Category: oracle cards

Focusing on LORR for the Cancer New Moon: Learning, Oracle Cards, Reading & Research

So the moon will be transitioning through the Cancer constellation tonight—marking the seventh new moon of the year…and we’re slowly entering the second half of 2024. I have no idea how the rest of this year is going to go…there is the presidential election coming up in the US (in Nov), the ongoing genocide in Gaza, and numerous other conflicts going on around the world…it’s just a matter of time before something blows into a regional (and then possibly a global) conflict.

I still need to kinda reflect back on the past six months…I did my June reflections earlier this week…but haven’t really sat down to reflect on the first half of the year…I know that I’m behind on a few ‘yearly’ goals…so either I need to modify those goals…or just punt them down the road to the 2025 BINGO card.

But, back to the Cancer New Moon—if one looks to the book ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, there are various things that one can focus on during the Cancer new moon. They include:

  1. Family time (checking in with relatives)
  2. Banishing insecurity
  3. Get in touch with your caring nurturing side
  4. Review your goals
  5. Take a hot bath

Three out of the five things seem straightforward (family time, reviewing goals, and taking a hot bath). Since the family medical issue is over…I haven’t really been in touch with many family members via social media…I should probably reach out and chat (via messenger), since our paths really don’t cross that much and travel is still currently not in the cards (at least until the cat passes). I have plenty of family time with my immediate family (since I still live at home and we see my younger brother quite frequently now that he is back in town).

I actually don’t take that many hot bathes anymore…and probably wouldn’t be doing any currently—since we’re in the middle of a heat dome/pocket/high humidity—I just want cooler weather period. The other two items (banishing insecurity and getting in touch with your caring and nurturing side) may not seem so straightforward, and may actually require more work to begin with.

How I picture these two areas:

In terms of getting in touch with your caring and nurturing side—basically this means that you’re going to try a little harder this month in terms of self-care. You’re going to try to rephrase negative self-talk into more positive self-talk, you’re going to take time to focus on your breath, and you are going to be more gentle and understanding with yourself.

In terms of trying to banish insecurity—this means being honest with yourself in terms of different areas of your life. Do you feel insecure in an area? Fearful? Or are you being overly possessive of things? The best work is to try to identify and work at getting rid of barriers in different areas of life (if possible).

If one also looks to see what house the moon is moving through, it will give you a few other things to also take into perspective. For me, the moon is moving through my ninth house (or my big picture zone). This is all about adventure, travel, and personal development.

Currently travel is still on hold. Why? Well, in part due to my cat’s age & the fact that she requires two different liquid meds (and one you have to make up—dissolving the antibiotic in water), and it isn’t fun for one person to try to give her the meds (did that—didn’t enjoy it, & neither did she). I’d love to ‘travel’—but I need to get the debt down, and I’d like for the world not to be a raging shit-show…so I’ll stick to ‘virtual’ travels currently (google meet-ups/zoom meet-ups, and the likes). As I mentioned a couple of years ago: we live in a digital world, so there are others ways of ‘traveling’—reading, communicating with others (email, online meetings, phone calls), and writing (creative, poetry, and journaling). So what are some of the things that one can do in regards to their ninth house?

Items include:

  1. Find a way to explore the world
  2. Read those books you know you should be reading
  3. Do a personal growth (development) course
  4. Manifest a new spiritual teacher
  5. Think about what you have faith in–and what you don’t
  6. Make a cyber pal on the other side of the world

Personal growth…an area that I can both excel in and suck at all at the same time. My biggest ‘hurdle’ is trying to get too much done during the day/week—aka throwing everything on the calendar & not spreading things out like I really should…another reason why I find it difficult at times trying to develop a personal/professional growth plan.

So what goals can I set during the Cancer new moon that will allow me to fit various aspects from above onto the calendar?

  1. Research the following countries: Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Rwanda, Finland, Tunisia, Romania & Uruguay. At least have some basic research done, and find a couple of interesting facts to possibly ‘intwine’ into a story idea I’ve been slowly expanding
  2. Reading—finish at least two of the many nonfiction/historical fiction books I’ve started over the past several weeks/months.
  3. In terms of learning—work through at least one e-course on either Udemy, or watch at least two short e-courses on SkillShare
  4. In terms of spirituality—continue doing a daily oracle card drawing & sharing them on the oracle card instagram channel I created

I could probably try to set a goal for networking/making a cyber pal; or having something I write published…and I should make those goals—but I’m not going to this time around. I think that four goals (in addition to all the things on the plate & various other to-do lists) is enough for this new moon period…also keeping it at these four, will also hopefully keep the anxiety in check. Though trying to do research on seven countries in just a few weeks could also be pushing it…but I did note—that the bare minimum is to find a few interesting facts that could be intertwined with a story that I’m mind-mapping/outlining currently.

