11 Resolutions & Goals Post-PhD

New Years Resolutions and GoalsHappy New Year!

I can’t believe we are in 2018 now! Time is flying by.

I also can’t believe I am 3.5 months into my postdoc. I feel like I am still brand new, and I still haven’t gotten any great new findings. But I have collected a lot of data.

I wanted to write down some resolutions/goals post-PhD, that maybe you can think about incorporating into your daily routine/life.  I don’t like having “resolutions” for the new year, because what really  changes other than the calendar month and the year? If it motivates you to put in positive change, though, then I’m all for it. Just know that nothing really changes unless you put in the effort.

Anyway – here are 10 Resolutions/Goals Post-PhD for 2018.

1. Read more – scientific papers related to project, but also other science that interests me. 
With so much going on and so much focus on our own projects during grad school, I found myself with very little time and energy to read about other interesting science. I was so focused on trying to finish my dissertation and experiments for papers, I lost track of reading about new and exciting accomplishments. I only skimmed the surface. I’m also trying to more actively read for my projects – in grad school sometimes I was even too busy to keep up with the literature unless I had to. So my number one resolution/goal is to READ MORE. 🙂

2. Break up with the Toxic thoughts in my head and #impostersyndrome.
A huge issue I had post-phd and entering a new job/space was battling the thoughts in my mind that told myself I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t smart enough or good enough to be in the position I was hired for, that I was somehow tricking the system. But I just got my PhD! If I wasn’t good enough, I wouldn’t have had the publications I did, and if I wasn’t up to par, my committee wouldn’t have approved me, and I wouldn’t have gotten my job. So its a lot of a mental game and just shutting up the negative thoughts.

3. Not compare yourself to others.
I think it’s because of social media, but I’ve had the bad habit of comparing myself to others, and putting myself down for not being as “put together” as others. That I’m not as fit as others (hello, photoshop), and that I’m just not succeeding based on what others post (hello, its their highlight reel!). So we just need to get out of that comparison game, and just take it day by day, what works for YOU. How  does that other person get it all done in the day and I can barely cross a few things off my list? They probably aren’t. Just because they post about it, doesn’t mean its perfect.

4. Go on a social media break.
I’ve been obsessively checking instagram/social media and some nights/days I’m on my phone for HOURS, just aimlessly scrolling.I tell myself this is how I unwind, but I’m straining my eyes, flooding my mind with not very important information, and I could be doing something way more productive. Like, working on my blog, creating more content, reading more papers, networking, working out… I resolve to use social media less, and only use it when I have a purpose like to post or look at others posts!

5. Work life balance and working out.
Something I preached during grad school was making sure you have a work-life balance. Sure, I didn’t do the best job at that all the time during grad school, but post PhD, I’m making it happen. Science is science and will happen and sometimes you can’t do much as cells take time to grow, have to wait for reagents to arrive, etc. I try to be very productive and focused at work, so I can leave at a reasonable time and still have enough time after work to relax and do things I want to, like working out. I feel best when I workout, so having enough time to exercise and eat well has made a huge difference on my health, mental wellness, and attention/focus at work!

6. Be more PRESENT.
When I visited my boyfriend this past holiday season, I really worked hard to BE PRESENT in the moment. To not be away by scrolling on social media, talking to people on text message, constantly taking photos and recording moments. I decided to put my phone away and enjoy the moment. No one needs to see a 30 second clip of what I’m eating or doing at that specific moment! Ive also tried to be more present by enjoying walks to work, and again, not being glued to my phone!

7. Network. 
As a postdoc, your next position comes from your success in your work and the connections you make. As with grad school, networking is important to help find that next job, and I think its even more important to make those connections as a postdoc early, so you aren’t forcing relationships when you need to find a job and you are desperate!

8. Be more organized.
I have been writing down a to-do list, for daily tasks, as well as quarterly goals. Write down what you want to accomplish. Look at it frequently to reorient yourself. Look at it frequently to realize, is what I’m doing right now getting me any closer to achieving that overarching goal? I’ve created some planning sheets over on my Etsy Shop  that can help you lay out your goals, but also having a planner can help! I’ve used the cute BanDo planners in the past, and even a desk calendar can be handy! I used to use a desk calendar for years in grad school, and I’m bringing it back!

9. Love more often and Be more kind.
It’s hard when you are stressed, in a bad mood, etc., to just feel like the whole world is against you. When you are having an issue with a company/airline etc., it’s hard to not lash out at the customer service rep or agent. I realized that they have no power over the situation, and will try their  best to help you, but you won’t get that if you are screaming in their face. Kindness goes a long way. Even smiling at someone on the road when you are walking, can make a small impact.

10. Do something fun for yourself each week.
Treat yourself that pastry you’ve been eyeing all week. Go to that fun fitness class you’ve been wanting to attend all year. Indulge in a spa day, nail day, shopping trip, whatever. Can always set it as a “reward” for getting through the week!

11. Travel.
Whether it’s for a conference or pleasure, travel more often. Go on weekend trips, go to another country and explore a different culture. Expose yourself to diverse people and cultures and you will come back more enlightened and a fresh perspective on the world! I didn’t get to travel much in 2017, but I had so much going on from defending PhD, moving, starting a new job, etc. But I hope to do a few trips this year! What’s on your list for this year??

Would you add anything to this resolution/goal list for 2018? What’s your ultimate goal for this new year and what steps are you taking to accomplish it?

Let me know in the comments below! xo





  1. January 9, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    Loved you post and resolutions, dear Andrea! I hope you reach everything! Networking can be a good thing, traveling, of course, but it’s understandable, you moved, you were researching, of course it was a year devoted to those priorities. Now you can do it this year! The impostor’s syndrome is something we all have to battle. I was offered a position for a phd last year and then already into the research I felt, “who am I fooling?” and that, even when people already said that I was turning to be an expert in the area… of course not, but those words were nice – and still, I felt like fooling others. It was so good to read your post, Andrea, you always help me with your thoughts! Hope you have a great 2018! Hugs!

  2. January 13, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Change supervisors.

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