Category: Month in Review

May Goals: Time Management Improved, onto increasing daily productivity

So we’re entering the final month of the first half of the year–I guess with the vaccines rolling out to deal with the pandemic, time seems to be speeding up again (at least for me). I’m slowly figuring out my productivity ‘cycle’ as I’ve realized that I’m more productive/aare during certain months compared to others. This shouldn’t have surprised me–everything is basically cyclic, from our days to our habits–we have good days and bad days. Therefore I’m working on not ‘beating’ myself up if I don’t hit all the milestones that I set for teh month (and I have been in the habit of setting a lot of goals lately).

I’m still planning on self-isolating for at least the summer and early fall (I want to see what type of numbers we’re going to ahve wtih summer and everyone heading out on vacations and traveling).

The news is still irritating/disturbing (but what else is new?)–The republican senators blocked the passage of the bipartisan commission to look into January 6th, and everyone who voted to block it should be voted out of office next year (fingers crossed, but not holding out too much hope). It has been 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre, and I think the event is just making its way into Oklahoma history books. I grew up in Oklahoma, and part of the curriculum to graduate is taking a semester class on Oklahoma history, and this event wasn’t covered (and it wasn’t covered in high school American history either), I think I first heard about it in college.

I’m still liking the fact that we have an administration that is actually listening to science, as we’re still slowly getting the virus under control. When I published ‘April in Review’, I noted that the US was just a little over 33.1 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 34.1 million cases (so an increase of basically a million cases, and I think this has been one of the lowest increases since last summer). This is probably due to more people getting the vaccine and listening to the experts. Now we’re just going to have to wait and see if there are any spikes this summer/fall due to summer breaks, vacations, and the experts saying that if you’re fully vaccinated (and without underlying health conditions) you don’t have to wear a mask or really social distance (I’m fully vaccinated & I plan on still doing both of those things for quite a while).

Though before jumping into June with both feet (and becoming more productive), I need to look back at the goals I set for May and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for May included:

At least 135-155,000 steps

Finish up 21-Day Fix Live & start 21-Day Fix Extreme Live

Finish reading the three books I started in April

Read 3 fiction books

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, the writing/editing assignments for MWO, and the first two modules of the Regulatory Affairs Council program

No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Craft time (make/design 1 necklace/bracelet set)

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day of Spanish

Activate the time management app: Self Control

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. At least 135-155,000 steps; I managed to surpass the minimal number of steps, and actually got 187,855 steps for the month. This included several walks up at Boomer Lake, and at least two to four walks through the neighborhood with Chaos.
  2. Finish 21-Day Fix Live and start 21-Day fix extreme live; Well, I finished the first week of 21-Day Fix Live, then concentraetd more on intentional movements for a couple of weeks, and then started my 3rd round of LIIFT4 at the end of the month.
  3. Finish reading the three books I started in April; I did manage to read (and finish) two non-fiction books this month, but they weren’t ones that I started in April. Instead they were books that were randomly chosen as I started to play my personal/professional baord game. The two books were ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking and ‘Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (almost) Everything Wrong’ by Kristen Hadeed. Book reviews for both of the books have been posted as well last week. One of the two (‘Little Book of Hygge’) was actually on my abridged 2021 reading list.
  4. Read 3 fiction books; While I managed to read quite a few fiction books throughout the month–there were really only three that were ‘brand’ new reads (the rest were basically re-reads). The three books that I read were (and book reviews will hopefully be posted wtihnn the next week or so):
    • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
    • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
    • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #33) by Becca Van
  5. Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, the writing/editing assignments for the MWO group, and the first two modules of the Regulatory Affairs Council program; I did finish the Clinical Research Coalition program, and am in the process of writing up a review on it, plus the things I may need to brush up on (learn), if I decide that this is a direction I may want to go in. In terms of the other parts to this goal–I’m still working on the writing/editing assignments, and I didn’t get around to watching any of the videos for the first two modules of the regulatory affairs council program.
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month; Still fell short of a totally limited spending month, I would say that it was on par for March in terms of spending. There will be more on this when I do my monthly check-in on the spending challenge (post will probably be posted either tomorrow or Thursday).
  7. Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly; I’ve been getting better at my evening meditations, I think I only talked myself out of it once or twice this month. It was a soggy month (especially mid-month), that limited the amount of time spent outdoors. But when I could spend time outdoors I did.
  8. Craft time (design/make 1 necklace/bracelet set); Well, I didn’t ‘sit’ down for craft time this month. I was outside more with the camera (on the days that permitted it).
  9. Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses: So, this didn’t happen. I didn’t start or finish any e-course (other than the Clinical Research Coalition program) during May.
  10. Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day of Spanish: So this is something else that I didn’t get accomplished during May. While I’m trying to get better at time (and project) management, I never seemed to figure out the best time of day for refreshing Spanish. I also realized that I should probably have started with a lower ‘aim’ of 30-45 minutes, 2-to-3 days a week (instead of aiming for everyday).
  11. Activate the time management app: Self Control; I did manage to activate the time management app, Self Control this month. This is an app, where you add in the websites you want to stay off of, the amount of time to stay off of them, and then you hit start.

The pros: you can adjust the time and list from day-to-day. The only ‘con’ is you have to turn on the app every day (there isn’t a setting for setting which days you want it to be active). Plus (this can be a pro or con depending on your viewpoint), it stays active even if you have to reset your computer (which I’ve had to do a couple of times).

But I do think that I managed to get a little more accomplished this month once I got over my ‘fear’ of using the app, instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or shopping on Amazon.

So I think I managed to meet about half the goals (in some form), and I realized having 3 goals that require a good amount of time on the computer daily was being a little ambitious, and at times has been probably a reason for one or two (possibly all three) not getting fully accomplished. Going between different genera for reading is ‘easier’ than mentally ‘switching gears’ in terms of concentration and note-taking (at least for me at times).

I had posted earlier that I created a board game to help me stretch the comfort zone and also limit the indecision on what to do next–it would simply be a roll of the dice, and if I wanted to ‘skip’ the square, answering a few questions. So far, the game has allowed me to get two non-fiction books read (yep, prior to the game I was once again bouncing between non-fiction and fiction books), and finishing up the clinical research coalition program.

I also decided yesterday that I would create a few more ‘trackers’ for tracking professional development ‘social media’ interactions, as I have a bad habit of lurking or not getting on social media for extended periods of time (due to anxiety), and I’m hoping that this helps me deal with said anxiety issues.

First attempt for tracking professional development ‘social media’ interactions

So in addition to what I will be trying to track for professional development, the other goals for June will include:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps; we’re basically in summer, so hopefully will be able to get up to Boomer Lake at least once a week
  2. Continue with LIIFT4 (mainly the lifting portion, HIIT/core if I feel like it)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book and post the review (more if I land on another ‘read’ square)
  4. Read at least 2 fiction books (and post reviews)
  5. Start (and probably finish) the Intellectual Property Pack course, and work on the writing/editing assignments for the MWO group
  6. No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited spending month; honor the limited spending challenge
  7. Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly
  8. Start (and possibly finish) at least one other e-course (take good notes)
  9. Craft time (doodle a cross-stitch design, design a necklace/bracelet set, more photography)

The goals are more or less the same as last month (just changing the name of the workout program and at least one of the e-courses), but that is how they become habit–you keep doing them until you’re no longer really thinking about doing them–you just do them. Then you can go to ‘new goals’, and keep repeating those, and on and on.

Besides trying to make sure that I ‘succeed’ at reaching the goals for June–my ‘biggest’ goal will actually be feeling like I was productive and not just sitting around ‘wishing’ for things to go a certain way, but actually brainstorming and working towards those ‘wishes/goals’. With thinking of joining the ‘online’ space as a freelance writer/proofreader/editor/data analyst/project manager/photographer–I’m going to have to figure out ways of ‘sticking out’–which means determining the category/subjects/niches for at least writer/proofreader/editor/data analyst/project manager portion, since I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with nature (and pet) photography for awhile.

I’m going to remind myself daily of one of the quotes that I picked for 2021: “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, plus the words: growth, creativity, and curiosity.

