PhD Life

End of the Year Reflection for Your Best Year Ever

Have Your Best Year Ever

We are going to take some time to reflect and set intentions for the first part of this series. Now, I know some of you are probably like, but I'm tired. The semester is ending, and you may feel exhausted. I used to take the first few weeks of summer off to rest and watch TV. I wouldn't prepare for the summer or the fall. Therefore, I was scrambling as summer classes started.


And then I'm back to where I was feeling stressed out, overworked and feeling like I could never catch up. And maybe you've said to yourself, "I could catch up if I had a couple of days just to get organized. I could figure out what I needed to do."

I've got to tell you that you will get those days. You probably have those days now, and you probably are still not organizing yourself. Your lack of progress has nothing to do with the time that you think you need. Your progress is completely depended on your thoughts. I spend the most time with my clients on their thoughts and beliefs. Once we can clean up the mind stuff, the anxiety and exhaustion dramatically reduce.  

You're probably wondering if you need this degree? You're probably would just over it; especially if you've had two to three years in your program. You're probably really feeling the exhaustion and burnout.

I believe that it doesn't have to be that way. You can finish your program and maintain your health, joy, and sanity. You can do this process. Sure, is it going to require some time and energy? Absolutely, but it does not have to require you to give up your whole being.


4 Steps

I create a guide for this first part to help you through this. Click here to follow along.

Part 1: How would you describe this past academic year?

Take 5 to 10 minutes in the next couple of days and reflect on this past academic year.

  • What went well?

  • What didn't go so well?

  • How did you feel over this past year?

  • What are the things that you are most proud of?

  • What are the things that you wish would have done better?

  • What are some projects that you never got to but wanted to finish?

I want you to think about all of those things and brain dump for 10 minutes. Just dump all of whatever thought that comes to your head.

Sit this brain dump to the side after you have dumped everything you could think of on the paper.

Part 2: What does it mean to be the ideal Ph.D. student?

Think about all those people who seem to be excelling in their Ph.D. program. You know those people who seem to have it all together! Imagine what their lives are like and what helps them to be so successful. Imagine if you were the same as them.

If you were the perfect Ph.D. student:

  • How would you behave?

  • What would you do every day?

  • How would you show up?

  • How would you be in class?

  • How would you be in writing?

  • What would you be doing throughout your day?

  • What would be some things that you would accomplish if you were completely caught up and you were feeling refreshed?

  • Knowing what you know now with all the time that you've been in the program, who would you be?  

Take another 5 or 10 minutes and dump the answers out to these questions.

And then the third part, this may be the most challenging part.

Part 3: What do you want?

We often get caught up in thinking about what is going wrong or what we want to change. Instead, we don't give ourselves enough time to think about what we want instead.  The third part will provide you with the perfect opportunity to reflect on your goals during this time.

What do you want?

Well, you may say I want to graduate and finish and become a doctor. What about the time in between; before you get to graduation, throughout this process, throughout this program, what do you want?

  • Do you want to have a certain amount of publications?

  • Do you want to get physically fit?

  • Want to have a good friend group?

  • Do you want to be nominated for Dissertation of the Year?

  • Do you want a specific type of assistantship?

  • Do you want to switch from a full-time job?

By the end of this process, by the time you graduate, what do you want?

Take time to answer this question.

Part 4: Who do you have to be to get what you want?

You may need to go to the second part or even reflect on the first part to answer this question. Once you examine what you want, then think about you have to be to get that?

Sit down and reflect on these questions because there is no way to set good intentions or goals without doing this part first. The answers to these questions will be you why, your compelling reasons that will help you complete your dissertations. Especially in those hard moments when it is challenging to write, you will need compelling reasons to help you sit down and write.

You may need a couple of days, and you may need to write some things down. Fill out the form below to get your copy of the guide!

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