Category: Updates

Reviewing my first attempt at a 12-week year

So I realized that I haven’t posted much this week and that is due in part to it being the end of the second quarter and I’m deep in the reflection zone–looking back at what I had hoped to get accomplished over the past three months and then what I had actually managed to get accomplished.

With today marking the last day of June, the second quarter, and the first half of 2021–I decided that I would reflect on my first actual attempt of a ’12-week year’. If you’ve never heard of a ’12-week year’, I highly recommend reading the book: ‘The 12 Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain P. Moran and Michael Lennington.

I actually read ‘The 12 Week Year’, last year prior to the world going into lock down due to the pandemic (click on the link and it will take you to my mini-review and reflection post from last year). Over the past year and a half, I’ve tried to plan a ’12-week year’ but have always fallen short of the goal. My problem: putting too many items on the calendar or plate, and not having a good breakdown of weekly or monthly goals.

Therefore, this year I decided to merge that idea with an suggestion from another book. The other book is ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–a creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine, and her suggestion was creating focal points to focus on for whatever set period of time you wanted.

I then created a ‘central’ focal point of crafting a ‘new career’ that would be focused on freelance/remote/contract/online/consulting/blogging work allowing me to have flexibility in creating my own schedule and would also be semi-location independent.

From there I created four other focal points that would help me start ‘crafting’ that career and they were/are:

Professional Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Networking
  3. Brand Development and Management
  4. Digital Marketing
  5. Graphic Design
  6. Writing

Personal Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Physical space (developing my own definition/style of minimalism)
  3. Financial health (savings, budgeting, investing, retirement, multiple streams of income)

Health (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Mental health (focusing on emotional and spiritual health)
  2. Physical health (getting into the best shape of my life)

Hobbies (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Photography
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Crafts
    • Knitting
    • Cross-stitching
    • Jewelry design/creation
    • Painting
    • Crochet

So while these focal points all seem a little ‘weird’ and you may be wondering how they work together–they’re the four points I’d decided on earlier when I was figuring out what I needed to focus on to work my way out of my ‘burnout’ hole/pit/slump. I realized that I couldn’t just focus on personal/professional development without also focusing on my health and hobbies. They all need to be listed as a reminder, not to hyper-focus in one direction (when I do that–everything else tends to suffer).

It is suggested within ‘Renaissance Soul’ that you only have four to five focal points, and then no more than four or five goals for each focal point. I’m still working on the ‘makers’ for the central focal point, but for the other four I drafted four to five goals for each that I had hoped to get accomplished during the second quarter.

Those goals included:

Within professional development:

  1. Finishing the CSA courses: Medical Writers Organization and Clinical Research Coalition
  2. Starting to learn python programming
  3. Continuing to read and share science news articles on LinkedIn and Twitter
  4. Continuing to add value and network on LinkedIn
  5. Starting (and hopefully finishing) another CSA advance course

Within personal development:

  1. Continue refreshing my Spanish with the Mondly app
  2. Read two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through various personal finance courses
  4. Develop my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start looking into second income stream ideas

Within health:

  1. Finish the following programs: CIZE, 21-Day Fix Live, 21-Day Fix Extreme Live and then start third round of LIIFT4
  2. Daily meditation
  3. Oracle card drawings (weekly, but hopefully daily)
  4. Cook Monday & Tuesday dinners–new recipes hopefully monthly

Within hobbies:

  1. At least one walk a week at Boomer Lake with my camera (photography)
  2. Read two fiction books a month
  3. Design at least one bracelet/necklace set
  4. Doodle a cross-stitch design

So how did I do with each area?

Professional development goals:

  1. I completed the Clinical Research Coalition program, along with the Intellectual Property Pack program. These are two of the many advanced professional development programs offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association.
  2. I’m still working through the writing and editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program. I’m hoping to have those finished sometime during the third quarter of the year.
  3. There may have been a couple of days scattered throughout the quarter that I didn’t share articles on LinkedIn or Twitter–but I try to share at least one article a week (preferably an article a day). I’ve been doing better at this, since I created a separate tracking sheet for this goal.
  4. I’ve been slow in networking lately, as I’m trying to semi-narrow my broad ‘career’ area. Therefore I may only send a connection request once a week, and may also only accept an connection request every few days. I have been also trying to be better at commenting on other people’s posts as well.
  5. I haven’t started learning python, even though I’ve bought several e-courses on the subject. I even have a ‘new’ laptop set aside for this very task–I just need to download python (and possibly one or two other apps), and set aside at least 30 minutes a day to ‘learning’ the program and language.

I would say that I managed to accomplish three and a half out of the five goals–giving me a score of roughly seventy percent.

In terms of personal development:

  1. I haven’t been keeping up with refreshing my Spanish, even though I had been doing a decent job of it at the beginning of the year.
  2. I have been reading non-fiction books, and it probably averages out to one and a half to two books a month, and the books read were:
    • ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking
    • ‘Permission to Screw Up: How I learned to lead by doing (almost) everything wrong’ by Kristen Hadeed
    • ’25 ways to work from home’ by Jen Ruiz
    • ‘Write to Speak’ by Mike Acker
    • ‘The Financial Diet’ by Chelsea Fagan
  3. I’m still slowly developing my ‘vision’ of minimalism. I know some of the area that I wan to minimize: clothing, DVDs/Cds, and knick-knacks. I also know that since I’m a learner at heart and a bookworm–I’m always going to have a large number of books around me. Since I’m also a crafter–I’m also going to have a good number of craft supplies around me as well. As long as I can balance things out-to where I won’t feel like I’m living in an overly cluttered hole, I’ll be happy. By limiting the items around em, and trying to keep things organized and ‘clean’–I’m also finding it helps alleviate my anxiety and depression as well.
  4. I haven’t worked through any of the personal finance courses that I’ve bought over the years yet.
  5. In terms of looking into the second income stream idea–I think I should have ‘rewritten’ it as looking into both first and second income ideas. I know that there are numerous ways of earning extra cash, and I had been doing a few of them: filling out surveys and selling used DVDs–I just haven’t done either of them lately (due in part to the pandemic).

I would say that I managed to hit about a fifty-five percent on personal development goals. Two were close to zero, but other three had at least some ‘footwork’ done on each of them.

