toes (0/5)
  28. 10 pushups on toes (0/10)
  29. Fly/land at least 3 new airports
  30. Visit one new city & state (US) (0/1; 0/1)
  31. Go to one or more scientific conferences (0/1)
  32. Go to a blogging conference (0/1)
  33. See the Northern Lights
  34. Present at a scientific conference (0/1)
  35. Post free monthly challenges in facebook groups
  36. Write (or start) a book
  37. Complete a 365 day photography challenge (137/365) I started the challenge a little late this year, or more accurately it took me awhile to build momentum to continue posting a daily picture.
  38. Learn to cross-stitch
  39. Reach 400+ followers on pintrest
  40. Reach 1000+ followers on twitter
  41. Publish at least two blog series (0/2)
  42. Mediate at least 5 minutes a day  (0/1001) This one has been an off and on success—there have been at least one or two weeks when I didn’t feel like meditating nightly, and therefore I didn’t—but I’m slowly getting back into the routine.
  43. No extra snacks at work (i.e. no hitting the coffee shop for cookies in the morning) This one is a work in progress, there are some days when I’m really good at not getting extra snacks at work, and there are other days when I cave and get chocolate.
  44. Declutter the movies in the house
  45. Create an editorial calendar for blog (0/33) Well I’m slowly starting to try creating editorial calendars, but have only been really good at posting certain topics (new/full moon goals & updates, monthly updates & photography challenge). This is something I still need to work on.
  46. Credit card debt down to less than $500 a month (and getting paid off monthly in full) This is almost happening—I do have my debt at a level that I can pay off monthly, though some bills get a little higher than planned.
  47. Monthly budget (plus list of monthly recurring charges on credit cards) (0/33) I’ve been doing this, though not listing the recurring charges on my credit cards.
  48. Learn to give mani/pedi and give myself one a month (0/33) This one is off the list—because I have yet to do it, and while I might in the future I don’t see me doing it quite yet.
  49. Get a new sewing machine and make a new quilt for bed. This one is on hold until I move and then I’ll be buying a new sewing machine.
  50. Make my new moon & full moon goals (0/66) I’ve been keeping up with this one. Though I may not hit all the goals for both the new moon & the full moon—I’m at least putting my intentions out there for the universe to hear.
  51. Buy a new couch and chair for my living room. This one and #s 52-54 are dependent on success with #1 & #7
  52. Buy a new dresser for my bedroom
  53. Buy a new mattress & box-spring for my bed
  54. Buy a new TV & stand for living room
  55. Reorganize my storage unit
  56. Buy fabric & foam and make new cushions for rocking chair
  57. Create a posting schedule (editorial calendar) for facebook pages (0/66) I’m behind on this.
  58. Generate at least three months of memes for facebook pages (0/3)
  59. Create posting schedule (editorial calendar) for instagram (0/33) Behind on this.
  60. Learn to use photoshop for memes & posts
  61. Make a 30-day Zumba schedule & stick with it (0/30) Haven’t done this yet.
  62. Visit one or more new zoos (0/1)
  63. Visit one or more new aquariums (0/1)
  64. Make a top 10 favorite author list (for different genera; romance, fantasy/sci-fi, mystery/thriller, non-fiction) for blog
  65. Write and share at least two posts on linkedin every two months (0/32) Behind on this as well.
  66. Ask for endorsements from 6 well known connections on linkedin (0/6) Behind on this well.
  67. Endorse 3 to 5 people on linkedin every four months (0/40) Behind on this.
  68. Renew professional memberships (0/6) Need to do this soon.
  69. Get into the “best shape” of my life. This is one of the things I’m going to try to focus on more, and maybe should be moved higher in the list.
  70. Finish reading books on scientific writing (review and post) (0/7)
  71. Take a multivitamin & supplements daily (0/1001). There have been several days (going on to a week) that I’ve missed taking my multivitamin & supplements.
  72. Design a logo for my blog/website
  73. Finish 3 hidden object games without using hints, or the strategy guide
  74. Go to a author-reader conference and meet authors
  75. Write in journal daily (0/1001). There have been several weeks that I didn’t do this (mainly due to my current mood—even though I know when I’m feeling down or in a funk that is actually a good time to journal).
  76. Complete my book of Sudoku puzzles (minus the ones crossed out)
  77. Drink 70 oz of water a day (0/1001). There have been quite a few days when this hasn’t happened.
  78. Color in two coloring books (0/2) (pictures on blog/instagram)
  79. Knit another afghan (diamond pattern) This has been started, and hopefully will be finished this coming winter.
  80. Watch all the episodes of Hawaii 5-0
  81. Go to at least 2 professional networking events (0/2)
  82. Update Linkedin profile (0/2)
  83. Watch all the episodes of Grimm
  84. Design a science based board game
  85. Hold a two minute plank (on forearms)
  86. Hold a 90 second plank (full)
  87. Go at least one weekend a month without social media (0/33) This hasn’t happened yet, though with the way the world is going I might start doing it.
  88. Create (and update) a vision board. I’ve created and updated a digital vision board, and will probably try to update it at least every two to three months.
  89. Create my own altar (wiccan/pagan)
  90. Learn basic sign language
  91. Create job searching/networking editorial calendar (0/12)
  92. Get an additional external hard drive to back up the laptop & external DVD drive for installing printer program on laptop
  93. Create my own coffee table photography book
  94. Touch base with friends that I haven’t talked to lately
  95. Savings up another 20K (0/20K)
  96. Get at least three plants and keep them alive (0/3)
  97. Stretch daily (0/1001)
  98. Watch all the episodes of The Librarians
  99. Watch all the episodes of Once Upon A Time
  100. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes
  101. Get BecomingJessi to 1000+ likes

