Category: fitness

Focusing on time & project management…emphasis on time management

So the moon will be transitioning through the Sagittarius constellation tonight—marking the fifth full moon of the year, and there is a week (give or take) left in May. Last year I didn’t write anything for the Sagittarius full moon…so I’ll have to compare reflections to those I wrote two (or even three) years ago. 

Two years ago, I wrote that I was hoping that there wouldn’t be spikes in SARS-CoV2 cases (and there were due to the various omicron variants)…I’m sure that there will be some type of spike due to the newer variants that are bouncing around now. So…I’ll be using the ‘fun energy’ of Sagittarius to reflect on things & work on both launching a freelance business this summer & looking for remote writing positions.

Every month, I turn to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland to get questions to reflect on for a day or two that deal with the moon in each zodiac constellation. The questions for the Sagittarius full moon are:

Have I been too flippant, or carefree to the point of being careless, irresponsible, even?

Have I been letting myself down by allowing myself get distracted and bored?

Have I been overconfident to the point of arrogance, or too preachy?

Have I been a commitment-phobe, to my own detriment?

Have I been seeing the bigger picture?

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

  1. Well…since my savings account is barely there…and I’m at time binge buying things due to stress/anxiety/depression…yes—I’ve been a little too ‘flippant’ or ‘carefree’ in terms of my finances and money. I’m working on correcting those things though…plus I’m working on figuring out how to potentially set up an online store for selling things (currently digital items; and maybe a few ‘physical’ items that I’d have to mail off).
  2. Have I been allowing myself to get distracted and/or bored? Yes…but I’m working on curtailing those ‘issues’ by becoming a little better at time & project management. I’ve set up a new tracking sheet for content creation; and one of the things I’m going to start tracking is how much content do I create that I’m able to repurpose on other sites. As I mentioned to someone last week—I have a goal of having several portfolio pieces ready by the end of the summer, in addition to hopefully finding clients (or possibly having applied to one or two remote writing positions). 
  3. Nope, I have not been overconfident to the point of arrogance or being too preachy. Though I will argue with my father in terms of things that are going on in West Asia.
  4. Recycling the answer from a couple of years ago: This answer again depends on which aspect of life we’re talking about. Am I being a commitment-phobe to myself (i.e. not doing my workouts, eating well, and so forth)? Or a commitment-phobe to someone else? If we’re talking to about the first (myself)—then yes, I have been a commitment-phobe to my own detriment. I’m working on getting better at it though. If we’re talking about being a commitment-phobe to someone else—nope (can’t be a commitment phobe if you aren’t in a relationship, and I’m currently not in a relationship).
  5. Which bigger picture are we talking? Trying to figure out my life in say five to twenty years? The current societal picture? The global picture? The current global/societal picture sucks…There is still the Russia-Ukraine problem; there is the live-streaming ongoing genocide in Gaza; there are the genocides happening in the Congo, Sudan, and elsewhere in the world. There is the SARS-CoV2 virus floating around; gun violence (within the US), protests (that are peaceful, but are being squashed harshly by the police), and various other things going on. I’d mentioned two years ago, that I thought the Russia-Ukraine issue could erupt into the third world war…I was wrong…but there is the extreme possibility that the problems in West Asia (Gaza & the West Bank) could erupt into either the third regional war or the third global war.I’m seriously wondering now if we’re going to be able to survive as a society and be ‘recognized’ as society in say fifteen to twenty years.

In addition to the fact that the moon has entered into Sagittarius, at least for me it has moved into my second house (or the cash, property, and values zone). This full moon brings about feelings of one’s financial security and stability, and self worth.

It means that we’re suppose to find a balance between various aspects of life—are we tired of working for others and wanting to strike out on our own—now would be the time to start planning it, have we been neglecting ourselves and focusing on others??

This zone is popping up at a time when I need to really start ‘job searching’  (aka looking for remote and/or freelance work within science, health, medical, or agricultural comms), in addition to getting a portfolio put together and uploaded to the science, health, & medical blog; and it wouldn’t hurt to have a decent semi-working editorial content calendar created/developed. 

I can probably figure out how to earn a little extra cash (taking surveys, selling DVDs and/or books & other stuff, in addition to figuring out how to possibly set-up/open an online store to sell things).

So, while I’m still going to treat this time as a period of self-reflection, I’m also going to be doing other things that I need to do to really get the job search up and going….

Two years ago I had updating my LinkedIn profile, creating a functional resume template, updating pages on the creative blog, in addition to attempting SEO research & writing as my goals. My LinkedIn profile is more or less updated (considering I’d been restricted from it for about six weeks earlier this year), I have a decent functional resume template, and I probably still need to update pages to both blogs, continue trying to do SEO research & writing.

Therefore, the goals that I’m setting for this year’s Sagittarius full moon will include:

  1. Plan for June…content editorial calendar—pick different colored pens/markers for the different projects/channels that I’ll have going. June BINGO card; June brain dump.
  2. Develop a ‘fluid’ schedule…blocks of 40-75 minutes of work followed by blocks of 30 minutes for ‘breaks’ (which could include getting some intentional movement in).
  3. Continuing with my content creation challenge (including tracking)
  4. Update my personal/professional growth game and then roll the dice to see what the next set of adventures are.

‘Closing’ the previous chapters of ones life—for me, it’s in terms mainly of my career, has been a battle. I’ve been more than willing to slam the door shut & bar it closed…while others are still inquiring every so often if I’m willing to step back into the world of research (at the bench). I want to write, I want to come up with creative ways of sharing information with the world, and I want to help improve how the general public perceives science, health, & medical information. In order to do that…I need to close the previous chapter, and focus my energy on writing the next chapter…or possibly the next ‘act’ in the play of my life.

What is one of your Sagittarius goals?

Namaste…

No Comments Astrologybullet journalcareerCraftsfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Check-in time on the 44 goals before 44…take four

4th check-in on my ’44 goals before turning 44’ project; & realizing that I’m four months away from my 44th birthday. It’s been a seesaw in terms of productivity…some days I’m productive…other days I’m sitting in procrastination corner. If it were a perfect world & I was totally on top of my game—I’d be two-thirds of the way through the list (having 29 or 30 goals checked off).

It isn’t a perfect world though…I have gotten several goals accomplished, and there are others that are either halfway done or I consider on-going goals (so can’t consider them ‘completed’ until my birthday).

So what goals are completed? Halfway? On-going, or just not started yet? Images for the drawings, paintings, and needlepoint projects are after the list.

