Looking forward…and backward
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success. – Pablo Picasso
Now that 2013 is underway, did you took some time to look at your achievements in 2012? Your most important realization? Your biggest miss (objective / goal / opportunity)? What fraction of things you wanted to put in motion for 2012 did you get to start or complete? For those who did not took off, what was the main reason and should you keep this on your plate for 2013?
Setting specific, well-define goals or objectives, defining the road to get there and be able to look back and question yourself (as above) once in a while is, in my opinion, a critical habit to be developed as early as possible in your research career. This is not to be confused with the general practice of new year resolutions, which tends to be vaporous, unquantifiable or unrealistic wishes. However, the start of the new year might very well be the best time to do this kind of exercise after a few days of slowing down or even plain vacation 😉