Monday, January 10, 2011

Even though it feels cheesy

A few months ago, my counselor gave me an assignment.  I'd just told her about how I keep having to remind myself that my dissertation and my PhD are the beginning and not the end of my career: this isn't the end result of a life's work, but a first effort that just needs to be finished.  It doesn't have to be ground-breaking; it just has to be completed. 

So, after I said something along the lines of "I really should post that message on my wall above my desk, because I keep forgetting," my counselor suggested that I do just that.  She gave me an assignment: write down some affirmations and reminders and post them where I can see them when I work.

I got excited about doing that until I got home and started worrying that it seemed cheesy to do that.  My desk faces a big poster!  Where am I supposed to put a bunch of affirmations?  Won't that seem especially cheesy to any houseguests who stay in our office?

And so I procrastinated from doing that.  And procrastinated from booking my next counseling appointment.  I got a lot of work done during that time, but after I finished my last of my research, I found myself stuck.  And procrastinating a lot.

And so here I am in January, trying to get myself back on track, and trying not to feel guilty about how unproductive December was.  I've done a bit of writing in this current chapter, but it's hard getting past all the negative self-talk.  I think that the fact that I was also procrastinating from a task that I knew I ought to do didn't help.  And then this morning, as I was trying to figure out how to organize my bedroom, I noticed that I have this little photo holder stand that was taking up too much room on my dresser.  The pictures in the stand were several years old, and while I was trying to figure out what to do with it, I realised that this could be a good place to put my little affirmations, instead of finding places on my wall. 

I've written up four so far.  For a while, I wasn't even sure what to write (other than the first statement I'd made to my counselor), and so I went through my blog for some inspiration.  This post from mid-2007 gave me a lot of ideas. 

So far, this is what I have:
- I love my research
- My dissertation just needs to be finished, not perfect or ground-breaking.  I am capable of doing this.
- I am going to finish.
- I can't measure my self-worth by external validation.

So.  I'm allowing myself to be a little bit cheesy, with the hope that this will help.  Because I really want to get this writing finished.


leftyconcarne said...

I had "the best dissertation is the done dissertation" on a post it on my desktop last spring... it helped.

Also, think of it like chapters -- until you get them all done... then worry about making it cohesive.

I also found that keeping notes for each of the other chapters while I was working on one helped a lot... it kept me focused.

Julia H. said...

I have cheesy affirmations for my running goals posted on my bathroom wall next to the mirror. For the longest time I thought hubby would laugh at me. I was so wrong: instead of thinking I'm foolish, he's super supportive of my goals! I wish I hadn't waited so long to post my affirmations!

LynnieC said...

Wanna know my class's motto from grad school? "Done is better than good." Seriously. We had it written up all around our work space. I think the profs found it very inspiring.

Affirmations for Miss Mary:

"I have an enviable booty." (On account of you totally do)

"Haben ze ein klein hunda freund? Cause I do!" (On account of Vicki is your klein hunda freund, even if she is so far away)


"LynnieC believes in me!" (both because it is true and because it rhymes. And I like rhymes.)