For the health goals:

  1. I did finish my first round of CIZE, but only made it through a week of 21-Day fix live before deciding to concentrate more on intentional movements before starting up my third round of LIIFT4. While I’ve done 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix extreme before, this would have been the first time doing the ‘live’ versions. While I like the program–the reason why I called it ‘quits’ before finishing is that I’m trying to improve my relationship with food, and quit the whole diet/counting calories/macros/restricting food mindset. That type of nutritional advice is given a lot through both programs. So until I’m on a better footing with my relationship to food, I’m going to avoid workout programs that also focus heavily on the diet mindset.
  2. I have managed to do evening meditations for the most part. I may only be focus on my breathing for a minute or two–but those two minutes are essential for being able to have a good night sleep.
  3. I’ve been doing evening oracle card drawings, even if I haven’t been sharing them on social media or even writing about them in the journal. That is something I’m aiming at changing–both starting to share more (maybe an 100-day challenge), and journaling about them (possibly weekly blog posts?).
  4. In terms of cooking dinner twice a week–I’ve been doing this, though there may be a night or two where it was decided we’d have leftovers, or grill (which I don’t do), or whatever. But for the most part, I have found several new recipes that are now in the rotation for Monday and Tuesday night suppers. I’m also going to be looking for more ‘summer’ dinner recipes as well–different salads, and so forth.

I would say that I met seventy-five to eighty percent of my health goals for the second quarter. Each one was met at least partially(since there were a few days that I may have missed my meditation time or oracle card drawings).

In terms of my hobbies:

  1. I think I only made it maybe once or twice a month up to Boomer Lake with my camera. The weather was partially to blame–it has either been rainy and/or overcast, or the temperatures and heat index have been a little too high for my liking for walks. I also haven’t been getting up as early in the mornings as I use to in order to be able to get to the lake to watch the sun rise.
  2. I have managed to read quite a few fiction books over the past three months and they include the following:
    • My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
    • Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
    • My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
    • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
    • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
    • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #33) by Becca Van
    • My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
    • As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. While I have several ideas for necklace/bracelet sets, I haven’t actually gotten around to creating any of them.
  4. I have semi-doodle or drawn a cross-stitch pattern. I’m also thinking that my first ‘real practice’ piece is going to be seeing how many geometrical shapes I can fit on it, and if I can use every single color of thread at least once.

I would say that I managed to to meet about half my goals in terms of hobbies, the only one that I totally didn’t get close to was the jewelry design/creation. I managed to get at least a monthly walk in at Boomer, slowly attempting to teach myself cross-stitch, and reading (at least fiction) has never been a problem.

So I ranged from about fifty to seventy-five/eighty percent on my goals for the second quarter, and if I added them all u–over all I probably averaged about sixty percent.

Not great, but not bad for my first ‘official’ trial at a 12-week year. I know the areas that I need to focus more on (mainly the computer intensive goals). These will simply require setting aside actual time in the day dedicated to those specific tasks. I won’t try to do each one daily, but will aim for at least two-to-three times a week for each and slowly work up to daily work on each of them.

I knew that my first trial wasn’t going to be perfect–but that wasn’t my goal: my goal was progress, seeing if I could stretch my comfort zone a little more each month and branch out in different areas.

I managed to do that in terms of professional development, learning some of the basics of both clinical research and intellectual property. I think it would be interesting doing data analysis for clinical research (but I wouldn’t want to be the person overseeing numerous clinical sites), and I will be looking in to different aspects of intellectual property (mainly copyrights and trademarks), as I don’t see myself trying to climb the ladder on the patent side of things.

While reading has never been a problem–it is more of ensuring that I’m in the ‘proper’ mindset for reading non-fiction, as it tends not be quite the ‘story’ that fiction books are, and I at times lose interest fast.

I’m developing my own sense of health/fitness and will be deciding soon if keeping my Beachbody on demand subscription is worth it or not. I’ve decided that it is time to honor my body and what it is actually capable of doing–that means substituting in exercises for the different lunges, working on trying to do a normal pushup (and forgetting about tricep pushups), and just shaking my head and sitting out the tricep dips.

Moving into the third quarter of the year, the goals for the four focal points will be semi-similar to the goals set for the second quarter.

Third quarter goals will include:

Professional Development:

  1. Finish up the following CSA programs: Medical Writers Organization and then either Government Careers Union or Regulatory Affairs Council
  2. Finish the following short courses on Udemy:
    • 15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them
    • How to become a freelance editor
    • Kickstart a freelance editor and proofreader career on Upwork
    • How to be a journalist
  3. Start learning python coding by working through the following courses:
    • Data Science for beignners: Hand on Python (on Udemy)
    • Complete Python course (on StackSkills)
  4. Continue reading and sharing science news on LinkedIn and Twitter
  5. Continue adding value and networking on Linkedin

Bonus Professional Development activities:

  1. Write and publish: ‘Trouble-shooting tips for Molecular Cloning’
  2. Write and publish: ‘Polymerases: why the native ‘reverse transcriptase’ isn’t a problem for the SARS-CoV2 mRNA vaccine’ (Title may change)
  3. Work through the copywriting e-course: Write Your Way to Freedom

Personal Development Goals:

  1. Set aside 30-45 minutes (two to three days a week) for refreshing Spanish
  2. Read one to two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through the following e-courses:
    • The complete personal finance course (on Udemy)
    • Reinvent your career (on Udemy)
    • How to work for yourself (on Udemy)
    • Freelance writing 101: build a successful writing career (on SkillShare)
    • Content marketing: blogging for growth (on SkillShare)
    • Writing and blogging with passion: create a flexible editorial plan and calendar (on SkillShare)
  4. Continue developing my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start trying to ‘draft’ first/second and possibly third stream of income ideas (more tied to professional)

Health goals:

  1. Finish LIIFT4 (basically around the 23rd) and then start Morning Meltdown 100 (will go from 7/26/21 to 11/2/21)
  2. Daily meditation and oracle card reading/drawings
  3. Work through the following courses:
    • Mindfulness for Anxiety (on Udemy)
    • Learn Tarot in a Day (on Udemy)
    • Explicit Tarot: Learn Tarot Card Reading through Story Telling (on Udemy)
  4. Start a daily gratitude entry in the journal
  5. New recipes at least once a week/month

Hobby Goals:

  1. At least one walk a month at Boomer Lake, and maybe start trying food photography as well
  2. Work through the following courses:
    • Food Photography (on StackSkills)
    • How to create an engaging food post (on SkillShare)
    • How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners (on SkillShare)
  3. Read at least two to three fiction books a month
  4. Continue to doodle/draw/sketch cross-stitch patterns and create the geometric/multi-colored ‘trial’ piece
  5. Design/create necklace and/or bracelets–individually or as sets.

