Tag: fitness

Time for personal/professional assessment & developing/modifying the daily schedule

So, we’re going to be heading into another ‘new moon’ phase this week. If you’re in North America, it will be on today (Monday, September 6th), elsewhere in the world—either today or tomorrow.

The new moon is two weeks prior to my birthday this year and the full moon will be on my birthday this year.

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

  1. Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.
  2. Be of service–help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.
  3. Be healthy–see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and figure out what to fix (what new habits to start working on)
  4. Avoid nitpicking–this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play
  5. Get organized–pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)–things that can make life a little bearable going forward

While most would think that the new moon would be moving through my first house (since my star sign is Virgo), it actually moving through my 11th house (or friends’ zone), since I’ve been going with my rising sign (which is Scorpio).

Looking back at what I wrote last year, I’d realized that the ‘new normal’ was possibly going to consist of social distancing, wearing a mask, and just being considerate of others. Too bad others haven’t gotten that memo yet (but that is a rant for another day).

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

  1. Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do
  2. Ask your friends to introduce you to friends of theirs you’ve never met
  3. Wish on a start every night for a month
  4. Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now
  5. Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to
  6. Thank your best friend for being there for you

Well, some of these things still aren’t really possible due to the fact that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic (and who knows when it will get under control). Therefore, if I were to try to do something in regards to my 11th house it would be either wish on a star every night for a month, or thank my best friend for being around still. I also know that I could try to do virtual meet-ups, but that will still require me investing in a better wifi router for the house, and some drapes for one side of the room (if I decide to sit at the desk).

Prior to the pandemic, I would have a monthly lunch get together with a college classmate, but we haven’t done that since March of last year, and with the way things are going—it could easily be March of next year (or possibly 2023) before we may be able to get together for lunch again.

So, since I’ve decided to stay in semi self-isolation, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include:

  1. I’m going to take inventory of various aspects of life (research/writing/editing, crafts/hobbies, fitness, mental health/spirituality, and finances) and work on developing a working schedule that will allow me to be productive, but at the same time enjoy time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (either alternate between weightlifting and shadow-boxing ro stream Morning Meltdown 100)
  3. In combination with the first goal–organize the schedule, and work at blocking out periods of time (or assign certain tasks to certain days) and see if that helps improve my productivity
  4. Work on completing the third and fourth goal from the Leo New Moon goal list
    • Determine the top five to ten types of freelance/remote/contract writing that I would like to do and start drafting examples of each. Also start drafting my ‘own’ medical content pieces.
    • Determine the top five to fifteen items/sponsors/affiliates and so-forth for the other three ‘blocks’ of my business foundation
  5. Continue with the evening meditation and start trying to incorporate them into the morning as well.

My focus moving forward has been ‘Progress over Perfection’, and while it has been a bumpy and windy road, I feel like it is now allowing me to start writing the next chapter of my life (since I’ve stopped reading the last one). I also know that I may have to take an ‘in-person’ job at some point to help make ends meet until I really can get the whole online/freelance/remote/contract writing/consulting/blogging career up and running.

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

The ‘dog days of summer’ hindered some goals

So the year is officially over halfway over–there are only 153 days left in 2021. While it seems things are still speeding up (I swear that yesterday was May 31st), I have a bad feeling that we’re possibly heading to another lock down (or at least a emergency declaration) within the next few months. The number of people getting vaccinated is starting to decline, and the main variant of the virus (the delta variant) is said to be as contagious as chickenpox. While the vaccine will prevent you from dying (unless you have numerous other underlying issues), you can still spread the virus–so please, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and still practice social distancing. It would be nice if we could end the pandemic before the start of a new decade.

I’m truthfully trying to stay away from the news right now (I’m tired of all the irritating/disturbing news), and I’m fully aware that by doing that I’m exercising my ‘white privilege’. While a good portion of the US population has gotten (or is getting) their vaccine, our total number of cases currently is now slowly going up. When I published ‘June in Review’, I noted that the US was at a little over 34.5 million cases, and now the US is at a little over 35.7 million (So there was an increase of a little over 1.2 million cases for the month). So, the numbers are going back up (June only had ~500K new cases), it’s going to be scary to see what the numbers are in a couple of weeks when various schools (both public and colleges) start up again.

