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Academic Resolutions for 2017?

With 2017 upon us, and 2016 thankfully in the rear-view mirror, many of us are making resolutions. Many of us at ProfHacker ponder resolution season: a few years ago, Kathleen Fitzpatrick made some good arguments for making new year resolutions at the start of the academic year rather than the calendar year; George invited readers to reflect on their resolution-making; and Amy Cavender suggested using resolutions as a way to learn from past mistakes. I have a love-hate relationship with resolutions. I’ve mostly never kept them, except for one year where peer pressure and a particularly motivated set of dear friends converted me from a couch potato to a (slow) distance runner. However, I can’t resist resolution season, and the hope that trying to create new habits is worth the inevitable failures.

This year, I’m focusing on resolutions that recapture academic habits I’ve faltered in since I started tenure track life. Here are my primary goals:

  • Write 1000 words a day. I’ve never had any trouble with setting aside a block of time every day to write, but I’ve found lately that judging progress by time isn’t enough. Since I’d like to do more with public-facing writing as well as keep on top of my scholarly projects, particularly in light of current events, I want to increase my overall output.
  • Edit something every day. Writing first drafts is great, but I have plenty of those saved on my hard drive. Every day, I plan to devote thirty minutes to picking one up something and spending some time editing and revising towards figuring out where it is going and whether it is worth developing further.
  • Document my reading. I used to keep fairly comprehensive logs of my reading, which in turn helped me read more. This year, I’m planning on using Goodreads to at least write short thoughts on every book I read. I’m hoping this will also spur more time for fiction and keeping up with young adult novels.

With these resolutions, I’m focusing on adding a few more hopefully-sustainable habits to my daily routines. I find that this type of daily action is the most important part of maintaining both research and a sense of balance in academia, as it staves off procrastination and its ensuing stresses. These goals are of course balanced by wellness resolutions, which I also find are most achievable in terms of daily activity rather than more ambitious or numbers-focused goals.

What are your academic resolutions for 2017? Share your goals and new habits in the comments!

[Public Domain photo by Jdmoar]

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