You might have noticed that I have quite a few e-courses down for the third quarter compared to second. We’re entering the ‘dog days of summer’–where it will either be too hot, too humid, or both in terms of being outdoors for extended periods of time. Therefore, I’m planning those days now–instead of wondering what to do when I reach them.

I still need to break these goals down into monthly and then weekly goals (in addition to other goals I’ll have for each week). My main goal for the third quarter is to meet at least seventy-five to eighty percent of each set of goals, with an overall percentage foal of eighty percent (meaning by the end of September I’ve accomplished at least four out of the five goals).

Have you done a 12-week year before? If you have–how long have you been doing them? And what is your running average of goal completion?

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Books, and more books, plus some e-courses: Update on the limited spending challenge

So it is that time again–for a check-in on my year long limited spending challenge.

In case you’re new to the blog, here is a brief recap–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and splurging), I would ‘limit’ the spending and items would fall into one of two categories: needed and splurges.

I did really well in January on the challenge, and then slowly started slipping since, and hopefully May will be the last ‘major’ sliding month for the year.

So yes–I splurged. On what? Well–mainly books, I think I mentioned it last year (or maybe in 2019) on a book review–I’m an impulsive book buyer. So the books I bought were:

2021: Webmaster Series by Dr. Andy Williams

A couple of books on SEO

Hope River series by Margaret McHeyzer

The Guardians series by Victoria Paige

25 ways to work from home by Jen Ruiz

Wildfire Hearts series by Savannah Kade

Bad Karma Special Ops series by Tracy Brody

Linear Tactical series by Janie Crouch

Authentic: How to be yourself and why it matters by Stephen Joseph

The Lt. Kate Gazarra series (books 1-3) by Blair Howard

Guardian Hostage Rescue Specialist series by Ellie Masters

So, I think that I have enough books to get me through the rest of the year, in addition to the books I splurged on last month, all the free ones I downloaded in March & December, plus the pre-orders I still have set throughout the year.

I also bought a couple more e-courses as well. While I stated at the beginning of the year that I was aiming at not purchasing any other e-courses, I did buy one or two earlier in the year (there is an copy writing course I’m going to be starting soon). Also once I created my ‘personal/professional development board game’, I decided that I wanted to get a couple of art history courses if possible (as it is a subject that I’ve always been fascinated with and any books I have on the various subjects are currently in a storage unit). In addition to those courses, I found several others that could be beneficial moving forward as well.

So the e-courses I recently purchased included (and they’re all from Udemy):

How to Awaken & Connect to Your Spiritual Higher Self

Learn Bioinformatics from Scratch (Theory & Practical)

How to become a freelance editor

Kick start a freelance editor & proofreader career on upwork

Art history: prehistory to the renaissance

From Caves to Cities: Prehistoric art history

Gods & Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia

Ancient Art of South Arabia: The Himyarite Kingdom

Olmec Art

Islamic Architecture

Computer Vision Masterclass

Luckily I purchased all these courses during various ‘sale’ periods (so they were only $9.99-11.99 a courses in stead of $99+). The goal is to now try to bounce between some ‘professional development’ courses and some ‘personal development’ courses throughout the summer.

I realized that I spent way more money that I meant to during May, and therefore am aiming at a totally limited spending month (only pre-orders and my automatically monthly order from Amazon). I’ve figured if I make use of the time management app Self Control, I can stay off Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon during the day, and that is usually when I ‘splurge’–mindless scrolling though social media.

This is the ‘experiment’ for June anyway–stay off social media for majority of the day, and then have a ‘plan’ in place for teh rest of the time and start reading the books I’ve bought and working through the e-courses I’ve bought.

I realized when I started this challenge, I wasn’t going to be perfect, and I have ‘slid’ a lot in terms of book buying–but recognizing the signs is the first step, activating the self control app is the second step, and then the third step is going to be ‘creating’ check-sheets for being on Facebook (responding to comments, commenting on posts, posting in certain groups), to help limit the ‘social media’ time that way.

Here is to June being a much better (and money controlled) month in terms of the limited spending challenge.

If you’re an impulsive book buyer–who are a few of your favorite authors? If you buy e-courses, what sites do you use for continous learning?

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development ChallengesReflectionsUpdates

May Goals: Time Management Improved, onto increasing daily productivity

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

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

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

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

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

The goals for May included:

At least 135-155,000 steps

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

Finish reading the three books I started in April

Read 3 fiction books

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

No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

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

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

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day of Spanish

Activate the time management app: Self Control

So how did I do with each of them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

First attempt for tracking professional development ‘social media’ interactions

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Comments bird watchingBookscareerfinancesHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsUpdates

Stretching the comfort zone by introducing the bounce zone

So I decided earlier this month to ‘update’ my comfort zone diagram, as it had been almost three months since I drew the first one. Then it took several days to decide what to ‘write and share’ about it, as there is a ‘character limit’ for a LinkedIn post versus a LinkedIn article (and I’m not quite up to ‘writing’ personal/professional development LinkedIn articles yet).

Luckily, that (character limit) isn’t really a problem with blog posts. So, this post is an expansion of the LinkedIn post that I did earlier in the week.

First comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram

Looking at the first diagram and reflecting/pondering on what could be moved around in the various zones, I realized that I actually needed to add a zone–the bounce zone.

This is the zone/area of things that I’m doing on a somewhat consistent basis, but they haven’t become ‘comfortable habits’ yet.

Introducing the bounce zone……

When I looked at the newest version of the diagram I realized several things:

  1. The professional development area hasn’t been ‘stretched’ as much as the personal development area
  2. I’ve unintentionally allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to run the show for the last month or so by falling into overthinking and the analysis/paralysis loop
  3. I’ve been uncomfortable with the fact that I’m still unsure of the direction(s) I want to go in terms of my job transition
  4. I’m also still slightly uncomfortable sharing the fact that I have a blog up and running

These realizations had me looking back at this quote that I had highlighted in ‘How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emilie Wapnick:

“When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you’ve gotten what you came for; you completed your mission. […] That’s why you lose interest: not because you’re flawed or lazy or unable to focus but because you’re finished.”

Re-reading that quote had me realizing the following:

  1. While I can’t control how others perceive (or like) my blog or writing style(s), I can control how I react.
  2. I won’t know if a particular direction will work in terms of a job transition, unless I investigate them more (which means getting out of the comfort zone)
  3. I am making progress forward, even if it looks like baby-steps or crawling to the outside world–progress is being made.