Well here are the 44 goals that I wrote out on the evening of my 43rd birthday last year:

  1. Starting my freelance science, health, medical communications business. In progress–I have the website, and I’m slowly getting blog posts up. I’m still in the progress of creating a portfolio to have on the site as well to highlight the types of communication pieces I would enjoy creating for customers. The site: jessicamatts(dot)com
  2. Transition into a remote science/health/medical comms position. Need to have a portfolio (possibly) and need to start looking to see what companies are hiring remote comms workers. I really don’t want to have an hybrid or in-person job.
  3. Launching a YouTube channel. I have a YouTube channel…I just need to ‘rename/rebrand’ it, and figure out what the hell I’m going to talk about on it (whether it’s a mix of science and things or strictly a science/health/medical channel).
  4. Launch a podcast. Need to launch the YouTube channel first…so I’m not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  5. Complete at least ten different Udemy courses: I’ve watched three; a minimum of seven more
    • Gods and Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia & Arabia
    • Beginners guide to SEO for medical writers
    • Writing an Effective & Successful Business Plan
  6. Complete at least twelve different Skillshare courses: I’ve watched seven; a minimum of five more to go
    • Creating Your Dream Career: Uncovering & Apply Your Creative Strengths
    • Productivity Habits that Stick, Using Time Theming
    • Goal Setting for Creatives: play to your strengths & tap into flow
    • The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success
    • Creative business plan for artists: creative a thriving business
    • Creative journaling: getting started
    • Growing your creativity
  7. Read at least 44 non-fiction/historical fiction books: I’m a little over 2/3 of the way done with this one. I’ve read 30 & only have 14 more to go.
    • Monarchs of the Sea (The extraordinary 500-million year history of cephalopods) by Danna Staaf
    • Conquering your burnout: an actionable guide to overcome burnout by Veronica Llorca-Smith
    • Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to being happy, confident and you in a looks-obsessed world by Anuschka Rees
    • Unfuck your brain: Using science to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freakouts, & triggers by Faith Harper
    • Things no one will tell fat girls: A handbook for unapologetic living by Jes Baker
    • Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Body Positive Power: Because life is already happening and you don’t need flat abs to live it by Megan Jayne Crabbe
    • Flying Snakes & Griffin Claws: and other classical myths, historical oddities, and scientific curiosities by Adrienne Mayor
    • Letters to a Starseed by Rebecca Campbell
    • White Women: everything you already know about your own racism & how to be better by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao
    • Healthy at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight by Linda Bacon, PhD
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson
    • I’m Not Yelling: A Black Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Workplace by Elizabeth Leiba
    • Pantesdrunk by Misha Rantanen
    • Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky
    • Bust Your Fears (Rebel Diva #4): Three tools to help conquer fear by Tikiri Herath
    • Top 10 Most Interesting Dinosaurs by Daniel Boszo
    • What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
    • 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 More Discoveries from the Golden Age of Dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
    • Waking up in the Winter: In Search of What Really matters at midlife by Cheryl Richardson
    • Becoming What you are: A concise guide to awakening the light within by Two Workers
    • B*tch don’t kill my vibe: How to stop worrying, end negative thinking, cultivate positive thoughts, & start living your best life (self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Pagan Portals: Sekhmet: Lady of Flame, Eye of Ra by Olivia Church
    • Pagan Portals: Isis: Great of Magic, She of 10,000 Names by Olivia Church
    • Things You Might Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza by Mosab Abu Toha
    • Just Tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You Have No Idea What it is by Sara Kravitz
    • Headstrong: 52 women who changed science & the world by Rachel Swaby
    • Just do the damn thing: how to sit your @ss down long enough to exert willpower, develop self discipline, stop procrastination, increase productivity…sh!t done (Self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Authentic: How to be yourself & Why it Matters by Stephen Joseph
  8. Become fluent in Spanish. I need to stick with a daily time to get onto Mondly to work on this and #9 as well
  9. Become proficient in Arabic. See above
  10. Learn to say hello in ten different languages. See #8
  11. Learn to say thank you in ten different languages. See #8
  12. Complete a 365-day photography challenge. Nope. Need to create a ‘schedule’/outline and add this to my 45 things before 45 list
  13. Monthly editorial calendars, weekly/daily to-do lists. This is an ongoing goal, and one I’ve been improving with over the past two or three months compared to the first few months last year.
  14. What is my definition of success? Finished:
    • Being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive & aware that not everyday is going to be rainbows & unicorns…sometimes they’re going to be thunderstorms & disasters.
    • Success is more than money, influence & power. It’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to.
    • It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in “competition” with the me I was yesterday.
  15. Create a vision board based on that definition. Still collecting ‘images/words/phrases’ to place on the vision board.
  16. Learn basic sign language. I think I bought an e-course on this topic.
  17. Get debt down by a quarter to half (based on where it is now). Not sure how well I’m doing..since I’m still in the planning stages of my businesses
  18. Continue getting into the best shape of my life. I do need to figure out what some metrics will be to aim for (heavy lifting or something…because currently its a little too vague still)
  19. Learning about body confidence. Ongoing–have read several book on the subject (see above)
  20. Create a happiness plan. Need to set this up during the next two months
  21. Daily mediation on-going
  22. Stretch daily on-going
  23. Hold a 90-second plank. Need to get on this one
  24. Develop & stick with a consistent exercise schedule. On the agenda for the week.
  25. Make some mosaic art
  26. Make some resin art. Semi-completed. I made a small ‘container’
  27. Draw/doodle, color & frame an original drawing. Completed. See below for the pictures
  28. Draw/doodle, paint & frame original drawings. Completed. Again, see below for the pictures
  29. Start making jewelry. Semi-started. Attempted to make an resin pendant
  30. Complete at least another six cross-stitch projects. In progress-I have one finished, and am currently working on a second large one. Not sure if I’ll get four smaller ones done or not before my birthday.
  31. Create my own calendar using my nature photographs. Debating on whether to do a 2025 or try to make a planner for 2026 with my own photographs
  32. Create at least one piece of wood-burnt art. Haven’t tried yet. I have the kit…just haven’t worked up the nerve to try yet.
  33. Monthly full & new moon goals. I’ve only missed Oct 2023 full moon posting. This is on-going
  34. Daily oracle card drawings. This is on-going. I need to determine the best time to actually also post them to the oracel card channel that I started on instagram
  35. Learn to make sushi. I have a sushi making ‘kit’ and cookbook in my amazon cart to order.
  36. Get a haircut. Since there is starting to be a spike in SARS-CoV2 cases again…not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  37. Create a coloring book from various (uncolored) doodles/drawings. I just need to retake a bunch of photographs (to ensure that that pictures are ‘centered’) so kinda in progress
  38. Complete a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily (a minimum of 60-day challenge). Currently about two-thirds of the way through the 60-day Sudoku challenge…may have also hit that mark (not sure if I started that on March 20 or not). Almost finished
  39. Complete at least five 30-day challenges. So far have completed at least 30 days of the Sudoku challenge. on-going.
  40. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) banned books. Halfway done:
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  41. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) classics
  42. Read at least one ‘new’ trilogy (or longer) series. Finished. Have read at least five to seven this year.
    • Lost & Found series by Catherine Cowles (five books–series is done)
    • Cottonwood Cove series by Laura Pavlov (five books–series is done)
    • Lakeshore U by L.A. Cotton (four books, not sure if there are more yet)
    • Kincaid Brothers by Kaylee Ryan (six books, plus another two to finish)
    • Playing to Win by Bella Matthews (three books, plus one more to finish)
    • The Defiant Kings by Bella Matthews (five books–series is done)
    • The Kings of Kroydon Hills by Bella Matthews (four books–series is done)
  43. Finish creating an inspiring work/crafts area
  44. Write a letter to my future self (again). Wrote one for me to read/open on either 12/31/2025 or 01/01/2026

The three pictures that I drew and colored with either colored pencils or markers.

