New Year’s Resolutions

Maria Popova has compiled one of the cleverest lists of New Year’s resolutions I’ve seen, using ideas from some of history’s great thinkers.

You may not agree with all fifteen resolutions, but you’ll definitely find some of them intriguing. Four of my favourites are:

1] Make your life wide rather than long

2] Cultivate a growth mindset

3] Think rather than know

4] Master critical thinking

Pay special attention to “Cultivating a growth mindset.” It’s an example of what I wrote about in my previous post–how thinking the right things can be just as important as doing the right things.

One-Word Tips—Part One


There it is. Just one word, but a meaningful one.

If you want to succeed in your studies, you need to read…a lot. Read everything the professors assign. And then read more things from your field of study that are important and/or recent and that interest you. To make yourself stand out as an excellent student, you need to be aware of trends within your area of study and you need to demonstrate your commitment to mastering the body of knowledge in your field.

If the thought of spending an hour or two reading journal articles or other publications within your field of study seems boring to you, then maybe you’re studying the wrong thing.

Reading is also important for becoming an engaging writer and communicator. The best way to become a strong writer (and this is crucial to your success) is to read a lot. You’ll learn the vocabulary and styles within your field that way, while keeping up with new ideas.

As a writer and writing instructor, I always say that if I had to give a lecture on writing that could only be one sentence long, I’d say this: “Read the sort of things you want to write.”

If you want to write excellent journal articles on materials engineering, read excellent journal articles on materials engineering. If you want to write an amazing action screenplay, then read amazing action screenplays.

Here’s my challenge to you: find an interesting article from your area of study, sit back and relax, and read it carefully.

You’ve taken the first small step toward success!