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.