I’m still in the slow process of developing plans…that include personal/professional growth (have to figure out the milestones), launching a couple of online businesses, plus continue healing my relationship with food & movement…while trying to stay sane in a world that has leaders that really don’t give a damn about the average everyday citizen…either here (unless it’s to court one’s vote) or elsewhere in the world (again unless it’s to court one’s vote).

Therefore…I’m also promising myself that I’m going to quit trying to fit a mold…I quit trying to fit the mold of higher ed research/support years ago (got tired of long hours for poor pay), now I’m going to embrace who I am…and give a middle finger to the ‘mold’ that society thinks I should fit into, while focusing on progress…and possibly trying to ‘torch’ perfectionism in the process.

What is one of your Cancer goals?

Namaste

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Morning routines–check…Now time to fine-tune the afternoon schedules

Introduction/recap:

Okay…once I get this month’s review posted…I’ll have managed three months this year—and will have covered the second quarter of 2024 (I totally lagged behind in trying to do it for the first three months this year). As I’d mentioned in the ‘intro’ to May in Review—I basically ignored most of 2023 (I think I did January), and it took awhile for me to decide to restart the series. 

Doing these monthly posts is one of the ways I’m trying to keep myself accountable towards different goals, in addition to doing a weekly series in a Facebook group. As I mentioned—I probably won’t be hitting anywhere close to 100% on all the goals…in part due to the fact that I usually set out to try to achieve like 10-12 different ‘large’ tasks…and I’m still in the process of developing a fluid schedule for the day. I’ve gotten a decent fluid schedule down for part of the morning…now it’s time to fine tune that and start developing the fluid afternoon schedule. 

I almost have a morning schedule that ‘sticks’: getting on Mondly for say 20-30 minutes to learn a foreign language, then do my morning update on Gaza (post to my instagram channel), then do an oracle card drawing (posting to the oracle card channel), then do a science news brief for LinkedIn. Its after getting those four things done, that my schedule starts to semi-fall apart.

I’m going to be keeping to a list of about twelve goals for the next few months…only because I’ve only been getting about 2/3 of them done (at least fifty percent) at a time. I’m hoping that keeping things ‘similar’ month to month—they’ll become habits, and then I can start adding/stacking other goals in.

Goals that I’d set for June:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least four fiction books
  3. Completing at least one (if not two) 30-day challenges
  4. Making time & making use of the intentional movement board game
  5. Launch the YouTube channel (outline & intro video)
  6. Aim for two blurbs on science, health, or medical papers
  7. Watch/work through at least three e-courses
  8. 30-minutes at least 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Posting consistently to the oracle card channel
  10. Post to each blog at least twice
  11. Finish the outlines for the three big creative research projects
    • Interviews with dinosaurs & other extinct animals
    • Interviews with toxic & venomous animals
    • Interviews with various ancient civilizations (this could be upwards of three to five different mini proejcts)
  12. Work on the needlepoint project
  13. Check in with this list at least every other day to ensure that I’m making progress

So how did I do with each of those main goals?

Reading at least three non-fiction books (100% completed):

I finished the following nonfiction books:

  1. Ocean Life in the Times of Dinosaurs by Nathalia Bardet, Alexandra Houssave, Stephane Jouve, & Peggy Vincent
  2. The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World by Riley Black
  3. The Quest & the Qalandar: Experiences of Sufism by Waqar Faiz
  4. Patrice Lumumba, Ahead of His Time (Political Leadership in Africa #1) by Didier Mumbata
  5. Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It, and How We can Help Dismantle it by Jessie Daniels

Five books that spanned a diversity of topics: the Mesozoic era, religion, politics, and culture. I’d mentioned previously that I’m working at becoming a better global citizen–which includes reading books on people that I’d never heard of before (I didn’t realize that the US gave ‘aid’ in getting rid of the first prime minister of the Congo–Patrice Lumumba), and topics that are ‘difficult’ to read on (aka white supremacy & women’s (specifically white woman’s) both intentional & unintentional parts in upholding those ‘aspects’ of society.

Currently I’m six books away from my goal of reading 44 nonfiction (or historical fiction) books before my 44th birthday (which is in September). Something tells me that I’ll finish ‘above’ the goal of 44 books…and that means I should totally ‘reach’ and finish ‘above’ the goal of 100 books by June 18, 2026.

