Category: spirituality

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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Taurus Goals: Focusing (mostly) on the finances and debt

So the moon is going to be transitioning through the Taurus constellation either tonight or possibly last night—depending on where one is in the world. This marks the fifth new moon of the year…and May is not quite a third of the way over. 

Things aren’t settling down anytime soon in regards to various global conflicts…I just hope that there are enough civilians screaming for a ceasefire that the problem in Gaza doesn’t turn into world war three….though thanks to the occupiers—there is that slim possibility, since they’re trying to ‘renegotiate’ a ceasefire agreement (they didn’t like the one that Hamas agreed to).

Anyway…when it comes to trying to set goals via the moon cycles, or even just ‘monthly’ goals—it’s been a work in progress. I didn’t do the months in review last year (after January or possibly Feb), and I didn’t do most of the new or full moon goals for a good six or seven months. One goal this year is to try to get back into doing different types of accountability posts—whether it’s making goals and reviewing them prior to the next phase of the moon, or reviewing them on a monthly basis (just restarted that series last week, when I ‘reviewed’ things for April).

Two years ago I asked if things were starting to turn around? In part there was still the pandemic raging…we do have vaccines & booster shots for that now…but thanks to greed ass corporations and such—sometime those that need them the most can’t afford them (as not every insurance plan will cover them). Besides that—there are numerous global conflicts going on—the Russia-Ukraine conflict is in it’s third year, there is the ongoing genocide in Gaza, genocides in the Congo, Sudan, and numerous other places around the world…so I don’t think things are turning around quickly enough.

Looking to the book ‘Moonology’, there are several things that one can focus on during the Taurus new moon, and they include:

  1. Make a financial plan
  2. Love yourself
    • Make a list of your values and ask yourself if you’re living your life in a way that allows you to honor those values. If the answer is no—figure out a new plan to allow yourself to honor those values.
  3. Be sensual. Ask yourself “What would make my life better?”
  4. Character check. Ask yourself “Am I being too stubborn or too lazy?”
  5. Persevere—remember that there is more to life than racing head, there is also the journey that should be enjoyed as well (or as much as possible). Slow and steady will win the day.

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

  1. Go through old love letters and get rid of at least some of them.
  2. If you’re single and feeling brave, try online dating.
  3. Ask your parents about their ideas on how to make love (aka a relationship) work.
  4. Recommit to your partner.
  5. If you hurt a past lover, admit you were wrong & apologize to them.
  6. Make a list of the qualities you look for in a partner.
  7. If you’re already attached, play matchmaker for a friend.

Well…I’ll probably be skipping all things related to my seventh house this year. I’m not in the mood to try online (or even in person) dating. I don’t have any love letters to sort through. My mother is dead…and my father isn’t really one to offer ‘relationship’ advice. I may make a list of qualities that I’d like in a partner—top being they’re against genocides.

Three years ago I wrote this in terms of how I felt about ‘dating’: Yes—there is online dating, but that isn’t something I want to be focusing on right now, instead I’m going to focus on improving myself and then worry about possible dating issues. Also, I don’t have the time or energy to put into the dating scene and finding someone. In terms of relationships and being with someone—I seem to be one of the odd ones that doesn’t mind being alone and unattached. I also know that I still have other things to work out on my own before even attempting to stick my toes into the dating pool.

So, if I’m going to more or less ignore my seventh house, what are some of the goals I could set for the Taurus new moon? Well, they’ll include:

  1. Making a financial plan. The savings account has more or less dwindled down to nothing, and I need to get quite a bit of shit paid off still…and I’d like to be able to start building my savings (and possibly even retirement) accounts back up again if possible. 
  2. Work on improving the rough draft of my personal/professional growth plan (which would incorporate the above financial plan)—in addition to ensure that goals within that plan are aligned with my values (see above about ‘loving yourself’ aka making sure you’re living in line with your values).
  3. Get a several mind-maps/outlines and such finished over the next few weeks and setting up different ‘editorial’ calendars for the two different blogs and various social media channels.
  4. Continue to clean out my closet so that I can make room for various things as I continue to also try to clean out my storage unit.

Three goals that are focusing on brainstorming/mind-mapping/planning and one that is focused on working towards my vision/version of minimalism. 

Sometimes I get bogged down with the planning stage of things (I try to put too much on the calendar for a particular day or week)—that’s why I’m also adding in the brainstorming/mind-mapping and notes. Hopefully it will help ‘break’ down the planning stage to where I actually only put the bare minimum of things on the calendar—and then have a list of things I can ‘add in’ once other things are checked off and finished.

Baby-steps. Spiral paths. Two steps forward, and one step back. Progress—it is never perfect, it is never linear…and it is often more messy than one thinks. With the current status of the world—I’m aiming for messy progress…I’m aiming to continue to unlearn (and relearn), to become a better global citizen, and to do my part in trying to dismantle various toxic parts of society.

With that said—what is one of your Taurus goals? 