Therefore with summer around the corner–it is time that I start getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable (I can even start small, since baby steps are better than large leaps). I fully acknowledge that not everyone will like what I’ve written (or how I write) or even how I have the blog/website set up, but I need to continue in my ‘lane’ to find my ‘tribe’.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been overthinking–thinking about the various learning curves (for new subjects), the vast amount of information (for any subject), and wondering how to break everything down into easier to handle goals.

Therefore I’m slowly creating a multi-prong/step approach to continuing to stretch the comfort zone, while dealing with my inner critic/imposter syndrome.

The multi-prong step/approach is going to include the following:

  1. I’m creating a ‘bingo-like’ card that has different items listed. I’m saying ‘bingo-like’ in the fact that I’ve expanded it from a 5×5 grid to a 7×8 grid with no free space. The columns will be numbered 1-8, and the rows will be 1-7
  2. Each square will either contain a book to read, or a topic to investigate (or review). There will be two fitness squares–one will be automatically selected as a ‘continual square’ for the time frame needed to complete the listed programs.
  3. I will be making use of multi-sided dice (more than 1-6) for picking ‘squares’ to focus on
  4. I’m slowly creating the ‘rules’ for the game
  5. Once a square has been completed, I’ll stamp it with the check-mark stamp I bought earlier this year.

A longer (more fleshed out) post will be up by the end of the week on the ‘game’ after I get everything figured out and ‘finalized’

As I mentioned yesterday with my update on my 100+ goals, the name of the blog/website will probably be changing come fall/winter when I have a better idea of the direction(s) that I’m headed in both in terms of personal/professional development and online services that I can provide to the greater public.

Have you done the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram before? How long did it take you to draw your first one? How often do you look back at it and revise it?

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualitytravelUpdates

Check-in on the 100+ goal challenge. 300 Days in, progress is slow but steady

So, it is time for my 3rd check-in on my latest attempt on my take of the 101 goals challenge. If you haven’t heard of this challenge, it goes something like this–you make a list of 101 things that you would like to get accomplished in 1001-days. You then should periodically check-in with your list to see how you’re doing with the various goals on the list. I’ve tried to do the 101 goals in 1001-days several times, but usually ended up quitting after a few months (mainly due to forgetting to check-in with my list on a fairly consistent basis).

I decided to modify the challenge to where I have a longer list of things I’d like to get accomplished, and I basically doubled the time frame (so instead of 1001-days or 2.7 years, I’m trying 2002-days or roughly 5.5 years). I decided to double the time frame mainly because of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic is still going on, and therefore quite a few of my goals are actually on ‘hold’ until I feel like it is safe to travel again.

While I got my vaccine in early April (the Johnson’s & Johnson’s 1 & done shot), I decided that I’m still going to shelter in place through the summer and into the fall–I’m curious to see what type of ‘spikes’ the US will be seeing this summer/fall due to summer vacation and travel starting to pick up again. In addition I’m still working on figuring out what my ‘new’ normal is going to be looking like.

So, now it is time to look at the goals and see how I’m progressing in the different areas.

Professional development and career:  On-going

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)—going to go with python to begin with.

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

                        4. Clinical Research Coalition—only have a little over one module left for this program (I think it’s like 13 videos and two tests).

                        5. Medical Writers Organization—need to finish the writing/editing assignments

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. Intellectual Property Pack

                        10. Regulatory Affairs Council

                        11. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

                                    Decided that to make things a little easier—I will have a list of courses that I would like to finish in 2021, and if I manage to finish all of those, then I will go back to the major lists in the journal.

            12. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #13; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).

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

                                    Managing to do this at least two to five days a week.

                        14. Commenting on posts

                                    Trying to get better at this.

                        15. Giving/Asking for recommendations—need to start doing

                        16. Start writing my own posts

                                    I’m slowly dipping my toe into the world of LinkedIn publishing, but usually by posting a picture or a motivational quote to begin will. My two best posts have been the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram posts. The first one had 1,934 views, 36 reactions, and 12 comments over a two month period, while the second post has had 7,602 views, 46 reactions, and 27 comments over the past 4 days. I will be posting the updated comfort diagram possibly tomorrow here on the blog as well.

            17. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            18. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.

Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these

            19. Become fluent in Spanish—Started to use the app Mondly for refreshing my Spanish, though I haven’t been that active with the app for the past month or so. Need to try to spend at least 30-45 minutes 5 days a week on this.

            20. Become fluent in German

            21. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

22. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

This is actually going to be reformatted and the number slightly lowered. I’ve decided to go with say reading ~30-40 non-fiction books a year. With counting previous years in to the running total I’ve read: 2018-2020 (73, though I considered 12 of them to be “reference” on a topic). I’ve also finished 7 books so far in 2021).

This means that to reach the 300 total I need to read another 220 books over 1702 days.

While I decided to try to not add any new books to the list–I probably have added in another five to ten books over the past two months or so.

            23. Finish the books on scientific writing

            24. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            25. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            26. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            27. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            28. More photographyWith the weather warming up, I’m hoping to do at least a weekly walk up at Boomer Lake (weather permitting); and updating/adding pages

                        29. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)—have started this challenge again, though it isn’t going at a consecutive 365 days.

                        30. Update photography pages on blog

                                    I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab on the website, and have been aiming to add at least one new species page a week (with pictures). The other pages added would be information on the bird order and bird family (with pictures as well).

            31. Make my own jewelry

            32. Learn to cross-stitch—Started doing this the other day. I’ve realized it will take practice and time to be able to do this decently, but it is something new to concentrate on

            33. Get a new sewing machine—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin

                        34. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        35. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            36. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans. I’m slowly patching the other two afghans that Chaos chewed holes in. One is basically patched (though I need to sew the patch on a little better), and then I need to knit the patches for the second one.

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

            38. Start writing a book

            39. Learn Photoshop

            40. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought); this has been an on and off endeavor. There are some days/weeks I’m good at writing daily, and then I may go a week or longer without writing in it.

            41. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            42. Learn basic sign language

            43. Start a virtual book club

Finances—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.

            44. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.

            45. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—some are high, but that is due to buying a couple of personal/professional development courses that were rather expensive.

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

            47. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with #44, #46, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.

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

            49. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            50. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health—On going

            51. Get into the best shape of my life

            52. Multivitamin and supplements daily; I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often.

            53. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts

                                    54. Morning Meltdown 100)—Finished my 1st round 9/15/2020

                                    55. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt ~3/4 of program completed by 11/14/2020

                                    56. 10 Rounds—1st round finished on 12/26/2020

                                    57. Barre Blend—Starting on 2/8/2021; only managed to do half the program before moving on to another one mainly due to the lunges and just not really feeling the program. Hoping to fit the last four weeks in this year between other programs.