Two of the four paintings that I’ve done. I did two watercolors & two acrylics (one of each for two different sizes–the 9×12 seen here & then 8×10).

The finished needlepoint project on the left & the progress of the other large one on the right.

But, since it isn’t a perfect world—I’ve ‘completed’ a few goals: doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least one original drawing (I did three); doodling/drawing, painting & framing at least one original piece of art (I’ve done four); reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy (I’ve read at least two—truthfully probably closer to five now), determining what my definition of success is (still need to make the vision board), and writing a letter to my future self.

That’s five goals finished…and technically there are three others that are halfway finished (reading at least two banned books, doing at least a two-month challenge of attempting to solve a Sudoku puzzle each morning & creating some resin art). This means I’ve accomplished almost 11.5% of my goals (and if I add in the three halfway completed goals—I’m a little over 18.2% of the way). 

Several of the goals are ongoing goals—meaning I won’t consider them ‘finished’ until I hit my birthday (there are seven which accounts for almost 16% of the goals). So—that means there are 30 to 31 goals that I should still aim at trying to finish over the next four months). Though in all honesty I probably won’t become fluent in Spanish or proficient in Arabic in four months…these goals will possibly also be added to my 45 goals before 45 list, along with the new 365-day photography challenge.

In terms of reading goals: I’ve finished one (reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy or longer series; I think I have like five to seven actually listed above), I’m halfway done with another (reading at least two ‘new’ banned books), and I’m almost two-thirds of the way through the nonfiction/historical fiction challenge (I’ve read 30 books, which means only 14 more to go). I still need to read another ‘new’ banned book & two ‘new’ classics.

In terms of the continuously learning (aka e-courses), I increased the total number of courses for both Udemy & Skillshare—I’m now stating I will finish at least ten Udemy courses (I’ve done three—so I’m also a third of the way there); and I will finish at least twelve Skillshare courses (I’ve done seven—so I’m a little over halfway done ‘watching’ these courses).

Progress is measured in the baby-steps forward, the tasks being checked off the list—and an new goal list is being brainstormed to come into being on the eve of my 44th birthday. I’ll check in later (possibly next week) with the goal list that I’m aiming to accomplish before July 20.

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthLevel 10 LifeLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesodds and endsoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Return of the monthly accountability posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metabolism series–haven’t started

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

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

Conclusions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Time to reflect & plan, while staying focused on the present

The moon will be transitioning through the Libra constellation today—marking the third full moon of 2024. There is a week left in both March and the first quarter of 2024. Have I gotten everything I wanted done this month (or quarter)? Probably not…but I’ve managed to get more done so far this year than I did during the same time frame last year. Though to be fair, this time last year, we were still dealing with the major family medical crisis.

I didn’t write anything last year around this time…and looking back at what I wrote in 2022—there was just the concern about trying to get the SARS-CoV2 virus under better control, so that the world could move from the pandemic stage back down to the endemic stage. Plus, at that time the biggest concern was the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Now? It’s the SARS-CoV2 virus (damn thing isn’t going way—in part due to the damn anti-vaxxers), the Russia-Ukraine conflict (which is on year three?), plus the whole genocide in Gaza—that is about to flare into a regional conflict. In addition to probably a dozen other global problems that I’m not totally up-to-date on (such as the issues in the Congo, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere in the world).

So looking to the book ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland here are the top five questions that one may meditate/think on during this time are:

Have I been too concerned with appearances in general?

Have I been thinking too much about others and neglecting my own needs?

Have I been too easily influenced, gullible, or unable to decide for myself?

Have I been living my life through someone else?

Have I spent enough time beautifying my life?

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

  1. Appearances? Are we talking in-person appearances, on-line, or digital? I’ve never really been a dress-horse. Yes, I have a large wardrobe now (one I’m working at slimming down)—but that was in part due to not wanting to constantly try to get change to do laundry, while living out in Boston. I have the ‘dressier’ clothes for more professional settings (job interviews, career fairs, and such), but for the most part—I dress for comfort. Digital appearances? Well—again, most pictures are not of me being ‘dressed’ up. Plus…there is the issue of me currently being ‘restricted’ from my LI account. I’m working on trying to regain access—but at the same time, I won’t apologize for the reason(s) why I was restricted either.
  2. I don’t think so…I try to ensure that I have some quiet time to myself for crafts and so forth. I know I need to start writing/researching & editing/proofreading more and building a portfolio of projects to hopefully jumpstart my freelance career. So…if nothing else, I’ve been potentially hyper focused on being in procrastination corner and not working my way towards being in productivity central. 
  3. Am I’m easily influenced, gullible, or unable to decide for myself? No. True, I’ve spent years in a career I wasn’t totally in love with—but looking back, I’ve realized I love learning, trying to solve problems, and see how I can fit my little bit of data into the huge overall picture/mosaic of whatever science topic I’m dealing with—that I loved. What I didn’t love, was the hours, low pay, the stress of ‘publish or perish’ (academia) or the idea of the stress of ‘innovate or perish’ (industry), and the pettiness of people in general. I’ve figured out what I want to do—I just need to finish trying to design that roadmap to get me where I want to be in say two-to-five years.
  4. Well—do fictional characters count? If we’re not counting fictional characters—no I’m not living my life through other people. Am I traveling? Not right now…for several reasons, and therefore I do enjoy seeing pictures that other people post from trips and so forth. I’m slowly working on forging my own path within the freelance world. What services will I offer? I’m thinking writing, editing, proofreading, within not only science, health, & the medical realm—but also within the personal/professional development world as well. In addition to possibly launching a online store to sell crafts.
  5. Caring too much of what others thought of my life—is what semi-lead me to quitting my job in 2019. Attempting to follow the path that others think is the best for you…turned into being on the wrong path…so now I’m forging my own path. I am working on improving my health—I’m learning more about intuitive eating, removing the word diet from my vocabulary, thinking of fitness as intuitive movement instead of exercise. I’m slowly decluttering the house to get rid of excess…while at the same time trying to empty out my storage unit (to save money). I’m trying to reframe negative self-talk in order to get a better grasp on my anxiety, stress, and depression. So, I’m working on changing, and also working on developing my own definition of ‘minimalism’ (figuring out what I don’t need a lot of, and what I like having a lot of). Right now I’m thinking more of working outside in the yards and trying to improve on the flower gardens (or at least what use to be the flower gardens).

One can also look to see what house the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Libra full moon is moving through my 12th house, or my secrets zone. This is the time to actually take some time for one self—meditate, practice yoga, and just work to find some balance.

Let’s see…I didn’t attempt to do my Libra full moon goals last year. Looking back at 2022: there was still the pandemic going on, Russia invaded Ukraine (which is now entering year three), and this year—we get to add the genocide happening within Gaza (due to the occupiers), in addition to genocides happening within the Congo & Sudan as well. So, yeah—the world is still going to hell in a hand basket, and at a slightly faster clip currently. People seem to forget that there are nine countries that have nuclear weapons (and more with ‘nuclear capabilities’)—and they don’t all get along…so I feel like there is a clock ticking down to the start of a potential nuclear war.