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New moon, solar eclipse & time to ‘look’ to the future

So the Aries new moon is today, and it also marks a total solar eclipse that can actually be seen in parts of the US.  Stillwater, unfortunately is suppose to be totally cloudy during those few hours this afternoon…but who knows the cloud cover could burn off a little bit at some point & I can grab my solar viewing glasses and go out back to see if I can ‘see’ anything. 

Last year I didn’t write anything about the Aries new moon…I actually didn’t write much of anything for like a good six or seven months (while 2020 wasn’t the greatest year; 2021-to [almost the present] has sucked), and getting back into a writing routine and both ‘niching’ (in terms of the science, health & medical blog) and semi-niching here has been at times a struggle. But it is a struggle I’m willing to work with—as I’m focused on getting these two freelance/creative businesses up and running.

Okay…now back to the Aries new moon. There are numerous things that one can do during this period. One ‘series’ of things reflects on the Aries new moon itself, and those things include:

  1. Take actions on dreams & plans
  2. Make a 12-month plan
  3. Be courageous in moving towards achieving your goals
  4. Have some fun
  5. Focus on you

You might be asking why one would think of making a 12-month plan in April? Well, that’s because Aries is the start of a new ‘astrological’ year/calendar—especially in terms of the ‘new’ moon. So, this is a time of reflection and planning…figuring out what goals one really wants to achieve (that match up to ones’ inner values) and figuring out how to go about and achieving them.

The second thing is to look to see what ‘house’ the Aries new moon is passing through (there are twelve houses, and the particular house for each new & full moon differs for everyone based on your astrological signs. Mine are Vigo (star), Scorpio (rising), and Pisces (moon). I usually make use of my rising sign (Scorpio) to determine which house the different moons are moving through. So for me—this Aries new moon is passing through my 6th house, or my daily work & health zone.  This means—figuring out the fluid daily/weekly schedule that will allow me to focus on the things I want: personal/professional growth, launching a freelance career, health/wellness, crafts/hobbies, and so forth.

One thing I’ve been doing the past few weeks is combining time ‘theming’ (trying to give each day a particular theme—or each morning/afternoon different themes: such as communications, administrative work, research, writing/editing, and so forth) with time blocking (setting aside say 90 minutes to do research/write/edit or do some personal/professional growth work [e-courses, Mondly, or listening to a podcast or TedTalk]). While also making use of apps that block access to social media sites (so I don’t give into the temptation of ‘doom scrolling’ when I should be doing something else).

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time to improve things in their sixth house?

  1. Recommit to some type of exercise program
  2. Think about (correct if need be) your eating habits
  3. Help someone out this month
  4. Talk to your boss about any work concerns you might have
  5. Read a book on positive thinking
  6. Eat healthy lunches or dinners for a month–no exceptions
  7. Learn to meditate

So I always find it a little uncanny at times how accurate the moons transition is through the houses (especially when I know there are certain things I should be focusing on). While there are things that listed that are ‘mainstream’ (such as correcting eating habits or eating healthier)—I’m working on developing a better relationship with food, and am starting to listen to my body more. I’m also going to be moving to a more intentional movement ‘calendar’—to where I’m doing something daily for at least five to fifteen minutes each day.

So which things am I going to try to focus on over the next few weeks?

  1. Make a 12-month (or possibly longer) plan. This will be a mix of different goal setting methods (value-driven goals, OKR [objectives & key results], and using the new & full moon phases of the moon) but written as a ‘personal/professional growth development plan’.
  2. Start using the intentional movement board game I drew out last month. I just need to write the rules, draw up some tracking sheets & figure out what my ‘rewards’ will be as well
  3. Read one of the books I have on positive thinking/mindset
  4. Continue to meditate nightly

Three years ago, I ended my Aries New Moon goals with the assumption that world’s insanity levels were going to hopefully start ‘decreasing’ and things would mellow. Oh, how I miss those rose-tinted glasses that I was metaphorically wearing. The world is going to hell in a hand-basket at an alarming clip..and I think there is a clock somewhere counting down until someone decides to launch an damn nuclear weapon at someone else.

Can various governments please wake up and start sanctioning the occupiers? Like yesterday? Because—again, if they aren’t brought under control, this will spiral into a regional (and then possibly a global) conflict—and do you really want to fight someone else’s war of hate & greed (or have your children or grandchildren fight it)?

Happy, safe, loving, thoughts, vibes and prayers sent to everyone in the world that needs them—particularly within Ukraine, Gaza, the Congo, Sudan, and other sites of war and genocide.

Namaste…

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First quarter is done…onwards into the second quarter of 2024

So, the moon is going to be heading into it’s latest new moon phase this coming Monday, April 8—also marking a solar eclipse at the same time. There is a chance that Stillwater will at least have a partial eclipse during the early afternoon—so I’ve ordered some eclipse glasses to hopefully observe the eclipse this year (if I remember to head outside around the correct time—and it isn’t overcast—which it is currently forecasted as). But before looking ahead to the Aries new moon, it’s time to look back at the goals that I’d set for the Pisces new moon and see how I did with each of the goals.

