Posts Tagged ‘following through’

I asked one of my dissertation coaching clients if he planned to make any resolutions for the New Year.

He said, “I make changes throughout the year.”

He has a long-term plan in place and makes changes as needed.  What great planning!

If you also have a plan in place that is working for you, congratulations!  Keep it going.

But for most of us, even if our writing plan or dissertation plan is working, some midstream adjustments might be needed.

We need all sorts of support and reminders to keep the action going.

As you consider making resolutions for 2008, consider first where change would be the most effective and then how you could put a few check points in place.

Here are 5 tips to make sure this year’s plan is solid and well supported:

1. Make a list of the areas of your dissertation where you have control.

2. Check where you could fine-tune those areas. Which are priorities?  Which can you let go of for now?

3.  What one aspect of your dissertation process have you been avoiding? Pivotal changes usually come from small steps.

4.  Buddy up with a resolute partner.  Who do you know who is determined to finish a writing project or to help you finish?  What are you waiting for?

5.  Put check points in place, such as weekly calls, a timetable for submitting work, or notes to yourself in your calendar.  Anticipate times where you think you’ll have challenges.  Every two months or every three months?  Every week?

Sometimes the work becomes a bit bogged down and without clear check points in place, we miss (or avoid) looking at what adjustments are needed.

Resolutions are terrific, but we need added measures in place to keep us honest.

We all mean well, but, heck, we’re human.  If there’s a way out or a way to slow down, we’ll probably take that route.

But not this year!

All good wishes, with hope and gratitude thrown in, too.  Let me know if I can help.  Here’s wishing you a happy and productive 2008.

Your Dissertation Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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What is it that you think you don’t have, but if you had it, your work would be so much easier?  What is the difference between you and that PhD on the tenure track at a great school?

Over and over, what comes up as my dissertation clients and I talk is the question of perseverance.

Interestingly, my clients think they lack perseverance.  They think this because they find that writing their dissertation is so hard and is taking such a long time.

In their other lives, that part where they aren’t hounded by their dissertation, they pinpoint and complete small tasks.  They know that finishing the small tasks often moves them forward toward a larger goal. 

But they claim they lack perseverance.

They seem surprised when I say that their showing up each week on their phone call with me shows perseverance.

When I praise them for not over-promising on how much they will write during any one week, and, instead, for delivering on real, manageable tasks, they seem surprised that I call that perseverance.

Perseverance does not mean producing a stellar work in near record time.

The key to finishing a dissertation is steady, even if slow, work—week after week of following through on one small task after another.

To persevere, you don’t have to keep your eyes on some huge mountain down the road that you have to climb.  More often, it means just fastening your eye on one pebble ahead of where your foot will fall and keep taking one small step after another.

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Until next time,

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