                                    58. Insanity Max 30

                                    59. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round finished 11/14/2020

                                    60. 22-Minute Hard Corps

                                    61. T20

                                    62. Insanity

                                    63. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    64. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    65. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    66. 6 weeks of the work

                                    67. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    68. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    69. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)—Started to do the ‘LIVE’ version, though may go ahead and start the third round of LIIFT4 next week instead of finishing this program.

                                    70. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    71. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    72. CIZE—Did this program during March and finished it the first week of April. Enjoyed it even if I have two left feet and couldn’t keep up with the cast

                                    73. Muscle Burns Fat—First round finished 1/17/2021

                                    74. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced—First round done on 2/7/2021

                                    75. Let’s Get Up! —Shawn T’s new one; hopefully out fall 2021

                                    76. 9 week control freak off the wall (technically with just dumbbells)

                                    77. Shawn Week

                                    78. 80-Day Obsession

                                    79. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale

                                    80. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

                                    81. P90

                                    82. Core de Force

            83. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (practicing and managing 5-8 on my knees)

            84. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            85.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            86.  Hold a 90 second plank

            87.  Meditate nightly—though sometimes it is only for a minute or two. Trying to increase the timing.

            88.  60-80 oz of water a day; this has been more likely 40-60 oz of water daily and sometimes up to 80 oz

            89.  Stretch daily; I do try to stretch nightly, and in the mornings before getting out of bed.

            90. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).

Blog and Social Media–Ongoing

            91.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            92.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            93.  Finish blog to biz course

            94.  Launch a YouTube channel

            95. Launch an online course

            96. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            97. Rebrand myself (?)

            98. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            99. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            100. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            101. Publish at least two blog series

            102.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        103. Blog

                        104. Instagram

                        105. Facebook pages

                        106. Twitter

                        107. Pintrest

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

            109. Various top 10 author lists

            110. Various top 10 book series lists

            111. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            112. Full/New Moon Goals

            113. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)—This has been accomplished somewhat, as the current altar is on a bookshelf, so it looks fairly crowded.

            114. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings—Have been managing to do this (more or less), though I haven’t shared any of the readings on social media yet.

            115. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; probably on hold now until spring—fall/winter mornings are usually somewhere between the 30s and 50s (if it’s closer to the higher end—maybe).

Others–ongoing

            116. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            117. Design a science based board game

            118. Create and update digital vision board

            119. Reorganize my storage unit

            120. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            121. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            122. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            123. Develop at least 30 different 30-day challenges. I’ve lowered the number of days for this challenge, but some of the challenges will include:

                        One challenge will be 30 days of iPhone Photography.

            124. Start downsizing rest of my things./ as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) wherever I move for the next job.

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            125. Re-pierce my ears

126. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        127. Present at a scientific conference

            128. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

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

            130. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            133. Visit at least one new zoo

            134. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            136. Visit at least one new city

            137. Visit at least one new state

            138. See the northern lights

            139. Attend at least one blogging conference

            140. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            141. Swim with whale sharks

            142. Parasailing

Once I move:

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

            144. New couch & chair for living room

            145. New dresser for bedroom

            146. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            147. New TV & stand

            148. New desk/craft workstation

So I added in another couple of advanced Cheeky courses under the professional development area (and that isn’t even all the advanced Cheeky courses–I have another nine on my list in my notebook), not to mention all the other professional development courses that I’ve bought over the past few years.

Currently my main goals for professional development is to create (or at least start planning) a career that allows for me to make use of my strengths, is potentially remote/online/freelancing, but also would allow me to work ‘in-house’ as well from time to time. I also realize that I haven’t been making as much progress with the various courses (both personal and professional) that I would like, an dwill be working on ways to correct this issue moving forward.

As I write this post, I realize that I really do need to start developing some type of calendar for posts, as I’ve stated that I’m going to write posts (views on different job paths and book reviews), but that is as far as I’ve gotten with certain items–so yet again, problem acknowledged and will be working on correcting this issue as well moving forward.

At the beginning of the year I set up a bingo card of different workout programs that I would like to complete over the next two years, and had set a goal of trying to complete nine of them this year (2021). I’ve realized that I may or may not reach that particular goal–reason, I would rather repeat programs that I enjoyed doing instead of trying to force my way through other programs. I will probably give each program a week or so of time, but if I haven’t gotten into by then I’ll move on to another one. Programs that will probably be repeated: LIIFT4, Morning Meltdown 100, 10 Rounds, and possibly Let’s Get Up (haven’t done this one yet, but like the trainer). Programs that may not be totally completed: Insanity, Insanity Asylum 1 & 2, and possibly Insanity: Max 30; the reason is that these are mainly cardio and at times I get bored with a cardio only (or cardio-heavy) program.

In terms of the direction for my career transition, I’m still leaning in the direction of freelance/remote/online work, with the possibility of some onsite positions as well. Trying to do both (working for myself and a company) would allow me to have interactions with others on a somewhat consistent basis, but also allow me to have a steady second stream of income as well (just in case another pesky pandemic comes along and shuts things down again). I’m also leaning to the more multi-directional approach (such as writing, data analysis, project and/or product management just to name a few ideas), as it appeals to both my mixed-styled multipontialite personality, and my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, and ideation).

This means at some point this year (probably closer to fall/winter), I will be changing the name of the blog/site to encompass both aspects of life (personal hobbies and development and the professional development and services offered). I have a couple of ideas bouncing around for a new name and I may post a poll on either Facebook or LinkedIn (or possibly both) to gauge others opinions on the new names.

I’m slowly developing a hybrid editorial/to-be accomplished calendar/list, but still am swinging between being overly ambitious in what I would like to get accomplished for the month, and then falling into analysis/paralysis and not getting anything accomplished for a week or so.

I started using the time management app Self Control to limit the amount of time that I’m spending on social media and other pages, and it has helped (when I remember to turn the app on). As I look ahead to trying to balance various aspects of things I will possibly try to organize my ‘professional/work’ hours to where I’m doing research on topics say Monday & Tuesday, writing the rough drafts and finding images on Wednesday, editing on Thursday, and then publishing on Fridays. This will possibly be the type of schedule I take once I’m really trying to showcase various professional services (such as writing, data analysis or project management projects). I will still be publishing more frequently on the personal/professional development aspects and hobbies (photography, book reviews, course reviews, goals and so forth).