What science (or possibly history) topics do you either find interesting or confusing (or both)???

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Review of April Goals: Cyclic trend in goal completion

Well, we’re a third of the way through the year–four months down and eight to go. While the number of people getting vaccinated is either going up or holding steady, new cases of SARS-CoV2 are also on the rise in certain parts of the world (namely India). Therefore, this lady is still going to be self-isolating for quite a few more months, even though I did manage to get my vaccine at the beginning of the month (I got the J&J vaccine, so 1 shot and done).

In terms of various news stories–the cop, who was filmed with his knee on the neck of George Floyd was found guilty on all three counts of murder. His sentencing is in another two months or so (and I personally hope it is life without parole). There are so many problems in this country that have their roots sunk deep in racism, and how a portion of cops act towards non-whites is a huge part of that problem. Then there is the whole other topic of gun control (which I’m not going to touch here, at least right now).

I like the fact that we have a new administration that actually listens to and promotes science. While there are still a few hots pots within the country, we’re slowly getting the virus under control. When I published ‘March in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 31.1 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 33.1 million cases (so it was an increase of basically 2 million cases for the month, slight increase but compared to numbers from last year–nothing really major). I think the slight uptick in cases was probably due to various spring breaks and small regional ‘outbreaks’.

Before looking ahead to May (with the plans of becoming slightly more productive and organized), I should look at the goals that I set for April and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for April 2021 included:

At least 130-150,000 steps; this will hopefully include at least 1 walk at Boomer Lake and several shorter walks with Chaos with the weather hopefully getting nicer

Getting a new pedometer

Finish up CIZE and then move on to 21-Day Fix Live

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books

Read 3 fiction books

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, MWO assignments, and at least the 1st module of the Regulatory Affairs Council

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Craft time (jewelry design)

Finish (or start) at least 2 other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day learning Spanish

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 130-150,000 steps: I managed to meet and surpass the goal of 150,000 steps. I actually managed to get in 187,411 steps–this included 2 full walks at Boomer Lake, a partial walk at Boomer Lake, and probably half a dozen walks or so with Chaos throughout the neighborhood.

Get a new pedometer: I got a new pedometer that also acts as a watch during the day. I decided that I didn’t need to sleep with it on (as one of the features is sleep tracking), as I usually sleep better without knowing how often I toss and turn

Finish up CIZE and then move on to 21-Day Fix Live: I finished up CIZE (more or less), and while I have started 21-Day Fix Live, I’ve also been walking and doing things outside as well, so there are days that aren’t ‘tracked’ via the Beachbody workout platform, since they no longer have an option for adding in non-Beachbody workouts.

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books: While I’ve been reading, I haven’t actually finished any of the three that I started as I’m also trying to work through the various exercises within the books as well. The books that I’m currently reading are:

‘Design Your Life: How to build a well-lived, joyful life’ by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

‘Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work’ by Kanika Tolver

‘Reivention Road Map’ by Liz Ryan

Read 3 fiction books: I have manage to read quite a few books this month (though I have yet to write any book reviews). The books I read were:

My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan

State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force

I also re-read the entire Fatal series by Marie Force as well before State of Affairs was released (there were 16 full length books and two novellas in the series).

I also read the first two books of the ‘Steeles at Silver Island’ series by Melissa Foster.

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, work on the MWO assignments, and start in on the Regulatory Affairs Council program (three of the advanced Cheeky Scientist programs): Well, none of this happened this month.

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited spending month: I did okay for the first three-fourths of the month, there were book splurges towards the end of the month. More on this in the next installment of my limited spending challenge updates.

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly: Weather was nice, so there was more time outdoors, and I have been meditating most nights as well.

Craft time (jewelry design–try to make 1 necklace/bracelet set): Nope, the only crafts I did this month was a little photography and the addictive color by number pictures on the kindle app

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses: Well, since I didn’t complete any of the cheeky courses, this didn’t happen either.

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day refreshing Spanish: I think I managed a day or two of Spanish this past month.

So in terms of meeting my goals for April–I think I am more or less at an even fifty percent. I managed to meet half the goals, while not getting close on the other half of the goals. Part of the problem is the nice weather–I want to be outside, so I go outside but I usually don’t take anything out with me to work on–then I get upset with myself at the end of the day when ‘nothing’ has really been accomplished.

Another problem–is just the mindless scrolling through both the internet and social media. Therefore, I’m going to start making use of the one ‘time management’ application (Self Control) that I downloaded earlier in the year, but have yet to activate it. While I have done my ‘May brain dump’, I’m also going to be putting thing on a weekly ‘to-be-accomplished’ list with a set of due-dates for various stages of work (research/rough draft/editing/posting and publication). This will hopefully allow me to get more posts and pages up on the blog, and possibly some posts for LinkedIn as well.

I’m also giving myself grace, as I realize that everything is cyclic, and while some months may be extremely productive, the next month (or two) may not be that productive, but things can always swing back towards productive with a little bit of focus.

Therefore, the goals for May 2021 will include:

At least 135-155,000 steps; since the weather will be getting warmer, hopefully there will be at least a weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and possibly half a dozen or so with Chaos through the neighborhood

Finish up 21-Day Fix Live and then start 21-Day Fix Extreme Live

Finish reading the 3 non-fiction books listed above

Read 3 fiction books

Finish the Clinical Research Coalition program, the MWO assignments, and the first 2 modules (at least) of the Regulatory Affairs Council program

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Craft time

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes of Spanish at least 5 days a week

Activate the time management app: Self Control

While continuing to remind myself: ‘Progress over Perfection’, ‘You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one’ and ‘Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make’

In addition to remembering: Growth, Creativity, Curiosity, Happiness, and Prosperity were the words I chose for 2021.

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A quarter of the way through the year: Reviewing March Goals

So we’ve made it through the first quarter of 2021–three months down, and nine to go. While non-essential trvel (bacially anything other than work) is still semi-frowned upon hopefully by mid to late 2022, it will be allowed again. While numbers are still going up worldwide, hopefully between the various vaccine that are available the pandemic is starting to come under sometype of control.

I have a feeling that basically every year now there will be several ‘WTF’ moments scattered throughout the year. Though so far in 2021–we’ve had at least one WTF moment a month:

January & February saw issues with both the supporters of the orange blob and orange blob himself (for more see the post February in review), and winter weather. March then saw a cargo tanker get stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week before it was unstuck and traffic started moving again. I loved the one meme that basically stated that you weren’t really having bad week unless your problem was visible from the international space station.

In terms of when I’ll be eligible for the vaccine–the state has opened up Phase 4 (which is my phase)-so all I really need to do now is call one of the local pharmacies and find out what the times are for the shot(s) and go get mine. So that means I should hopefully be ‘protected’ by summertime. Though I will still be social distancing and possibly self-isolating still as well.

I like the fact that we have a new administration that actually listens to science–we’re slowly starting to get the virus under control. When I published ‘February in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 29.2 million cases, and as of last night the US is at a little over 31.1 million cases (an increase of less than 2 million–and I’ve forgotten when the monthly increase was that low). Hopefully it is due to people getting the vaccine and listening to the experts. Though spring break was two weeks ago–so we will have to see if there is any upswing in cases during the early part of April.

So before I look ahead to April (with the plans of trying to become slightly more productive), I should look at the gaosl I set for March and see how I did with each of them.

Goals for March included:

Getting somewhere between 135-155,000 steps

Finishing up Barre Blend

Reading (or finishing) 2 non-fiction books

Reading 3 fiction books

Finishing up the assignments for the MWO & finishing the Clinical research coalition and Regulatory affairs council programs

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (more emphasis on cross-stitching and jewelry design)

Finish at least two other e-courses

So how did I do with each one?

Getting somewhere between 135-155,000 steps. I manage to hit and surpass the step goal for March. With teh weather warming up and getting outside more–I managed to get 197,430 steps for the month. I had been able to do two walks at Boomer (a full ~5 mile walk and a shorter ~1.5 mile walk), plus walk Chaos through the neighborhood a couple of times.

