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  • Writer's pictureMaria Stefanidi

How committed are you to finishing your dissertation?

Anyone and everyone can talk about what they want.

You might say, "I want a better job.", "I want to finish my dissertation", or "I want a promotion or a raise."

So what? A lot of students want that stuff.

There's a massive difference between wanting something and saying, "I will get a better job.", "I will finish my dissertation.", or "I will get a promotion or raise.".

The "I want" stuff is usually just talk versus the "I will" stuff that's commitment.

So, how do you get yourself into a committed mindset?


How does commitment work?

You haven't finished your dissertation because you are not committed to graduating and moving on with your life.

It may sound a little harsh, but it's true.

I mean that once you have committed to finishing your dissertation, you'll be able to successfully submit it on time. It's about committing to the possibility of achieving your goal.

Decide to complete your dissertation instead of simply saying, "I want to finish my dissertation."

First, make a decision and then make a commitment. Most students believe that they must be wholeheartedly committed to a decision before even making it.

But that's not the case. Commitment comes after you make the decision! Once you've made the decision, your brain will become increasingly committed to that decision.

  1. Make a decision (I will finish my dissertation)

  2. Accept responsibility (I am in charge; it's up to me to finish it)

  3. Plan

  4. Take action (Do at least one dissertation-related task every day)

In order to achieve a new outcome, like getting your degree, you must first make a decision and commit to it.

Indecision leads to a lack of commitment, so nothing really changes.


Three ways for making commitment simple!

1) Break it down

You must make things easier for your brain so that it won't freak out by how huge your dissertation is as a project.

Making micro-decisions and taking micro-actions can help enormously in making things more digestible.

You can make a micro-decision related to your dissertation followed by a small action, such as finding a journal, reading abstracts, finding keywords, organizing your files or notes, taking notes, etc. You'll feel great once you accomplish even just one task. By that time, you realize that you are actually making progress, and you want to do it all over again.

In other words, after making small decisions and taking micro-actions for a while, you start to enjoy it, you can clearly see the progress you make and keep going, and before you know it, you're all in!

Nothing is going to stand in your way now. Remember that all this started with a small decision and a tiny action on your part!

2) Visualization

Another way to make commitment simple is through visualization. When you visualize yourself doing something, you actually activate the action center of your brain.

Gabrielle Oettingen, in her book, "Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation," develops a visualization method called W.O.O.P.

The acronym W.O.O.P. stands for:





When you use this visualization method, you can see your goal coming to fruition while also identifying the roadblocks along the way.

3) The Spreading of Alternatives

I came across this term while listening to Sean Croxton's Podcast, "Mindset Coach". It's an exercise where you create a list of everything you don't like about your current situation as a student.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

So, you want to finish your dissertation, right?

You're going to jot down a long list of what sucks right now.

  • You haven't graduated yet (despite studying for SO long).

  • You are overwhelmed and constantly stressed.

  • You can't get a raise or promotion since you still don't have your degree.

You could probably fill many pages with things that don't work at the moment. The point of this list is to show yourself that you are utterly dissatisfied with your current situation. And that's not okay.

Take a long look at that list.

You deserve SO much better than this.

It's time to take a break and a deep breath.

Now, I want you to make a list of how things will be better in the future once you finish your dissertation and get that degree.

  • You feel more confident about yourself.

  • You are proud of what you've accomplished.

  • You have more time on your hands.

  • You can finally apply for that raise or promotion.

  • New career opportunities start to appear.

Your future looks brighter!

Look at the massive difference between the two lists...

To conclude, you make a commitment. You have less negative self-talk going on inside your head. Instead of saying "I want", say "I will".

Because you will!


If you enjoyed my blog post, check out my social media accounts on Instagram, and LinkedIn for more dissertation-related ideas, tips, inspiration, and motivation!

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