Every strategy begins with a goal: a clear picture of what should be achieved by the end of the action. The goal is the driver of an action: an action with no goal has no direction. In a PhD project, setting clear goals is vital. This article shows you how to set achievable goals.
A goal is a dream with a deadline.Napoleon Hill
The beginning of the year is the time for making resolutions. Take 40 minutes to prepare a successful research year. As a doctoral student, you need an efficient working strategy to master all your tasks. This article At the beginning of each strategy, there is a goal. First set your goal, then you will find the best way to reach it.
Then as a PHD student, your life is full of goals: Your thesis has a goal. Each text you write has a goal – even an email. Each reading should have a goal. Each interview, each experiment, each calculation you do should have a goal.
Please complete this questionnaire in writing and guard it preciously. I suggest that you imagine which SMART goal you absolutely want to reach by 31 December, but of course you can change the date if it sounds too far away.
- What is the specific goal you want to reach by 31 December 2020? One goal, one sentence (25 words maximum). If your goal is something like, “I want to do this and then to do that”, you actually have two goals. Please focus on the FINAL goal you want to reach.
- How will you know that you have reached your goal?
- How will you feel when you have reached it? Give as many details as possible.
- What concrete criteria is there for measuring your progress toward the achievement of your goal?
- What are the working steps (interim goals) which will lead you to the specific goal you want to reach? First brainstorm them, and then order them.
- What are the relevant tasks you need to do and the relevant texts you need to read in order to achieve your goal by 31 December 2018?
- What unnecessary tasks, reading, experiments will you decide not to do because they will not help you reach your goal by 31 December?
- Go back to the interim goals (question 5) and set deadlines for the first three.
- What working routine do you want to implement in your daily life to help yourself towards your goal? (Begin with one single practice. Once it has become a habit, you can implement another one).
- What bad habit, which hinders you from reaching your goal, do you want to quit this year? (Begin with one bad habit. Once you are rid of it, you can focus on the next one).
Remember to look at your answers once a month in order to add new goals, delete others or revise them.