Finish Barre Blend–well I managed to do the first four weeks of the program, and then switched and did CIZE and/or yard work/walking for my exercise regime for March. I switched the programs mainly because I’m not a barre fan. Being bowlegged/knock-knee didn’t help and the ‘modifier’ was still a professional dancer–so I felt like it wasn’t really a ‘modifier’–she was just someone who is doing the workouts low impact.

I am going to finish up the last four weeks of the program throughout the year–possibly a week at a time between other programs.

Doing CIZE has been fun–I still have two left feet and have to go slower and modify more than I would like to currently (there are certain moves that I just don’t feel like I can do them ‘on beat’)–but I’ve managed to try five of the six workouts (routine six will be tried next week), but currently I actually prefer the second and third one over the others (though how I feel on #6 is still up in the air until after next week).

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books

I managed to finish the following: ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life: A creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobensteine

I’m also halfway through the following: ‘You Turn: Get Unstuck, Discover Your Direction, and Design Your Dream Career’ by Ashley Stahl

I’m working on a post that incorporates an exercise from The Renaissance Soul, so I will also be posting it as a partial book review, along with it also being a partial book review for ‘How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emilie Wapnick. I finished that book back in October last year.

Since I’m only halfway through ‘You Turn’–I’m about a half a book behind ‘schedule’ for the year. I’ve managed to read 5 non-ficition books so far–I’m a sixth of the way to my goal of 30 non-fiction books by the end of the year.

Read 3 fiction books

I read the following books during March:

Billionaire Unexpected–Jax (Billionaire Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott

This is the 16th (though technically 17th book since there was a novella released within the ‘Washington Billionaires’ arch) billionaire obsession book. This series focuses on ‘ultra-rich’ billionaires and the trials and tribulations of being able to find someone who will love them for them and not their money. While every book is a stand-alone book, they’re ‘grouped’ into mini-series that usually introduces the next ‘mini-series’ (usually within the last book of that ‘mini-series’), and I would suggest reading them (at least each ‘group’ ) in order to have all the backstory for each character. Jax is the second in the ‘California’ group following his older brother’s book: Billionaire Undercover: Hudson, which had come out back in July of 2020.

Loving Arms (Slick Rock #30) and Wild & Reckless (Slick Rock #31) by Becca Van

I have the entire series and have been slowly re-reading the last 15 books since I decided to pre-order #32 which is out on April 2nd. This series (and all series by the author) are at the ‘hotter’ edge of romance (they’re menages), in addition to fact taht the heroines are all dealing with some contemporary social issue–so if you’re not into reading menages and don’t like dealing with various topics-then these books aren’t for you. While I would like to see a book where the female lead isn’t dealing with societal crap, I do like how she has numerous shoulders to lean on within the book and series. I read romance mainly to escape reality and transport myself somewhere where there is still a decent amount of good in the world–not saying that there isn’t good in the world, but with the way the world is going and the news–I’ll take my escapism every day thank you.

Exception to the Rule (Beautifully Imperfect #7) by Becca Van

Another contemporary series by Becca Van–again similar background to her Slick Rock series, so again–if you’re just into sweet and rosy romance series, again not for you.

There was also a sale on free e-books mid-month and I bought/downloaded probably another 30-40 books, so I will have pently to chose from during those weeks when I don’t have a new book to look forward to.

Finish up the MWO assignments and the Clinical Research Coalition & Regulatory Affair Council programs

I’m also through the third module for the clinical research coalition program. There are another eight videos left in this module (which is all about job search strategy) and then the fourth module (which has five videos about job trajectory) to finish. While I find the field to be interesting-if I decide to go this way, I think I will be focusing on the clinical research scientist side (the one that writes the protocols and does the analysis of the data collected in the study) instead of the clinical research associate side (which is the side that oversees the clinical trials–too much traveling for this girl).

I didn’t make any headway into the regulatory affairs council program this month (I’m still somewhere within module 1) and I ididn’t try to power through the writing/editing tests for the MWO.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

I’ve been pretty good at this challenge (and will have a more detailed breakdown on it in the monthly update on this challenge).

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

For the most part I’ve been able to spend a little more time outside in March than I did in January or February, since the temperatures are warming up. The issue now will be to make sure that I’m not spending so much time outside that I neglect doing what I need to do on the computer.

I’ve been doing better at evening meditations, as I think I only skipped one night last month.

Daily craft time–so I’ve done ‘crafts’ daily (if one counts being obsessed with the color by number app on the kindle), but other than that or the few days of photography–I haven’t expanded my ‘crafts’ niche yet.

Finish at least two other e-courses

Since I’ve been thinking more and more of going freelance/independent in terms of the next career stage I decided that I should start figuring out my ‘personal/professional’ brand and brushing up on digital marketing.

Therefore I watch the following ‘short’ courses on Skill Share (each were less than a half-hour):

Personal Branding: Your Copywriting Secret Sauce by Bonnie Summerfeldt

Create a Simple Digital Marketing Plan by Tamara Budz

Both were good short courses, and of course left me with more questions than answers (plus an assignment or two to work through).

I’m also starting to refresh my Spanish with the website Mondly as well. I’m happy that I remembered that I bought a premium subscription to the site and have the choice of numerous languages to learn. I’m starting off by refreshing my fluency in Spanish, and then will refresh my fluency in German, and then move on to another language).

Since it is April already the goals for the month will include:

At least 130-150,000 steps

Getting a new pedometer; my fitbit zip is currently acting up and since I can’t find a decently priced replacement–I’ll be going with a different brand of pedometer (hopefully getting the new one on Saturday–so steps may be off for the first two or three days of the month

Finish up CIZE and move on to 21-Day Fix Live

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books (plus hopefully post book reviews within 2-3 days of finishing)

Read 3 fiction books (again post book reviews within 2-3 days of finishing)

Finish up the Clinical Research Coalition program, work on the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization, and work through at least the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council (bonus if I finish all threethis month)

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors & mediation/sitting quietly

Craft time (more photography and designing/creating at least 1 necklace/bracelet set)

Finish (or start) at least two other e-courses

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day on Spanish

While I didn’t hit all goals 100% (especially reading non-fiction and working through professional development courses), I’ve realized that part of the problem is that I’m afraid if I decide to go that ‘direction’ in terms of my career I may end up bored before too long, and unable to articulate the reason to managers/supervisors and end up either being dissatisfied with my work or possibly fired.

But now that I know what part of my issues are–I should be able to recognize the signs and be able to prevent boredom from either totally occurring or getting too out of hand (because lets face it–all jobs are going to be slightly boring at some point).

I’ve figured that the best way to deal with this issue is to create personal/professional development plan for the next few years–I’m going to tailor it towards freelance/remote/contract/consulting/blogging and actually try to reach out for help in a few areas (something that I’ve been slightly petrified of doing lately–not admitting that I need help, but trying to figure out who would be the best to ask for help from–aka trying to find mentors).

Currently I’m reminding myself of the following: “Progress over Perfection”, and “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”. In addition to keeping the following words at the forefront: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

How did your first quarter go?

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Recognizing my inner critic/imposter syndrome: February in Review

So we’ve made it through the first two months of 2021–we’re a sixth of the way through the year. I also have a feeling that while 2021 won’t be the total ‘WTF’ year that 2020 was, it will possibly be close.

I mean in January, we saw a bunch of supports of the orange blob storm the capital and try to stop the finalization of the election vote. We also saw the orange blog getting impeached for the second time in two years, plus the inauguration of a new president and vice-president.

This past month saw the senate trial–where only six republican senators chose country over party, so the orange blob was acquitted (for the second time). Hopefully various states will be able to throw the books at him and his family and they’ll be carted away to prison. February also saw a polar vortex push down into the US, and then several winter storms blow across the country.

We go somewhere between 8 and 12 inches (or more depending on what part of the state you are in) of snow in three days (which for Oklahoma is a lot–especially since majority of teh drivers in the state have no idea how to drive in winter weather). Luckily all the snow has melted and we’re back to the ‘normal’ winter temperatures and weather.