I can say that I am making forward progress, no matter how slow it looks. I’ve found that slow (and the sometimes back-and-forth bounce from comfortable to slightly uncomfortable) is the best, as it usually allows me to notice when my inner critic/imposter syndrome tries to derail me from reaching various goals.

Over the next 100 days, I plan on focusing more on various personal/professional development courses, writing book reviews, course reviews, reading, crafting, and continuing on my health and fitness journey.

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Did the brain-dump, meditation, & slowly figuring other things out

So we’re going to be heading into the third full moon of the year tomorrow. The moon will be entering the Libra constellation, and it will also be the first super moon of the year.

But before I can look ahead to the Libra full moon, I need to look back at the goals that I set for the Virgo full moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my goals for the Virgo full moon? They included:

Meditating nightly, and hopefully catching and re-framing negative thoughts into more positive thoughts.

Trying to do a monthly ‘brain-dump’–getting all ideas out of my head on what I would like to get accomplished during hte month (for example-March), and then selecting ideas from the list to put on my weekly to-be accomplished list. Have it such that it is a mix of various things instead of focusing solely on one area.

Continue working on the transition plan–try to figure out which industry positions are of interest and start trying to network again.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of nightly meditations–I’ve been doing really well with these. I’ve found that right now the best combination is that I have my ‘noise maker’ going, the lights off, and candles lit. I can usually quiet my mind for a few minutes.

Re-framing the thoughts is always going to be an ongoing battle. I’ve realized that most of the time, the negative thoughts have become ‘background’ noise in my head and I usually have ‘tuned-it out’ aka I don’t realize what I’m thinking. I’m now trying to tie emotions to thoughts and when I start feeling anxious I then try to tune in to the thoughts.

I managed to do a ‘monthly brain dump’ for March at the end of February. It has been helpful in terms of ideas for blog posts (or at least reminding myself of recurring posts), blog/website pages or both. While there is one section of the brain dump that hasn’t had items marked out–I did make a massive list of ideas, with the understanding that I probably wasn’t going to be able to cover everything on the list. Some ideas/topics may make it onto the ‘monthly brain dump’ for April.

So in terms of the transition plan–this is still currently a work in progress, and since I’m not sure if I’m going to stick with trying to be remote/freelance/online or possible a mix of online and in-person I haven’t started networking more yet. Though I’m leaning more and more towards the idea of something that can be semi-location independent and it has flexible hours so that I can also focus on me.

I’ve decided that those are going to be two of the most important aspects of moving forward—the location and the ability to semi-control my schedule. Since I’ve acknowledge that I have a terrible habit of prioritizing one aspect of life over others, I’m slowly starting to bring that back into a balance—and I don’t want to lose that balance.

Therefore I don’t want a job that is going to require me commuting more than say 45-60 minutes per direction (that’s saying I’m willing to lose 1.5-2 hours a day or 7.5-10 hours a week commuting), and one that I can safely leave work at work (even when I decide to go solo—I’m going to ‘create’ an home office where work will stop at 5:30 every day).

As I had mentioned in a Linkedin post last week: I’m focusing on figuring out the direction (or possibly directions) to go in that will allow me to continuously learn, be challenged, have fun, but also have flexible hours and be semi-location independent.

While that may not sound like I made progress on the transition plan—I actually have—in starting to define what type of professional lifestyle I want and now I need to start figuring out (besides scientific writer, data analyst, and possibly project manager) what industry positions would be a good for my desired professional lifestyle.

Progress is being made and I’m slowly starting to stretch the comfort zone. Using my strengths and values as guiding points I may actually semi-figure out what I’m doing with the second half of my life.

No Comments careerFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Insights & thoughts wanted for improving the ‘All things Science’ pages

So I was going to try to share the science page ‘Brief Introduction to the Central Dogma of Biology’ directly, but realized that tehre are no ‘share buttons’ for the different pages, only for blog posts.

But what I can do is link the page to the blog post (check).

So as I’ve mentioned briefly in quite a few earlier blog posts, that expanding the ‘All Things Science’ section of the site was going to be more sporadic than expanding the other sections. The reason behind that is while it may not take any longer doing the research (though this can vary depending on the topic), it will take me a little longer to write/edit to ensure that I’m not just throwing out scientific jargon at people that only a handful would understand. That isn’t an insult, but acknowledging that science has a language of its own, that very few people speak.

So the first page that I added to the section was the ‘Brief Introduction to the Central Dogma of Biology‘.

This page is very short, considering about half of it is basically a reminder that the posts within the section will be sporadic. The actual topic starts below the cartoon image in the middle of page.

I’m also going to admit a few things: 1) I was dealing with a moderate bout of depression (as I wrote and posted the page about three-to-four months after losing two dogs), 2) I was also dealing with a moderate to semi-severe case of anxiety (as I was wondering what I was going to be doing with my life), and finally 3) it probably should be considered a rough draft due to the length.

So as the page has only gotten a few views over the years, if people would take just a few minutes to read it and then give an honest opinion, I would appreciate it.

I do have a few questions then: 1) is the introduction too brief? If so, where should I expand? 2) For future pages, roughly how long should the post be, before one loses interest? 1000 words? 1500 words? And finally, for the blog post (linking back to the page), would a 500-word post be long enough?

Thanks for the help, and just a quick note on comments: all comments are initially flagged as ‘spam’ until I ‘un-flag’ them so don’t be upset if the comments don’t show up right away.

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Muscle Burns Fat Advance finished: Second workout program of 2021 in the books

So yesterday marked the end of Muscle Burns Fat Advanced and I’ve completed my second program for 2021.

As I mentioned in the review page for the program, this was a continuation of the first three week program (Muscle Burns Fat) that I completed basically mid-January.

While I’m not a fan of certain parts of the program (looking at you BOD ropes and Saturday workouts), I did enjoy these programs overall.

Decline alternating press with hip lift. Managed these–barely. MBFA (c) beachbody

I did get stronger–several exercises I managed to lift 20 pounds, when looking back at weight trackers for other programs, I maxed out at 14 pounds.

I managed to beat my AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) score each week with this program. In part because I was getting stronger and faster, and in part because there were fewer lunges (a move I still need to go slow on to have proper form).

I also managed to hold other positions, that again months ago I struggled with. So while I may not have made it through every burnout minute (otherwise known as the Megan Minute) after each round–I lasted at least thirty to forty-five seconds.

When doing muscle burns fat I was hesitant on whether or not I’d be doing another round of the two programs. I can now state that I will be doing a second round of the programs, but probably sometime in 2022 or 2023, as I already have the rest of this year’s workout calendar scheduled.