The goals that I included for the Pisces new moon included:

  1. Continuing to work on the afghan
  2. Determine which ‘goals’ from the 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days will be added to the second quarter BINGO card and/or just listed out in the journal
  3. Brainstorm ideas for an intentional movement board game (include resistance training, yoga, cardio, dancing, walking and so forth).
  4. Start brainstorming different ideas (creative writing projects & science/health/med topics) to then expand via mind-mapping.
  5. Work on setting up an ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan altar that doesn’t become a catchall for craft supplies (namely threads for needlepoint projects).

So how did I do with each of these goals?

Working on the afghan:

Well I’m a little over 60% done with the afghan. Last week I had to knit a small piece to finish up the third large column (somehow it was a little too short—not sure how that happened), and last night I started working on the first of the four border pieces. I’m hoping to have the afghan totally finished by the end of the month…though it could be possibly mid-May before I’m totally done with it. The below pictures highlight the afghan…once it’s totally complete, I’ll place it on a larger bed to be able to get a good picture of it.

The ‘main’ portion of my latest afghan, which is a flame motif (which is extremely difficult to currently see). Once finished this afghan will probably fit nicely on a queen size bed.

Selecting ‘goals’ from the combined ’44 things to do before turning 44’ and 101 goals in 1001-days to work on during this second quarter of 2024:

Below are the selected goals that I’m focusing on during the second quarter of 2024, along with possibly other goals once some of these have been completed:

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

Plus there are other things I can attempt to work into my schedule—like figuring out how to create a calendar (then figure out do I offer it just online or what); crafts, and then there is a bunch of other things that I just need to become better disciplined at doing (like creating and publishing all the different bird pages) things.

Brainstorming ideas for an intentional movement board game:

I have a rough draft of a basic board game drawn out (see below):

Rough draft of an intentional movement board game
First draft of my intentional movement board game

What I need to do now is develop the ‘rules’ for the game, making tracking sheets (mainly for the weights), and finally just start ‘playing’ with the game. Reminder to self: put on tennis shoes & socks…most of these ‘intentional movement’ shouldn’t be done while wearing slippers.  

Brainstorm ideas for different projects (creative writing projects & science/health/med topics): 

I have several different ideas for creative writing projects. There is going to be an ‘dinosaur and other ‘ancient’ creatures’ piece. ‘Interviews’ with various goddesses & gods; and several other ideas. The only one that is semi-fleshed out (in terms of a rough draft of an outline is part of the dinosaur portion of that project)—all other ideas are just the ‘broad’ ideas currently.

I have at least three ‘large’ blog project ideas down on paper for the science, health, medical blog: oncology (which I’ve already started), a cell biology series, and then possibly going into metabolism & why certain supplements aren’t worth one’s time or money.

Setting up an ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan altar

This is still a semi-work in progress goal. I have an area where I have several goddess statues and other crystals, but currently it’s a little ‘crowded’. A goal is to get a shelf near by that can hold the ‘overflow’ from the altar—basically have an ‘Wiccan/pagan’ corner of the room, where I can read oracle cards (either in the morning or the evening).

Conclusions:

So I’d set five goals for the Pisces new moon—two I’d considered to be ‘finish-able’ projects: working on the afghan & setting up the Wiccan/pagan altar, in addition to making the list of goals from the combined 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001-days. In terms of these three projects I’d say I managed about 75% (the goals are listed; the ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan corner is coming along; and I should be finished with the afghan by the end of April or mid-May at the latest).

The brainstorming goals I wasn’t sure if I’d “finish” (aka get anything down onto paper) or not. The intentional movement game has been ‘brainstormed’—I just need to make the rules, tracking sheets & just start up a routine. The various writing projects have been brainstormed (kinda, more or less—at least in part for the science, health, medical blog). So I’d say I was 85% productive with the brainstorming sessions (I’m not making a total 100% since I didn’t really mind map that many of the projects further).

So—basically managed about 80% of the goals listed for the Pisces new moon. Do I know what ‘side-tracked’ some of the progress. Yes—in terms of the afghan, I was ‘dog-sitting’ for several nights, and had to switch up my craft project for those few nights—which put me behind schedule. But, I started working on the border pieces last night, and should possibly be done with the first border piece by the upcoming weekend.

Setting up the Wiccan/pagan corner is taking time—because I need to clean/purge at the same time—it’s not fun/easy when you’re trying to have a bedroom be multiple things: sleep space, work space, craft space, meditation/spiritual, and if possible workout/fitness space as well. 

I’ll take the 80% success rate for the Pisces new moon..and aim to hit at least 85-to-90% of the goals for the upcoming Aries New Moon (and total solar eclipse).  The other thing I’m going to keep reminding myself of: progress over perfection—since perfection is a myth, and everyone has a different idea of what it looks like.

What did you manage to get done during the Pisces new moon?