I figured out that for the vaccine against the SARS-CoV2 virus, I’m in the last group–so basically the ‘general’ public (phase 1-3 are for essential workers, teachers, and others). Therefore, I’m hoping that by late summer/early fall I will be able to get my first shot and then hopefully no later than October get the second shot. It is looking like this virus is going to be sticking around now, and one problem that has been pointed out–in terms of the vaccine roll out (distribution), there are possibly 100 countries that haven’t gotten any yet for their citizens. Unless we’re able to vaccinate basically everyone on the planet–if the virus continues to mutate (and it will since it is an RNA virus), it could mutate enough to where the current vaccines are of no use, and we’re back to another global shutdown.

Luckily, with a new administration that actually listens to science we’re slowly getting the virus under control here in the US. When I published ‘January in Review’, I noted that the total number of cases in the US was a little over 26.7 million, and now we’re at a little over 29.2 million (so basically an increase of 2.5 million cases in a month–which is still a lot, but not nearly as many as we saw for January or December). I’m hoping it’s because people are getting the vaccine and listening to the experts and isn’t due to a downturn in testing.

So as I look to March (with the hopes that it will be a little more mellow than the previous two months), I also need to reflect on the goals I set for February and how I did with each of them.

The goals for February 2021 included:

At least 120-140,000 steps

Finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and start Barre Blend

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list

Read 3 fiction books

Finish up the MWO (need to do the writing & editing assignments, plus module 6), and then hopefully finish either the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council program

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (with hopefully trying something new at least once a week)

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 120-140,000 steps; I managed to meet and slightly surpass my step goal for hte month. The total number of steps for February were 146,418 steps. I managed to get in the steps without that many walks (I think I did two or three short walks during the month; onne was with Chaos, and I think the other one or two were up to the corner convenience store to buy the weekend paper).

Finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and start Barre Blend; I finished up Muscle Burns Fat Advance on February 7th, and started Barre Blend the next day. While Muscle Burns Fat Advance wasn’t a total favorite, I will probably be repeating the program (along with Muscle Burns Fat) sometime in either 2022 or 2023.

I’ve made it through the first three weeks of Barre Blend (which is two weeks further than I made it last year), and will be finishing up the program in early April (sometime between the 2nd and the 4th). Currently I’d trudging through the program–it isn’t a favorite by a long shot, and truthfully I’m not sure if I’m going to be doing it a second time or not. Though I usually say that about any new program that I’m doing and didn’t fall in love with right away. I will be posting a review of the program when I finish it in early April, and may possibly do another round in 2023.

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from my 2021 to-be read list

I finished the following books this month:

Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less by Tonya Dalton

I still need to write book reviews for these two (plus the two I read back in January), and hopefully post them by mid-March. I’ve realized that one problem I have in trying to write the reviews is that sometimes I don’t highlight anything as I’m reading–so I at times have to literally skim the book again to get something to write on. Otherwise my review would go something like this:

Great book. There was quite a bit of helpful information that I will slowly be trying to incorporate into my day-to-day life. I give this book ‘X’ out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

That short of a review would be fine for Amazon where I purchased the book-but ont on the blog. For the blog I’m aiming for at least 500-700 words, and for it to also be something taht I could possibly share on Linkedin as well.

Read 3 fiction books

I managed to read quite a few fiction books in February–but only posted one review so far.

The books that I read included:

Call You Mine (Baker Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga

Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23) by Marie Force (this is the only one that I also managed to get a review posted on as well).

Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale

I also re-read the first nine books in the Alder series as well. I also binge read the following two series by Avery Gale (characters were mentioned throughout the Alder series): The ShadowDance Club and Masters of the Prairie Winds Club. These three series by Avery Gale are definitely for adults, and not those who like the typical romance series.

Finish up the MWO and possibly the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council programs

Actually I don’t think that I did any e-course work, with the exception of watching a couple more videos in the first module of the Regulatory Affairs council program.

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

It was a limited spending month–though I did splurge on books this month. In addition I decided to try to order what I needed to finish up creating my own Wiccan/pagan altar (and I’m also done with that). While it was a ‘limited’ spending month–I know I can do better at controlling my splurges.

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Well it was rather chilly and cold (not to mention snowy) this month. Therefore most of the time outdoors was brief in the evenings with the dogs. There was one afternoon walk with Chaos through the neighborhood (the one day it got into the 60s). I think i have my evening meditation routine down now–I turn off the fans, light some candles, and turn off the lights. I’m getting better at trying to meditate by candlelight, and if I can’t seem to quiet my mind–I will stare at the flames and work on my breathing for awhile.

Daily craft time

Well I did ‘crafts’ daily–if you count doing color-by-number as a ‘craft’. I’ve found the app to be quite addictive and fun to do, and usually end up coloring at least two or more pictures a day. I did start teaching myself cross-stitching and am working on my ‘test’ piece (where I try to see what will work and what will need work).

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

Nope–the only part of an e-courses that I managed to get done was watching another two ro three videos from the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program.

So this month did bring about a large ‘aha’ moment–I realized that I’ve been letting my inner critic/imposter syndrome reel me back into my comfort zone on an almost daily basisi. For whatever reason, when I have productive months (basically meeting all of my goals), the next month or two are not nearly as productive–and I will basically state it was anything and everything other than myself that led to the downturn in productivity.

I actually have a couple of drafts going on that topic (roughly titled: self-reflection and stretching/expanding the comfort zone and recognizing the antics of my inner critic/imposter syndrome) and will hopefully have them posted within the next two weeks.

So while I may have not met all my goals (especially for the e-course work and new crafts), I did have the breakthrough on what is holding me back at times. Now that I have ‘recognized’ at least one set of actions, I can slowly start reworking my ‘reactions’ to where I stay in the stretch zone instead of popping back into the comfort zone (at least until I’ve stretched the comfort zone out).

Heading into March, the goals are basically staying the same (though the number of steps will increase), as they are also helping me step into the ‘stretch zone’ and expand the ‘comfort zone’.

March 2021 goals will include:

A minimum of 135-155,000 steps, the temperatures are starting to warm up, so hopefully I can get at least one or two walks in at Boomer Lake

Finish Barre Blend (should be done within the first four days of April)

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list. Currently I’ve finished 4 out of the 89 books on the list, with the goal being a minimum of 30. Though I still need to write reviews over each of them

Read 3 fiction books. Currently (not counting any re-reads) I’ve managed to read 24 fiction books–with the goal being a minimum of 50. I think I will be surpassing the goal–though I’ve only written one review.

Finish up the MWO (power through the writing & editing assignments), plus finish up the Clinical Research Coalition and Regulatory Affairs Council programs

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

While continuing to remind myself: “progress over perfection”, “you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

And finally keeping focused on how 2021 will be the year of growth, creativity, and curiosity which will lead to happiness and prosperity.

No Comments BooksCraftsfinancesfitnessMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Starting the year strong: January 2021 goals reviewed

Well we’ve made it through the first month of 2021. I should have known that 2020 wasn’t going to go out without a fight–I think it stole two and a half weeks or so from 2021. Congress did meet on the 6th to finalize the electoral vote–but not before a bunch of right wing nutbags stormed the capital trying to stop the finalization of the vote. This led to the former orange waffle in office to actually get impeached for the second time (there have only been four presidential impeachments throughout this country’s history and he has half of them). The trial in the senate is scheduled to start early Feb (I think next Tuesday), and here’s hoping that another 12 republican senators find their spine & do their job–country over party.

While we do have a new president and vice-president trying to clean up as much of the mess from the last four years as quickly as possible, I realize that we’re still quite a ways away from a new ‘normal’. While there are two vaccines currently in use for the pandemic (3 more are in the middle of the phase 3 clinical trials), they’re both a two-shot system meaning there is a three-to-four week wait between the shots. I’m hoping that I will be able to get my first vaccine shot late summer or early fall (depending on the supply). Though the WHO has stated that we won’t be seeing global herd immunity this year to the virus, so even if I can get the vaccine this fall–I will probably still be self-isolating (and figuring things out) until probably 2022.

