Looking Forward – Looking Back

In the now dated ‘Western’ movie ‘Paint your Wagon’, Lee Marvin ‘sings’ (talks) his way through the song ‘I was born under a wandering star’. The song includes the classic line ‘I’ve never seen a sight that didn’t look better looking back’.

Of course, how much better would it be if we got the optimum view of a sight from the front? So, for example, regarding the next academic year on the PhD perhaps we could think about how we can keep ourselves in optimum condition, so that we perform at our best whilst also enjoying our life. Of course life can intervene, through illness, injury or other events.

Nevertheless, looking forward to the year ahead it may be worthwhile to think how you can try to set yourself up to both:

  1. Perform to your optimum on your PhD work;
  2. Enjoy your experience of life during the same time period.

After all, whilst it may be good to look back with satisfaction, think how much better it would be to look forward with positive anticipation, enjoy the experience – and then – look back with satisfaction.

Some starting thoughts…

  1. Have you planned your work schedule? Maybe a project plan for the year. Schedule of meetings with supervisor. Focused time for work with no distractions, focused time for other things with no work. When you’re working you’re working.
  2. Have you thought about your physical health? Exercise schedule perhaps. Apparently, gyms make most of their money from people who sign up with good intentions but do not follow through buy going to the gym. You don’t want to be one of those. Set realistic exercise goals and strive to meet them.
  3. Have you thought about your mental wellbeing? Do you have a good social network? What can you do to improve it, if necessary? Perhaps practice some key skills such as ‘living in the moment’.
  4. Well really it is up to you…

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Martin Coffey

About Martin Coffey

Career Management Skills Developer, Researcher Development Team.

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