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Brain-dumps & goals lists (check)–now on to the long-term objectives

So the moon will be going through it’s next full moon stage at the beginning of next week-which means it’s time to look at the goals I’d set for the Virgo full moon, before planning for the Libra full moon.

So what were the goals that I’d set for the Virgo full moon? Well, they included:

  1. Get back into the practice of doing ‘monthly brain dumps’ and using things from the list as ideas for blog posts, infographics and so forth. 
  2. Working on that two-to-five year plan. Brainstorming (hopefully) reasonable milestones to aim for
  3. Make a list (from both my 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days) that I want to accomplish during the second quarter of 2024.
  4. Develop a rough draft of a fluid weekly schedule…leading to hopefully a workable fluid schedule by May.

So how did I do with each of them?

Monthly brain dump:

Well–I’m getting back into the habit. I made a brain-dump for March and actually managed to get a decent number of things checked off/accomplished, including:

  1. I posted the review to Last First Kiss on Amazon on the fourth…and they accepted it rather quickly (which was a nice surprise for a Monday).
  2. I’ve been keeping up with running the ‘accountability’ series within a Facebook group (posting the initial one on a Monday & then check-ins on Wed & Fri)
  3. I’ve been doing daily updates on Gaza on my Instagram channel (still debating on whether to start a ‘separate’ channel or not on this)
  4. I’ve found two new recipes to try this month
  5. I’ve done two e-courses
  6. I’m slowly getting back into getting on Mondly for learning a foreign language
  7. I’ve sent off two boxes of used DVDs & books…managed to hit about a quarter of my goal of earning a minimum of $100 this month selling stuff back.
  8. I finished two non-fiction books by the 20th (which meant I’d read/finished six books between 1/20 & 3/20)
  9. I set up the BINGO cards for both the second quarter of 2024 & for April
  10. Did my 3rd check-in on my 44 things to accomplish before turning 44
  11. I did my new & full moon goals this month
  12. I should hopefully have the third panel of the afghan completed by the end of the upcoming week

Working on the two-to-five year plan:

This currently is one of those ‘constantly’ in progress goals. I’m currently in the process of brainstorming ideas for not only objectives (short term goals) but ‘milestones’ as well. As I’d mentioned within my rough draft of a two-to-five year plan—I usually freak out trying to figure out how to break down the big ‘vision’ goal into smaller ‘sub-vision’ goals. It’s a work in progress, and maybe having watched the one course on how to write an business plan—I can at least get the big ‘vision’ goal down into smaller/yearly ‘sub-vision’ goals.

List of things from both the 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days to put on the second quarter BINGO card:

I’ve gotten this accomplished. What’s being added to the second quarter BINGO card (and partially to the April BINGO card) includes:

  1. Creating a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launching a YouTube channel
  3. Completing three 30-day challenges
  4. Reading at least another 8-12 nonfiction books
  5. Reading another ‘banned’ book and at least one ‘new’ classic book
  6. Finishing at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Finishing the afghan project
  8. Drawing/doodling & painting an original piece of art
  9. Creating a workout plan
  10. Writing a letter to my future self (again)
  11. Completing at least 4 more Udemy courses & at least 5 more Skillshare courses
  12. At least 30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly learning a foreign language
  13. Start at least one new Instagram channel (possibly for the oracle cards)
  14. A minimum of 12 mini book reviews (for the creative blog)
  15. A minimum of 10 ‘blurbs/reviews’ of different science papers (for the science/health/medical blog)

These are in addition to the ‘normal’ goals that I have on it:

  1. Daily oracle card drawings
  2. Water before coffee
  3. Daily craft time
  4. Daily gratitude journal entries
  5. Daily intentional movements
  6. Daily mediation
  7. No spend challenges
  8. Time & project management
  9. Read at least nine fiction books (breaks down to at least three a month)

Develop a ‘rough’ fluid weekly schedule:

I’ve realized that at times my biggest distractions are getting back onto social media and semi-doom scrolling…so I need to ‘block’ myself from at least Facebook majority of the day. I’m not going to ‘block’ myself from Instagram…as I haven’t bookmarked the ‘help’ page yet for LI ticket submissions.

This week I’ve tried the idea of time theming…where I put a particular ‘theme’ to a day. The theme is suppose to help me ‘focus’ by the fact that most tasks for the day should be around the ‘theme’. What I’ve learned—I need to do more of a morning & afternoon theme than a particular full day theme. Especially since I’m still not fully certain of when I have the most focused attention/energy. 

I know that most people (and there is research to back this) state that we’re most focused the first couple of hours in the morning…and I’m semi-focused during the morning. I think that I’m the most focused at night when I’m working on crafts…which means that I possibly should be thinking of trying to get more ‘crafts’ made so I can launch a online craft store (via Etsy or some other site).

Next week I’m going to try to blend ‘theming’ in with time blocks. I’ve also realized that I kinda like semi-spontaneous during the day/week—and by that I mean moving projects around to days when I think I’ll actually make some progress towards getting them started/finished. Also next week will show me how well I can manage my day when I’m in charge of the animals for more than just ten or twelve hours.