Therefore, I’m going to continue to self-isolate, wear a mask when I have to go out, and even cut back on the frequency of walks at Boomer Lake (or perhaps go a little earlier in the mornings).

Before looking ahead to August (midway through the third quarter, and a new set of goals, plus the plans of become slightly more productive), I should look at the goals I set for July and see how I did with each of them

The goals for July included:

  1. 135-150,000 steps, these will hopefully include at least one walk at Boomer Lake and then I will have to figure out how I’m going to get the rest in–due to the fact we’re going to be heading into the ‘dog days of summer’
  2. Finishing up LIIFT4 and starting the second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Read one to two non-fiction books (and write small reviews)
  4. Read two to three fiction books (and write small reviews)
  5. Finish the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and work through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries
  8. Craft time (start the cross-stitch project, and possibly create at least one necklace)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course
  10. Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)

So how did I do with each of them?

135-150,000 steps–I managed to reach the minimum number of steps (and actually slightly surpassed with a a total of 140,686 steps), since I was able to do two walks at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I know that I can put movies on and march in place/circles to get in the steps (I’ve done it in the past)–I just didn’t feel like watching TV this past month.

Finishing LIIFT4 and starting MM100

I was actually almost finished with LIIFT4 (the lifting portion), when I semi-sprained my wrist mid-month. I had been doing some yard work and tried to cut a thick branch with the pruners and placed a little too much pressure on my wrist. I then decided I would focus on ‘intentional’ movement again while waiting for my wrist to heal. Even though there is some slight discomfort (every so often), I will be restarting LIIFT4 (possibly going light for awhile) on Monday, and then starting my second round of MM100 in September (finishing up 2021 with the program).

Read one to two non-fiction books (and hopefully write small review)

I’m currently a little over a third of the way through ‘The More of Less’ by Josh Becker. July was more fiction reading than non-fiction reading (in part due to the frequent mild anxiety attacks I’d been having).

Read two to three fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews)

The fiction books I managed to read this month included:

The Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd

Come Together (Butler, VT #7) by Marie Force

Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan

In addition to binge reading the Green Mountain series and the first six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force (to be able to red book seven).

So far, Inked Obsession is the only one that has a review up on the blog currently. I’m working on the other two (A Scent of Magick and Come Together), and they should be getting posted sometime during August.

Finishing up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and working through the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program

I have my first ‘drafts’ of the editing assignments finished (I may go back and try to re-edit one or two of the assignments [see if I can get the word count down a little more for one of them]), and am slowly working on the writing assignments.

I didn’t watch any of the videos from the Regulatory Affairs Council program.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

While this will be covered in a little more depth in my limited spending check-in post, I will say that I did spend a little more this month than I had originally planned on.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude entries

Well, we’re in the dog days of summer—so if I was outside it was usually sitting in front of the fan (though I did manage to get two walks in at Boomer Lake this past month). I’ve been good at doing my evening meditation/sitting quietly for a few minutes before bed.

In terms of the daily gratitude entries, I’d been pretty good at doing those up until the past week or so. Goal for August—gratitude entry before other work in the evening.

Craft time (start the cross-stitch project and possibly create a necklace)

I have started a cross-stitch project. I haven’t gotten very far with it, but it is going to be an abstract design (actually really—no design, but trying to use each color of thread at least once), that I hope to finish by the end of September.

Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

I started working through the one program ’15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them’ last week (I’ve managed to watch at least five videos, and am about a quarter of the way through the course).

Start back at refreshing Spanish (30-45 minutes a day, two-to-three days a week)

Nope, this still hasn’t happened. I think the main reason is that I’m trying to put too much stuff on the ‘plate’ each day, and if something has to be ‘left’ behind (as in not finished or started), it is usually this—refreshing Spanish.

While there were a few goals that I didn’t meet (refreshing Spanish, working through various e-courses, and having a ‘good’ limited spending month), I did manage to get a few other things accomplished.