As usual, the US still hasn’t totally gotten the virus under control. When I published ‘December in Review’, I noted that the US was a little under 20.5 million total cases, and now we’re at a little over 26.7 million cases (increase of basically six point two million cases in a month; similar to December’s total–but I think it is due to a downturn in testing). New variants are starting to pop up around the world (which isn’t that surprising since the virus is RNA based, and those have a tendency to mutate quicker than DNA based viruses)–but hopefully the vaccines being developed will still offer a decent level of protection against the new variant strains. Though the CDC just mandated that you have to wear a mask on any form of public transportation (plane, bus, or train), and not doing so would be considered a federal offense–so we might be seeing the ‘top’ of the pandemic mountain in the US (hopefully).

So as I look to February (with the hopes of things starting to mellow out), I should also look back the goals I set for January and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for January included:

At least 135-155,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat and starting Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

Read (or finish reading) at least 2 non-fiction books from list

Read at least 3 fiction books

Finish the MWO and start another advanced Cheeky Scientist Program

No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily Craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 135-155,000 steps–I met my step goal with a total of 159,685 steps. There weren’t any walks at Boomer Lake, mainly due to the chilly temps (and yes I know it’s winter and I can bundle up—just haven’t figured out how to ‘bundle’ up my camera), and I didn’t want to risk breaking my digital camera (by the off chance of moisture getting into it).

Finishing up Muscle burns fat and starting muscle burns fat advance

I finished up Muscle Burns Fat on the 17th of the month, and started muscle burns fat advance the next day. I wrote both a quick blog post and a slightly more in-depth review of Muscle Burns Fat probably a week or so ago. I will be finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance on the 7th of February.

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list

I managed to finish reading the following:

Secrets of Six Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny

Badass Habits: cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero

I should hopefully be posting reviews of both books within the next week or so.

Read at least 3 fiction books

This month has seen me read the following:

The first three books in the Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers series by Claudia Burgoa. The books are:

Loved You Once (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #1)

A Moment Like You (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #2)

Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3)

The last three books in the series will be coming out throughout 2021.

Plus I also read ‘The Ahern Brothers Collection’ also by Claudia Burgoa.

Book reviews, again will be posted within hopefully two to three weeks.

Finishing the MWO and starting another advanced Cheeky Scientist program

While I haven’t totally finished the MWO yet (the writing and editing assignments are taking longer than I originally thought), I have started both the Clinical Research Coalition and the Regulatory Affairs Council advance programs.

One thing I’ve realized is that if I don’t find the topic interesting, it is hard for me to complete the assignment–which is part of the trouble I’m having with the writing and editing assignments for the MWO. I will be blocking out time over the next month to slowly finish the assignments though.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

This was accomplished. While I tried to have no-spending challenges last year, I usually ended up still impulsively buying e-books and/or courses. This year I decided to have a limited spending challenge–things could still be bought, but had to go into one of two categories: needed or splurge. I will be posting this week on how the first month went for the challenge (instead of droning on about it here).

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Since we’re in the middle of winter (though there have been one or two days of ‘nicer temps’–those were really windy days), the time outdoors has been brief. It is mainly at night with the dogs, or when I need to fill up the bird feeders. While I don’t mind winter temps–I have yet to find a hobby that will have me outdoors no matter the temperature.

I have been doing small nightly meditations (usually a minute or two), and sitting quietly throughout the day–not as often as I would like, but it is progress.

Daily craft time

I decided that for January I wasn’t going to be picky in terms of what I did for my daily craft time. For the month it was basically the color-by-number pictures on the kindle. I downloaded an app last fall, and I usually color at least two to five pictures a day (and I have also realized that this is one thing I need to cut back on slightly). I also managed to get a little photography done with the iPhone–but that has been the extent of my photography so far for 2021.

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

I watched three other short ‘e-courses’ off of Skillshare and they were:

Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content

3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog

Finding your inner creative

Mini-reviews for the three courses can be found on the review of December 2020’s Cancer Full Moon Goals.

So I was able to basically meet all my goals for January. Though I need to work on the timing for a few of them. While I enjoy reading (and do it daily), I need to block out time throughout the week to also work on various e-courses. My current method is to look at the calendar, slightly freak out at the date, and then try to see how many e-courses I can get done over say a forty-eight hour period.

Moving forward this year, I’ve realized that I do need to prioritize my health (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) ahead of almost everything else–for the simple reason I usually put myself last in terms of most things. If I’m going to be able to transition to industry (or even start going freelance/remote/independent)–I need to ensure that I’m taking care of myself.

With that thought being at the forefront of all my decisions moving forward I’ve decided that the goals for February will include:

At least 120-140,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and starting Barre Blend

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list (and hopefully post reviews within the same month)

Read 3 fiction books (again, hopefully posting reviews within same month)

Finishing up the MWO (blocking out the time needed to work through the assignments), and finishing either the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council program–bonus if I can complete all three

No Spend days/No spend week/Limited Spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (with trying something new at least once a week)

Finishing at least two other e-courses from list

While continuing to remind myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

In addition keeping my five words for 2021 at the front as well: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

No Comments BooksfitnessHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Looking back at the last month of 2020: reflections, & preparing for 2021

So December is over–2020 is now in the past and here is to 2021 being more mellow, laid back, productive, healthier, and just all around better. While the Electoral College met on December 14th and finalized the vote–on January 6th, Congress is suppose to do the same thing. Then on the 20th, the new president and vice-president will be sworn in (as long as there is no stealing the election by a certain political party).

December was not a good month over all, in fact it ranks right up there with February and October of 2018 as one of the three worse months ever. There were a couple of deaths in the family, illnesses in the family, finding out friends came down with the SARS-CoV2 virus, and another friend having even more medical issues. But the month is over–2021 is here and with the presence of two vaccines (and hopefully two or three more by the summer), the world may slowly start getting this damn pandemic under control.

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control-when I published ‘November in Review’ I noted that the US had just under 14 million cases, and as of last night the US had almost 20.5 million cases (that is an increase of almost six and a half million cases in a month–a little over two million more than what we had in November).

We’re in the log phase–where numbers/cases are doubling at a faster rate than our hospitals can handle them. People are still ignoring the advice of the health professionals–wearing masks, washing your hands, social distancing, and not getting together in large groups. I’m almost afraid to think of how high the numbers are going to be this coming month. But as I mentioned there are two vaccines that have been approved for emergency use in people over the age of sixteen (or eighteen), but I probably won’t be able to get either of the shots (since both are a two shot unit) until the earliest mid-summer/early-fall. That means that there will probably be zero travel again for 2021, and hopefully sometime in 2022 I can possibly think of planning a trip again.

So as I gaze towards 2021, I need to look back at the goals I set for the last month of 2020 and see how I did with each of them.

Goals for December included:

At least 130-155,000 steps

Finishing up 10 Round and then either a week of YBB or starting one of the following combos: Muscle Burns Fat/Muscle Burns Fat Advance or 21-Day Fix Live/21-Day Fix Extreme Live

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/hopefully no spend month

Finish up the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization

Get halfway through one of the other advanced Cheeky Scientist programs

Complete at least two other short e-courses

Brain dump/organize/create a rough draft of an editorial/to-accomplish calendar/list

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 130-155,000 steps–I managed to get a little over 200,000 steps (209,869 steps to be exact). I managed to do five walks at Boomer Lake in December, and have realized that on days that I can get a walk in at Boomer Lake results in me getting over 10K steps for that particular day. Since June, I’ve managed to get a little over a million steps. Goal for 2021 is to have at least 1,825,000 steps (breaking down to basically 5,000 steps per day).

Finishing up 10 Rounds and then either YBB or Muscle Burns Fat/Muscle Burns Fat Advance or 21-Day Fix Live/21-Day Fix Extreme Live.

I finished up 10 Rounds the day after Christmas, and will probably be doing at least a second round of the program so that I can focus on some of the other moves (such as the rolls, slips, pivots, and foot work)–as the punches came easy to me.

I decided that I would start 2021 off with the combo of Muscle Burns Fat & Muscle Burns Fat Advanced. Currently I’ve done the first four days, and while it isn’t going to be one of my favorites (possibly the only time I do these two programs)–I am pledging to give each workout an honest try with a decent amount of effort.

