New Year, New Me: Research Resolutions

happy new year

Happy New Year! Now that 2020 is here, will you be making any new year’s resolutions? In today’s post, Sophie provides some research related resolutions that you might wish to try too!


We have just said goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020. A whole new decade. A New Year brings promise, hope and of course New Year’s resolutions! We may feel pressure to come up with a big goal for the New Year, more often than not these are unachievable! Instead, there are plenty of small actions that we can undertake to create a more positive working day. Therefore, I have provided some research related resolution examples below that you might wish to use too!


  1. To limit comparisons to others
  • Research in psychology suggests that it is normal to make comparisons. Comparisons with others can help us to make evaluations about our own performance. However, this isn’t always helpful. Mainly because PhD projects are unique and people will make progress in different ways at different times.

If you find yourself comparing your project to someone else’s, then why not write down three positive things that you have achieved either that day or on your PhD so far.  This may help you to focus on the positive elements of your

        2. To drink more water at work

  • “Would anyone like a cup of tea?” this is a very common phrase used in my office! Walking to the kitchen is a great excuse to have a break from sitting at a desk for long periods of time. However, it has recently struck me how little water I drink at work. Keeping hydrated is really important for our concentration, productivity and can prevent headaches.
  • To increase your water consumption, you could bring in a glass from home to keep on your desk at all times (although you could try a water bottle if you prefer). You could also add fresh lemon or lime to your water.


       3. To know when it is time to stop working

  • When you want to make progress on your research or you have lots of deadlines to meet you may find yourself working long into the evening. Sometimes this is unavoidable. However, if this is something that you find yourself doing regularly it may impact your relaxation time away from your PhD. This also can negatively affect your stress levels, mood, and quality of sleep.
  • You could set yourself working hours each day and try to stick to them. You may find that you achieve a lot more within a finite amount of time!


      4. To celebrate small achievements

  • This may sound simple but during a PhD it is very easy to forget to celebrate small steps of progress.
  • Why not share these small wins with your colleagues and vice versa. It can promote a positive working environment. You could even go for a coffee somewhere on campus to celebrate!


Final words: New Year can be a good opportunity to reflect on our working behaviours. So why not try one of these tips? In order to be successful New year’s resolutions don’t have to be big goals. In fact small changes are proven to be more achievable and can have a big impact for your wellbeing.

2 thoughts on “New Year, New Me: Research Resolutions

  1. I start my PhD next month. I’ve been told time and time again to make sure I don’t overdo it with the work/research. I honestly have no idea what to expect once I start, but I am heeding this (and your) advice, very much trying to keep it on the forefront of my mind.

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