I’ve only removed one goal from the list—giving myself a mani/pedi monthly. I’ve never been the type to fuss with their nails (though I know with job searching, I do need to start taking better care of my nails, and this does include painting them every so often). I’ve realized that I have fallen behind on some of the daily goals (taking my multivitamins, drinking a certain amount of water a day, and writing in my journal every day)—but at least I do start back up, even if it tampers off, and then starts again.

I also know that there are goals that I haven’t started on, and others that require another goal to be accomplished before they are looked at. I know where I need to try to focus for the next few months (personal care—mental and physical health, and slowly figuring out my career objectives), and once these are on track, I think the others will follow suit.

No Comments 101 GoalsBooksCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspiritualitytravel

The moon is moving through Taurus: New Moon Goals for May.

So the moon is transitioning through Taurus today, as it marks its new phase. We’re a third of the way through the year, and somehow time seems to crawl by during the week and then zoom by on the weekends.

So what are some of the things that one can focus on during the Taurus new moon? Looking at “Moonlogy: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland:

            Making a financial plan.

            Love yourself.

                        Make a list of your values and ask yourself if you’re living your life in a way that allows you to honor those values. If the answer is no—figure out a new plan to allow yourself to honor those values.

            Be sensual. Ask yourself “What would make my life better?”

            Character check. Ask yourself “Am I being too stubborn or too lazy?”

            Persevere—remember that there is more to life than racing head, there is also the journey that should be enjoyed as well (or as much as possible). Slow and steady will win the day.

So the new moon in Taurus is also moving through my seventh house, or my “love zone”. This zone can also be referred to as the relationship zone as well. So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to the seventh house?

            Go through old love letters and get rid of at least some of them.

            If you’re single and feeling brave, try online dating.

            Ask your parents about their ideas on how to make love (aka a relationship) work.

            Recommit to your partner.

            If you hurt a past lover, admit you were wrong & apologize to them.

            Make a list of the qualities you look for in a partner.

            If you’re already attached, play matchmaker for a friend.

So looking at these two lists, I can honestly say that right now I’m going to focus on the financial/personal aspects of the Taurus new moon. I don’t have the time or energy to put into the dating scene and finding someone. In terms of relationships and being with someone—I seem to be one of the odd ones that doesn’t mind being alone and unattached. I also know that I have other things to work out on my own before even attempting to stick my toes into the dating pool.

So my goals for the Taurus new moon include:

            Making a financial plan. I’ve realized that I’m not getting any younger, and that there are still things that I either want to do (travel more for leisure) or will need to be doing (moving for a new job) that will require having a decent amount of money saved and/or invested.

            Continue working on my transition plan—since I know at least one or two of the cities that I’m willing to relocate to (Boston, and maybe Washington DC, Chicago, or St. Louis) now I need to start looking for say three to four companies within each area that I think I could work for and start trying to network for informational interviews.

            Try and finish the following two books: “Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career Paths in Science” by Melanie V Sinche and “Reboot Your Life: Energize your career and lie by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearge, Rita Foley and Jaye Smith.

            Box (or bag) up the t-shirts that no longer fit well for donation (or selling online).

            Get back into a workout routine (go between weight training and cardio).

The goals might seem a little repetitive, and it may seem to others that I’m not making progress between months/years—but slow and steady is the way to go and not everything is publically shared.

No Comments AstrologyfinancesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work

            Continuously long work days.

            Working on the weekends

            Not getting paid what I’m worth

Finances

            Large amount of credit card debt

            Not enough in the retirement account

            Struggling to survive month to month

Health and Fitness

            Being overweight and out of shape

            Not getting good night sleep

Physical Environment

            Having more stuff than I need

            Feeling “cluttered and disorganized”

Friends & Family

            Losing touch and not staying connected

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

Work:

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

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

Finances:

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

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

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

            Being financial responsible and realizing that less is actually more.

Heath and fitness:

            Starting to workout at least three days a week.

            Aiming for at least 14,000 steps/day

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

            Aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night

            Meditating before bed

            Not checking the news/social media before bed

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

Physical environment

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

            Donating clothes that I don’t wear that often

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

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

Friends & Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Comments Book ReviewsfinancesfitnessPersonal Developmentprofessional development

June in Review

Well the weather is definitely on the warmer side of things now. June is over, and that means 2018 is also halfway over. The second half of the year starts, and the third quarter of the year starts as well. I made note last month, on how I needed to get better at time management so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed everyday—sufficient to say that is still something that I need to work on. I’ve also realized that I really have no tolerance for the high humidity of summer; I remember throughout both my undergrad and grad years I wouldn’t blink twice at biking when there was a heat index in the low 100s—I’d bike a little slower, but I’d still ride my bike. Now I step outside and I almost immediately feel sick to my stomach—so there are other things I need to work on as well this second half the year. So there will also be a couple of posts that are showing where I’m at in terms of my 101+ goal list, and how I’m feeling with my Level 10 life. But for now lets look back on June.

So my goals for June included:

At least 435,000 steps (adding in about 500 steps a day to make up for the deficiency from May)

Shakeology daily (breakfast or dinner)

Reading (finishing) at least 4 non-fiction books & writing the reviews

Finishing up the reviews for the other books

Packing my lunch daily

Walking around Boomer Lake at least once on the weekend (early morning)

Getting through the first month of InsantiyMax30 (its an 8 week program)

Networking and adding value to my online connections

Keeping a money log & having at least two consecutive non-spend days

Finish up the project management e-bundle course that I bought

  Read More

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Money Saving Challenge

Other than meeting up with a friend for lunch sometime this month for lunch, and the few things that I purchased today, and the few books that I’ve got on pre-order, one goal now is not to spend any more money this month. That means that I pack my lunch for work (twenty days), not spending any money on the one main match three game that I have on my kindle (it’s funny—I deleted a few games that I was spending way to much money on from my kindle and then downloaded one that I’d deleted because I got stuck on a certain level—and now I’m back in the boat of spending money on the boosts for that game)—this game might get deleted for the month of June (and then re-downloaded come July). This also means that I will have to curb my habit of randomly buying e-books as well. There have been a number of personal/professional development books that I’ve bought over the past couple of weeks, which I need to add to my list of books to finish by Sept 28, 2020.

Trying to stick with a budget hasn’t been that bad—my problem has been trying to also stick with a money log. I can do about a day or two, and then I slowly quit writing down what I’ve bought and how I’ve paid for it. Hence, the money challenge this month—other than lunch with a friend, I’m going to aim for not spending any more money this month (and that lunch shouldn’t run more than $20 [including tip]). Then come July I’ll get back into also trying to keep a money log as well—maybe if I switch up how I’m doing my savings challenges I will actually keep track and stay on top of everything.

So, on June 30th I will post an update on whether or not I was able to stick with this challenge for the entire month (and if I failed, I’ll mention where that money went)—if I succeed I’ll pat myself on the back, maybe get an new e-book (if I also manage to write at least another four book reviews for the blog).

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challenges