Four goals. Two were ‘one-and-done’ (monthly brain dump & list from the combo 44 things/101 goals), and both were finished. The other two were more ‘fluid’ and semi-continuous goals. The weekly schedule needs to have decent breaks scattered throughout (not to mention a time for intentional movement). The two-to-five year plan…well I still need to fine-tune the goals & objective statements, not to mention figuring out what milestones to have for each sub-objective. But I made some progress on both of those goals…so it was a win for the Virgo full moon period.

As I mentioned in last month’s post—I want to try to combine different methods of goal setting and see if a blend of methods works better than a ‘single’ method. I’ve picked the following methods to try to blend: Value-based goal setting (are the goals I’m setting matching my values?), OKR (objective & key results), WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) & goals based on the phase/constellation of the moon. Four methods, and truthfully the biggest ‘obstacles’ are going to be trying to determine the key results/outcomes that I can actually achieve within a set time frame (not too long or short of time).

Since we’re also entering the last week of March—it is also time to reflect back on the first quarter of the year—did you get everything accomplished that you wanted? Or are there still big goals that will now be stretching into the second quarter of the year?

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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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Combining the creative & the practical: making my own time/project management system

So, the moon is moving through the Pisces constellation and marking the third new moon of the year tonight. Just in time for us ‘springing’ forward. I thought it was bad luck back in 2020—when it was a full moon, Friday the 13th, and springing forward all on the same weekend. Here’s hoping that it won’t be quite as bad this year with it just being a new moon, no Friday the 13th, but still springing forward.

The world is still crumbling or combusting at a nice clip…things in West Asia are almost to a boiling point, where this conflict is going to spill over into a regional conflict within months if not weeks (or days). I noticed that last year I didn’t post anything for March in terms of goals or either new or full moon posts…last year wasn’t the greatest of years (and that is still a mild understatement).

I’ve started trying to plan out the each upcoming week on the weekend…write out the top long-term goals, the top yearly goals, quarterly, and monthly goals (while also referring back to the bingo cards for other goals). So…yeah, I’ve been trying to get better at both time and project management the past two weeks or so. Has it helped improve my time/project management—yes, and no. Yes, in terms of getting more things done…no, in terms of having spent time learning (i.e. watching a TedTalk, listening to a podcast, or working through an e-course). So—I need to figure out how to get those items into the the schedule (going to try using a timer—one that can be set for anything from 20 minutes (for watching a TedTalk) to upwards of an hour (listening to a podcast or starting to work through an e-course)).

If we wanted to focus on things that one could do during the Pisces new moon, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several things we can do, and they include:

  1. Dream
  2. Face your fears
  3. Follow your hunches/intution
  4. Heal–focus on working through emotional or spiritual issues
  5. ‘Surrender’–practice yoga, meditation–open yourself to the possibilities of the unvierse.

I’m dreaming…dreaming of having two successful blogs/websites that allow me to live life on my terms. Facing my fears? As I’d mentioned back in 2022—I’ve realized that several of my ‘fears’ are actually more of an ‘anxiety’ issue than an legit fear. This includes my ‘fear’ of public speaking..it’s more of an ‘anxiety’ issue—worrying that someone in the audience is going to ‘stop’ me in the middle of talking to ‘correct’ how I’m saying something…thank you to the damn teachers in elementary school for this ‘fear/anxiety’ issue that I’m still working through. I’d mentioned back in 2022—that I was thinking of launching a podcast or just starting to record myself talking about various topics—as a way of learning to ‘not hate how I sound/talk’. Actually—I’m thinking of launching a YouTube channel later this summer, and this was one of the reasons for it—to get accustomed to how my voice sounds ‘recorded’ and so forth.

Other problems that I need to address as they (or when they) crop up: speaking up for myself & asking for additional projects/work when I get bored (on the job—so this would be mainly if I manage to land a remote position within science/health/medical comms); and sticking up for myself (dealing with confrontations).

In addition I’m still focusing on my mental & spiritual health as well. While conventional religion really doesn’t work for me, I’m attempting to delve deeper into the spiritual side of things (meditation, oracle card readings, journaling, nature, and so forth). One of the biggest things I need to do is set up an dedicated altar that doesn’t also become a catchall for craft supplies. Yoga has been on the ‘to-do’ list for quite awhile…biggest problem currently is #apepthepuppy and I’m not sure how he’d take to me trying to do yoga in the living room.

In addition, Pisces is also moving through my 5th house—or my fun zone. So this is the area that is triggered by creativity, children, and romance. Now I’m good with the creativity portion—I don’t have kids (at least the ‘two-legged’ variety [I do have ‘furry’ children], and I’m not around them all that much), and truthfully right now I’m not in the market for romance (especially since I’m still trying to figure out my life and who knows when I’d possibly be moving).