So what does that mean in terms of setting goals? Well, for me—the Libra full moon going through my twelfth house means I need to focus on plans for the future while also focusing on my ‘self’ in the present.

So my list of goals for the Libra full moon will include:

  1. Reflecting on the first quarter of 2024 & potentially ‘fine-tuning’ goals for the rest of the year.
  2. ‘Brain-dump’ for April
  3. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan 
  4. Start drafting an outline for a personal/professional growth plan (also known as personal/professional development plans—but I like using the word growth instead of development).
  5. Work on creating an fitness calendar or game board to help get me back into an fitness routine.

While remembering: ‘Progress over Perfection’ and ‘you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last chapter’.

What are your plans for the Libra full moon?

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Progress on the 44 things to do before turning 44 project

Okay…I realized last night as I was working on the latest update to this ‘project’–I never got around to posting the original 44 things to do before turning 44, nor either of the previous two updates. The original post, and both previous updates I think I posted to Instagram, and I think LinkedIn.

I’ve posted the third update to Instagram this morning, and until LinkedIn allows me back onto my account–obviously I can’t post it there. So I’m posting it here, and will probably post it over to Facebook this afternoon sometime. So, this ’44 things to do before turning 44′ is an update/continuation to the previous ‘birthday’ challenge (43 things to do before turning 43) and the ‘goals’ have been taken from the new 101 goals in 1001-days challenge that I’d also started back the day after my 43rd birthday.

Today marks the third update (March 20), and the half-way point between my birthdays. Now, if it was a perfect world–I’d be halfway done with the goals (in theory knocking out 22 goals in six months)…but it isn’t a perfect world, and I’ll admit that I’d fallen into procrastination canyon for awhile last fall. I’m slowly getting better at getting things done, and who knows I may actually get a decent number of the goals totally completed by my birthday in six months.

So what is on the 44 things to do before turning 44?

Well these goals include:

The daily oracle/tarot card readings are an ‘365-day’ challenge…so obviously I’m not going to be checking this one off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been consistent at doing an oracle card drawing daily, and am even thinking of starting an new Instagram account for sharing those ‘readings’.

I’m learning about body confidence (I’ve read several books on the subject–so check out the list a little further down the challenge list). I’ve got an idea for creating a consistent exercise routine (hopefully by the next check-in, I can say that I’ve managed at least 30-days of consistent intentional movement).

The daily mediation goal is another one that I won’t be ‘checking’ off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been sitting ‘quietly’ for a few minutes every evening, and am still working on trying to introducing some ‘quiet’ (aka meditative) time in the morning. Getting into the best shape of my life will slowly start happening once I’ve developed that intentional movement plan that I will (hopefully) be able to stick with.

I have an idea for the name of a YouTube channel, and ideas for what I would be wanting to talk about…I just need to ‘record’ a practice video and see how it looks/sounds before actually ‘launching’ the channel. Then hopefully by the end of the summer I will have ‘launched’ it as a podcast as well–or at least have a outline/schedule for launching it as a podcast.

Working on the happiness plan, and slowly working on getting the debt down (starting to keep track [more or less] of purchases and such).

Again, the stretching daily won’t be ‘checked’ off until my birthday–and I’ve been stretching in the morning & before bed. The monthly editorial calendars have been getting made (and more or less followed). The others are still works in progress.

Okay…something checked off: My definition of success.

I’m defining success as any of the following:

I have my credit card debt paid off…and have canceled a credit card…and the others are paid off monthly

I have started saving money again, and adding to my retirement account

My yearly earnings are in the upper five figure to low six figures

My stress levels have ‘leveled’ out

I’m committed to a fitness routine that I’ve tailored to my likes and dislikes…I’m in the progress of getting into the best shape of my life

I’m meditating twice a day

I’m spending time out in nature

I’m writing and researching things of interest

I have two successful blogs….two successful freelance businesses

I have a podcast…a YouTube channel…that I do for fun…and to educate and entertain others…earning money from them is secondary…

I have an online store for selling my crafts…

I’ve developed an “working relationship” with my ‘imposter syndrome/inner critic’…

I have developed and embraced my vision of minimalism…

I am staying up-to date on world events…

I have created numerous online courses that not only cover science topics, but history, social sciences, and current events.

Basically…Success to me is being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive, and aware that not every day is going to be rainbows and unicorns…sometimes they’re thunderstorms and disasters…Success is more than money, influence, and power…it’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to. It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in ‘competition’ with the me I was yesterday.

The next step is to create a vision board based on the above statements.

I’m making progress on the non-fiction reading:

I’ve been averaging about five books every two months (so roughly two and a half books a month). While I’ve read more non-fiction books this time around compared to the list for the 43 before 43 challenge–I’m hoping to still ‘finish’ this challenge. That means I need to try to read at least one non-fiction book a week for the next six months. One thing I need to do–is to go back and write at least four to five mini-book reviews over various books that I’ve finished.

Okay two more things have been totally checked off, and I’m halfway done with the challenge of reading two banned books.

Both of the above series are romance series that are based around a group of siblings. The ‘Lost & Found’ series has aspects of suspense woven throughout all the books, while the ‘Cottonwood Cove’ series has various other ‘tropes’ (such as brother’s best-friend [though so does the ‘Lost & Found’], enemy-to-friends, and friends-to-lovers). I give both series five out of five stars, and am planning on going back and writing reviews for each of the series (haven’t decided if it will be five individual reviews or a combo-five reviews over the entire series).

The other goal checked off that page: Doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least two original drawings. I decided that for this goal I was going to do large drawings/doodles instead of the smaller ones I’d been doing last spring/summer and early fall.

Here are the three that I’d completed last fall:

In addition last fall, I also finished up the first really large needlepoint project:

I’m currently working on a needlepoint project that is even larger than this one. Though I should possibly do a couple of small ones as well–just to make sure that I hit the goal of completing at least three needlepoint projects. I’m also thinking of launching an etsy store to sell abstract needlepoint projects, digital coloring books, downloadable prints of my colored doodles, and other crafts–so stay tuned to hear about when I decide to launch that project.

I may get several of the above goals finished over the next few days/weeks. I have numerous black and white doodles that I can use to create a coloring book. I just need to have really good pictures of them to upload into a program to then print off (or upload) as a pdf booklet. I’m thinking of possibly trying to complete the draw/doodle & paint goal this upcoming weekend along with starting to possibly play with some resin or make some charm bracelets & necklaces.

Okay. In terms of the photography challenge–I need to try to develop a plan–am I going to do various 30-day challenges, random times with the cell-phone camera or what. The last time I did a photography challenge was back in 2018/2019 and I managed about six to seven months before I called quits (mainly because I felt like I was constantly ‘repeating’ the subject matter).

In terms of new & full moon goals–I’ve only missed one so far, and that was setting full moon goals in Oct 2023. I wasn’t dealing with Oct very well (as that was the start of the ongoing genocide in Gaza), and the one thing that really fell by the wayside was the full moon goals at the end of the month.