Reading at least four fiction books (100%+ completed):

I probably spent a little too much time reading fiction books this month. I read well over four fiction books during June. The books I read included:

  1. Forbidden King (Magnolia Falls #3) by Laura Pavlov
  2. California Waves (The Davenports #2) by Bella Andre & Nicky Arden
  3. Fragile Sanctuary (Sparrow Falls #1) by Catherine Cowles
  4. Forbidden Hearts (Whitlock Family #1) by Corinne Michaels
  5. Broken Dreams (Whitlock Family #2) by Corinne Michaels
  6. Tempting Promises (Whitlock Family #3) by Corinne Michaels
  7. Forgotten Desires (Whitlock Family #4) by Corinne Michaels
  8. Come Back for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #1) by Corinne Michaels
  9. Fight for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #2) by Corinne Michaels
  10. The One for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #3) by Corinne Michaels
  11. Stay for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #4) by Corinne Michaels
  12. Return to Us (Willow Creek Valley #1) by Corinne Michaels
  13. Could Have Been Us (Willow Creek Valley #2) by Corinne Michaels
  14. A Chance for Us (Willow Creek Valley #4) by Corinne Michaels
  15. Destined for Me (Come Back to Me/Say You’ll Stay Crossover) by Corinne Michaels
  16. The Sweet Spot (Playing to Win #4) by Bella Matthews
  17. Dragon of Her Dreams (Dragon Knights #20) by Bianca D’Arc

Needless to say…I was reading a lot this past month…which could possibly explain why I didn’t get as much e-courses completed…also I binged read a couple of series by Corinne Michaels that were semi intertwined. 

Complete at least one 30-day challenge (100%)

Well…I’ve completed a 30-day challenge…it was another Sudoku challenge. Maybe next month I’ll remember that I’d stated it would be a jumping jack/squat challenge, along with possibly watching a different TedTalk each day.

Make time for intentional movement (possibly somewhere between 5-10%)

Still gotta get better at setting aside time for intentional movement. The only days where time is ‘set aside’ are on Wednesdays…and those are my ‘chore’ days. So—I need to actually try to ‘schedule’ in time during the other days of the week for some type of intentional movement.

YouTube Channel (outline & intro video) (still somewhere around 5%):

I still have the mind map of topics…that I need to chose from, then mind-map from that topic to determine the ‘subtopics’ that I’d be researching/talking about. One thing I realized—I don’t necessarily have to be ‘on screen’ (since currently my niche is science/health/med education—I’d be doing ‘voice over’ explaining the slides). This might go a little faster since I don’t have to try to ‘record’ myself (other than a possible introduction video to the entire channel)

Blurbs on science, health, medical papers (still around 5%)

Currently this is still sitting at roughly five percent…basically, I still have the extreme rough draft of the blurb on the sea dragon genome paper that I need to edit down to a decent length. I don’t know why I haven’t sat down to edit it yet…other than allowing the inner critic & imposter syndrome to ‘grab the reins’ on this writing project series. When I drew my yearly BINGO card, I’d decided that I was going to try to get back into a habit of reading at least one ‘research’ paper a week on different topics, & then write a blurb/review on it & post it…that was suppose to be 52 writing projects this year (because I also stated within my 101 goals—I have the goal to write a minimum of 100 blurbs/reviews by June 18 2026)…needless to say—I’m behind on this ‘project’. 

Watch/work through at least another three e-courses (about 50% completed):

I mentioned above that I read a lot of fiction books this month…and a lot of the time spent reading could have been spent working through e-courses.

Currently I’ve finished an introduction to statistics course on Udemy. This was a decent intro course on stats…there were a few problems within the course & of course ‘quizzes’ at the end of different sections. I rated it four out of five stars—mainly because one of the videos was actually a ‘repeat’, and it had been mentioned like two years ago, and the creator hadn’t gotten around to ‘correcting’ it yet.

I’m about half way through another ‘stats’ course (Statistics and data literacy for non-statisticians). Currently I’ve rated the course at a three out of five stars…mainly because there haven’t been ‘problems’ to work through…there didn’t seem to be an ‘intro’ video (introducing the content creator & content)…and I’m not sure how much I’m actually getting out of the course. I’m not sure if I’ll be finishing this one up this afternoon or not…if I don’t finish it today, I’ll have it finished by tomorrow (July 1st) afternoon.

30 minutes at least four times a week on Mondly (90%):

I started using Mondly again on the 3rd of the month; and other than the first two days of the month & the 16th, I’ve been on the site, somewhere between 20-40 minutes a day learning Arabic.

I went back and did the daily lesson for the 16th (along then with that weekly quiz) today after I finished today’s daily lesson. With ‘missing’ three days this month—I managed to start learning a foreign language & logged in to the site 90% of the time this month. 

Posting consistently to the oracle card channel (90%):

Again, I started posting to the oracle card channel ‘consistently’ on the 3rd. So, in an similar answer to the above foreign language—other than the first two days of the month & the 16th, I’ve been posting oracle cards & their messages to the oracle card channel daily (usually shortly after I do the Gaza morning update on my other instagram channel).

For June I used the Guides of the Hidden Realm oracle deck by Colette Baron-Reid. Next month I’ll be choosing a different deck (possibly The Ancient Stones Oracle deck by Rebecca Campbell that also came out last month). Each month will be a ‘different’ deck, and I think I have at least twelve different oracle decks (along with five different tarot card decks) that I’ll just ‘cycle’ through them.

