Tag: selfreflections

Content challenge and development plans: Scorpio Full Moon Goals

So we’re heading into May’s full moon tonight, and it will also be a lunar eclipse as well—so now I need to decide if I’m staying up ‘late’ to head outside to try to see the eclipse or not.

Anyway, back to the May full moon and moving forward trying to find/define both my new ‘normal’ and what it is going to be looking like (mainly because the SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay and that now means making rational decisions in terms of future travels).

The May full moon is going to be transitioning through Scorpio constellation. Therefore if one looks to ‘Moonology’ there are several questions that one can reflect on during the next few days, and they are:

  1. Have I been jealous, vengeful, suspicious, or otherwise behaved toxically?
  2. Have I been living out of fear rather than joy?
  3. Have I been brooding and dark: focusing on the negative rather than the positive?
  4. Have I been cruel and cunning?
  5. Am I having the sex I need to feel good about myself (of course some people need no sex at all to feel good about themselves)?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as follows:

  1. I don’t think I’ve been acting jealous, vengeful or suspicious towards others (I mean we’re still dealing with the pandemic, and I’m hardly around anyone who isn’t family). I’m still working on ‘fixing’ internally focused ‘toxic’ habits (mainly letting my imposter syndrome/inner critic have the wheel and not realize it).
  2. Am I afraid of failure? Yes. Am I afraid of attempting something new (and possibly failing)? Yes. This is in part to the inner critic/imposter syndrome, but also in part to how I was raised—I was raised to ‘be better than average’ (though I know my parents meant only academically)—and it is a mindset that I’m working letting go.
  3. Have you seen the world lately?? I mean with all the damn problems going on—yes, I probably have been focusing a little too much on the negative rather than the positive (especially when I can’t control the events of the world). Therefore, I need to focus on what I can control, and what will hopefully bring more positive and less negative vibes to my life.
  4. No, I have not been cruel or cunning to others or myself.
  5. Again, the answer is no—mainly because 1) we’re still in the midst of the global pandemic, 2) therefore it really isn’t in good form trying to go out and meet new people, and 3) I’m still trying to figure out my life, which may (or may not) include at least one move in the near future. Therefore I’m not in the mindset/mood to deal with another person’s opinions/thoughts on my future right now.

The moon then also moved through my first house (or my Image zone), as I usually work with my rising sign (which happens to be Scorpio; my sun sign is Virgo & my moon sign is Pisces). This house/sign is focused on yourself (personal &/or professional life).

So I’m still going through ‘cycles’ of productivity—the past month or so, has been a so-so cycle of productivity, while the month before that was a little more productive. I realize that everything is cyclic in nature—what goes up, must come down—but I also know that I can ‘minimize’ the downward trend, and try to keep those ‘dips’ rather sharp, instead of a nice steep decline, and a slow incline. As I stated last year: ‘I will still avoid doing things I know I should be doing in order to move closer to certain goals. In other words—I’m still letting the inner critic/imposter syndrome keep me in the comfort zone more often than I try to venture out into the stretch or risk zones’.

So what are a few goals that I can work on over the next few weeks to help bring myself back towards all my other goals?

  1. Continue working on my 90-day content challenge plan (goal is to do some type of research & writing daily, in addition to a craft (photography, cross-stitching, or possibly designing some jewelry).
  2. Finish setting up my 12-month plan, and the rough draft for my personal/professional development plan
  3. Continue to try to meditate daily/nightly

And above all remember—Aim for progress and not for perfection.

What is one of your Scorpio goals?

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Looking back at January of 2022: Reading goals on track, others are lagging

So, we’re officially a month into 2022—January has somehow come and went. I’d like to say that I’m going to be even more productive than last year—and I know I will be more productive, but how much more—well that is the question.

I feel like January has been a ‘tester’ month. I started out with large plans, and then the inner critic came out and tossed them all into the wind. I’m realizing that I need to find a ‘harmony’ if you will with my inner critic—a time when I’m more than willing to say ‘I’m done’ for the day, and a time when I politely tell my inner critic that there is still work to be done before playing ‘hokey’.

