Tag: selfreflections

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?

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

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.

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

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.

No Comments ReflectionsUpdates

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.

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reflections and planning for 2021: Cancer Full Moon Goals

So tonight is the last full moon of 2020–that means there will only be two days left in the year. This has been a very long year with everything that has happened, especially the SARS-CoV2 pandemic that we’re still in the middle of; while there have been two vaccines that have been granted emergency use–I’m not eligible for either of them until probably the summer time (I’m currently in tier four for OK in terms of need). Therefore I’m probably not going to be making any major plans for any type of traveling until maybe sometime in 2022 going towards 2023.

So the full moon tonight will be moving through the Cancer constellation. Looking within “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several questions that one can reflect on during this time:

Have I been insecure, clingy, and no fun this month?

Have I been coming at what I want sideways instead of tackling it head-on?

Have I been sulky, moody, brooding, or manipulative?

Have I been secretive, and possibly even a tad paranoid?

Have I had enough family time, or time with people who feel like family?

Well, if I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers this month would be as follow:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been insecure or clingy this month. While I’m still not 100% certain of what I want to do with my life–I have several ideas, and need to fine-tune a plan/schedule to be able to devote enough time to each potential project. In terms of not ‘being fun’–we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and therefore there really isn’t anything to do, if one is listening to the health officials and staying home. Finding time for hobbies, in addition to the different ideas for my career are on the agenda–I’ve realized over the past year or so, I do have the tendency to be laser-focused on one thing to the determinate of other things (for example–laser-focused on career/job/school and ignoring health/fitness/hobbies).
  2. Yes, I probably have been going at what I want sideways instead of tackling it head-on. I think I found it a little easier to do it this way, since I’m not 100% certain of what it is I want to be doing.
  3. No, I have not been sulky, brooding, or manipulative. Yes, I’ve been a little moody–but hello, we’re entering the tenth month of this damn pandemic–everyone is getting a little moody.
  4. No, I have not been secretive or paranoid.
  5. Yes, I have been having enough family time (again–there is a pandemic and I’m self-isolating at home with my parents; and we’ve seen my younger brother twice since it started. We’ll probably be seeing more of him once he moves back into town). I would love to spend more time with friends, but again–pandemic, and it really isn’t safe to be getting together with people who aren’t in your immediate family/household.

In addition to the above questions, the full moon in Cancer is also entering my ninth house. The ninth house is the “Big Picture” zone. Basically this zone deals with all things in terms of personal growth, professional growth, travel, religion and philosophy, and so forth.

There are actually two questions you can ask yourself in terms of the above topics:

Have you been fussing too much over the details of your latest problems or tasks?

Is your life and mind expanding or narrowing?

If I were to number the above questions 1 and 2, my answers would be as follows:

  1. This is both a yes and no answer. Yes, I have been fussing too much over the details. I like lists, and I also like to basically have an outline (or at least rough draft) for various projects before starting things. This is more difficult to try to do when you’re thinking of switching directions career wise–especially, if you’re still uncertain about the direction. So instead of doing various things like networking, reading, listening to podcasts, and so forth I’ve been trying to make lists of skills, jobs, companies–but always second guessing and asking myself–“is this really the direction you want to be going”, and more often than not the answer comes back “I have no idea”. I don’t think I’m fussing over the tasks, but that is mainly because I’m not certain of what those tasks should be.
  2. I think that I’m slowly getting back into a learning mindset, and therefore I am slowly starting to expand both my life and mind again. I fell into a ‘closed’ mindset for awhile, more out of self-preservation since I didn’t know what I was wanting to do with my life. I now realize that instead of investigating things and asking questions, networking, reading and trying to figure things out (basically where I am now)–I narrowed my focus to just getting through the day/week to the weekend, and that isn’t the best way to live one’s life.

So the goals for this full moon period may look like a long list–but a couple of them are hopefully going to be checked off the list before the New Year (as they’re part of another goal series that I’ll share in another post).

The goals for the Cancer Full Moon include:

  1. Continue with my night tarot/oracle card reading and brief meditation.
  2. Update various goal posts (150+goals in 2002 day [next installment will be in Feb]; Level 10 life)
  3. Develop a fluid schedule/planner
  4. Make a list of books (mainly non-fiction) to read in 2021 and e-courses to finish in 2021
  5. Read at least one personal/professional development book from said list
  6. Finish one small e-course from said list
  7. Renew one professional membership

And as always the following quotes are going to be coming with me into 2021: “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 AstrologyBookscareerCraftsfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reviewing Gemini Full Moon Goals: improving, reflecting, and starting to plan for 2021

So we’re going to be entering the last full moon of the year (and December) on Tuesday.  That means there will literally be only two days before the end of 2020, and the start of 2021. This is one of the few years that I’m actually looking forward to staying up late to see the year out—and hopefully 2021 will be a lot more mellow, laid back, and more productive.

But before I can look the next full moon, or even start trying to look back on the month or year—it is time to look back at the goals that I set for the Gemini full moon and see how I did with each of them.

What were my goals for the Gemini full moon? They included:

            Read (or finish) at least two non-fiction books, and take (or highlight sections) notes in order to also post a book review on the blog (and possibly amazon as well).

            Continue to work on improving my evening/afternoon meditations.

            Get creative in figuring out an schedule/calendar for things. I’ve had ideas of doing everything from a ‘syllabus’ (treating different areas like they were ‘school subjects’) to making a to-be accomplished list. Needless to say neither has really stuck (though to be fair on the to-be accomplished list, the first draft was more of a brain dump). I may try to make a hybrid of the three—a brain dump, cleaned up into a to-be accomplished list, which can be formatted into one or more ‘syllabus’.

So how did I do with each of the goals?

In terms of reading/finishing two non-fiction books—I managed to start two new ones, but haven’t really finished any of them. I think that one part of my problem this year in terms of reading non-fiction books, I have SO many of them on my personal/professional/non-fiction reading list that at times it’s hard to choose which one to read at any given time. Another part of the problem is that sometimes I’m not in the mood to read non-fiction, so I will go read a fiction book instead (and I have managed to finish at least five fiction books during the Gemini full moon).

I am still improving my evening meditation routine. If I can manage to get my tarot/oracle card reading done prior to taking the dogs outside for their last romp—I can then meditate after I bring them in, instead of trying to get the card reading done and then meditate. Though this hasn’t happened as often as I like—therefore I may try to meditate and then do the card reading.

In terms of trying to develop an schedule/calendar, I’m going to be doing a couple of different things as we head into 2021. For starters I’ve created two ‘bingo cards’—one is a 2021 goal bingo card and the second is a 2021-2023 fitness program bingo card. I’m also going to be making a shorter list of books to read and e-courses to complete—and if I manage to finish everything on the lists, I will go back to the master lists and select some more to add to each list. I’m also going to start working on ‘channel switching’ (more on this in a later post); that once I get bored (or have reached a particular time limit) with something I will go do something totally opposite. This means that if I’m doing a lot of computer work—I will go do some chores, or a walk, or play with the dogs; and if I’m doing chores, I’ll take a break and read or just sit and be for a while.

It may not have been perfect this past month in terms of meeting these goals—but this is the last month of 2020, holidays, and lets just say that December 2020 is a month that I’m more than willing to ignore for the rest of time.

I am still going to be using the following quotes as we move into 2021: “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”.

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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

Photography Challenge Day 13: Ruby-throated hummingbird

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

I’ve always been intrigued by hummingbirds—they’re small, quick, and they beat their wings constantly.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to remember that when I was younger I felt a little like a hummingbird.

In that I could dive into a subject, immerse myself, learns as much as I could and then move on.

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the rose-of-Sharon

I did this for class projects: there was the paper over the Culture of India (and I covered everything from architecture to music to philosophy), to diving into the history of Peru (though I don’t think I ever wrote a paper over this—so that may be something to go back to) and medieval England.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds—I have quite a few bird encyclopedias in my storage unit, plus numerous articles that I had clipped out of the papers as I was growing up to make a scrap book on them.

So what does fascination with birds, culture and history of other countries, and everything else have to do with hummingbirds?

Ruby-throated hummingbird at another rose-of-Sharon

When I had taken the Clifton Strength Assessment test back in both 2017 and 2019, my top strength was learner.

This trait fits people who have a love of learning (though they have to be drawn to the topic), love digging into new things, love researching topics and ideas and gathering information.

These individual have been likened to hummingbirds in that they will deeply investigate on subject before moving on to another—similarly how hummingbirds will investigate flowers for their nectar before going to the next flower.

Until I took the test and saw the top strength as learner—I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning, reading, investigating, and putting the information together in some format.

Getting my undergraduate degrees took awhile—because I was ‘bouncing’ between ‘flowers’ (aka different subjects)—but I did manage to get my two degrees and minor (though now looking back, I should have taken that last six hours of sociology to get that minor as well).

Graduate school, allowed me to dive deeply into a subject that was still fairly new and I was learning different techniques and systems. The first postdoc was where the love of learning started to dwindle—while the topic was slightly different from grad school—what I was being taught really wasn’t, and therefore I got bored (only realizing now, exactly why I was getting bored so early—if I had realized it then, things might have gone differently had I asked for either another project or figured out a way to strike up a collaboration with another lab).

The second postdoc allowed me to dive into another system and I learned quite a bit—though I didn’t like being told to read up on other things in my spare time. I learned in both staff positions—more so in the first (only because I was working with undergrads in several different labs on several different projects) than the second. It has taken about ten months of self-reflection to realize that one of the problems that I had with the last position—I was bored; while I had been told I could ‘collaborate’ with other labs on projects, the only labs I could think of would have required me doing experiments and those aren’t something that you can schedule to only take 1 to 2 hours a day.

As I now move forward—I have to remember that I’m like a hummingbird, where there needs to be ample ‘flowers’ around for me to sample; I may hang around one or two longer than others, but at least I won’t get bored.

This is something that I will keep in the forefront as I start looking towards either my industry transition or freelancing/working for myself–I need variety to keep busy–so for me (at least mentally) it is better to be both a jack-of-all-trades and a ‘specialist’.

Have you taken the Clifton Strength Assessment Test? What was your top strength?

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Reflections: 10 pieces of advice to my younger self–college edition.

As I sit here, my eyes are bouncing back and froth from the blank word document to the to-do list in the bullet journal. My mind is racing with the numerous thoughts on different topics I could cover—either through a new blog post here, a new page attached to the website, or even possibly venturing into publishing my first “article” on LinkedIn.

I have to pause, take a deep breath and remind myself—“Progress over perfection”. The though of publishing anything on a site that has millions of users terrifies me—so I’ve slowly started by sharing a photograph and a quote. Neither has garnered a huge number of likes or comments, but that’s okay—I’m dipping my toes into the water of LinkedIn publishing.

Why does the thought of publishing an “article” on LinkedIn terrifies me? In the most simple of terms: imposter syndrome. While I have my PhD (something that only a small percentage of people—less than 2% of the total world population holds a PhD), and I can hold a conversation with people—it is that little voice that’s says they know more than I do, and I’m only going to make a fool out of myself.

I’m slowly trying to convince that ‘perfectionist/quiet/wallflower’ persona that it’s fine that others know more than I do on various subjects, and everyone makes a fool out of themselves at least once in their life, and they survive.

While this has been my ‘persona’ around most people—the ‘perfectionist’ has only tried to pop out in the past few years—mainly in terms of trying to figure out what to do next career wise. She is scared of making a jump that could possibly end as abruptly as her first postdoc position did, and not have a backup plan.

While this is a legitimate concern (especially now with the SARS-CoV2 pandemic still holding on), she is forgetting that she is resilient and can bounce back.

I’ve realized that there are several things that I wish I had done differently throughout my undergraduate and graduate careers, and if I could send a message back to my younger self, I would tell her:

  1. Take the time to actually take a couple of business courses (such as marketing or finance)—don’t judge all courses by the single one you took. They will be beneficial down the road.
  2. Don’t feel rushed to declare your major; also don’t feel pressured by various people to take certain courses. If you want to take the intro foreign language course—take it (again, it will be beneficial down the road).
  3. Don’t just live in the lab—try to find an organization (or two) on campus to join (and actually participate in).
  4. Network early—I know that you’re an introvert with deep reservations against talking in front of people, but you never know who you’ll talk with that could spark an interest for you in something different.
  5. Go to seminars that are offered by different departments—again keeps your interests broad.
  6. Once you’re in graduate school—again take additional classes that interest you. You might have to audit them (since they may not go with your plan of study)—but they will keep you well rounded.
  7. Read, read, read—not just the papers in your field, but whatever other subjects interest you. Also remember that you can also stretch your fiction/non-fiction wings as well.
  8. Continue to network—try to get to conferences, go to other seminars, get involved in different campus organizations.
  9. Figure out what your plans A, B, C, and D are—nothing is going to go the way you originally thought, so now is the best time to be trying to determine which direction(s) to swerve when things start to turn south. Start developing your own personal/professional development plans for your future.
  10. After graduation and you move—still make time to network in your new location, learn about different paths you can take with your degree, and above all else—realize a short break from ‘learning’ is fine but stretching too long will cause the anxiety to reach new levels and you’ll feel like you’re on a hamster wheel.

I’m getting a little better at some things:

  1. I’m remembering how much I did enjoy learning, and the different subjects that I enjoyed (such as ancient/medieval history, art history, geography, archaeology, paleontology, anthropology, in addition to science).
  2. There is no time frame/clock on when to finish the various e-courses that I’ve bought—but working through one or two a month will help me get back into the ‘learning’ game.
  3. That slowing down is actually okay—going full speed for so long, I almost hit that brick wall, but managed to slow down enough just before seeing it.
  4. Everyone’s paths are different—there are those who know exactly what they want to do, and they don’t deviate from the path; and then there are those who try numerous things before finding what it is they were meant to do—I’ve realized that I’m in the second boat.
  5. Having conversations with people on-line. While still difficult, I’m making slow progress on this front—baby steps.
  6. Changing directions in terms of the career—there is going to be a learning curve, and there will be people who know more on the subject(s) than I do—and that’s perfectly fine. There is more to life than just work, and it’s fine to take things slow.
  7. Realizing that everyone is probably going to have an opinion on what I’m doing—I shouldn’t internalize any of their opinions, I can acknowledge them, but I need to listen to my own internal voice (intuition).
  8. Working through the various issues (and triggers) of my anxiety will take time—no one is perfect, and I really don’t need to give in depth explanations to anyone in terms of certain aspects of life.
  9. While making personal/professional development plans are a pain in the ass—they are beneficial. I just need to remember that I don’t have to try to cover all aspects of life in a single year—I can focus on one or two things, and then build/branch out from there for the following year(s).
  10. And finally—realizing that the first person who I should be absolutely loyal to is myself. I need to step into my own power, embrace my strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and everything in between. I acknowledge that by being (and staying true) to myself—not everyone will like the ‘new’ me, and that is perfectly fine. It’s time to figure out who really belongs in my ‘tribe’ and who only liked me for trying to blend into society.

All in all, the past ten months have been productive in terms of self-reflection—I know where I slipped up in terms of professional development when I was younger. It may take a little more work to play ‘catch-up’, but if I go at my own pace I will get there. Anxiety isn’t the happiest of companions to have on the trip—but if I make time to sit and talk with ‘her’ weekly I think we can find ways of working together on this journey called life. And finally—realizing that it is perfectly fine being a compassionate, caring, empathic person. While I’m not sure when those traits became politicized—I’m not going to apologize for being that type of person, neither am I going to apologize for being more spiritual than religious.

Have you ever wanted to write a letter to your younger self?

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