I’ve finished three Udemy courses and two Skillshare courses so far:

I now have a couple of ideas of sites to use when trying to do SEO research for writing (both on this blog & the science, health, medical blog), and I have a better idea of what goes into a business plan.

I’ll be doing one of those exercises again that allows me to figure out my values at this stage of life, and then figure out how to combine those with my strengths to determine how to create my ‘dream career’. Time theming is something I’m attempting this week…and I’ve realized so far that I need to pair the ‘theming’ with other productivity ‘tools’ such as using a timer, logging out of social media sites, and so forth to ensure that I’m not getting overly distracted from what I’m wanting to get accomplished.

The final two goals:

The sudoku & crossword puzzle challenge is an way of keeping the brain active. I use to do the sudoku puzzle almost daily, but when things really started to go south late 2022…I quit doing them–now I’m going to try to get back into doing them. The crossword puzzles are just for fun, actually they both are. I don’t expect to ‘win’ at the sudoku puzzle every day–especially the harder levels towards the end of the week, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be finishing every crossword puzzle either.

Learning basic sign language is another ‘refresher’ in a way. When I was younger I could sign the entire alphabet using sign language, but as with many things–since it wasn’t ‘related’ to school…I quit practicing and have forgotten most of what I’d learned. It similar with wanting to become fluent in Spanish–I took a year of Spanish in high school (my freshman year) before switching to German. I didn’t take any foreign languages in college–though, I did take a class that had a class trip to Honduras (so I brushed up on my Spanish a little). I want to become fluent in Spanish to where I could travel to Spain and hopefully not have to rely on a guidebook. I’m hoping to become proficient in Arabic…because why not?

But there you have it. If you’ve read this far (or scrolled) I’ve managed to complete 3 out of the 44 goals currently–that’s not quite 7% (it’s actually 6.8%) of the goals met. Some of the goals are just a matter of deciding that the evening craft time will be spent drawing, painting, playing with beads/charms, threads, or resin instead of knitting (which has been my major project for the past couple of weeks–trying to finish my latest afghan).

So what am I going to try to accomplish over the next two months?

I’m going to work on accomplishing the following:

  1. Create a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launch a YouTube channel
  3. Complete at least two 30-day challenges
  4. Read at least another eight non-fiction books
  5. Read another ‘banned’ book & at least one ‘classic’
  6. Finish at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Draw/doodle & paint an original piece of art
  8. Create a workout plan
  9. Write a letter to my future self
  10. Complete another four Udemy courses
  11. Complete another five Skillshare courses

Have you ever made a list of goals based on how old you’re going to be the next year? If so–were you able to accomplish all the goals, or were there some goals that were left unaccomplished?

I’m hoping to put a little progress into all the goals–regardless of whether or not I land a remote position (I want to have at least applied to say half a dozen remote science/health/medical communications positions), as some goals are on-going (getting debt down, getting into the best shape of my life), while others can be marked as ‘done’ once the birthday rolls around (since they’re ‘on-going’ but only for this particular birthday year–currently).

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Another attempt on 101 goals in 1001-days, with 44 things to do before turning 44

I’ve tried several time since 2018 in doing a 101 goals in 1001-day challenge. I’ve even tried to expand it to 100+ goals in 2002-days. My problem has always been the same: I make the list, and then I only occasionally look at it again to see how I’m doing in terms of the goals—and some of the goals never seemed to feel like ‘mine’. They felt like goals I should put down because they’re ones that ‘society’ deems acceptable.

Last year I also tried to a ’43 things to do before turning 43’ list of goals. The problem: I made that list/goal idea during a really rough time—my mother was still in the hospital, and I thought making a ‘smaller’ list of goals and a ‘tighter’ window would result in the goals being accomplished.

I did manage to accomplish about 44% of the goals that I set last year—as I counted even semi-accomplished (or started) goals in the ‘check’ category. Ones I did start or attempt were considered ‘not done’.

So, I’m three weeks and a few days late in posting this particular post—it is a combination of a new 101 goals in 1001 days list, and a ’44 things to do before turning 44’ goal list.

What’s the difference: I’ve actually picked a handful of 101 goals to try to get accomplished (or at least a good head start on) by my birthday next year. In addition, there are several additional goals at the end of the list that are on my ‘44 things to do’ list that aren’t on (or fit with) the 101 goals in 1001 days.

So what is what? The long list is basically the 101 goals that I’m aiming to accomplish in 1001 days. Items that are bolded are from the 44 things to do before turning 44 list. I’ve determined that I’m going to be having ‘scheduled’ updates—every two months for the 44 things before 44 list, and every 100 days for the 101-goals (plus yearly updates around my birthday).

The areas that I’m focusing on for both lists: career/professional growth; personal growth (including areas of health/wellness, spirituality, and personal finances); and crafts/hobbies (tied with career). Why these areas? Because, they’re the ones that if I focus on will also have the most impact in other areas of life (such as social life, friends/family, contributions/donations and physical environment).

So what are the goals? They include:

