Re-start 2012 – Commitment vs. Motivation

January is rocketing by pretty quickly and I found myself wondering if I was ever going to accomplish what I had set out to do this year.  Instead of “doing” however I do what most PhDs would do – spend hours on the internet, catching up on emails, making tea, looking for more articles and books I intend to read (during some tomorrow in the future).

During this morning’s twitter feed trawl I found this timely article by the Thesis Whisperer who shared her thoughts on being disappointed when her goals and plans for the new year weren’t being reached.  In the post she references Peter Bregman’s blog that reveals that the problem isn’t really motivation but one’s commitment to taking action.  It’s not that I don’t care enough – quite the opposite – it’s just that I haven’t actually articulated my goals in a way that conveys do-able actions.  So while Bregman’s blog revolves around exercise, there’s a lesson to take from it.

After reading both blog posts I went back to my previous list of goals for this year and worked on how to break these down into something that conveys action.  Ok, I know writing down goals isn’t for everyone, but it works for me.  And so, here is my revised list for things to do for 2012:

Finish stage 3 of my data generation stages (non- negotiable, time is not on my side anymore):  I will refine my methodological stance by using the dataset from P1 first as an example before moving ahead with other 9 (or so) datasets.  I will also continue reading one article everyday, for 30 days (see my 30 Day Challenge page on reading) focusing on narrative studies.

Finish writing draft 1 of thesis:  I will aim to write 200 words a day (inclusive of notes, comments and any other memos).

Some of these were taken from Jason Down’s list of suggestions in the Thesis Whisperer’s post, although I’m not sure I can commit to doing these first before everything else. Should I need to set a schedule in the future, then so be it.  My revised list makes me feel a little more assured that I’ll be able to get this thesis finished in time.

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