New Year’s Resolutions, Five-Year Plans, and Paths to Professionalism

It’s that time of year again, time to dust off the previous year’s resolutions and revise them to reflect one’s goals for the coming year. This year, instead of making a to-do list I’m making a five-year plan incorporating long-term goals in a way that, I hope, will help me become a better and more productive researcher.

My five-year plan includes:

  • Educational programs I hope to attend.
  • Book-length transcription projects I would like to work on.
  • An outline of projects to complete so that I can apply for certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • Other projects that will help me become a better researcher and a better professional, like updating my records and resources web site (an ongoing project), writing popular and scholarly articles, and developing lectures on topics of local interest.
  • Personal goals.

I’ve divided the above between the next five years, and further subdivided those into what I hope to accomplish each month.

Making concrete goals and having a plan for fulfilling them is an important part of the growth process. I find, increasingly, that merely making of list of items I need to work on doesn’t get me any closer to meeting the long-term goals I’ve set for myself. Hence, the five-year detailed plan.

While I am setting concrete monthly, weekly, and daily goals (especially important for lengthy transcription projects), I realize that I have to remain flexible. As my friend Johnny Parisi says, it’s written on paper, not in stone. However, knowing that I have two and a half years to finish the certification process or otherwise qualify for Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Course 4: Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis (given annually at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research) in June 2014 is a great motivator. In turn, I know that in order to be the best genealogy professional I can be, my ultimate goal, I will need to attend that course and others.

Happy New Year to all my friends and fellow researchers. May 2012 be a happy, productive, and profitable year for you all.

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