So there are several different things that one can do, that sums up the 5th house (or fun zone):

  1. Take up belly dancing
  2. Making a toy for a child
  3. Starting to date
  4. Going on a trip with your significant other
  5. Doing something creative (writing, painting, so forth)
  6. Do something that typifies your idea of fun
  7. Throw a party

So…what would I be scratching off the list as not getting done? Well…I’m not going to start dating (see above for the reason why), taking a trip with one’s significant other (again—not in a relationship), and making a toy for a child (though I may try to make some stuff animals for donations?). Also—no throwing parties, because I’d rather meet up with a few friends for lunch, or a walk, or something other than a party.

I’ve been thinking of taking up belly dancing again (I’d had workout DVDs years ago)—I just need to find a decent YouTube channel to follow. It would also be something that could possibly help me get out of my rut of not doing much ‘physical activity’ during the day. I’ve been working on my large afghan for the past month or so…I’m hoping to have it finished by mid-April (maybe closer to late-April, depending on the size/width of the border pieces I will knit after I’m done with the third panel).

Fun…enjoyment…the balance to ‘work’…though I think one should be able to weave ‘fun’ activities in throughout the day to make ‘work’ more enjoyable. One of the many reasons, why I want to be my own boss..I can take a ‘fun’ break when I need one, to help refuel the creative juices needed to brainstorm the project, outline, or whatever.

Two years ago, I’d made goals such as indulging in more creative work during the day; mind-mapping different ideas (creative writing projects plus more science/health/med topics); trying to create an intentional movement board game; and evening meditation. This year the list of goals is going to include the following:

  1. Continuing to work on the afghan
  2. Determining which goals from the 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days will be added to the second quarter BINGO card and/or listed out in the journal
  3. Brainstorming ideas for an intentional movement board game
  4. Brainstorming ideas for different writing projects (both creative & science/health/med related)
  5. Work at setting up an ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan altar for mediation/oracle card reading that doesn’t become a catch-all for craft supplies (namely the threads for needlepoint projects).

In theory, there are two ‘totally finish-able’ goals listed above: working the afghan & setting up the dedicated wiccan/pagan altar. Possibly even the ‘list’ of goals from the 44 before 44 list & 101 goals in 1001 day list can be considered an ‘one-and-done’ goal. Brainstorming goals usually become an ‘ongoing’ goal…because I keep trying to add more and more…so I think I may also have to put a ‘time’ limit on each brainstorming session I have moving forward.

But these projects also have aspects of time/project management not to mention the creative/curious aspect as well. Life at times isn’t totally linear, but can circle back towards something we think we’ve worked through…only to realize that we’ve only learned part of the lesson that we needed to learn.

The other thing I’m going to keep reminding myself of: progress over perfection—since perfection is a myth, and everyone has a different idea of what it looks like.

What is one of your Pisces new moon goals?

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Looking back at the dumpster fire that was 2023

Okay…It’s Monday…and January…and 2024…I didn’t opened the letter last night that I wrote to myself the previous year…because I knew that nothing within that letter was able to happen last year…2023 was a shit-show…but life seems to be shit-show after shit-show..especially since the SARS-CoV2 virus showed up in 2020…

While I’ve gravitated towards the career pivot—building a freelance career that encompasses not science, health, and medical literacy/education—but crafts/hobbies and various aspects of personal/professional growth (health/wellness, finances, spirituality, and developing my own vision of not only minimalism but success)…a good portion of the world seems to have lost its damn mind…

2020 was when the SARS-CoV2 virus made it around the world…and created a pandemic that lasted for a few years. If we had competent leaders in 2020…I don’t think it would have swelled into such a problem…and was the initial spark for pivoting towards science/health/med comms.

I wanted to improve how findings/results and such were relied to the public…because public health should NEVER be politicized…when it becomes a ‘political’ issue…it means lives are lost…and it started the spiral. Everyone either lost a family member or friend, or knows of someone who lost someone to the pandemic…

Fall 2021…when we took our young boxer mix in for another allergy shot…and shortly thereafter found out she developed a rare side effect—hemolytic anemia. Jump forward to spring 2022—she’d been getting weaned from the immunosuppressant meds, her allergies kicked in…and we lost her to a relapse of the anemia…

Fall 2022…mom went into the hospital. She’d finally scared herself enough that she was finally willing to get an medical evaluation…what we thought was only going to be a few days—stretched into nine months…then two and half weeks in a skilled nursing facility getting a little more rehab; being home for less than a day before heading back into the hospital…only for her to pass in emergency surgery the following week (May 2023)…

June 2023…saw the loss of two animals (Pye and Boozer), and the adoption of Apep, our black-mouth cur mix dog. He’s somewhere between 60 and 75 pounds, way too smart for our own good, and lovable goof. He gets along with Chaos, and harasses the hell out of the cats.

September 2023…I’ve had better birthdays…we lost Waffles (our Russian Blue cat) on my birthday last year…which meant we’re currently down to one (Pancakes—my black cat), whose health is bouncing around okay and not great.