Post to each blog at least twice (100%):

I did manage to post to each blog at least twice. In terms of the science/health/medical blog—I posted twice earlier this month on two different science related ‘random’ holidays (World Environment & World Oceans days). I’m still posting more often on the creative blog (at least weekly with the weekly summary of the hellish events happening within Gaza & the West Bank).  I really need to decide if I want to ‘pause’ the medical series and start a different one (one that might actually see me posting to the blog on a more consistent basis).

Finish the outlines for the various creative research projects (~5% completed):

This is sitting around 5% completed. I have the ‘basic’ outline for the different dinosaur interviews…but didn’t modify it for other extinct animals; nor did I modify it for toxic & venomous animals.

In terms of the different ancient civilizations—I need to decide how may ‘different’ people I’m going to interview—is it going to be ‘gods & goddesses’, leaders, craftsmen, or everyday people? Hopefully I’ll get more of this project completed over the next few months. I’d really like to have some of these ‘short stories’ published on different sites by mid-September.

Work on the needlepoint project (100%)

Yes. I’ve been consistently working on the needlepoint project & hopefully will have it finished sometime in July. Will it be in time for the 300-day checkin of my 101 goals? Or the 5th checkin for my 44 goals before turning 44? Maybe…but I should have it done by the end of July (or extremely early August) at the latest.

I usually take weekly update pictures on the needlepoint project to share with a friend. But I think the monthly one really shows the progress…I’m even impressed with how much I managed to get done last month. This is working at least twenty minutes (upward of two hours) a day on the project.

“Checking in on the list” (Not really a goal):

I mean there are only a few goals that I haven’t really progressed far on (the science/health/medical paper blurbs, the YouTube channel, intentional movement & getting more of the different creative projects written). Then there are others that I had no trouble completing (reading & working on the needlepoint project). I think what I need to do is have the afternoons structured a little better than what I’ve been doing…possibly try to focus on research/writing from say 2:30 to 4 three to four times a week—instead of waiting until then to try to do a e-course or something.

Conclusions for June:

So I technically set twelve goals for June (the last one was really just a reminder to myself to check the list every so often). I managed to get at least fifty percent (upwards of stating 100% progress) on two-thirds of the goals…so I did well with eight of the twelve goals. The four that I fell behind on—have been the four that I’ve been ‘stalled’ on since I restarted this monthly accountability series.

I think the only one of those four that will be ‘modified’ will be the one for the YouTube channel—I need to finish fine-tuning the outline & decide the format that I’m going to be working with (videos with voice-over, or will I be ‘on screen’ in the videos). The other three I just need to actually ‘fit’ into the daily schedule (whether at a particular time, or just pick a project for the week).

Goals for July:

  1. Read at least three nonfiction books
  2. Read at least four fiction books
  3. Complete at least one more 30-day challenge (and not just a Sudoku challenge)
  4. Set up the intentional movement plan
  5. Polish the outline for the YouTube channel & decide on the format
  6. At least one blurb on a science, health, or medical paper
  7. Work through at least three e-courses
  8. At least 25 minutes each morning on Mondly
  9. Post to each blog at least twice
  10. Post consistently to the oracle card channel
  11. Finish the mindmaps/outlines for different projects
  12. Continue working on the needlepoint project (possibly finish?)

Final Thoughts/Reflections:

Twelve goals…and basically the same (more or less) goals that I had set for June. I’ve ‘modified’ the YouTube channel goal & intentional movement goals, as well as stating I’m aiming for writing a single blurb on a science/health/medical paper for the other blog. The other goals are more or less what I’ve done for the past few months. Will I remember to do an additional challenge (along with the Sudoku)? Hopefully…I do have in the daily schedule to doodle in the early afternoon before attempting to do any learning/virtual chats.

Instead of ‘rewriting/rewording’ things—this is what I wrote at the end of May/beginning of June in terms of the goals I’m probably going to be ‘repeating’ for awhile:

The rest of the things…will require that I work on silencing the inner critic/imposter syndrome on a daily basis. I know what I want to do with my life—not only help improve how various topics are communicated to the public…but education overall…in addition to finding a way to make a partial living as an crafter/artist—as I’m starting to think about branching out and teaching myself other crafts—crochet (I knew how to do this years ago), making jewelry (I’ve got enough beads & charms), resin, mosaics, and wood-burning. I don’t need to make millions…I just need to make enough to ensure that my bills are paid, I have a roof over my head, and food on my table. Travel really isn’t even that big of a necessity currently (mainly due to the state of the world).

I want to become a better global citizen…which means decolonizing my mind and ‘relearning’ things about various parts of the world. It means learning an language (or two)—as English isn’t spoken everywhere. It means figuring out how to live with less…so to help cut back on the demand/need for vital elements that are fueling genocides and conflicts throughout the African continent. 