I applied for, and was accepted as a volunteer medical content writer. While it isn’t a paid position—I’m gaining experience in medical content writing, and a company I can use as a reference at some point in the future. It is also helping me focus on topics that may not be of total ‘interest’ to me, but of interest to others.

Therefore, going forward I’m going to have to try to get better at time/project management—so that I can get things checked off the to-do list, but also generate content for others (currently just the medical content company).

I’m also working on trying to add more science and health posts and pages to the blog as well, with the goal of having at least one to two new pages a month, in addition to one to three new posts a month.

I’m keeping my goals fairly consistent—as that is how they become habits. Since I still slightly struggle with a few of them (limited spending, working through e-courses, and so forth), that means they’re not habits yet, and even when they become habits—they will still have a spot in the tracker journal.

As we move into the last five months of 2021—we may be facing another ‘shelter in place’ order (depending on how bad the delta variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus continues to spread), which means focusing on my mental health may take priority again this fall. The past couple of days, I’ve felt my anxiety spike just over the thought of picking a new template for the blog, rearranging the order of pages (possibly combining some and removing others), adding new pages and ‘rewriting’ my home and work with me pages.

While, I don’t like the semi out of control feelings that the anxiety attacks produce—I’m acknowledging the sensations and working through the feelings. The redesign of the blog may take a few weeks (or possibly even a few months), but I’ll get it done. When the anxious feelings really spike—that will be when the computer is shut down, and I pick up the cross-stitch project and stab the cloth over and over again (it actually helps).

So, the first seven months of 2021 are over, who knows how the last five months are going to go (especially in terms of the pandemic)—but I know that I will keep showing up daily, working on laying the foundation to an online career and presence. That career and presence will be multi-facet, mainly so that I don’t lose interest as I move forward.

Therefore the goals for August will include:

  1. 135-155,000 steps; I will probably need to put a movie (or three) on to get the steps in this month. We’re in the middle of the ‘dog days of summer’, and the delta variant is surging both in town and the state–this means I’m going to have to start limiting both the number of walks and the time spent up at Boomer Lake.
  2. Restart LIIFT4 (following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
  3. Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO program, and roll the dice to figure out the next advanced cheeky scientist program to start
  4. Finish reading two to three of the four non-fiction books I’ve started over the past two months
  5. Read two to four fiction books (write small reviews for at least one of them)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude entries in the journal
  8. Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

The goals are similar to last month; I just decided I’d leave off refreshing Spanish currently (since I have enough on the plate, when I also add in the weekly content I need to write for my volunteer position).

If another ‘shelter in place’ order is given this fall, I will probably have to go through various social media accounts and limit the number of political things I see (I’m totally pro-vaccine, pro-mask, and pro-social distancing; I just get tired of seeing all the stuff in regards to those who aren’t following the guidelines).

The blog/website will be getting a ‘new look’ over the coming weeks/months as I try to streamline how things look, and what type of ‘work’ I’ll be offering (writing/photo stock/project management and so forth). The domain name won’t be changing for a while (possibly late fall or early next year), depending on how things work out.

I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

What type of post would you like to see more of: science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths?

No Comments Book ReviewsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

New Moon Goals: Realizing only 175 days left in 2021

Looking back over the past year, and I managed to sporadically post the new/full moon goals in 2020 (for example my Cancer new moon goals last year were posted but tied in with a semi-rant on how the pandemic was going and how it had messed up the few plans that I had started to make for 2020). This year, I’ve managed to post for each new/full moon so far (and usually on time as well).


So the moon will be transitioning through the Cancer constellation either today or tomorrow (depending on where you are in the world), for the US-it will be today (Friday, July 9th). It marks the seventh new moon of the year and signals the fact that the year is just a little over halfway over (there are only 175 days left in the year). That is 175 days to brainstorm ideas, develop goals, and figure out hte plan for moving forward into 2022 and beyond.

If one looks to the book ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, there are various things that one can focus on during the Cancer new moon and they include:

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

Now taking a hot bath isn’t a problem–that is actually part of my daily ‘self-care’ routine. While my ‘sun/star’ sign is an earth sign (Virgo), both my rising and moon signs are water signs (Scorpio and Pisces)–so I really like my water time.