No Comments 101 GoalsfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthReflectionsUpdates

200 days into the ~150 goals in 2002 day challenge

So as I mentioned last fall I decided that I was going to ‘restart’ and expand the time frame of my 100+ goal challenge. The new challenge started on July 19, 2020 and I planned for it to run through January 10, 2026 (basically 2002 days–double the normal 1001 day time).

So I’ve been updating this list on-and-off since the first update back in October. One of the things I decided to remove were all of the TV shows that I thought I’d be binge-watching. The reason–currently I don’t feel like sitting down and watching multiple seasons of any TV show. While I may decide to watch an episode or two (or maybe a season)–I just don’t see myself sitting down and binge watching like a total of 20+ seasons of shows over even a five year period.

Then, there is still the pandemic going on–which means that my travel plans (and any plans that requires me to be around other people) are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. While two vaccines have been approved for emergency use (with three more in the middle of phase 3 clinical trials), I probably won’t be eligible for the vaccine until late summer or early fall. Therefore I’m still going to be sheltering in place (and wearing a mask when I do go out and about) probably until August or September of this year. This gives me plenty of time to still try to figure out what my ‘new normal’ is going to be looking like.

So my first check-in on this challenge was in October, and the blog title was ‘check-in on the 150+ goal challenge‘. This was where I first started editing out some of the goals that I didn’t feel were fitting my current projections of what I was wanting to do with my life.

So if you want, you can click on the above link, go read that post and see where the changes have occurred.

Note–some goals aren’t numbered as they’re considered a ‘sub-goal’ of the goal above. But in total (numbered and unnumbered) I do have almost 150 goals on the list.

So how have all the goals been progressing?

  1. Transition into an industry position. Currently thinking of either remote/contract or possibly freelance to start (mainly due to the pandemic). But also thinking of possibly doing freelance and then also finding a ‘in-house’ position doing something slightly different.
  2. Learn a programming language (python or R–ties in with #6). I have downloaded a python program, and will be starting to work through some of the e-courses that I bought that deals with python.
  3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:
  4. Clinical Research Coalition (Advanced Cheeky Scientist Program)–started watching the videos in this program recently.
  5. Medical Writers Organization (another advanced Cheeky Scientist Program)–need to finish the writing and editing assignments
  6. Data Science Syndicate (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program)–finished this on September 3rd 2020.
  7. Program Management Consortium (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program)
  8. Management Consulting Firm (yet another advanced Cheeky Scientist program)
  9. All other courses–see additional lists in the journal. Decided to make things a little easier–I have a list of courses that I would like to finish in 2021, and if I manage to finish all of those, then I will go back to the master lists in the journal.
  10. More interacting on LinkedIn. This section is hard to score. I’m doing the best with the first one, and trying to improve on the second and fourth ones.
    • Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages. I usually manage to share at least two to four articles a week from the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News site.
    • Commenting on posts. Trying to get better at this
    • Giving/Asking for recommendations–need to start doing this
    • Start writing my own posts. I’m slowly trying this, but have started by trying to share photographs and/or inspirational quotes to begin with. I also need to work on the frequency of posts as well.
  11. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals. This is something that I’m still working on. I’ve realized that while calendars are good, I also like the flexibility of deciding what or when to post. Mental block that needs to be worked on.
  12. Renewing professional memberships. I need to decide on which association I will be renewing first, as I had mentioned in a previous post I currently don’t have enough money to renew all of them at once.
  13. Become fluent in Spanish
  14. Become fluent in German
  15. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish
  16. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books. This is also including books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list (actually probably closer to 400), and I would like to get through at least half of them before adding any new ones to the list. In addition I’m reformatting the goal slightly and aiming for at least 30-40 non-fiction books a year (so the total number may only be 90-120 instead of 300). Counting in the books read during the previous attempts (2018-2020) I’ve already read 73 books (though I considered 12 of them to be ‘reference’ books on a topic). I’ve also finished 3 books this year. That means in theory to reach 300 books, I need to read another 224 books over the next 1802 days.
  17. Finish the books on scientific writing (tied in with #16)
  18. Start building a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/other ideas)–may mean either another website, renaming this one and reformatting what I have posted.
  19. Develop a daily writing habit–I usually manage to write in my journal a little every day. Sometimes it is just to make note of the workout I did, or card spread for the evening.
  20. Write a letter to my future self
  21. Paint and frame at least one original painting
  22. More photography–haven’t done as much as I would like so far for 2021, mainly due to the temperatures and not getting outside as often. But I have been updating/adding pages to the bird section
  23. 365-Day Photography Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures). I have a couple of ideas for this, just need to fine-tune one or two of them and hopefully will be starting this challenge again within the next few months.
  24. Updating photography pages on blog. I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab on the website, with the goal of hopefully one new species page a week (with pictures), in addition to pages for the bird order & family. I will also start adding in other pages under the photography and travel tabs throughout the spring as well.
  25. Make my own jewelry
  26. Learn to cross-stitch–I started doing this the other day. It will be something that takes practice at to be good at. I do enjoy doing it and will try to practice at least every other day.
  27. Get a new sewing machine–on hold. Possibly once I move and am willing to take the risk that I’m getting a machine with a defective bobbin winder.
  28. Make a new quilt for my bed–on hold (see #27 for reason)
  29. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (mainly for backdrop for zoom calls)–again on hold (see #27 for reason)
  30. Start a new afghan (after mending other two and writing a blog post on it)
  31. Showcase crafts on blog–need to have some crafts actually either started or completed
  32. Start writing a book–I have an idea or two for this
  33. Learn Photoshop
  34. Write in journal daily (answering questions/prompts from various books & free thought). Have been doing this–though sometimes it is just noting that I did my morning workout.
  35. Create my own coffee-table photography book
  36. Learn basic sign language
  37. Start a virtual book club–question though is, would it be non-fiction or fiction?
  38. Create monthly budges–currently this is just paying off the bills
  39. Credit card debt down & hopefully paid off monthly–some are still a little high (due in part to impulsive book buying and investing in myself (a couple of courses were rather expensive)
  40. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)–need to place a couple of declutter orders over the next few weeks
  41. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)–this is tied with a few of the other finance goals. In truth the goal should be trying to get my savings to where it was before I started my reboot break
  42. Talk with financial personal about short-term investment possibilities
  43. Continue doing small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash
  44. Finish the various financial e-courses, and then decide when/how to start investing
  45. Get into the best shape of my life
  46. Multivitamin & supplements daily–I think I’ve only missed a few days here and there
  47. Make it through the following Beachbody programs (at least once):
    • Morning Meltdown 100–First round was finished on 9/15/2020
    • Yoga Booty Ballet (Abs & Butt Series)–~3/4 of program completed by 11/14/2020
    • 10 Rounds–1st Round completed on 12/26/2020
    • Barre Blend–Will be starting this on Monday 2/8/2021
    • Insanity Max:30
    • LIIFT4–2nd round finished on 11/14/2020
    • 22-Minute Hard Corps
    • T20
    • Insanity
    • Insanity: Asylum 1
    • Insanity: Asylum 2
    • 4 weeks of Prep
    • 6 weeks of the Work
    • T25 (have already done this program once)
    • Brazil Butt Lift
    • 21-Day Fix (already done once; 2nd time will be the ‘live’ version)
    • 21-Day Fix Extreme (already done once; 2nd time will be the live version)
    • Country Heat (already done once)
    • CIZE
    • Muscle Burns Fat–First round completed 1/17/2021
    • Muscle Burns Fat Advanced–First round will be completed 2/7/2021
    • Let’s Get Up–Shawn T’s new one
    • 9-week control freak (dumb bell option)
    • Shawn Week
    • 80 Day Obsession
    • Brazil Butt Lift: Carnival
    • Shift Shop: Proving Grounds
    • P90
    • Core de Force
  48. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (I’ve been practicing & managing between 4-10 on my knees)
  49. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes
  50. Hold a 2 minute forearm plank
  51. Hold a 90 second plank
  52. Meditate nightly–have been doing, though sometimes its only been for a minute or two
  53. 60-80 oz of water daily–getting close though some days its probably between 40-50
  54. Stretch daily
  55. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)–on my way to meeting this, as I usually manage to meet monthly goals
  56. Finish YouTube for bosses course
  57. Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course
  58. Finish blog to biz course
  59. Launch a YouTube channel
  60. Launch a online course
  61. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day
  62. Rebrand myself & website (?)
  63. Get instagram followers to constant 800+
  64. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+
  65. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+
  66. Publish at least two blog series
  67. Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)
    • Blog
    • Instagram
    • Facebook page
    • Twitter
    • Pintrest
  68. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows on Facebook
  69. Various top 10 author lists
  70. Various top 10 book series lists
  71. Launch a podcast
  72. Launch a etsy store
  73. Full & New Moon Goals
  74. Create my wiccan/pagan altar
  75. Daily oracle card readings
  76. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only)–weather permitting; basically start in spring
  77. Keep at least 3 plants alive
  78. Design a science based board game
  79. Create and update a digital vision board
  80. Reorganize my storage unit
  81. Put in at least 1 flower garden around the house
  82. Help put up a partial privacy fence in backyard
  83. Start downsizing number of clothes I own & creating both different ‘minimum’ wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out) & dressing for my now body
  84. Start downsizing the rest of my things as well–would like to be able to live comfortably in a smallish size house (or apartment)
  85. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges–will include 100 days of iPhone photography and 100 days of doodling
  86. Re-pierce my ears
  87. Go to at least 1 scientific conference & present at a scientific conference
  88. Go to at least 2 professional networking events
  89. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job
  90. Visit at least 3 new (to me) countries
  91. Visit at least one new (to me) national and/or state park
  92. Visit at least one new (to me) national and/or state monument
  93. Visit at least one new (to me) zoo
  94. Visit at least one new (to me) aquarium
  95. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports
  96. Visit at least one new (to me) city
  97. Visit at least one new (to me) state
  98. See the northern lights
  99. Attend at least one blogging conference
  100. Attend at least one author-reader conference
  101. Swim with whale sharks
  102. Parasailing
  103. Buy fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs
  104. New couch and chair(s) for living room
  105. New dresser for bedroom
  106. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or new bed set
  107. New TV & stand
  108. New desk/craft workstation
  109. New dining table