  1. Start my freelance science/health/medical communications business
  2. Transition to a remote science/health/medical communications position
  3. Monetize blogs and set up an Etsy store for the crafts and so-forth
  4. Launch a YouTube channel
  5. Launch a podcast
  6. Increase blog/website(s) traffic (aim for 500+ views/day)
  7. Social media following of 500+ across different channels
  8. Launch at least one online course
  9. Hit 10K (and then 12.5K, 15K, 20+K) followers on LinkedIn
  10. Go to at least one scientific conference
  11. Present at least one scientific conference
  12. Renew professional memberships (ASBMB, ASCB; at least once)
  13. More interaction on LinkedIn
  14. Go to at least two professional networking events
  15. Attend at least one blogging conference
  16. Attend at least one author-reader conference
  17. Develop a passive income stream
  18. Complete at least 18 different e-courses
    • Finish at least two CSA advanced programs
    • Finish at least four Udemy courses
    • Finish at least six Skillshare courses
  19. Read at leaet 100 different nonfiction/historical fiction books
    • Read at least 44 nonfiction/historical books before Sept 20, 2024
  20. Become fluent in Spanish
  21. Become fluent in German
  22. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish
    • Learn to say hello and thank you in ten different languages
  23. Complete at least one 365-day photography challenge
  24. Editorial calendars, to-be accomplished lists for both blogs and various social media accounts
  25. Learn python coding
  26. Create a physical vision board and update it regularly
    • Based on my vision/definition of success
  27. Learn basic sign language
  28. Get out of debt
  29. Increase my savings account 500x
  30. Increase my retirement account 500x
  31. No spend challenges
  32. Finish at least one personal finance book and e-course
  33. Get into the best shape of my life
    • Learn about body confidence
    • Create a happiness plan
  34. Daily mediation (work up to twice a day)
  35. Stretch daily
  36. Hold a 90-second plank
  37. Develop (and stick with) a consistent exercise schedule
  38. Make a candle (or two, or three, or more)
  39. Make some mosaic art & resin art
  40. Make some soap
  41. Make some tie-dye clothes/accessories
  42. Draw/doodle, color, and frame a original drawing
  43. Draw/doodle, paint, and frame a original piece of art
  44. Sew something I’d wear
  45. Start my own jewelry line
  46. Make a memorial quilt
  47. Start another afghan (or make some scarfs to donate)
  48. Upload/update photography pages (namely bird pages) on creative/hobby blog
  49. Complete at least another six cross-stitch projects
  50. Create my own coffee-table photography book
  51. Create my own calendar using my nature photographs
  52. Create at least one piece of wood-burnt art
  53. Monthly new & full moon goals
  54. Daily oracle card drawings
  55. Create my own Wicca/pagan altar & update throughout the seasons
  56. See a coral reef
  57. Tour a vineyard
  58. See the Northern Lights
  59. Go to a Renaissance Festival
  60. Visit at least three countries
  61. Visit at least one ‘new’ national and/or state park
  62. Visit at least one ‘new’ national and/or state monument
  63. Visit at least one ‘new’ zoo
  64. Visit at least one ‘new’ aquarium
  65. Visit at least one ‘new’ state
  66. Visit at least one ‘new’ city
  67. Fly out and/or land at three ‘new’ airports
  68. Make fresh pasta
  69. Learn to make sushi
  70. Learn glass etching
  71. Get a haircut and highlights (light purple, blue, and/or green)
  72. Various top ten author/book series lists (creative blog)
  73. Keep at least three plants alive
  74. Start a succulent garden in a pot
  75. Design a science-based board game
  76. Declutter and downsize
  77. Create a minimal wardrobe
  78. Swim with whale sharks
  79. Put in at least one flower garden around the house
  80. Become better informed in regards to politics
  81. Become better informed in regards to economics
  82. Pick a non-science topic and develop ‘niche’ knowledge on it
  83. Research 30 prominent women throughout history
  84. Write a minimum of 101 mini-book reviews
  85. Write a minimum of 100 blurbs/reviews on different research papers/topics
  86. Start a junk journal
  87. Listen to a different podcast everyday (30-120 day challenge)
  88. Yoga for a minimum of 30 days
  89. 30+ days of iPhone photography
  90. 30+ days of doodling
    • Create a coloring book from various (uncolored) doodles/drawings
  91. 30-days of coloring in coloring books
  92. Solo dance parties (minimum of four to five songs)
  93. 30-days of making rubbings of interesting surfaces and textures (leaves, flowers, tree bark, so forth)
  94. Film progress of one (or more) 30-day challenge
  95. Learn a new country (or fact) a day
  96. Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily
  97. Jumping jack/squat challenge
  98. Watch a different TedTalk each day (30-120 day challenge); plus a 100-200 word summary
  99. Create my own cookbook
  100. Ten minutes on the exercise bike (work up to a 5+ mile bike ride)
  101. 30+ days of mind-maps

The last few things from the 44 things to do before turning 44 list:

Complete at least five 30-day challenges (some of which are listed above)

Read at least two ‘new’ banned books

Read at least two ‘new’ classic books

Read at least one ‘new’ trilogy (or longer) series

Finish creating a inspiring work/craft area

Write a letter to my future self (again)

So that is my combined 101 goals and 44 things list…technically could call it a 107 goals in 1001 days…but splitting things up may help me actually complete more of the goals. In terms of updating the lists: I’ll be updating my progress on the bolded items every 60 days (basically the 20th of every other month) and the first update will be Nov 20 2023. In terms of the 101 goals–updates will be every 100 days, with yearly updates on my birthday (so there will a 365 day and 730 day update in addition to all the other updates). The first update for the 101 goals will be Dec 30 2023.

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Reflection and planning for the fourth quarter: Aries Full Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering its next full moon cycle for the year tonight. This means that there is only an day left in September and then we’re sprinting into the fourth and final quarter of 2023.

I will be more than happy to see the end of this year…and if I could find a time machine—I’d jump ahead a few years to say 2026 or 2028.

So the moon will be moving through the Aries constellation—which means that astrologically we’re ‘starting a new year’ since Aries is the start of the Zodiac calendar. It is the time to reassess, redesign, toss, and make new goals if one is inclined.

So what are some of the questions we can reflect on during this time? They include:

Have I been hotheaded, selfish, or argumentative this month?

Have I been going too fast or been impulsive this month?

Have I been brash, blunt, or too competitive?

Have I ignored other people’s finer sensibilties?

Have I had enough fun?

So before answering the questions, I do need to point out that September is basically over, and these questions can be answered in one of two ways: 1) reflecting back on the month of September, or 2) how one want to behave during the Aries phase (which is the first two weeks of October). So as usual I’m going to number the questions 1 to 5 as I answer them.

  1. I would have to say that I’ve managed not to lose my temper, get into any arguments (at least any that are worth remembering having), and I haven’t been acting selfish. September (while it is my birth month), is now just another month I’d rather avoid if possible. I was joking with someone that I was only going to acknowledge half the year, and was debating on how often that would mean I’d have a birthday.
  2. Have I been impulsive during the month of September? Well—yes, if I take into account how many e-books I’ve bought. I probably should keep the phone on airplane mode for majority of the day to ensure that I’m not spending time on social media; also should download another time management app that would ‘block’ my access from different sites (namely Facebook). Have I been going too fast during the month of September? No. I probably have been going a little too slow again. While I have the science/health/med blog/website up and going—I haven’t gotten a blog post up or started any projects to highlight in the portfolio section of the site. The goals for October are not to spend excess money (only order what is absolutely necessary and no new books [other than what’s already been pre-ordered]), and to have at least one if not two blog posts up on the new site, and drafts of at least three different pieces for the portfolio done. 
  3. No, I don’t think I’ve been brash, blunt, or too competitive this past month. I may start being a little more blunt around certain topics (especially education and basic civil rights), but that is a topic for another day. I’m only going to try to be competitive with myself—and only the person I was yesterday.
  4. Well I’m still self-isolating for the most part, and therefore majority of my interactions with people are virtual. I’m working on being more empathetic while at the same time drawing and maintaining my boundaries on certain topics/areas of life.
  5. What is this word fun? The past year has been nothing short of a dumpster fire and we’re going to be stuck dealing with the damn SARS-CoV2 virus thanks to all the idiots back in 2020 that didn’t want to stay at home any longer, and all the idiots that refused to wear masks, social distance, and get their damn vaccines and/or booster shots. While I may have caught COVID—luckily it’s been extremely mild (though it could also still be allergies—need to purchase an in-home test to determine for certain). Therefore, I’m slowly trying to ‘reintroduce’ fun into my day-to-day routine. Fun for me can mean anything from working on my needlepoint project, to sitting outside with the dogs, to making cookies or brownies.

Aries is moves through my sixth house (or my daily work and health zone). This house is where we can sit and reflect on who we are (both in terms of professional/work and personal/health) and decide to work on those aspects that we don’t like.

It’s that time of year (for the second time) to sit and reflect on various things—the good, the bad, and the silly. Figure out where we’re stalling, and then try to develop a plan to start pushing the needle forward again (instead of having it spin around in a circle).

Health wise—I’m still procrastinating on developing a weekly schedule for fitness. I have most of my dumb bells in the family room (the 14-lb and 20-lb weights are still in my bedroom), the exercise bike is in the living room, and I technically have the room to roll out the yoga mat. 

My excuse has been centered more or less around our youngest pup and the fact that if you’re on the ground—he thinks it is playtime (and he plays rather rough—but then again he’s only about seven or eight months old). The excuse for the bike—nothing to watch and I get bored after only a minute or two; and the dogs try to attack the pedals. 

Needless to say—I need to ‘schedule’ the thirty minutes or so for a bike ride, pop on a movie (or pull one up on Amazon video) and get my workout in. Also—can pop in a workout DVD (I do have a handful that I could work out to again), and see how they handle me trying to do a workout in the front of the house.

Nutrition wise—I’m trying to get more protein in each day (starting to mix protein powder in with plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and fruit), drink more water, and cut back on the processed foods (mostly the sweets and chips).

Career wise—I’m pivoting to freelance science/health/medical communications. Why—to help improve the science/health/medical literacy in the global community. There is so much mis- and dis- information out there on various things, that if we’re going to try to colonize another planet—we need people who understand these topics.

I’m still working on developing a schedule that will work for life (health/wellness, career(s), personal/professional growth, and crafts/hobbies), and determining different ways of handling the procrastination bug when it bites (which it does on a fairly regular basis). So time and project management skills are still on the ‘improvement’ list of habits.

The Aries full moon is arriving just before the start of the final quarter of 2023. Therefore, my goals for this full moon are going to revolve around getting things going for both the final quarter of the year—and the next year or two. 

The goals of the Aries full moon will then include:

  1. Setting up the October calendar, fourth quarter BINGO card, and the October BINGO card
  2. Devise (and then test) an intentional movement schedule that includes weight lifting, walking, cardio (exercise bike, dance parties, and shadow boxing), yoga, and so forth.
  3. Have at least two mini-book reviews written and posted on various sites
  4. Work through at least part of a personal/professional e-course
  5. Continue reading (and finishing) at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started.

The motto for the final quarter of 2023: ‘Progress over Perfection’.

What is a personal/professional goal that you’re going to work towards achieving this quarter?

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Health, time and project management: Goals for the Virgo New Moon

So, we’re going to entering the Virgo New Moon this weekend, and I’m a couple days late in posting my new moon goals. That means the month is literally halfway over, and there are only a few days until my birthday. It also means that we’re almost through Virgo season as well.

While I’m not counting down the days until my birthday (I have too many things that I’d like to get done before hand…that if I start counting down the days—I may have either a nervous breakdown, or just turn off the computer and read), I will try to focus on what goals I can set and achieve during this time.

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

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.

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.

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.

Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play

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). 

Last year I wrote that my ‘new normal’ was social distancing (with a few exceptions—meeting a friend for lunch), wearing a mask, and just trying to be considerate of others. That is still part of my ‘new normal’, but now it also includes trying to figure out life post-trauma (death in the family back in May, and loss of a couple of pets in June).

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

Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do.

Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met.

Wish on a star every night for a month.

Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now.

Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to.

Thank your best friend for being there for you.

Even though the pandemic has been ‘dialed’ back to epidemic status—I still don’t get out that much, therefore about two-thirds of the above list won’t be getting done.

The only things I could do in regards to my 11th house is: wish on a star every night for a month (would help improve my astronomy—as I’d probably be wishing on a satellite or a plane), and thank my best friend for being there for me (especially this past year).

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 develop a working schedule that will help me increase my productivity throughout the week.
  2. Create a fitness schedule that includes weights, shadow boxing, and getting on the exercise bike.
  3. Continue with the evening meditations, oracle card readings and journaling.

.

Goals are similar to last years—but I removed two of them. One didn’t add anything to the list, and in theory should have just been combined with the first goal (which I did here). The second one I removed was the list of outlines/drafts that I had planned for last year. I still need to make outlines/drafts/lists for both blogs, but I don’t need to do them all at once.

September is now over halfway over, and that means that there are only 105 days left in 2023. I’m more than ready for those 105 days to fly by…while at the same time wanting them to drag (mainly to ensure that I get things accomplished before 2024 gets here).

Progress is being made—I hit ‘publish’ on the science, health, medical blog website, and am working on getting it linked to my LinkedIn profile and the ‘business’ page I made for it on LinkedIn as well.

While I want to say that things are mellowing out—I also don’t want to jinx things, so I’ll just raise a toast (my cup of sleepy time tea) to the last 105 days of the year. Now, off to get some more planning done for the last quarter of the year.

What is one big goal you have for the last few months of 2023?

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Procrastination…derails majority of December’s progress

My apologies for ‘disappearing’ last month…my other laptop more or less died on me…and I was sulking and scared to see if I could pull anything off the backup hard drive. Needless to say–I’m going to strive to be better (or more consistent) in posting here, and on other sites as well.

So we’re officially in 2023…today is New Year’s Day–and I’m aiming to see the silver lining daily.

That means we have a new ‘blank slate’ for writing our life story…we have 365-days to progress towards our goals or potentially wallow in our comfort zone…personally I’m aiming towards making significant progress towards my goals this year.

The last third of 2022 was not an easy time…and it’s going to be bleeding over into the start of 2023…

The ongoing family medical issue is still ongoing…and currently we’re having to look into long-term skilled nursing facilities…with the small hope that she’ll recover enough there to be able to come home at some point this year.

While I’m happy that 2022 is over…it could have left on a slightly nicer note—we had to deal with a flat tire on our way home yesterday from visiting family in the hospital. Yet another little expense we weren’t expecting for early January. 

I’m working at looking for silver linings daily…cause life still has me feeling massively burnt out—and I know that it’s also part psychological…

I’m hoping that by the end of the year—I have a better grasp on my mental health…though I won’t be surprised if at some point I do get diagnosed with moderate cases of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘November in Review’ on December 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 100.6 million cases and now as of January 1st —we have reached just a little over 102.5 million cases (an increase of not quite 2 million cases). So, numbers are going up slightly…but that probably is due to the holidays and everyone traveling.

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

I’m boosted, but still wearing a mask if going into stores—because I haven’t gotten my flu shot yet…

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 January, it’s time to look back at the goals I set for December and see how I did with each of them. The goals for December included:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. 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 non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge
  6. Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Get the second blog up and going
  9. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing
  11. Setting up goals/ ‘master’ plan for 2023-2028

So how did I do with each of them?

120-155K steps:

I barely managed to hit the minimum goal–but I did and slightly surpassed it at 121,549 total steps for December.

Partial walk at Boomer Lake and five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement each day:

No walks at Boomer last month, and while I in theory had five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement I still haven’t gotten around to writing down what those intentional movements were (just going by the ‘active’ minutes on the fitness watch).

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Nope…partially read several non-fiction books, but haven’t finished any of them yet.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

Managed to read four and they were:

  1. Billionaire Unclaimed: Chase (The Billionaire’s Obsession #18) by J.S. Scott
  2. State of Shock (First Family #4) by Marie Force
  3. Only Mine (Honey Mountain #5) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Tor’s Solstice Surprise (Dragon Knights novella) by Bianca D’Arc

Still need to write min book reviews for these plus The Path to You (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Commit to the no spend challenge:

Only managed to do barely half the month in terms of no-spend days. Due to the ongoing family medical issue—I’ve fallen back into the bad habit of spending money on things that (at times) I don’t really need.

Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings

I’ve more or less managed to meditate and/or sit quietly each night…managed daily gratitude journal entries, and did daily oracle card drawings (might not have written them down though).

Craft time:

Finished the second abstract needlepoint project:

Second abstract needlepoint project finished off with buttons.

Slowly starting a third needlepoint project as well.

Get the second blog up and running

Nope…once again–one of the bigger goals for January

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

Nope…didn’t work through any modules of any course this past month

Writing, writing, and writing:

Did do some writing…though once the other computer started to act up–the writing and research kinda fell by the wayside…so I need to get back into the habit yet again.

Setting up goals/’master’ plan for 2023-2028

I’m slowly setting up the goals for 2023 (BINGO card style) and am working on the ‘master’ plan for the year and beyond. I know that my new normal is probably going to consist of a family member being in an assisted living facility now (though hopefully within a few months if they make enough progress they may be able to come home)…which means I can focus more on moving my life forward instead of being in a slight limbo of not knowing what is going on.

So, a little progress was made during December…and I feel like I’m already ten miles behind on what I need to be doing for 2023. At least I have the master tracking sheets for January set up (managed to finish those this morning)…and I have a couple of ideas of how to continue to make progress on time/project management as I head into 2023.

Goals are going to be in the BINGO card format—I’m also going to be copying those BINGO cards into my weekly/daily journal planner—so that I can actually reference back to them more than just once a month (or year).

In addition, I’ve removed the Facebook app from the phone (as one way of helping to save money—since that is one of paths of my book buying splurges), and will be deleting the Farmville 2 app from the kindle again (started playing that again mid-month and spent a little too much money on it)…or just play it slowly.

In addition I’m going to attempt to re-download and make use of the self-control app (blocking myself from Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and various other sites during the day)—hopefully it will work on the newer computer (for some reason it stopped working on the older one several months ago).

So, what does that mean for January and 2023 in general??

Well, hopefully I’ll be cutting down on the amount of debt I have (aiming to go at least 27 or 28 days of each month without spending any money)…goal is to have the debt down somewhere between a quarter and three-fourths by Dec 31st.

It also means that I’ve gotten serious about research/writing/content creation and am posting/publishing on multiple sites on a fairly consistent basis.

So what are the goals going to be for January?? Well, the major goals are going to be:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five-to-ten minutes of intentional movmemnet each day (starting to also keep track of what that intentional movement is)
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Write at least three mini book reviews
  6. Commit to the no-spend days/no-spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aim for at least 25 days; goal being 28-29)
  7. Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Get the second blog up and running
  10. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  11. Writing, writing, and writing
  12. Finishing the ‘master’ plan for 2023-2028

These goals are probably going to be staying the same throughout the year…the step goal will change monthly (going up and down)…and once I have my ‘master’ plan for the next few years drafted—the final goal will change or possibly disappear.

I know where my ‘distractions’ are…and all I need to do now is develop a plan/schedule for working around them (since a big part of my ‘distractions’ are reading and/or playing various games on the kindle).

2023 is going to be the year of success, progress, and change…every little step forward is a step towards those dreams.

Therefore I will also be leaning more into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

They’ll be giving me ample practice at time and project management–and these also go hand in hand with consistency and productivity.

In addition the words I’m choosing for 2023 will also include: Change, Strength, Health, Self-care, and purpose.

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Peaking around the corner at 2023: Gemini Full Moon Goals

So, we’re entered the full moon for December on the 7th, and I’m a couple days late in posting…This means that there are now only twenty-two days left in 2022. I have no idea how I feel about that fact, nor do I have any idea how I feel about 2023…other than hoping it goes (or at least ends) a little better than this year is going to be ending.

As I’ve been reflecting back on the past several years—there may be a ‘economic gap’ on my resume—it isn’t a ‘experience gap’—I have added in the science/medical/health content creation, blogger, and writer to my resume (and acknowledged the creative blog as well).

Before I get carried away in the direction of reflections and what I may or may not have accomplished this year (that will be the topic for at least one or two posts at the beginning of the year)—back to the topic at hand: December’s full moon.

Wednesday, the moon moved through the Gemini constellation, and there are questions that one can contemplate during the days surrounding that transition. If one looks at “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, those five questions are:

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

Have I been glossing over other people’s feelings?

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

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

Have I done enough reading to keep expanding my mind?

If I were to number the above questions one-to-five, my answers would be as follows:

  1. Well, I’m still self-isolating for the most part—so I don’t think I’ve been gossipy or superficial this month. Flighty…yeah, I’ve been a little flighty this month, but considering the ongoing family medical drama (that is still ongoing and acting like a roller coaster)…not surprising that I’m a little flighty.
  2. I don’t think I’ve been glossing over people’s feelings either this month.
  3. This depends on what we’re talking about—I haven’t changed my mind in terms of pivoting into remote/online/contract writing and/or data analysis position and trying to start my own freelance company. Being restless—maybe a little, but hey—dealing with a family medical issue (which has entered month four), the damn SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay, and I’m not sure which way is up anymore.
  4. Nope.
  5. Working on this—I’ve realized this year that I go through cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction. I have enough non-fiction books that I really shouldn’t buy any new ones next year—or at least make sure that I’ve read at least three books for every book I think of buying.

So I’m also going to see what house the moon will be transition through during this time. Using my rising sign (which is Scorpio), the Gemini constellation is moving through my eighth house—the focus of this house on “death and rebirth, reinvention and transformation”.

Thanks to the SARS-CoV2 virus, I’ve spent majority of the past three years doing serious self-reflection and personal/professional development. I’ve decided the direction I want to head in for my career transition—remote science/medical/health communications, with the long-term goal of having a successful freelance business within both that realm and creative/hobby side as well. Therefore, I have allowed the ‘bench lab scientist’ to ‘die’ and I’m going to be reinventing myself in 2023 as a successful science/medical/health communicator.

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

Therefore my small goal list for the last few weeks of 2022 (and the first few weeks of 2023), will include:         

  1. Setting up my master 2023 habit-tracking journal. I had fairly good success with the 2022 master habit-tracking journal (just had to remember to take time towards the end of each month to finish setting up the next month—especially towards the end of the year)
  2. Continue reading one of the many non-fiction books that I’d started during the last half of 2022
  3. Finish getting the second website/blog up and running, as it will be one of the major parts of my online portfolio for science/medical/health communications
  4. Get the ‘writing/working’ station setup in the bedroom…aka rearrange the room
  5. Figure out an schedule/calendar for various sites (LinkedIn, the creative blog/website, and the science/medical/health website), plus figure out the other social media sites that I want to use to promote both blogs

But above all, remind myself—that I’m making progress and that is what I should be striving for: progress over perfection, the ‘okay’ draft over the ‘polished/perfect’ never published draft.

Here is to the last full moon of 2022, and sending out happy thoughts and vibes to everyone, and fingers crossed that going into 2023 and beyond—things calm down, and we all figure out what our individual (and global) new ‘normal’ looks like.

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