The time of year has arrived to break all the resolutions of the New Year. A couple of weeks of eating well and exercising regularly are surely sufficient to meet the well-meaning criteria we set out on December 31st. And now there’s the whole rest of the year to make ourselves feel guilty enough to make new promises next December.
This year I have been incredibly efficient with my new year’s resolutions. I went for a run* on New Year’s eve AND New Year’s day, effectively achieving two years’ worth of resolutions within a couple of days. On top of that, I have been snacking on fruit** for the whole year – up until last night when I found another packet of chocolate hidden at the back of the pantry.
Aside from these health-related-and-thus-completely-unrealistic resolutions, there are some resolutions that are really worth keeping. Here are 5 things worth doing this year:
1. Contribute to Wikipedia
Ever Google-d your research topic and brought up a cringe-worthy entry in Wikipedia? I have. It made me sad. But instead of wallowing in sorrow, this year I resolve to make the change and add my (comparatively) knowledgeable voice to THE most popular go-to reference source on the planet.
Adding or improving entries in Wikipedia is the best way to get accurate knowledge out there.
2. Call out bad science
So many information sources spout blatant rubbish as ‘fact’. Some are harmless, others are potentially dangerous. Last year I happened upon an anti-GMO article that was full of scare-mongering rather than a considered and factual argument. I met with the editor, explained why the article was incorrect and they generously agreed to publish an article based on actual science.
It may be a small thing, but in a world of peer-reviewed information, there is no place for bad science.
3. Publish that back-log of data
Research has been going solidly for, like, ever, and most of my time has been spent generating data and coordinating projects. This year it’s about time I sit down and assess the data and get those papers written.
After all, if the data isn’t published, the knowledge doesn’t exist.
4. Tell people about research
Non-scientists really don’t know what the life of a researcher is like and many don’t understand scientific processes. There are so many science communication programs around – like national science week or science in the pub – it’s easy to get involved and tell interested audiences about science in real life.
5. Have coffee breaks with colleagues
Ok, admittedly this is an easy one. But occasionally when work pressures are on, it is useful to remember to stop and take a break with a coffee and colleagues, and discuss research problems, safety issues, the weekend, the weather or the latest reality TV show. Return to work mentally refreshed and with a new perspective.
Now all I need is to make these resolutions more of a reality than my ridiculous ideas about eating well and exercising.
*Some might consider ‘walk’ more accurate. Or, at best, ‘shuffle-stagger-walk’.
**Raspberry-swirl ice cream counts as fruit, right?