Then we come to October 2023…the month when the world lost it’s mind. Yes…whatever the hell happened on Oct 7th was horrible. BUT what has happened since has been nothing but GENOCIDE. Israel is systemically trying to wipe out (or drive out) the Palestinian people from both Gaza and the West Bank. As of today (Jan 1 2024) over 30,000 Palestinians are either dead or missing in Gaza, and over 57,000 are wounded. Hundreds have been killed in the West Bank, thousands injured, and thousands more ‘detained’ for questioning. 

While majority of the world has been demanding a ceasefire for the past two months…thanks to the US’s blind backing of Israel—the US ambassadors to the UN have vetoed any resolution within the Security Council that calls for an outright ceasefire. They abstained from voting on a extremely watered down humanitarian aid resolution last month.

We’re entering 2024 with numerous genocides being carried out around the world—and one being documented daily, but not stopped or condemned..and I wonder if it’s because the genocide isn’t happening on European soils this time??

When did ‘Never Again’ become ‘Everyday’, and ‘Never Again’ BUT only for ‘selected’ groups of individuals?

Since late October…I’ve realized that there are aspects of history that have been left out of books..whether they’re world history books (such as the Nakba of 1948), or state history books (such as the Tulsa Race Massacre or the Osage murders)…and now I have a goal of becoming a better informed global citizen. Which means I will probably be doing more current event posts within this blog–possibly a weekly recap of the news that I’m sharing daily on LinkedIn and Facebook.

One thing I had quit doing early last year—was my monthly reviews of the previous months. This was in part due to dealing with various things related to my mom being in the hospital, trying to keep my mental health on an even-keel and dealing with a thousand and one other things as well. I’m hoping to get back into do those reviews this year, as I managed to get back into do the new moon & full moon goals towards the end of the year. 

So what are some of the things I managed to get accomplish last year (even with everyone else losing their damn minds)? Well…I managed to read a good number of both fiction and non-fiction books:

Non-fiction:

  1. Madly, Deeply the diaries of Alan Rickman by Alan Rickman
  2. Creativity: A short & cheerful guide by John Cleese
  3. Innercise: The new science to unlock your brain’s hidden power by John Assaraf
  4. It’s okay that you’re not okay by Megan Devine
  5. Oracle Cards 101 by Sunny Johnson
  6. Survivors: The Animals & Plants that time left behind by Richard Foley
  7. Unfuck your brain: using science to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freakouts, and triggers by Faith Harper
  8. Monarchs of the Sea (The Extraordinary 500-million year history of cephalopods) by Danna Staaf
  9. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  10. How to GRASP Confidence and own your power by Tara LaFon Gooch
  11. Conquering your burnout-an actionable guide to overcome burnout by Veronica Llorca-Smith
  12. Beyond Beautiful: A practical guide to being happy, confidence, and you in a looks-obsessed world by Anuschka Rees
  13. Things No One will tell Fat Girls: an handbook for unapologetic living by Jes Baker
  14. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundation of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

Fiction:

  1. State of Bliss (First Family #6) by Marie Force
  2. Offside Hearts by Nikki Lawson
  3. Born to be Badger (Honey Badger Chronicles #5) by Shelly Laurenston
  4. Iced Out (Heston U #1) by Veronica Eden
  5. The Enforcer (Lakeside University Hockey #1) by Avery Keenan
  6. Jackson (Mercy Ring #1) by Nyssa Kathryn
  7. Declan (Mercy Ring #2) by Nyssa Kathryn
  8. Cole (Mercy Ring #3) by Nyssa Kathryn
  9. Ryker (Mercy Ring #4) by Nyssa Kathryn
  10. The Devil You Know by Veronica Eden
  11. Chase: and the girl who came back by Amber Davis
  12. Mine to Have (Southern Wedding #1) by Natasha Madison
  13. Mine to Hold (Southern Wedding #2) by Natasha Madison
  14. Mine to Cherish (Southern Wedding #3) by Natasha Madison
  15. Mine to Love (Southern Wedding #4) by Natasha Madison 
  16. Mine to Take (Southern Wedding #5) by Natasha Madison
  17. Mine to Promise (Southern Wedding #6) by Natasha Madison
  18. Mine to Honor (Southern Wedding #7) by Natasha Madison
  19. Someone to Love (Wild Widows #3) by Marie Force
  20. Spymaster (Dragon Knights #18) by Bianca D’Arc
  21. Too Close to Home by Abbie Zanders
  22. Where We Belong (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #8) by Claudia Burgoa
  23. The Comeback Pact (Warner University Bullldogs #1) by E.M. Moore
  24. Varsity Series Box Set by Ginger Scott
  25. The Broken Vows by Catharina Maura
  26. Rules of the Game (Rule Breakers #2) by J. Wilder
  27. Rule Number Five (Rule Breakers #1) by J. Wilder
  28. The Temporary Wife by Catharina Maura
  29. The Wrong Bride by Catharina Maura
  30. The Unwanted Marriage by Catharina Maura
  31. Rule Breaker (Wild Card #1) by Nikki Hall
  32. State of Denial (First Family #5) by Marie Force
  33. Wicked Hearts (The Hearts of Swayers Bend #5) by Ivy Layne
  34. Billionaire Unreachable—Wyatt (California Billionaires #5) by J.S. Scott
  35. Finally Found You (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #7) by Claudia Burgoa
  36. One Too Many (Truth in Lies #1) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  37. Two Secrets Kept (Truth in Lies #2) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  38. Three Outs (Truth in Lies #3) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  39. Four Seconds Gone (Truth in Lies #4) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  40. Five Goodbyes (Truth in Lies #5) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  41. Jasmine’s Homecoming (Anderson Heirs #3) by Melody Anne
  42. Forever Goals: Rixon High Epilogue by L.A. Cotton
  43. Hurricane After Dark (Gansett Island #26) by Marie Force
  44. Meant for Me (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa
  45. How Much I Need (Miami Nights #5) by Marie Force
  46. Jacob’s Challenge (Anderson Heirs #2) by Melody Anne
  47. The Way of Us (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  48. The Long & Winding Road (Butler VT #9) by Marie Force
  49. Truly You (Luna Harbor #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  50. Finding the Road to Us (Wilder Brothers #6) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  51. Best Friend Temptation (Montgomery Ink Legacy #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  52. Stay Here with Me (Wilder Brothers #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  53. Longtime Crush (Montgomery Ink Legacy #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  54. Love Under Two Rebels (Lusty, Texas #47) by Cara Covington
  55. Coming Home to Us (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  56. Happily Ever Never (Montgomery Ink Legacy Novella) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  57. At First Meet (Montgomery Ink Legacy #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  58. Sweet Noel (Anderson Heirs #1) by Melody Anne

Yes…all fifty-eight of these books are romance (of some sub-genera)…but these are my go-to genera when I’m in a off mood, feeling blue, down, or whatever…and 2023 had more of the ‘negative’ emotions than it did of the ‘happy/positive’ emotions.

Fifty-eight fiction books read…and that number is a very small percent of the number of books that I bought last year, in addition to the number I downloaded on the ‘load your kindle with free books’ days…also fourteen non-fiction book read…also a very small percentage of my non-fiction book list (which grew by probably by a hundred books or so last year). A goal for 2024—not to add any books to the non-fiction list, and to read at least 24 of them; and not to randomly buy fiction books…work my way through the ones I have (plus the pre-orders). I know that there are a handful of authors that I’ll buy books from when they announce publication dates.

I know I worked through possibly a half a dozen e-courses (between Jan-March & then again in September)…I just didn’t really write down that those courses were (I think I downloaded a certificate or two of completion)…

I worked on crafts….finished several—including drawing/doodling, coloring and framing several large drawings:

Large colored & framed doodle…under the sea…my vision

Under the sea…version #2

Mix of dragon eyes and abstract faces

A large needlepoint:

Currently the largest abstract needlepoint project that I’ve finished.

Plus numerous doodles. I’ve also started working on a new afghan–and am hoping to have that project finished by summer.

Going into 2024 I have one REALLY BIG & SCARY GOAL:

Launching the freelance businesses (science/health/med comms/education; and the craft/hobby), and possibly setting up an Etsy store (or other online store) for selling crafts. 

It’s time to start getting serious on the writing for science/health/med comms & health, and figuring out how to earn money via freelance, crafts, and who knows what other side hustle.

Other goals for 2024 include:

  1. Reading at least 24 non-fiction books and reading at least 60 fiction books (with writing at least twenty mini-book reviews)
  2. Continue working on mending my relationship with food & movement; and continue working on improving/healing my mental/emotional/spiritual health as well.
  3. Pick a ‘non-science’ topic and develop ‘niche’ knowledge on it
  4. Write/research/post to each blog at least twice a month…it will probably be more on the creative/hobby/reflective blog—but for the science/health/med one I’m starting ‘slow’.
  5. Write 52 mini-reviews/blurbs on different research papers/topics (basically review one science/health/medical paper a week).
  6. Plus other goals from my 101 goals in 1001 days challenge.

2024 is going to be an extremely scary year…between the powder-keg that West Asia has become and the fact that it is election year here in the states…while I can’t control everything–I’m going pave my path…writing more science, health, medical pieces. Writing more personal/professional growth pieces, creative/hobby pieces, more time on crafts & hobbies..and work at also becoming a better global citizen.

What is your BIG & SCARY goal for 2024?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are the goals? They include:

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

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

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

Read at least two ‘new’ banned books

Read at least two ‘new’ classic books

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

Finish creating a inspiring work/craft area

Write a letter to my future self (again)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have I been brash, blunt, or too competitive?

Have I ignored other people’s finer sensibilties?

Have I had enough fun?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The goals of the Aries full moon will then include:

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

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

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

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