So, we’re now about six weeks shy of starting year three of the pandemic (the US started shutting things down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m scared that we’re starting to ‘normalize’ this damn virus and all its variants. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘December in Review’ on January 1st, I noted that we had reached almost 55.7 million cases and now as of January 31st—we have reached a little over 76.2 million cases (that is 20 million cases in a month). The numbers are going up due to the omicron variant that is more contagious than the previous variants (and doesn’t seem to care if one has had their vaccine and booster shots or not).

Its looking like the younger kids (under the age of five) could be eligible for vaccines come as early as March or April—that means if everyone does their part, we may just be able to see the end of the pandemic within a year or so. Because, as I mentioned last month—the only way this pandemic is going to get under control is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and also listening to those who have decades of experience working with infectious diseases.

I managed to get several posts published on the blog/website during January—but I didn’t get to updating/modifying the last set of pages I’ve been needing to—again the inner critic won that round of ‘battles’. I’d mentioned that I’d removed the games I’d been playing on the kindle at the end of December—only to re-download and overplay them again this month. I deleted them from both the kindle and my amazon cloud today—so there is won’t be giving into any urge to download to play occasionally.

But before I can look ahead to setting goals for February, I need to look back at the goals I set for January and how I did with each of them.

The goals for January included:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Continue with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 (may only be M-F)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction book BINGO card
  4. Continue setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond)
  5. Read two to four (if not more) fiction books (and write mini-book reviews to be posted on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/ Limited spending week
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  10. Assignments for the diamond group
  11. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card

So how did I do with each of them?

130-155,000 steps: I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps (144,123 steps or 58.91 miles to be exact). There was a walk at Boomer Lake, and a walk with Chaos through the neighborhood this month. I would have preferred to surpass the 155K steps—but I didn’t, though I did get past the bare minimum number of steps.

Continuing with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100: This didn’t really happen. I started it back up at the beginning of the month, but just didn’t feel like pushing play daily. I’ve realized that this is a ‘theme’ at times for me—I complete a program, decide to repeat it and then fizzle for a while before I actually manage to repeat the program (happened with LIIFT4).

Currently I’m thinking of just putting on music and lifting weights three to four times a week, streaming a yoga/Pilates/cardio workout once or twice a week, and then trying to get in a walk on the other day of the week. We’ll have to see how this plan goes.

Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction BINGO card:

I managed to finish reading the following books:

‘Work Quilting’ by Vicki Walton

‘Girl, Take Back Your Career’ by Solange Lope

I’m now bouncing between several other non-fiction books (like I usually do), though some of them aren’t currently on the 2022 non-fiction BINGO card.

Continuing setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond):

I mentioned in my Capricorn New Moon goal review post that I’d let my imposter syndrome/inner critic derail me for a good portion of the month, so this was one of the goals that fell by the wayside.

Read two to four (if not more) fiction books:

I managed to read quite a few fiction books this month, though I only wrote and posted mini-book reviews for two of them.

The ‘new’ books I read during January included:

Dusk Unveiled (Ravenwood Coven #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

Nothing But Ink (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3.5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

The following books by Michele Miller:

From the Wreckage

Out of Ruins

All That Remains

West: Male POV

Into the Fire

After the Fall

Until We Crash

The entire Maverick Billionaire series by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully; the seventh was just released and I went back and read the first six that I’d bought over the years.

Inked Fantasy by Carrie Ann Ryan

In addition to several ‘re-reads’, that I decided I didn’t need to list out, but I am keeping track of in a spreadsheet so that I can include them in my end-of-the-year total.

No spend days/no spend weeks/Limited spending month:

Nope—January was a bad month in terms of spending. I did delete various games again from the kindle, and then went ahead and deleted them from the ‘cloud’ as well. Hopefully this will help me really curb the impulsive spending.

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

There was some time spent outdoors this month. With the temperatures bouncing back and forth—there were days spent sitting outdoors, while the next day I barely stepped foot outside.

Mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings only happened really for the first half of the month, and then inner critic/imposter syndrome derailed me.

Craft time:

I did a little crafting throughout the month (some photography, and color by number). I’m going to try to start another abstract cross-stitch project this coming month as a way of switching things up.

Continue working on updating the blog/website:

Nope. I only managed to post nine blog posts last month, though there was a decent amount of traffic to the page (at least according to wordpress analytics). This will probably be yet another goal for the next two or three months (as I don’t see me getting all the pages I needed redone done in just a couple of weeks).

Assignments for the diamond group:

This has been slightly slow going—remember the saying ‘you are your own worse enemy?’—Well that has been me. I’ve been getting in my own way on a lot of the assignments. I’m slowly working through the mindset/reflective questions (and am thinking that at least one or two of them may become a slightly longer ‘essay’).

There is still another month or so of the group—and I’m aiming to transition by the end of the summer (or at least then find a part time job possibly on campus since I’ll be really tight on funds by then).

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card:

I’m working through two of the courses on the BINGO card:

Write Your Way to Freedom (a course on becoming a freelance copywriter), and How to work for yourself (an course on Udemy talking about freelancing/side-hustle)

But I did finish watching two other short ‘courses’ on Skill Share:

Productivity Basics: How to become more productive in 4 steps

Personal and Lifestyle Branding: Building your story

It is slightly funny how I started the month with big plans to be highly productive (and even watched a small course on it)—and ended the month being somewhat unproductive.

While I wasn’t perfect with all the goals (and some I wasn’t even in the ballpark of being ‘okay’ with)—acknowledging those mistakes are progress in and of themselves.

I’ve deleted all the games on the kindle that I would spend way too many hours and way too much money on playing. While I bought quite a few books this past month—I read most of them (at least most of the fiction books I’d bought). I’ve also realized that I do get antsy during the day (at times), and that I really do need to find a variety of recipes for protein-rich breakfasts (since I’m pretty certain I’m not getting nearly as much protein as I should be getting).

I’m still debating on whether or not to do the monthly spending challenge updates (especially in light of how much I spent this month)—but it is a way of keeping myself accountable.

So, January wasn’t the ‘perfect’ month—but I’m not aiming for perfection, I’m aiming for progress, and progress was made.

I read two non-fiction books, and have started several others (and I’m over halfway through one of those), I watched two short courses, and spent part of the time earlier this month working through a couple of other courses.

I deleted the games (not just from the kindle, but from the amazon cloud as well)—that means I have to ‘search’ for them if I want to download them again, and not to mention having to ‘start’ from the beginning.

The goal is still to ‘change’ this year—getting a remote position, starting the freelance side-gig, and everything else that I want to be trying to do—I’m not going to let ‘Pam’ stop me, she may slow me down quite a bit—but I’m going to keep moving forward.

Therefore the goals for February will include:

  1. 120-140,000 steps
  2. Daily Intentional Movements (walks, chores, lifting weights, yoga, and so forth)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book (preferably from the BINGO card, but not required)
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (and have mini book reviews posted on the blog and other sites)
  5. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Daily craft time
  8. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course on the 2022 e-course BINGO card

In addition to the above goals—I’m also going to work on improving my time and project management skills as well (as being better at both will help me reach the above goals and all other goals as well).

While I may have ‘missed’ a few goals (or at least completed ‘half’)—I still made progress. Knowing that I was sabotaging myself, and how I was doing it—half the battle, the other half is determining how to ‘fix’ the sabotaging problems so that I am productive as I go forward.

What are some of your favorite time/project management tips or tricks?

No Comments BookscareerfinancesHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Review of Taurus goals: slow progress, but still progress

So the moon will be entering its last full moon stage for 2021 over the weekend. For most of us within the US that will be today—December 18th. That means there are basically only two weeks left in the year—fourteen days, and then it will be 2022. But before I look ahead to the next full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Taurus full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I set for the Taurus full moon included:

  1. Starting my second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Continuing to mend my relationship with food and movement
  3. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  4. Work on updating my LinkedIn profile
  5. Get back into meditating nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

I’ve been ‘on/off’ in terms of doing Morning Meltdown 100—not because I don’t like the program (I really do like it), but its more of needing to get the dogs out the room, have the workout done by a certain time on certain days of the week, and just finding the ‘energy’ to push play.

I’m hoping that once I have the numerous presents in the bedroom wrapped and set out next week, and things slightly rearranged again, I’ll be in the mindset to start pushing play again. I have decided that one of the goals for 2022 is 365 days of intentional movement.

Breakfast is still my ‘hardest’ meal to eat—I’m still trying to ‘attach’ positive feelings to the meal and the start of the day. In the past, I’d usually be quickly eating breakfast to get out the door by a certain time to catch the bus, the train, or bike to work to get my day started. It always marked the ‘start’ of the day, whether or not I wanted the day to ‘start’.

That is one reason why I’d like to start my own business and do freelancing—I can decide when to start the day. Breakfast wouldn’t necessarily be the ‘start’ of the day—it could be the ‘mini-break’ in the morning.

Updating the blog/website again fell by the wayside this past month. I think the problem has been my inner critic/imposter syndrome winning those ‘unheard’ arguments I’ve been having with myself.

I know that in order to succeed at setting up a freelance business—I need to have a portfolio of different pieces written and published, both here on the blog and other sites as well (such as LinkedIn, Medium, and other sites)—I have a literal ‘laundry’ list of ideas I’d like to write about—I just need to pick one, and go with it as my first piece.

I’m slowly updating the LinkedIn profile, and realize that with having joined an larger accountability group within the one professional development group I’m in—I should have it updated within the next few months, showcasing my desire to pivot in the direction of remote/online/freelance writing and/or data analysis.

In terms of the nightly meditation—I’m doing it, but not how I’d been doing it earlier in the year (lighting candles, and sitting on the floor). Instead, after reading I’ll sit quietly in bed and try to focus on my breathing for a couple of minutes before lying down and falling asleep.

So, the goals were semi-met (mending one’s relationship with food and movement isn’t something that can occur within a short time frame) during the Taurus full moon. I’ve realized that between the time change, season change, and my inner critic/imposter syndrome I have the tendency to focus on things that allow me to ‘escape’ mentally, but don’t help me reach my goals. The focus for the New Year will be trying to catch that ‘escape mentality’ and only allow it to flourish every so often.

How have you been managing your stress and/or anxiety over the past year and a half?

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Balancing the coin between personal and professional development goals

So the moon entered its latest full moon stage last night (November 19; I’m a day or so behind in my writings). This means that there are only ten days left in November, and forty-one days left in 2021. Hopefully 2022 will be a slightly mellower than 2021 has been.

Since we’re into fall (or early winter), I will hopefully be getting a walk in this weekend—but remembering all camera gear, that way if I need the longer lens for the ducks in the middle of the lake, I’ll have them.

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

Have I been lazy or overly self-indulgent this month?

Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

Have I done enough exercise?

I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be:

  1. Yes, I have been slightly lazy and self indulgent this month, so far. I need to get back into a fitness routine, which means having the dogs and cats out of the room by no later than quarter after eight so I can do a twenty to thirty minute workout. I also need to quit spending money on the silly game I’ve been playing for the past couple of weeks as well. November is shaping up like March in terms of splurging.
  2. Looking back at last year’s answer: I’ve never really been one for status symbols. I’m not obsessed with money—though I’m now really thinking more on the direction(s) for my transition, since I’ve managed to run through a good amount of my savings during the past two years.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through grad school (and all four positions afterwards as well). Last year I mentioned how I was only slightly jealous of countries that were handling the pandemic decently—and those are the ones I’m still slightly jealous of. The only thing I’m becoming slightly possessive over is my ‘me time’ or my quiet time—time where I’m really not having to deal with other people, and its one of the reasons I’m really leaning in the remote/contract/freelance direction—I can have my waking up time in the mornings.
  4. This is a yes/no question. No, in the sense I don’t like the phrase ‘comfort eating’. Food is meant to comfort and fuel us–calling it ‘comfort food’ can have a ‘negative’ feel to those who are trying to heal their relationship with food. Yes, in the sense that I’m eating foods that ‘comfort’ me–some may have a little more nutritional value than others.
  5. We finally got our Wi-Fi problem corrected. This means that I should be able to stream workouts, without there being constant buffering. I will probably start my second round of morning meltdown 100 on Monday.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves.

For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), I’m still not working, therefore that means focusing on other relationships—(family, and friends).

In terms of trying to spend time with friends—we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and therefore it isn’t safe to really get together with anyone outside of family. In terms of family—it isn’t safe to try to visit anyone who is living out of state—that means I’m usually just around my parents (and my younger brother since he moved back to town).

This has been another weird year (we’re still in the grasp of the pandemic, even though vaccines are available for everyone over the age of five; we have competent people in the White House, but the world is still tumbling in a downwards spiral), and I acknowledge that I’m still trying to do the best that I can—even if it looks like I’m moving backwards in some areas.

So if I were to pick a couple of things to work on during the Taurus full moon period they would be:

  1. Start another round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Continue mending my relationship with food (start eating yogurt/fruits/nuts again for breakfast at least two days a week)
  3. Continue working on updating the blog/website to focus on the slight ‘swerve’ towards adding in more science/edical, health/wellness, and personal/professional development writing pieces
  4. Work on updating my LinkedIn profile to showcase my interest in moving towards more of a writing career (key words, companies to follow, and building up my network in those areas)
  5. Get back into a nightly meditation routine

In order to try to finish 2021 on the ‘right’ note—there is quite a bit of computer work to be done, and I know that if I start again with fitness (and getting in more protein), I will be able to get my anxiety and stress under control.

How have you been managing your stress and/or anxiety over the past year and a half?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Limited-spending Challenge Check-in #7: still splurging on the e-books

So, it’s that time again–checking in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

A brief recap for those who are new to the blog–I decided at the end of 2020 that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ months (and totally splurging), I would do ‘limited’ spending months, and items would fall into one of two categories: needed or splurges.

I did really well with the challenge in January, and then started slipping a little each month since (I think I got a little too proud of myself and the inner critic/imposter syndrome has been slowly derailing me since). Last month (June) I planned on doing a ‘rebound’ and really honoring the challenge, but still ended up splurging a little. Though if you don’t count the books (I am a total impulsive book buyer, especially in terms of e-books), I did okay.

So how did I do for July?

Well, there were still purchases, and a few splurges.

I bought myself an early birthday present of two new pairs of workout leggings (also to be worn throughout the year).

I bought a few ‘physical’ books–but they’re to serve as ‘references’ as I move forward in science communications/education:

  1. Medical writing: A guide for clinicians, educators, and researchers by Robert Taylor
  2. Molecular and Cellular Biology of Viruses by Phobe Lostroh
  3. AMA Manual of Style, 11th Edition by the JAMA Network Editors

Then there were the e-books:

  1. A Tainted Mind (Windsor Series #1) by Tamsen Shultz
  2. What if it does work out? How a Side Hustle can Change Your Life by Susie Moore
  3. Wiretaps and Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday
  4. The Misters: Seven book box set by JA Huss
  5. The Varsity Dad Dilemma by Lex Martin
  6. African Goddess Initiation: Sacred Rituals for self-love, prosperity, and joy by Abiola Abrams
  7. The Dark Emeralds Series (#1-3) by Jerry Lambert
  8. The Mixed Six-Pack (#1-3) by Danika Bloom
  9. Forever & Storm (the last two Linear Tactical books that I was missing) by Janie Crouch
  10. Absolution (Anderson & Costello #1) by Caro Ramsay
  11. The Girl in the Motel (Joe Court #1) by Chris Culver
  12. Shadow Forces by Camilla Black and Kimberly Griggs
  13. The Perfect Death (Brannon House #1) by Stacy Clafin
  14. Cunning Devil (Lost Falls #1) by Chris Underwood
  15. More of Us to the West (The Adrift #1) by Trinity Dunn

In addition to the dozen or so that I got for ‘free’ through various promotions last month. I’ve realized that the biggest problem–seeing all the ads on Facebook for the various books. I think that is how I found basically all of the e-books, was through those ads. I need to start using the time management app Self Control again, and then only be on Facebook in the evenings for specific reasons (that way hopefully limit the possible splurges and new author buys).

The cost of the three physical books was probably equal to the cost of the e-books for the past month or so (and I won’t even add in the cost of the ‘physical’ books that I bought back in June), since the larger the book (and/or hardback), the pricier the book. I know that I could have gotten the ‘physical’ books as e-books, but in terms of ‘reference’ books, for the most part I prefer to have the physcial book.

I did add another e-course to the list: How to write Patient Materials offered by Health Writer Hub. This is a three-week course, which is self-paced, with lifetime access (which is nice, since I’m way behind schedule on completing it).

While I added the above course to the list of things to work through, I did decide against adding in others (including learning how to set up a freelance writing business, and a personal development/health course). The goal now for the last five months of the year is to work through several of the large courses that I bought, read more of the books I bought (though I still have a list of books that have been preordered throughout the rest of the year), possibly only buy another three to four ‘reference’ books, and ‘honor the limited spending challenge’.

I’m hoping that for the last five months, the main purchases will be health/beauty items, dog treats, and the possible three or four other ‘reference’ books that I may find beneficial to have (such as biostatistics for dummies, and statistics for dummies).

Curious–how many fiction books do you read a year, and who are some of your automatic-buy authors you follow?

No Comments BooksfinancesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesReflections

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?

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Review of Aries New Moon Goals: All that is left is to flesh out the plans

So it’s almost time for May’s new moon–it should be moving through the Taurus constellation over the next day or two (tomorrow marks the new moon for the US). The pandemic is still going strong (especially in India, which is suffering from its second wave). When I wrote the original Aries new moon goal post last month, I mentioned that the number of cases globally were just over 137 million, and within the US just under 32 million total cases. Now–globally there are over 159 million cases, and the US is just under 33.5 million cases. While some areas are getting things under control–we’re still a long ways away from a ‘new’ normal.

But back to the moon transitions–before looking ahead to the Taurus new moon, it is time to look back and reflect on the goals that I set during the Aries new moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Aries new moon included:

  1. Making a new 12-month plan.
  2. Start with Country Heat and transition to 21-Day Fix Live in terms of fitness
  3. Try to start incorporating more fruits into my day and then more veggies
  4. Read a book on positive thinking
  5. Continue to meditate nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. In terms of the 12-month plan–I have a very rough draft that I’m still trying to flesh out in terms of quarterly/monthly/weekly/daily goals.
  2. In terms of fitness, I did about a week of Country Heat and then moved to 21-Day Fix Live. At the same time I was doing an intentional movement challenge of moving at least five minutes everyday. Therefore, keeping to that mindset my daily movement may or may not be a workout–it may be yard work, a walk, housework, or something to that extent.
  3. I’ve gotten a couple of books on intuitive eating that I’ve been looking through as I try to improve my relationship with food. I’ve realized that I like fruits a lot more than I do veggies. This makes cooking at times interesting since I don’t like to re-heat and eat most veggies.
  4. Nope, I didn’t read any books on positive thinking or psychology.
  5. Meditation is almost becoming a habit, especially in the evenings. While I’ve tried to also meditate in the mornings–that habit hasn’t stuck, so I think I’ll stick with the evenings.

So I set five goals for the Aries new moon (and actually one is almost a monthly addition to help me keep the habit going), and I managed to meet four of the five (so 80% completed) goals. The reading is something that always depends on my mood and whether or not I can get into the book, which is why I usually end up re-reading certain series constantly.

The health and nutrition is an ongoing journey. I realized quite a few months ago that I needed to change my relationship with food, get off the diet bandwagon, and ditch the mindset of counting calories, restrictive eating, and strictly follow a workout schedule. Currently I’m mending my relationship with food (realizing that I’m not eating enough protein, fruits, or veggies), and starting to think of intentional movement instead of daily workouts.

The 12-month plan has always been difficult–because that would mean that I picked a direction to go in (and then constantly dealt with the ‘fear’ that it may not be the direction I ‘really’ want to be going in). Currently I’m going to focus on online work (freelance/remote/contract) in the realms of writing, data analysis, project management, photography, and possibly consulting and tutoring/teaching.

I also realize that I have quite a bit of work to do in order to step in (and stand out in) those arenas–but I’m at least slowly edging out of the shadows and into specific areas–baby steps are still progress.

I’ve decided that I’m going to be ‘bouncing’ around in the realm of progress, and ‘floating’ in the area of imperfect, but doable work.

How have you manage to overcome analysis-paralysis to set (and meet) a long-term goal?

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Review of April Goals: Cyclic trend in goal completion

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

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

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

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

The goals for April 2021 included:

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

Getting a new pedometer

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

Read (or finish) 3 non-fiction books

Read 3 fiction books

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

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Craft time (jewelry design)

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

Manage at least 30-45 minutes a day learning Spanish

So how did I do with each of them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Reivention Road Map’ by Liz Ryan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therefore, the goals for May 2021 will include:

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

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

Finish reading the 3 non-fiction books listed above

Read 3 fiction books

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

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Craft time

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

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

Activate the time management app: Self Control

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

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

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Disruptions this week lead to way-laid plans.

So things have been slightly crazy the past week or so, and such I’m behind on my writing/editing/imaging/posting schedule.

I’ve realized a couple of things this week–while I don’t have a normal 9-5 job, what routine I have, I don’t like disturbed. There were several disruptions over the past two weeks (and they’re not finished for a few days), to the point that the only thing I managed to really accomplish on those days were my workouts.

While I knew that I could get a few things done while waiting for my brother to show up–I didn’t because a) I wasn’t sure how long the tasks would last (reading/taking notes/posting articles to twitter and LinkedIn); and b) we weren’t entirely sure of his arrival time.

I also know that in theory I can get things done in the evenings (and for the most part I do)–but I can get more done if I also make use of some of the time before dinner (instead of reading or doing a color-by-number picture).

I also need to dedicate just a little bit of time daily on the task of organizing files on my computer–I spent an entire morning this week after my workout trying to clear out files and I only made a very small dent. While it was a small accomplishment, I felt afterwards like I could have used some of the time for another small project (such as reading articles and sharing them).

Therefore:

It is looking like the science recap could be a biweekly occurrence (at least for January).

In addition, I’m hoping for a Wednesday (probably biweekly) post over a research paper, and this may start next Wednesday (January 27th).

I’m hoping to start adding more to the hawk/eagles/kites group under the birding section over the next week as well.

So I know that there is a problem–the solutions?

Waking up early (at least twice a week)–this will be possibly the most difficult solution to try, mainly because the pup is still getting me up once a night (usually somewhere between 11 and 3), and it takes me awhile to fall back to sleep. But a goal will be to see if I can get up before seven without an alarm this week.

Use time-management apps to block access to different sites, so I don’t spend a good chunk of my day aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. While I should probably add LinkedIn to the list–I do need to try to be more active on it (but in all honesty–I should be saying that for the other sites as well).

Limit the amount of time I’m spending on the color-by-number picture app on my kindle. I know that I manage to color at least three to five pictures a day–and if you account for the time per picture–it’s probably 3-4 hours total throughout the day (an hour is fine–but how far in excess I am–I need to change that).

Have a very short and specific to-do (or to-be-accomplished) list for the day and a slightly longer one for the week.

Also be semi-specific in terms of what I’m going to do when I take my mini-breaks (instead of wandering, grabbing some chocolate, and heading back to the computer).

So to sum up–I don’t like having my routine (such as it is) disrupted continuously. Also I know that having unstructured time is important in the day (we really shouldn’t be trying to be busy all day)–having too much is just as bad as trying to accomplish too much in the day. I seem to be going back and forth between the extremes. Hopefully over the next few weeks I can find a good balance between the two. Also I think that the ‘first’ day of 2021 is probably going to be the 21st of the month.

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Capricorn New Moon: self-development, self-compassion, & defining my purpose/vision

So the moon will be entering the Capricorn constellation today, and it is also the first new moon transition of 2021. I’m hopeful that things are going to slowly start mellowing out over the next few weeks/months. Joe Biden & Kamala Harris will be getting sworn in as the new president & vice-president of the United States in a week. Hopefully all the knuckle-draggers and ass-hats will just slide back under their rocks for another couple of years. Though, white supremacy is an issue that we have to address as a country, specifically heterosexual male white supremacy (not to say that Caucasian women aren’t part of the problem–but the boy’s club is a bigger piece of the pie).

So one of the long-term goals I have is to try to consistently set and post goals for each new/full moon every month. I know that I missed several throughout 2020, so I’m hoping to be more consistent this year in setting, posting, and actually working towards the goals.

So, back to the first full moon of the year, which is happening tonight (or possibly last night depending on where you are in the world). The moon is moving through the Capricorn constellation, and according to “Moonology: Working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several things that one can do during this time:

Plan for next year

Be ambitious with your plans for the next year (or few years)

Be kind (to both yourself and others)

Cede control (don’t micromanage or manipulate others)

Establish traditions (also working on your reputation–both personal and professional)

Then one should also look to see what zone/house the constellation is traveling through. You can base it off of your star/sun, rising, or moon sign. I usually do all of mine using my rising sign: Scorpio, though I could do it with my star/sun sign (Virgo), or even my moon sign (Pisces).

So the new moon in Capricorn is entering my third house, or my communication zone. This is a time to concentrate on communication, and spending time with siblings and friends. So there are several things that one can do during this time (again, taken from “Moonology”):

Take a public speaking course

Read the books you’ve got stacked up

Take a short trip

Hang out with your siblings

Study a foreign language

Really listen to others

Write those letters you’ve been putting off

So looking at the above lists there are few things that I can cross off, since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic (and it’s difficult to be around anyone who isn’t living in your house). Therefore, I probably won’t be spending too much time with my siblings (namely my older brother who is out in California)–though I am helping the younger one move back to town. Traveling is still out of the question (even a short trip), and any courses need to be virtual and already purchased (I’m trying to do a limited spending year).

So if I were to take ideas from the two lists and compile a short goal list for the Capricorn new moon they would include:

Work on developing my vision of where I would like to be in 3-5 years and what I wouldlike to be doing. In the same note, write out very specific goals/milestones that will help me achieve said vision.

Read (or finish) at least two non-fiction books that I have on my curated 2021 to-read list; and read at least three fiction books.

Finish at least one e-course from my curated 2021 to-be-completed e-course list

Work on getting better at self-compassion.

The vision will probably be the hardest goal to be working on–and one reason (at least for me), is that I enjoy learning and jumping from topic to topic. So while people might think that scientific writing is the best (and it is one of the careers I’m looking into)–I want to possibly do something that allows me to bridge STEM with the more interdisciplinary fields (such as humanities and social sciences), plus figuring out how to give back in a way that helps to improve the educational system of the United States.

So I will be using the words I chose for 2021 as guidance: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

In addition, this month has already shown that I need to focus on ‘progress, not perfection’ and to quit reading the last chapter of my life and start writing the next one.

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