I’ve figured out that three of the five are fairly straightforward (family time, reviewing goals, and taking hot baths) to try to do–though I probably should try to get in (and stay in) touch with various family members (outside of my immediate family).

The other two items (banishing insecurity and getting in touch with your caring and nurturing side) may not seem as straightforward and may actually require more work to start with.

How I picture these two areas/items:

In terms of getting in touch with your caring and nurturing side–basically this means you’re going to be trying a little harder this month in terms of self-care. You’re going to try to catch those negative voices/ideas and rephrase/spin them into more positive ideas/self-talk; you’re going to take time to focus on your breath (to help calm anxiety, frustration, or anger), and you’re going to be more gentle and understanding with yourself.

In terms of trying to banish insecurity–this means being honest with yourself in terms of different areas of your life/ Do you feel insecure in an area? Fearful? Or are you being overly possessive of things? The best work is to try to identify and work at getting rid of barries in different areas of life (slowly, and if needed with the help of a trained professional).

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

Well, we’re still dealing with the pandemic and the various variants of the virus that are trying to see who will come out as the one to beat the vaccine. Therefore, I still won’t be doing any physical traveling until sometime next year (at the earliest). But since we live in a digital world, there are other ways of ‘traveling’–reading, communicating with others (email, online meetings, phone calls), and writing (creative, poetry, journaling, and more research based ideas). So what are some of the things that one can do in regards to thier night house?

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

So it’s fitting that personal development is being emphasized again–this is something that I’m slowly working on but still try to make it a race (see how many courses I can finish), to where I’m unsure of what I’ve learned (or retained). Therefore I’m only working htorugh a course or two at a time for short periods of time (say 45 minutes to an hour). This allows me to reflect, hopefully retain, and try to think of ways of sharing the information with others.

So what are my goals going to be for the Cancer new moon?

Continuing with the ‘next adventures’ of my personal/professional development board game: reading two to three books (‘Why You’re Stuck’ by Derek Doepker and ‘More of Less’ by Josh Becker), working through a copywriting course, and starting to draft some science posts/pages.

Figuring out the answers to the following questions/points that I raised as I was trying to create a financial plan: 1) waht are tehd ifferent ways that I can earn money; 2) what would the ‘minimal monthly earnings’ be for each area; and 3) will I try a hybrid (online adn in-person) or stick with online/remote/contract/freelance/consulting/blogging?

Use those answers to slowly create a new 12-month goal/plan for various areas of my life

Continue with my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments

Continue with my oracle card challenge and doing my evening readings/drawings as well.

No Comments AstrologyBooksfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

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

‘CIZED IT UP’: Looking back at the Pisces New Moon Goals

So we’ve entered April, and will soon be having the fourth new moon of the year (either tonight or tomorrow). Having a competent administration to deal with the ‘fires’ from the last administration, seem to be making the days and months go by faster this year.

So before I look ahead to the next new moon (Aries), it is time to look back at the goals that I set for the Pisces new moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Pisces New Moon included:

  1. Continue with CIZE–while it isn’t belly dancing, it is a dance program. It may teach me how to use my two ‘left’ feet before I try to find a free belly dancing program.
  2. Doodle sketch a cross-stitch pattern and work on cross-stitching this month.
  3. Finish patching the one afghan and start making a patch (or patches) for the second afghan.
  4. Continue with an evening meditation routine and try to meditate in the morning as well.
  5. Dream ‘big’ on where I would like to be in say 3-5 years and start making plans/goals for getting there.

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. I stuck with CIZE and actually am ‘finished’ with my first round. I say ‘finished’ because I didn’t totally follow the schedule for the program, but tried each routine at least once, include additional dance routines that were added to the program as ‘bonus’ workouts.
  2. I totally forgot that I was going to try to start working on a cross-stitch project this month.
  3. While I have a patch on the one afghan–I still need to finish stitching around the hole, and I haven’t started making the other patches for the larger afghan.
  4. For the most part I’ve been good with doing evening meditations before bed, though I haven’t really been able to get into the habit of meditating in the mornings yet.
  5. The ‘dream big’ goal–yeah, it hasn’t happened yet. The reason–good ole’ inner critic/imposter syndrome; while I’ve acknowledge my inner critic/imposter syndrome and am figuring out ways to work with it instead of against it–it does manage to drag me back into the comfort zone frequently (and this pass week that was where I was sitting).