So while I removed one program from my professional development goals–I added another in it’s place. I also made a list of courses to work through for the year, instead of trying to debate between courses and never getting any done. I’ve already watched three of the small courses from Skillshare during January.

I’ve also realized that I’m behind on writing quite a few posts (such as my thoughts on the Data Science program offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association, and several book reviews). I’m also hopefully going to be done with the Medical Writing Organization program this month (once I block out enough time to work through the various writing and editing assignments).

I’m doing well with the fitness/health goals. I made a bingo card for the next two years (2021-2023) with different programs (1st, 2nd, or 3rd rounds) on it. I made it a goal to make it through 9 programs this year (which includes doing the 2nd or 3rd round of a couple of programs), and then hopefully 7 programs next year.

As I mentioned previously–I’m leaning heavily in the direction of going freelance/online/remote for work. Now I’m thinking on what type of combination of things I want to be doing (such as writing, data analysis, project management, or data entry), and then also stick with something in the personal development/hobby realm as well. The dual, multiple focused combination actually appeals to my mixed-styled multipontialite personality.

This then raises the next question of either changing the name of the blog/site, and possibly archiving older posts, or keeping this as my personal blog and then starting another site from scratch. I need to inquire with various people on their opinion (change name/archive/delete or keep and start a second one from scratch).

I’m also still working on developing an editorial calendar/to-be accomplished list that works for me. Besides swinging between two extremes: trying to cram way too much stuff into a day or not getting anything done, I am also still working my way out burnout (more on this in a later post).

So I am making decent progress with some goals, and need to start working on others. The main thing I need to remember: “Progress over Perfection” and to start embracing the learner and intellection parts of my personality again.

Next check-in will be coming in mid-May.

Have you tried a 101 goal in 1001 days? How did it go?

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravelUpdatesvision boards

Starting the year strong: January 2021 goals reviewed

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

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

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

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

The goals for January included:

At least 135-155,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat and starting Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

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

Read at least 3 fiction books

Finish the MWO and start another advanced Cheeky Scientist Program

No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily Craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

So how did I do with each of them?

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

Finishing up Muscle burns fat and starting muscle burns fat advance

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

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

I managed to finish reading the following:

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

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

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

Read at least 3 fiction books

This month has seen me read the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finishing the MWO and starting another advanced Cheeky Scientist program

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

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

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

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

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

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

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

Daily craft time

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

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

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

Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content

3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog

Finding your inner creative

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

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

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

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

At least 120-140,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and starting Barre Blend

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

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

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

No Spend days/No spend week/Limited Spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

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

Finishing at least two other e-courses from list

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

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

No Comments BooksfitnessHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates