practical resolutions

Happy New Year folks!  I hope 2018 is treating you well so far?  Welcome to my first blog of the year.

As is traditional for this time of year, I will be writing about New Year’s Resolutions.  Before you decide to skip this post entirely, I’ll not be banging on about the latest diet that, according to most media outlets, everyone is supposed to be on, but rather the work-related goals you may be setting yourself this year, and how the Think Ahead offer may be able to assist you in achieving them.


Lots of people take the opportunity during the Christmas break to reflect on the previous year and what they would like to achieve in the forthcoming year.  January is seen as a time to start with a clean slate and to be optimistic about the year ahead.  Alongside the usual New Year goals of actually using your gym membership, you might be thinking of work-related targets such as; completing that piece of work which has been hanging around for what seems like *forever* or adopting the mantra “New Year, New Job”.

We all know that despite the good intentions, many people break their New Year’s Resolutions before January reaches double figures.  Why does this happen?  Is it because they are setting too many unrealistic targets for themselves or is it that the first failure demotivates them so much that they give up?  It’s more than likely a combination of the two.

If you’ve set work-related New Year’s Resolutions and you want support in achieving your goals, you might want to take a look at what Think Ahead has to offer to help keep you motivated throughout 2018.

Struggling with your thesis?  Check out Thesis Mentoring, a programme which runs twice a year (next programme starts in July 2018) and pairs experienced Post-Doctoral Researchers with PhD students over a 4-month period to set milestone goals and get that thesis sorted.

Not a PhD student, but feel you’d benefit from mentoring?  Think Ahead Mentoring is there for you (next intake is March 2018).  You’ll be matched with a mentor outside your department who can help you to develop the next stage of your career.

Do you struggle to dedicate time in your schedule to write?  Think Ahead Writing Retreats are held monthly and enable you to dedicate a morning, afternoon or whole day to writing by switching off the internet, sitting in a room away from your usual working environment with a group of people all of whom have a common goal (to up the word count) and taking regular, structured breaks.  You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve in a short space of time.

If your goal for the next 12 months is to develop independence and/or leaderships skills as a researcher, then you may want to consider investigating TRAM (The Researcher As Manager), Professional Skills for Research leaders, Springboard for Women and the Think Ahead: SURE scheme.

Have you reflected that academia isn’t the challenge that you’re looking for and you want to try something different?  If you don’t know where to start try attending a v i s t a careers seminar, read the weekly #sheffvista entries on our blog or take a look at v i s t a mentoring.  Alternatively, you can make an appointment with one of the dedicated careers advisers who specialise in working with researchers and discuss the options available to you.

Finally, looking after yourself is an important part of working, no matter what role you have and should be at the top of everyone’s New Year’s Resolution list.  Making time for a break from work is important and rather than negatively impacting on your work, it actually increases your productivity.  Think Ahead run wellbeing sessions – knitting for premature babies, paper craft and board games – over lunchtimes.  Come along and join us, take a break and chat to other researchers.  We also manage the @ResWellSheff twitter account which curates wellbeing information and links through to Researcher Wellbeing Week.

These are just a few elements of what Think Ahead has to offer researchers at Sheffield.  Visit our website for more development events which just might help you achieve your goals for 2018.


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