So I managed to meet (more or less) three out of the five goals (so had a success rate of roughly 60 percent) this past month. Not perfect, but not the worse I’ve done either. I realize that part of the issue (at least for the past two weeks) was the anxiety over getting the vaccine for the SARS-CoV2 virus (I didn’t realize how anxious I was until I got in and out), the other part is still working on giving myself grace, acceptance, and realization that I’m not going to be perfect, probably will fall more than once moving forward and that’s fine–as long as I get back up and continue trying.

So I realized that I managed to keep one of the sayings for 2021 front and center this past month: ‘Progress over Perfection’. I’m making progress and it isn’t perfect–it’s messy, but that is life–messy if you’re trying to improve and live; it only seems ‘perfect’ if you’re willing to stay stagnant–and that isn’t something that I’m willing to do anymore.

I’m going to continue making 2021 a year of growth–and it doesn’t matter how microscopically small that progress looks to others as long as I keep moving forward.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Reflections and stretching the comfort zone: personal & professional development

Since the weather was un-condusive to being outside for long periods of time last month (I know that it is still winter–but the temps were well below normal for both the time of year and location), I did quite a bit of self-reflection.

More or less mid-month, I had a conference call with one of my coaches, and then she taksed me with the assignment of filling in/out my own comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram.

She gave me the task, when after talking it became obvious that I was floundering due to my inner critic/imposter syndrome getting the better of me–almost daily.

I actually like this diagram/thinking model better than other ones that label the outer three zones as: fear/learning/growth. The reason–it lacks the word fear. With this diagram–you can continuously dip your toes into the something new, and slowly stretch your comfort zone to include them.

So, now moving forward I’m going to use this model of thinking instead of the other.

The purpose of drawing the diagram and filling in the areas allows one to see where they stand at any particular point on different areas. I decided to do a combination of personal and professional development for my diagram.

My comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram

In addition to having it a mix of personal and professional development, I decided that I would also list some of my various strengths around the edge as well. My strengths include: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger (via Clifton Strengths Assessment), curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking (via VIA Character Assessment). This way as I slowly start moving into the stretch zone, I can also make sure that my strengths are guiding me.

So the professional comfort zone was pretty simple to fill in–it really only consisted of three things: research at the bench, being in academia, and trying to find a research (bench) position in industry.

Then when it came to my personal comfort zone–those were basically all hobbies.

Heading into the outer portions is where the self-reflection comes in, plus knowing that as I did things within one area (say the stretch zone), it would become part of the previous zone (comfort zone), and things can and will always be added.

The stretch zone is a mix of personal and professional development tasks. The professional development tasks lean more towards learning about different possible industry directions (such as clinical research, regulatory affairs, and project management) and certain skills (such as programming and technical/scientific writing).

I’ve listed various hobbies, in addition to working on improving my mental and spiritual health within the stretch zone as well.

The risk zone includes things like having a functional part-time (or three-quarter times) side business established, starting a podcast, and branching out in my writing.

The ‘die’ zone includes things like traveling abroad frequently, giving a talk (or talks) at a conference or other large venue, and going all in on working (100%) for myself.

Just filling in that diagram was enough for the inner critic/imposter syndrome to drage me back into my comfort zone for a day or two. Hell, it took me almost two days to respond to a comment on the post in a group because of my inner critic.

In addition to that assignment, I took it a slight step further and generated a list of topics that I would enjoy writing and/or learning about on a continuous basis. I’ve seen/heard it so many times that one should look at the books they’re currently reading, their purchase histories, their hobbies, and their educational background.

My current list of topics to explore

When I looked at mine, I came up with a list that ranges from science (with various subtopics), history (again with various subtopics), anthropology, and other ‘school subjects’ to bird watching, reading, photography, cooking, spirituality, and numerous different crafts.