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

While I’ve been reading books all month, I haven’t finished any non-fiction books. The goal for 2021 is to have a shorter list of books to choose from–so instead of wondering which of the three hundred books I’m going to pick, the list is shorter at about eighty-eight.

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

I managed to have quite a few no spend days, and I think even a no spend week. Though I still haven’t worked up to having a no-spend month.

Finishing the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program

These assignments weren’t finished this month. I’ve realized that while I’m thinking of going the scientific writing route professionally (probably freelancing to start)–I’m leaning more towards science education or possibly writing for a non-profit (museum, aquarium, zoo) and possibly doing less medical writing. I will be doing the assignments–but I’ve realized that while I’m a learner at heart, I also have a small bit of interest in the subject to really get into it.

Get halfway through one of the other advanced Cheeky Scientist programs

Since I haven’t finished the writing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization, I didn’t want to start another program without finishing that one first. I probably will start one of the other programs next month just to get a little traction going again in professional development.

Complete at least two other short e-courses

December really wasn’t a month for me in terms of professional development–I couldn’t find the energy, push, or drive to sit through any videos this month. I have decided that I will be making a shorter list of e-courses that I would like to get through for 2021 (so that instead of having a massive list of courses to choose from, it will be a shorter, condensed list).

Brain dump/organize/create a rough draft for an editorial/to-accomplish calendar/list

I have managed to do at least one or two brain dumps–both on paper and digitally. I’m working on organization (smaller lists of non-fiction books to read, e-courses to work through, and a workout schedule for 2021). While I have the shorter list of non-fiction books and the workout schedule done, I’m still working on the short list of e-courses (hoping to have that done by the end of the weekend).

Once I have that list, I can then attempt to create a to-be-accomplished calendar or list to start off 2021.

So, looking back at everything I managed to meet some of the goals for December, and fell behind slightly on others. In terms of writing–I’m leaning more towards science education, non-profit, creative, with just a little medical (though if I find the topic interesting I may do more on the topic).

I’m still working on figuring out the direction to go in for career, blog, and life in general–but also figuring out how to make sure that I’m not laser focusing in on one aspect and neglecting everything else.

2021 is a fresh start in many ways, while still be in limbo for other things. So the goals for January 2021 will include:

At least 130-155,000 steps; since it is still winter I’m not sure how many walks at Boomer Lake I will be getting in, so I will need to think of other ways of getting the steps during the day.

Finish up Muscle Burns Fat and start Muscle Burns Fat Advance

Read (or finish) two non-fiction books from list

Read three fiction books

Finish the MWO & start another advanced Cheeky Scientist program

No spend days/no spend weeks/maybe a no-spend month

Time outdoors, meditation and/or sitting quietly

Daily craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”; “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”/

I’m also stating that the words for 2021 are: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

No Comments Month in ReviewPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reflections of November: Fitness on track, everything else is a work in progress.

So November is over—the presidential election went the way I wanted (though I was quite shocked at the number of people who thought the last four years were good and wanted four more years of the same shit). The Electoral College will meet in less than two weeks to finalize the vote, then on January 20th the new president and vice-president will be sworn into office.

I’m still working on figuring out the type of fluid schedule that will have me getting stuff done, but at the same time not feel like I’m being stuck in a rigid schedule.

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘October in Review’ I noted that the US had over 9.4 million cases and now the US is just under 14 million cases (that is an increase of over 4.5 million cases in a month). This means that we’re starting to double in cases a hell of a lot faster than we were even a month ago. While there are several vaccine candidates that are being pushed for emergency use—it will still be awhile before the general population will have access to it (I’m hoping that the first series will be going to the front-line workers—the doctors, nurses, and emergency staff that have to deal with daily; and the two main vaccines require two shots a month apart). While the election went the way I wanted–it will still take a while to get the virus under control and then travel may be possible by sometime late 2021 or early 2022. I’m still planning on at least (hopefully) one mental health trip somewhere.

So as we head into the last month of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for November and see how I did with each of them.

Goals for November included:

At least 130-150,000 steps—I’ve realized that as it gets colder, I’m less likely to take my dog out for a walk and I usually am sitting more than anything during those days. Therefore I’m going to have to figure out something to do (possibly put on movies or something and march in place to get the steps).

Finish up the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4; then start 10 Rounds (which is 6 weeks and should take me right up to Christmas), with a little Yoga Booty Ballet tossed in here and there

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization program

Get half way through either the Management Consultant Firm or the Project Management Consortium programs

Start working through at least one e-course that deals with Python

Complete at least two other short e-courses

Start refreshing Spanish

So how did I do with each one?

At least 130-150,000 steps—I’ve realized that as it gets colder, I’m less likely to take my dog out for a walk and I usually am sitting more than anything during those days.

I managed to hit and surpass my step goal this month. I managed to get a little over 218,000 steps (218,813 steps to be exact). I managed this because I took four walks up at Boomer Lake (and the total walk usually gives me about 10-12,000 steps).

Finish up the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4; then start 10 Rounds (which is 6 weeks and should take me right up to Christmas), with a little Yoga Booty Ballet tossed in here and there

So I finished up LIIFT4 mid-November. The rest days were either used as rest days or I did a walk, or yard work (because we did have a ice storm at the end of October). I managed to do Yoga Booty Ballet during the first half of LIIFT4—I may add in a week at the end of month (December) since finishing up 10 Rounds will be around Christmas and I can either start a program a week early, or possibly do a week of Yoga Booty Ballet and then start something new after Jan 1st.

Started 10 Rounds on the 16th, and currently I feel like I have two left feet in terms of the foot movement and no rhythm at all for the slips and rolls. But it’s only my first time through—I may do it again sometime in 2022 (as I have most of 2021 already planned out).

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

This month I managed to finish reading the following books:

Quit your job and follow your dreams by Michelle Klup

            This book basically gives tips on how to get various things in order (finances being the big one), how to transition to part-time, and how to just go about trying to figure out how to translate your dreams into a career, or a hobby.

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

I managed to have a couple of no spend days—but they seldom stretch to no-spend weeks, and it didn’t stretch to a no-spend month. One reason—my impulsive habit of buying e-books, and if the synopsis of the book sounds interesting I’ll purchase it and may or may not get around to reading it for awhile.

Finish the Medical Writers Organization program

I’m almost through the fifth module of the program—I just have to do the writing and editing assignments, post them in the group and get feedback. Then finish up the 6th module. I have realized that while I’m thinking of going writing—I probably want to focus on either science education/outreach and/or writing for a nonprofit (such as Nature Conservatory, Sierra Club or a zoo/aquarium).

Get half way through either the Management Consultant Firm or the Project Management Consortium programs

I think I watched the first two videos for each program. Having the basics for consulting will be good; even if that isn’t the path I currently want to go on. I have no problems with long hours for a job—I just don’t want to be adding in huge amount of travel (which consultants do, depending on the company they work for and the area they may be assigned). I’m thinking that one way to showcase my project management skills will be to have a better posting schedule for the blog, posting regularly on different social media sites, and creating/posting original content on Linkedin as well.  All-in-all two rather large projects I need to start planning out.

Start working through at least one e-course that deals with Python

            Nope, this didn’t happen this month. I realize that in addition to trying to relearn/refresh a language, I will also need to consider this goal also as a ‘class’—schedule in the time or I’m not going to get it done.

Complete at least two other short e-courses

Watched the short course on skillshare: Capture your writing ideas: how never to lose track of blog or book ideas.

            Basically this short course just talked about different ways of keeping track of ideas: either analog (paper and pen) or digital. I’m basically a hybrid—I like writing out on paper, but I also like to have a list of things digitally as well. I would give the course probably 4 out of 5 stars.

Start refreshing Spanish

            Nope this didn’t happen again. I’m actually thinking that I need start thinking of this challenge (refreshing my knowledge of a language or learning a new language) as an actual class. I probably will need to write down that I will spend ‘X’ amount of time per day working on this task—otherwise I know that it isn’t going to get done.

So a little progress was made (namely on fitness) this month. In part, I will admit to being ‘glued’ earlier this month to the news to find out who would be declared the winner of the US presidential election, and the various stupid lawsuits that the outgoing president had launched to try to change the outcome.

I have to remind myself that the only person that I need to be in competition with is myself—and who I was yesterday. I’m working changing my mindset and self-talk. As I had stated last month—it took me awhile to realize that the all-out and full-speed ahead mentality/push basically brought me to that brick wall and burnout. I wasn’t using my strengths the way I should have been using them, and I was trying to meld myself into someone else.

The ‘reboot break’ may not be going as planned—but it has been beneficial. Now all I need to do is figure out the best methodology that will work for me to achieve my goals. The biggest question for me going into 2021 will be—what do I want to be doing in five years, and where do I want to be at that time.

It’s time that I start to draw my own map to my own destiny instead of relying on the maps of others. Therefore–

Goals for December will include:

At least 130-155,000 steps—December is probably going to be fairly cold and I’m not sure how often I’m going to be able to make it up to Boomer Lake for a walk.

Finish up 10 Rounds and then either do a week of YBB, or start one of the following combos: Muscle Burns Fat/Muscle Burns Fat Advance or 21-Day Fix Live/21-Day Fix Extreme Live.

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/hopeful no spend month

Finish the writing/editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program.

Get halfway through one of the other advanced Cheeky Scientist programs

Complete at least two other short e-courses

Brain dump/organize/create a rough draft for a editorial/to-accomplish calendar/list

And finally reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments fitnessHealthMonth in ReviewPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Two months left in the year–reviewing how October went

So October is over—we had Halloween, a full moon, plus had to set the clocks back an hour (what could go wrong???). The US presidential elections are in just a few days (fingers crossed that the election goes the way I want it to), and there are only 61 days left in the year.

Last month I tried the experiment of “scheduling” time for both checking my email and being on social media (namely facebook, instagram, and twitter)—the experiment lasted about a week and a half. I’m not doing it quite as often (at least checking mail), but also I didn’t like the ‘structure’ of it—what if I felt like it was the best time to post/share something?? So time management (in terms of email and majority of social media) is still a work in progress (especially on the weekend).

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘September in Review’ I noted that the US had over 7.4 million cases and now the US is a little over 9.4 million cases (that is an increase of over 2 million cases in a month). With elections just a few days away, it will be interesting to see how it turns out—I’m hoping the way I want, that way the virus can be brought under control and then travel may be possible by sometime late 2021 or early 2022. I’m still planning on at least (hopefully) one mental health trip somewhere.

So as we head into the last two months of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for October and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for October included:

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

Then complete at least two other short e-courses

So how did I do with each one?

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

            I managed to hit and surpass my goal of at least 155,000 steps. I actually managed to get in 223,675 steps for the month. Some days were slightly under 5K and other days were usually between 6-9K steps. The main thing going forward I need to do is figure out things to do during the day that will have me moving around more than me sitting on my ass.

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

I’ve been continuing with my calendar—though I have taken a week break from Yoga Booty Ballet. This was mainly because I was feeling so tired and blah. I will still be able to finish on time next month, since I had actually added in an extra week of Yoga Booty Ballet to the entire calendar. Plus I can always add in a couple of days of Yoga Booty Ballet to the next program as well.

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

I managed to finish the following books:

How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emilie Wapnick

            This was one book that was bought mainly because of the title originally. While I’ve been on my reboot break and contemplating what I want to do with my life, nothing was actually jumping out at me as the direction I wanted to go in—and I finally realized why—I’m a multipotentialite. In other words I need to have several different things going at once to keep happy.

            Which is why looking back, I enjoyed college so much—I had a wide range of classes to chose from and was able to figure out a major (actually 2) and a minor that allowed me to have variety during the day. Grad school allowed me to dive deep into a subject, the first post-doc allowed me to dive a little deeper, and then I totally switched with the second post-doc and then following staff scientist positions.

            While I could have stayed in academia and figured out a way to be multipotentialite—I’m happy that I figured it out on my reboot break. There is one quote that really sticks out to me from this book and it was “We let the fear of being judged keep us stuck in careers that no longer serve us, and identities that no longer fit [us]”. That totally sums up the last few years of my life professionally—since I’m still uncertain about how I’m going to do my transition into industry, I let the fear of judgment keep me in academia longer than I wanted to be there.

Two other little pieces of advice that I’m taking from the book: 1) It is impossible to actually be the best; and 2) if you were an actual imposter—you wouldn’t get imposter syndrome.

I’m going to be taking nuggets of information from various books and blending them together and forging my own path forward.

            I’m giving this a five out of five star review.

‘Don’t keep your day job: turn your passion into your career’ by Cathy Heller

            One thing I liked about this book was that there were numerous self-reflection questions one can ask themselves when trying to figure out what passion to try to turn into a career, and that there are also four different roles that one can take: creator, teacher, curator, and investigator. Currently—I’m still investigating which of the four I think would be the best fit for myself.

            There are also questions to ask about creating a side hustle, and steps that one should take for starting that journey. The two core things I’ve found the most helpful: be yourself on social media (which I try to do anyway), and then I’m also working on trying to identify the 9 to 12 categories that are most dominant in my life—as those are the categories I should be creating my content around.

            And the one quote I’m taking with me from this book is “Use your fears to fuel you and raise your standards to the life you believe you deserve”.

            I would give this a five out of five star review.

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

There have been a couple days where I did spend some money—not as many days as I’ve had previously, but I still haven’t worked up to a totally no-spend month. Most days it was just a few e-books—but it did add up by the end of the month. One goal for the coming year is to actually try to minimize my spending and see how many days I can go without buying something.

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

            Currently I have finished the first two modules and I’m halfway through module 3. I’m hoping to have this program finished by mid to late November.

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

            This didn’t happen. I spent more of the month reading than I did working through e-courses.

Then complete at least two other short e-courses

            This didn’t happen. I spent more time reading and being outside (since we are now heading towards winter, there won’t be many days left that are nice for sitting outside).

I’m working on self-compassion and realizing that even if I don’t meet every goal for the month—I’m still making progress. I managed to finish two books, continue with my workout schedule, and get an additional almost 69,000 steps in this month.

I have to keep reminding myself that I shouldn’t be concerned with the opinions of others—there are going to be people who like me, who hate me, and everywhere in between. It is time to start living my life on my terms, following my dreams, and working towards fulfilling my goals and aspirations and no one else’s dreams/goals/ambitions.

Goals for November will include:

At least 130-150,000 steps—I’ve realized that as it gets colder, I’m less likely to take my dog out for a walk and I usually am sitting more than anything during those days. Therefore I’m going to have to figure out something to do (possibly put on movies or something and march in place to get the steps).

Finish up the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4; then start 10 Rounds (which is 6 weeks and should take me right up to Christmas), with a little Yoga Booty Ballet tossed in here and there

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization program

Get half way through either the Management Consultant Firm or the Project Management Consortium programs

Start working through at least one e-course that deals with Python

Complete at least two other short e-courses

Start refreshing Spanish

Any small step is still a step towards progress and achieving my goals/vision. I’m reminding myself daily that going all-out and full-speed ahead is what almost brought me crashing into that metaphoric wall. Now I’m trying to slow down and ask myself—does this actually align with something I want—and not what someone else may want for me?

2020 may not be going the way I wanted it to go—but I know I can head into 2021 curving towards the direction I want to be going in—I just need to keep taking the baby steps towards that direction.

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments BooksfitnessHealthMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Progress on personal & professional development goals: September in Review

So September is over, that means my birthday has come and gone—here is to starting the fourth decade of my life in self-isolation. There are only three months left in the year, and the coming month or so will be interesting—two full moons in October (last one on Halloween), then we ‘fall back’ time wise that night/early the next morning, and then the presidential election is just a few days later.