Progress…good, and done is better than ‘perfect, and never published’…because perfectionism is a myth…a myth of white supremacy that I’m going to jump up and down on until it’s grounded back into dust. What is one thing you’ll do to help break down the barriers around the world? 

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Progress, but stalling…then a little more progress–leads to some forward momentum.

Introduction:

Last month I ‘restarted’ my monthly accountability posts—also known as ‘months in review’. I’d been doing these posts on and off for a couple of years…but last year—I think I only did January…and then totally fell of the wagon in trying to do things (in part to the family medical issue). Will I be hitting 100% on all goals…probably not. Only because I’m still working on developing a good ‘fluid’ schedule for the day—one that allows me to focus on different tasks without feeling like I’m ‘ignoring’ the major task in favor of quicker, easier tasks to complete. 

At times I’ve realized I have ‘shiny squirrel’ syndrome…where I start a task, and then get easily distracted by something else…start in on that ‘task’…get distracted…and within a couple of hours totally forget what it was I was meaning to do earlier in the day. I have found that just setting say four to six major tasks per day does seem to be helping…though I’ve also found that I need to move the ‘learning’ (especially refreshing or learning an foreign language) closer to the top of the list…it seems it’s one of my more ‘difficult’ (would love to put off) tasks.

Since I did fairly well in April with the goals that I’d set…I added a few extra to May—and probably shouldn’t have done that. I’ve realized that sometime less is actually more. I can always have an ‘side’ list of goals—goals that I can pick from after majority of the other goals have been completed. So what were the goals that I’d set for May—well, they included:

  1. Read at least three non-fiction books
  2. Read at least four fiction books
  3. Complete at least another 30-day challenge
  4. Start following my intentional movement (aka exercise) plan
  5. Finish outline & launch a YouTube channel
  6. Blurbs on science, medical, or health papers
  7. Working through at least three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Posting to each blog at least twice
  10. Mind-maps & outlines:
    • Interviews with different dinosaurs & extinct animals
    • What makes us ‘toxic’ (interviews with the different creatures that house microbes that produce neurotoxins and other types of toxins)
    • Interviews with ‘ancient’ civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus possibly a few others)
    • Ancient civilizations: Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt
    • Micropaleontology
    • Plus the topics that I didn’t get to last month: the metabolism project & food that aren’t good for pets & why.
  11. Writing at least 30 minutes a day on two different projects
  12. Working on my needlepoint project
  13. Creating a rough draft of an coloring book from my black & white doodles

So how did I do with each of them?

Reading at least three non-fiction books: (completed, actually tripled the number–so 300% completed) I read the following books:

  1. Pagan Portals: Sekhet-Lady of Flame, Eye of Ra by Olivia Church
  2. Pagan Portals: Isis-Great of Magic, She of 10,000 Names by Olivia Church
  3. Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza by Mosab Abu Toha
  4. Just tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You have no idea what it is by Sara Kravitz
  5. Headstrong: 52 women who changed science & the world by Rachel Swaby
  6. Just do the Damn Thing by Reece Owens
  7. Authentic: How to be Yourself and Why it Matters by Stephen Joseph
  8. 365 Days of Walking the Red Road: The Native American Path to Leading a Spiritual Life Every Day by Terri Jean
  9. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
  10. unBuried-unMarked: the unTold Namibian Story of the Genocide of 1904-1908 by Jephta Nguherimo

Reading at least four fiction books: (completed, 100%), I read the following books:

  1. Wild Heart (Hearts of Swayer’s Bend #6) by Ivy Layne
  2. Stay Anyway (Kincaid brothers #7) by Kaylee Ryan
  3. State of Suspense (First Family #7) by Marie Force
  4. Last Minute Fiancé (The First Time/Cassidy Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan (This one I also wrote a book review over)

Complete at least one more 30-day challenge (Completed, 100%):

I’ve completed another 30-day Sudoku challenge. While I may not have gotten every Sudoku filled in correctly…I’ve at least attempted a Sudoku every day (with the exception of Memorial Day—no paper was delivered) for the month of May.

Start following the intentional movement (aka exercise) plan, (~10% completed)

I need to work the intentional movement (exercise) plan into my personal/professional board game. Maybe that way I’ll actually start doing things. Within my ‘fluid’ schedule—I’m going to be ‘putting in movement’ blocks—which may be something as simple as putting on a movie and marching in place for 20 minutes, or getting on the exercise bike and riding it for 10-20 minutes, or possibly both.

Finish outline & launch a YouTube Channel (~30% completed)

I have a mind-map of topics for the YouTube channel—things ranging from science, health, medical topics (similar to that blog) to current events, to crafts & hobbies, and other interests. I just need to decide which ‘hub’ to start with—and then draft that outline…and possibly record an ‘introduction’ video to post to the channel (which I already have…just need to change the name).

Blurbs on science, medical, or health papers (Still sitting around 5%)

I still haven’t finished polishing (and shortening) the one blurb that I’d started a couple months ago on the sea dragon genome paper. I’m not sure why I’m dragging my feet on this ‘task’…other than numerous papers sound interesting until I start to read them…and then I’m quickly reminded why I detest reading (and writing) academic papers.

Working/watching three e-courses (completed, 100%):

I watched three short courses on Skillshare this month:

Creative Journaling: Getting Started

I think I would give this course a 4 out of 5 stars. It basically was more along the lines of ‘creative’ bullet journaling (at least for me—since most journals I’m using for either planning or journaling happen to be dot journals (that are mainly used for planning)).

While I journal daily…I just haven’t been using washbi tapes or stickers for the most part…doing creative (or junk) journaling is actually on my 101 goals…I just haven’t started doing it, and am unsure how I’d track my ‘creative/junk’ journaling habits.

Growing Your Creativity

I actually not sure what I’d rate this course. I think my biggest ‘issue’ is that I do consider arts & crafts to creativity at a certain level…because you are creating something. Also I didn’t care too much for the instructor’s definitions of artists versus craftsmen. I do need to try to do the ‘assignment’ which actually had multiple parts: list of things that you truly care about, spend time/money/effort on, likes, hobbies, and so forth. Brainstorm 25 possible creative ideas for next project for this inspiration list, and then choose one for your next project. Currently I’m still working on my large needlepoint project (which is why I haven’t finished this ‘assignment’ yet).

Fictionalize Your Life: How to Keep A Writer’s Diary. 

I would this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars, only because I didn’t care for the tone of the instructor in some of his videos. Nor did I care for how he defined journal versus a diary. Both can be for practicing, and both can also be ‘private’ never to be shared. It’s literally all in the preference of the person sitting at the keyboard or who holds the pen (or pencil). I find the idea of trying to create ‘short’ glimpses of daily activity into a micro-scene of a short story intriguing and I may try them…and then see how they’d potentially merge into a larger story.

30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly (0% completed)

I’m not even sure if I logged into Mondly this month or not…but I do know that I need to move this task upwards on the ‘daily’ to-do tasks. Have it second on the list, after putting together the daily update on Gaza & the West Bank.

Post to each blog at least twice (100% completed for science/health/medical blog, and 200-300% completed for the creative blog):

I know that I’ve posted to the creative blog numerous times this month (new & full moon goals, two book reviews, and months in review). I also posted twice to the science/health/medical blog towards the beginning of the month. I know that blog is slowly taking off—towards the end of last month (or it was possibly early this month)—I got my first ‘trolling’ comment on the blog.

I need to get better at posting to the science/health/medical blog—I’m hoping that possibly creating a minimal content editorial calendar during June will help me post at least two to three times (an oncology post, a blurb on a science paper, and then possibly another blog post on something else).

Mind-maps & outlines (probably about 40% done):

For the four ‘creative/research’ projects—I’m probably about 40% done in terms of mind-maps and outlines for those projects. I’ve paused two projects for the science, health, & medical blog (metabolism series and why certain foods aren’t good for pets), and put learning more about micropaleontology on hold indefinitely. Below I’ve stated how far I’ve gotten with each of the projects..

Interviews with different dinosaurs & extinct animals (About 60% completed)

I have an ‘basic’ outline for “talking” with dinosaurs, and I need to try to modify it slight in order to make use of the outline with other extinct animals (such as sabertooth tiger, giant sloths, cave bears, woolly mammoths, and other extinct creatures). I also need to decide if I’m going to use research papers as the main ‘reference’ points, or if I’m also going to use books (which would require me then going back to any I’ve read—and skimming to get to areas to highlight important bits and pieces of information).

I also need to work on the ‘story’ outline aspect—the part that will be more ‘creative’ in respects to the how I’d flow from ‘question’ to ‘question’.

What makes us ‘toxic’ (interviews with the different creatures that house microbes that produce neurotoxins and other types of toxins) (About 35% complete)

I know the three main animals that I’m going to “interview” in terms of being toxic animals: the puffer fish, the blue-ringed octopus, and the roughed skin newt. In addition I’m thinking of “interviewing” the Gila monster, now need to find an ‘venomous’ fish & cephalopod to interview & have a “balanced” look between toxic and venomous animals.

I’m still working on the outline—especially since in terms of the ‘toxic’ animals—there really ins’t a agreed upon mode of ‘uptake’ that turns these animals toxic.

Interviews with ‘ancient’ civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus possibly a few others) (Still working on these ideas—so not that far into the project)

Ancient civilizations: Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt (probably about 60% done)

I have several books on ancient Mesopotamia already (part of an early book buying splurge)…I just need to see if they have anything in them on Queen Puabi of Ur, Queen Kubaba of Kish, or the goddess Ishtar.

I’d bought several non-fiction books on Nefertiti & Hatshepsut…and then went back and bought one on Sobekneferu (the very first female Egyptian Pharaoh). I haven’t gotten around to reading them though…one of the problems when you give into your impulsive book buying tendencies…you end up with dozens of new books over the past few weeks/months. I think my non-fiction/historical fiction list is probably closing in on 600 books—though I’ve read a handful (probably about 40 or so since 2022; the list is one that I started back in 2019…and I keep adding books to the list…so yeah—I probably buy about 100 nonfiction/historical fiction books a year).

Since these queens were from different centuries & cities within Mesopotamia, or eras of ancient Egyptian history (Hatshepsut was a few hundred before Nefertiti; and Sobekneferu was a few hundred years before Hatshepsut); I need to possibly also find a book (or two) about those general eras of ancient Egyptian history, as I’m hoping the books I have on Mesopotamia can fill in those ‘dots’ for me there. But I’m thinking that I may do a interview series in the ‘spirit’ of the one I’d done in college (when I was ‘interviewing’ different gods or religious figures for the survey of Eastern Civilization course).

Micropaleontology (This topic is on ‘hold’ indefinitely)

The study of micro fossils. Fossils of pollen and other microorganisms. It sounds extremely cool…but as much as I’d love to become a micropaleontologist—I’ need to get the debt down first. Then I can possibly get a textbook or two on the subject (though who knows if I’d ever be able to afford the type of microscope one really needs to see these guys).

Plus the topics that I didn’t get to last month: the metabolism project & food that aren’t good for pets & why. Okay, the metabolism project is on hold..I want to get the ‘what is a microbe’ series launched first. Also I’m not 100% certain how I want that (the metabolism) series to flow and which direction I want to go in.  Food that isn’t good for pets & why—also on hold. In part because it’s tied to the metabolism project.

Writing at least thirty minutes a day on different projects (~10-30%??)

I know since not quite mid-month I’ve been ‘writing’ daily…and actually ‘writing’ daily well before that. But—I don’t know if the ‘projects’ (with the exception of the daily updates on Gaza) have been within the half-hour range. I know the Gaza one should be within that range, only due to the time it also takes to read the news and then determine what little ‘blurb’ I’m going to be writing on it. 

Working on the needlepoint project (100% effort on this one):

I’m not done with my current needlepoint project. This is currently the largest one I’ve attempted, and it’s totally abstract and original. Will I be finished with by July 17th (300 day check-in on my 101 goals in 1001 days) or July 20 (on my 5th check-in on my 44 things before 44)? Maybe…since I still have six and a half weeks—but I do know I should have it finished by my birthday in September. The picture (below) was taken last night (May 30) to highlight the progress that I’ve made during the month-compared to how it was at the end of April (compared to early Feb).

Showcasing different status pictures of latest abstract needlepoint project

Create a rough draft of a coloring book from black & white doodles (~15-30%)

Okay I have a very rough draft of a collection of PDFs of the different doodles…they’re just not totally ‘straight’ (you can see some of the bedroom in the background). So I need to place the sketchpad on a surface (that isn’t my lap) and stand above them to take a picture (and hopefully have it ‘straight’ enough that I can crop out the background of the desk or table). 

I need to also see how many different black and white doodles I have—and I may need to take some time over the summer to draw/doodle some more pictures to flesh out the coloring book. In addition—figure out how to copyright (so what would the business name be—or would I just do things in my own name), pricing, and how would I collect (Venmo, PayPal, or what)…so yeah—I have several things I need to figure out still.

Conclusions:

Well, I made progress on all but three of the goals (refreshing/learning a foreign language, the science/health/medical paper blurbs, and following an intentional movement plan). The YouTube channel at least has a mind-map drawn, and now I just need to decide which ‘direction’ to go in to start (science/health/medical blurbs/news, crafts/hobbies, personal/professional growth, or current events), the direction will also let me know how many ‘videos’ I’d be trying to do a week/month. While some progress wasn’t great…the amount of progress is actually really good—considering the fact that last week was the year anniversary of my mother’s death, and I’d been sitting in procrastination corner a lot this month. 

I’ve also realized that In need to schedule the time for Mondly (and actually working out—or the ‘main’ workout time) for the morning, and preferably as soon in the morning as possible. While I have no problem watching an short e-course (or trying to start a longer one) in the afternoon, I don’t feel like trying to learn an language that late in the day. So, yea! I’ve figure out part of the schedule needed; in addition I should probably ‘schedule’ my oracle card drawings/sharing to the oracle card Instagram channel for the morning as well. Both of these may before my Gaza updates on Instagram (or at least they’ll bracket it—Mondly before, and then oracle card afterwards).

The coloring book is still an extremely rough draft, especially since I have various ‘business’ questions/tasks that I’d need to get settled before I could ‘sell’ the book. The business questions/tasks are something I’ll be working on tackling this summer. Because selling digital items (coloring books, prints, or whatever) may be one the quickest ways of earning a little cash.

I’ll probably have roughly the same number of goals for June—with actually the final goal, being checking in with the goal list periodically to ensure that I’m actually working on things I’ve stated I want to work on. Therefore the goals for June will include:

  1. Read at least three more non-fiction books
  2. Read at least four more fiction books
  3. Complete at least one (if not two) 30-day challenges
  4. Improve intentional movement game & make time during the day for intentional movement
  5. Launch the YouTube channel (outline, schedule & intro video)
  6. Two blurbs on science, health, and/or medical papers
  7. Watch/work through at least another three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly (after breakfast probably)
  9. Posting consistently on the oracle card channel (after Gaza update probably)
  10. Post to each blog each least twice
  11. Finish up the outlines for the three large creative research projects:
    • Interviews with dinosaurs and other extinct animals
    • Interviews with toxic and venomous animals
    • Interviews with various citizens/leaders of various ancient civilizations
  12. Continue working on the needlepoint project
  13. Check in with this list every few days to ensure that I’m making progress.

Conclusions, part II: In regards to June goals:

Twelve goals, well thirteen—but the last one is literally a reminder to myself to check in with the list (either opening this document or looking at the journal where I will have it written out). Similar goals to the past two months…mainly that is how one builds habits—repetitive actions. Reading is an enjoyment…I read more non-fiction this month than fiction, but that was because I’ve got the goal of 44 non-fiction/historical fiction before my birthday, and I felt like I was slightly behind schedule & wanted to catch up.

The rest of the things…will require that I work on silencing the inner critic/imposter syndrome on a daily basis. I know what I want to do with my life—not only help improve how various topics are communicated to the public…but education overall…in addition to finding a way to make a partial living as an crafter/artist—as I’m starting to think about branching out and teaching myself other crafts—crochet (I knew how to do this years ago), making jewelry (I’ve got enough beads & charms), resin, mosaics, and wood-burning. I don’t need to make millions…I just need to make enough to ensure that my bills are paid, I have a roof over my head, and food on my table. Travel really isn’t even that big of a necessity currently (mainly due to the state of the world).

I want to become a better global citizen…which means decolonizing my mind and ‘relearning’ things about various parts of the world. It means learning an language (or two)—as English isn’t spoken everywhere. It means figuring out how to live with less…so to help cut back on the demand/need for vital elements that are fueling genocides and conflicts throughout the African continent. 

Progress…good, and done is better than ‘perfect, and never published’…because perfectionism is a myth…a myth of white supremacy that I’m going to jump up and down on until it’s grounded back into dust. What is one thing you’ll do to help break down the barriers around the world? 

How are you coming along on your yearly goals?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Progress on the 44 things to do before turning 44 project

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

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

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

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

Well these goals include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay…something checked off: My definition of success.

I’m defining success as any of the following:

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

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

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

My stress levels have ‘leveled’ out

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

I’m meditating twice a day

I’m spending time out in nature

I’m writing and researching things of interest

I have two successful blogs….two successful freelance businesses

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

I have an online store for selling my crafts…

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

I have developed and embraced my vision of minimalism…

I am staying up-to date on world events…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The final two goals:

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

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

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

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

I’m going to work on accomplishing the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are the goals? They include:

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

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

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

Read at least two ‘new’ banned books

Read at least two ‘new’ classic books

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

Finish creating a inspiring work/craft area

Write a letter to my future self (again)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how did I do with each of them?

120-150K steps:

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

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

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

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

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

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

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

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

The new books:

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

The re-reads included:

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

No spend challenges:

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

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

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

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

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

Craft time:

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

Latest abstract cross-stitch project

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

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

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

Getting the second blog/website up and running:

One of the bigger goals for December

Writing, writing, and writing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The goals then for December will include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how did I do with each goal?

125-155K steps:

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

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

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

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

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

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

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Craft time:

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

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

Getting the second blog up and running:

Still working on this….

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

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

3x your productivity with this weekly planning guide

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

The tips that the instructor gave were:

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

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

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

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

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

Blogging Rituals and Routines: 10 secrets for increasing blogging productivity

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

The ten tips this instructor gave were:

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

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

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

Writing, writing, and writing:

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

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

What other lessons did I learn in October?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste….

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

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

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

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

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

My 43 things to do before turning 43 list

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The goals for August included:

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

So how did I do with each of them?

125-155K steps:

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

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

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

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

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

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Craft time:

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

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

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

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

Writing, writing, and writing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste….

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