When asked if this helped me break out of the ‘I seem to be stuck’ mode–the answer was yes, because it reminded me that I enjoy doing research. It also reminded me that research doesn’t have to be done at the bench–it can also be done in books and via computers.

I told my coach that I was going to start looking at things as ‘research projects/papers’–do a survey of the surface, figure out what interests me, and then deep dive into the topic for awhile.

Truthfully this has been one of my biggest sticking points–trying to just choose one or two directions for a possible career change. I’ve realized over the past year that since graduating high school the things I enjoyed the most were: 1) undergrad–since there was such a large variety of classes one could take. It did take me awhile to get finished, but I was paying my own way–therefore I took classes I needed for the major in addition to classes that were of interest; 2) my first staff position (though there were some troublesome coworkers)–the main focus was helping with undergraduate research, so I had to have at least a brief understanding of the different projects that were going on in the department.

While I’ve been edging into the stretch zone (I have a blog up and running, and I’ve been getting better at evening meditations), I will still find myself being pulled back into the comfort zone (hence why I haven’t figured out the best posting schedule for the blog) before I edge back into the stretch zone.

Even with having a list of topics to start choosing from (knowing that I could add, and go more in depth with certain topics)–my inner critic/imposter syndrome managed to drag my ass back into my comfort zone for basically another week. The problem–I had too many ideas to choose from and I couldn’t decide between starting a history post/section, adding to the science section, or maybe focusing on book reviews.

The solution–I decided I would try to do a monthly ‘brain-dump’ of ideas and then pick a handful each week to work on.

March ‘Brain-Dump’

Doing this allowed me to still have a ‘choice’ of what I could research and write about—but from a pared down list. It is similar to how I decided to go about my non fiction reading and e-courses that I wanted to finish for the year.

The initial large list had sent me into ‘analysis-paralysis’, where the smaller list makes it easier for me to do things.

While it is a large list, I’m also comfortable with the fact that I many not cover or get to every topic on the list. The science (and history) topics are going to require a more in-depth outline and research time compared to the bird pages and blog posts.

Do things this way, will hopefully allow me to start stretching the comfort zone, moving the ‘risk’ to ‘stretch’ and contemplate on what other topics/ideas/things could be added to the ‘risk’ or ‘die’ zones.

I’m also going to be doing updates on the diagrams–probably in either three or four month increments, which means the first update will somewhere between mid-May to mid-June.

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

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

Thoughts after completing first round of Muscle Burns Fat

So last week marked the end of my first round of Muscle Burns Fat.

This was a three-week program that Beachbody released last year–I started it right after I finished my first round of 10 Rounds, and am currently going through the follow-up program Muscle Burns Fat Advance (review coming early Feb).

So, as I mentioned on the page for Muscle Burns Fat that I posted under the fitness tab–I came to enjoy the program towards the end.

I’ve realized that I really do enjoy lifting weights and strength training–though some exercises (such as triceps pushups or dips)–are no-go’s due to my arm bone structure (I have slightly curved arms).

I’m still working on trying to do a ‘normal’ lunge without weights–I have no idea when I will be able to hold weights and do a lunge–but it is something I’m working on.

The main downsides that I felt with the program were the BOD ropes–I hate them (even with going into the next program), it just doesn’t feel like I’m getting my heart rate up with them, and also I get tired of occasionally hitting myself in the leg or arm with them.

Also I didn’t like how ‘static lunges’ were called ‘split-squats’. A lunge is a lunge; if you split a squat in half–you’re doing a damn lunge.

I did get use to the format of the program–it was filmed during the pandemic, so all the cast were working out via Zoom, so it was getting little peaks into people’s lives and homes. I just found it strange and a little distracting at first when a second screen would pop-up at the top of the video.

While it has been awhile since I’ve done 21-Day Fix (and I’m actually going to be doing the live version come March–after I finish both MBFA and then Barre Blend), the formats of the two programs were different.

21-Day Fix has two days of active recovery–Pilates and yoga (days 4 and 7, if I’m remembering correctly), Muscle Burns Fat only has one day of active recovery and that is day 7 (Sunday).

Another difference is that while both have modifiers, 21-Day Fix also had someone working out with the resistant band on a few of the days–muscle burns fat was straight dumbbells.

I did start to enjoy the program towards the end–though I will probably always detest the EMOM (every minute on the minute) workouts, hopefully when I do a second round of the program, I’m either lifting heavier or able to do all the push-ups.

No Comments 101 GoalsfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthReflectionsUpdates

Time for reflection, planning, & goal setting: Sagittarius New Moon goals

So the moon will be entering the Sagittarius constellation today, and its last ‘new moon’ phase for 2020. That means there are 18 days left in December and 2020. Truthfully I’m more than ready for the month and the year to be over (but more on that in the month in review post).

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

Looking at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, you can:

            Get away—travel.

            Study.

            Search for meaning.

            Laugh.

            Be grateful.

With the moon entering into Sagittarius, this is also my second house or the “cash, property, and values” zone.  Since the world is still in the grasp of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, the holidays may not shape up the way they do normally for people (I’m actually hoping that people are smart and stay home and have very small gathering for the holidays—set up zoom meetings with family that live far away). I haven’t really been in the holiday spirit the past couple of years—at least not wanting to have a lot of gifts under the tree for myself.

There are several reasons: the main is that hopefully within a year or so I’m going to be moving and I don’t want to be adding any more boxes than what I’m already going to have to add to the ones in my storage unit.

As I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts—I’ve been thinking of working towards a minimalist lifestyle. Luckily the lifestyle can be tailored—as I know I will have quite a few tarot/oracle card decks (one thing that I am trying to limit—but at the same time I love), but will have very few books on the shelves. The books that will be on the shelves will mainly be school textbooks that will be serving as reference books for various posts/courses that I’m also thinking of developing in the future. Anyway, back to the second house—the cash, property, and value zone.

So some of the things that you can do during this time include (again, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles”):

Start a savings account.

Pay your bills, taxes, debt, etc.

Hire an accountant, if it’s all too much.

Showcase your talents.

Get a neck and shoulder massage.

Invest in an expensive neck cream.

So if I look at the above two lists, there are some items that I can simply check off already—I have a savings account (though it has been used over the past year), and I’m paying my bills, and trying to get my debt down. I would love to travel—but again, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and the holidays. Even if it wasn’t the holidays—travel (especially plane travel) is on hold until I’m able to get the vaccine for the virus and that probably is going to be late summer/early fall 2021 at the earliest. Also—not getting a massage, because hello—pandemic and not wanting to be in close contact with strangers.

With the way the year has started and is ending—I am working on trying to develop a daily gratitude practice, where I write down at least one thing I’m grateful for daily; I’m also trying to find humor in the day (but again with the state of the world—this is a little difficult).

So if I were to make a small goal list for the Sagittarius new moon period, the goals would include:

  1. Develop a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule for getting various things done.
  2. Setting up a goal list for 2021 (working via the larger 150+goals in 2002 days post)
  3. Starting to work through different e-courses (taking notes for future posts)
  4. Setting up a dedicated work station, and a semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedroom

And as always as I head into the last few weeks of December, I am going to remind myself to keep the following phrases/quotes front and center:

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

While 2020 did NOT go the way I was hoping—it is almost over, and here is to a hopefully joyous and prosperous 2021.

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

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

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

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

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

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

Goals for November included:

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

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

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

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization program

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

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

Complete at least two other short e-courses

Start refreshing Spanish

So how did I do with each one?

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

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

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

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

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

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

This month I managed to finish reading the following books:

Quit your job and follow your dreams by Michelle Klup

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

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

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

Finish the Medical Writers Organization program

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

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

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

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

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

Complete at least two other short e-courses

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

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

Start refreshing Spanish

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

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

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

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

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

Goals for December will include:

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

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

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

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

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

Get halfway through one of the other advanced Cheeky Scientist programs

Complete at least two other short e-courses

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

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

No Comments fitnessHealthMonth in ReviewPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections