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New Year's Self-Evaluation: Your First Step in Making Resolutions

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calender-to-do-George-Redgrave.jpg George Redgrave / Flickr

Daily life is hectic. So much so that we often forget to stop and examine the big picture. Endings and beginnings are important opportunities for self evaluation. Graduate students experience beginnings and endings several times each year, with each semester. These are important times for reflection; however, the beginning of a new year is particularly valuable opportunity to examine the past and plan for the future. Even if you choose to not make resolutions you can use this quiet time at the end of the year to learn about yourself. Start your own self-analysis by considering your responses to these questions.

Last Year

  • How did my year begin?
  • What did I expect to happen this year? Were my expectations met?
  • What surprised me this year?
  • What disappointed me this year?
  • If I could do anything over, what would I choose?
  • How was my academic performance? What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • How might I address these weaknesses?
  • What have I learned this year? Academically? Personally?
  • What resolutions did I make last year?
  • If I did not keep my resolutions, why?
  • Did my experiences this year match my expectations?
  • What surprised me? Disappointed?
  • If I could do anything over, what would I choose? What would I do differently?

The New Year

  • How will this year be different from last year?
  • In what ways do I expect this year to be similar as last?
  • What challenges do I expect to face this year?
  • How might I best prepare for the challenges that I expect to face?
  • What do I hope to improve in my life?
  • What are my strengths?
  • Considering my physical health, what are my strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Considering my mental health, my state of mind, what are my strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Considering my social network and social life, what are my strengths? What areas are in need of improvement?
  • Of all the possibilities, what 2 or 3 areas do I wish to improve?
  • What specifically will I improve for each? For each area, how will I mark change?

New year's resolutions, goals, and plans for change begin with a self evaluation. Take a moment to consider where you’ve been and where you would like to go.

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