So I decided that I would try to ‘schedule’ the time that I’m either checking my email or on social media—that way I can hopefully get quite a few other things done as well—I think that the schedule will work (though some days will be better than others). Now I’m thinking that I may also need to ‘schedule’ my time outside—as I realize that once I sit down outside, I’m more likely to stay outdoors for the rest of the day (though like today I have brought my laptop outside to work on).

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘August in Review’ I noted that the US had over 6.2 million cases and now the US is a little over 7.4 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.2 million cases in a month). With elections just a little over a month away, it will be interesting to see how it turns out—I’m hoping the way I want, that way the virus can be brought under control and then travel may be possible by sometime late 2021 or early 2022. I’m still planning on at least (hopefully) one mental health trip somewhere.

So as we head into the last quarter of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for September and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for September included:

At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day)

Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python and start learning how to use it

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 150,000 steps—I managed to meet and surpass my step goal; I managed to get a total of 202,386 steps in for the month. Unfortunately, the number of viral cases kept going up for the month (we went from ~952 cases at the beginning of the month to over 1900 cases as of the 30th). Therefore when I do decide to walk at Boomer Lake, it will have to be during the week (when hopefully everyone is at work), and isn’t a full walk around the lake (depending on what time I leave in the morning).

Finishing Morning Meltdown 100 and starting a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4—So I finished up Morning Meltdown 100 mid-month, and then started on my combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4. This combo calendar will now take me through mid-November. I’m tracking change by how heavier I’m going in the weights, am I doing less modifications, and do I feel better/sleep better.

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books: I managed to finish the following:

“Careergasm: Find your way to feel good work; bullshit free advice to help you get after it” by Sara Vermunt

            One of the things that I really liked about this book was the reminder that at times we need to think back on the things we enjoyed as a child to help find a clue to what we may actually really enjoy doing as an adult. I actually have several different ideas now swimming around in my head on things I could try to do and/or directions I could possibly take the blog/site, or even just other pages I could add to the site.

No spend days/no spend weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month—this is something that I’m still working on—large goal again for October.

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python, and start learning how to use it—I finished the data science syndicate program on the 3rd of the month. While I have installed python on my computer, I haven’t yet started any course that will teach me how to use the program yet.

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

I re-watched one skillshare short course—“The writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to a successful writing habit”. This was an okay short course—basically talking about creating an area that is solely for writing, determining what you’re going to be writing on, having a routine in place, and also reminding us to read books that we enjoy—if you don’t enjoy reading a certain genera of literature it’s no fun.

I had also started watching the skillshare course—“Writing and Blogging with Passion: Create a Flexible Editorial Plan and Calendar”. In addition I’ve also been working through an affiliate blogging short course program as well. One thing I’ve realized with some of the courses—I will have to do a lot of brainstorming to fit the blog to their suggestions, since I’ve decided to stay somewhat multi-facet in topics that I’m covering.

So I’m slowly making more progress on various goals—the biggest thing that I need to get control over is my time management. There is enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want—it may mean though that I don’t spend forty minutes aimlessly scrolling through social media or checking my email every five minutes. Once I have that under control, and remember that I’m the only one that can walk my path I will be on my way to achieving my goals—though they may look different four months down the road compared to today. That is fine—that is evolution, learning, and realizing that in four months I may not be the same person that I am today.

Goals for October will include:

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

Then complete at least two other short e-courses

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments Bookscareercomputersfitnessmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Making progress on professional development, & fitness goals.

So August is over, that means there is now less than three weeks before my birthday, barely three weeks before fall, a little over 2 months until the election, and only four months left in 2020. I’ve been joking that I’m not acknowledging this year—so in theory I won’t be turning 40, but having my 2nd 39th birthday.

I feel like I’ve been slightly more productive during the second half of the year so far—mainly in terms of pushing play and getting in a daily workout. Nutrition hasn’t been on point (and yes I know, that in terms of weight loss—one should focus heavily on nutrition instead of exercise), but I’m doing a little better every week (usually). I’ve realized what one of the major things I need to work on—finding balance between being well informed on what is going on in the world, and constantly scanning social media and the news. One thing I’m going to be looking into this coming month are web apps that block access to certain sites for a specific amount of time (say 8am to noon)—that way I can hopefully focus on other personal and professional development tasks and not just scroll through the internet.

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘July in Review’ I noted that the US had over 4.7 million cases and now the US is a little over 6.2 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.5 million cases in a month). I’m hoping that the election goes the way I want it to go, and therefore travel may be possible by the end of 2021 (I’m currently debating on whether I want to spend a week in the UK or traveling through Northern Europe—Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark).

So as we head into the last few months of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”

So how did I do with each one?

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

I managed to get in almost 186,000 steps (I ended the month at 185,860) and I was not quite 3K above the steps for July. Hopefully with cooler weather coming, I can get out and walk in the early morning, or even during the day with the pup. I haven’t done a long walk around Boomer Lake since early February (so about a month before everyone realized how serious the virus was actually going to be)—but once late fall, early winter hits I may be able to be out at the park walking (maybe with my smaller digital camera or without) and enjoying some time in nature—though I would also like to see some of the migrating birds this fall/winter.

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

I’ve been continuing with morning meltdown 100—only did one double day early in the month. The dogs had played a little too rough, so I kept an eye on Chaos that day—but did both workouts (melt-con and re-vibe) the next day to keep on track. I really like this program; right now my only complaint is that there aren’t worksheets for tracking the weights (so you can see if you need to or have gone heavier than previous workouts). So I’m thinking that I will probably be designing a set of tracking sheets for the next time (or possibly the third time, as there were a couple of workouts that I didn’t write down the exercises on).

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

One of the books that I read this month was a short book (actually the author called it a booklet) on blogging. The title is “How to write great blog posts that engage readers” by Steve Scott.

            Now I’ve had this e-booklet for a little over two years (though I just had to add it to the long personal/professional development reading list), before I actually got around to reading it. The reason—I have a habit of buying and downloading numerous books a month, and not removing books I’ve read from the device. So books that have been bought (but not read) have a habit of being at the very bottom of the list usually (or close to it). I’m now trying to get in the habit of removing read personal/professional development books—that way the only books that I’d be scrolling through are either the numerous fiction books/series that I have and any unread personal/professional development books.

            I liked this book because it gave a suggestion that one should aim at having a minimum of 8 posts a month. Two of the posts are larger articles, and the other six are smaller articles. I’m thinking of adopting this mindset, but also varying month to month what each type (large & small) articles would be over—since I’m also keeping the blog “multi-facet”—in other words I’m sticking with probably two (maybe three) niches: lifestyle, personal/professional development, and hobbies.

I started a couple of other books, but hadn’t finished any of them by the end of the month. At times I couldn’t get in the mind frame for reading personal/professional development.

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

I’ve managed to have several no spend days that almost stretched into a full no spend week—but I have yet to work up to an actual no-spend month (that is a HUGE goal for September, and hopefully October as well).

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

I managed to get through all of module 4 and about 80% of module 5. I think that there are two videos left before taking the quiz for module 5, and then I would have the sixth and final module for the Data Science Syndicate. I think that I might enjoy doing data science, though I need to download python (the data analysis program, and not a snake) and start working with it before I could say one way or the other on this particular job path.

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

This was something that I fell behind on doing this month—I managed to get through another quarter of the data science syndicate program, but didn’t really work on any other e-courses (or not enough to have finished a course). I did write out all the courses that I have bought over the past few years so that I can keep better track of what I’ve completed and what I still need to work on. One of my issues has been trying to mentally switch gears and sit in front of the computer and listen to someone talk for awhile and then do what ever little work is assigned for that video or section. I’ve also realized that I can work on whatever course I want—it doesn’t always have to be a professional development course—if I want to spend the afternoon learning how to read tarot cards better, I can.

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”

The answer to this question will actually be posted as a separate blog post—currently my answer is going on two pages and I still feel like I haven’t answered the question in full detail.

Goals for September will include:

At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day; depending on how the number of virus cases goes, I will probably slowly start increasing the daily goal.)

Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4 (once I draft the calendar I’ll share it)

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python and start learning how to use it

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments fitnessHealthMonth in ReviewPandemic2020professional developmentReflections