New Year’s THEME Instead of Resolution: What Would Be Your Theme and Litmus Test Question?

Over at one of my favorite academic blogs, The Thesis Whisperer, I posted the following response to the blog author’s latest entry about the power in having a New Year’s theme versus a New Year’s resolution:

. . . I’m thus now updating my theme: This year’s theme is “instrumental.” In goal form, this would be: “I maintain an 85-to-15 . . . or better . . . instrumental-to-expressive SPLIT of my thesising activity!”

I choose this theme because it’s most pressing for me as a grad student at this juncture. Here is a quote to explain what these terms mean:“Instrumental behaviour consists of actions leading toward a stated goal; for instance, the goal of learning to drive a car might involve the instrumental behaviours of booking driving lessons, buying a copy of the Highway Code etc. Measured against this criterion, the de Leonists’ behaviour appeared senseless. Expressive behaviour, on the other hand, consists of actions demonstrating to other people what sort of person you are; for instance, sitting in the front of a lecture theatre and taking copious notes in a very visible manner to show that you take your studies very seriously.” Source: Petre, Marian; Rugg, Gordon (2011-03-28). The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research (Open Up Study Skills) (Kindle Locations 366-370). McGraw Hill International. Kindle Edition.

THAT all said, “instrumental” may suffice to capture my theme for the year. “Is what I’m about to do INSTRUMENTAL?” would be my litmus test question. 

What about you? What would be your theme and corresponding litmus test question?

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2 thoughts on “New Year’s THEME Instead of Resolution: What Would Be Your Theme and Litmus Test Question?

  1. Pingback: August 2, 2013: MAJOR Progress (woot!) and The Single System of Academic Writing (3 pics) | Reflections of a BLOSSOMING-Fledgling Researcher Writer

  2. Update to the updated theme: UNDAUNTED. I saw a book in the christian bookstore by this title, and after flipping through the book a bit, I realized that I want to add “undaunted” to my New Year’s theme. 🙂 And then later this weekend, I heard a sermon that just so happened to be on the same topic. The preacher spoke about the burning bush in the bible that was not consumed. He played out talk with the burning bush: You say, “You’re on fire!” And the bush says, “YOU’RE on fire.” And then you say, “But you’re not being CONSUMED!?!!” And the bush says, “Neither are you!” Love it! Creative as ALL GET OUT! 🙂

    Anyway, so it looks like my New Year’s theme will look something like this: “On fire, undaunted, not being consumed, and maintaining an 85/15 split between my instrumental to expressive researching/writing activity.” Yup! I like it.

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