There’s no doubt 2020 was difficult for most of us. Many of us started the year with new year’s resolutions to get fit, have more work-life balance, finish one chapter of your thesis each month, etc., etc., etc. To be honest, even without COVID-19, many of these resolutions would have met the same sorry demise, some sooner than when the pandemic arrived.

Here’s the thing about resolutions: there’s a quality of inevitable disappointment in them. They are artefacts of our aspirations that often get lost along the way as the daily grind of deadlines, reports, administration set in along with the mental blocks and lost of inspiration.

So this year, I’ve decided to do things differently.

Pick one thing and DO IT NOW

This year I decided I’m not gonna spend the last few days of the year thinking about all the things I want to do next year that I’ll probably give up on in a few weeks. No resolution(S) for 2021. This year, I’m gonna pick one thing and I’m going to do it now because getting started is often the most difficult part. Now is a good time to start because there’s no good time to start. And the same way the river flows around a boulder in the middle of the rapids, your daily routine, weekly routine, will quickly mould themselves around your new rock. This way, it’s easier to keep the momentum going as the year kicks in.

Start slow, it’s a marathon

Another common pitfall in setting and starting new year’s resolutions is that we start with so much enthusiasm but we lose steam as quickly as we started. One good way of thinking about it is to try and imagine yourself doing this thing (your resolution) three months from now. How would you be feeling about this then? What can you do to not feel bored or demotivated three months from now? And start making adjustments now so you’ll be better prepared to stay motivated down the road.

My resolution”thing” for this year was to start this blog, and to write about the myriad issues I’ve encountered as an “early-career” academic, and also share those of my friends and colleagues from all over the world.

I’ve now planted my boulder in the river. I hope as the new year begins, the hustle and bustle of daily life won’t wash this new boulder away.

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