New Year’s Resolutions for Academics

In six days, 2014 commences and people across the globe will make resolutions to change their habits in areas concerning health, wealth, family, and work.  I do not make such resolutions, but that minor detail will not stop me from providing some boilerplate resolutions for academics.  Here are a few ideas to kick off the resolution-making New Year.*



– I will collect one data point per day.

– I will create one data point per day (perhaps per month if your data involves war onsets).

– I will make sure my "thank you" section includes more genuine choices than strategic choices.

– I will actually write a paper before I write the abstract and submit it to a conference.

– I will derive all of my hypotheses from theory.

– I will write my theory sections before I write my results sections.

– I will not gamble on the probability that a conference will extend its deadline for submissions.

– I will book my hotel/flight more than two days in advance.

– I will write more words of non-fiction than fiction.

– I will read and comprehend the formal theory articles I cite instead of just reading the titles.

– I will include more genuine citations than self-citations.



– I will read the papers before I grade them.

– I will know the topic before I lecture on it.

– I will wake up at least ten minutes prior to any lecture I must give.

– I will answer all student emails; even if it is the same question from the same student for the third time. My dog is no longer "eating my emails."

– I will wear at least two different ties during the semester. 

– I will not include unsolvable riddles in my Power Point slides.

– During exams, I will not put Europe's "Final Countdown" on repeat over the speakers.

– I will make sure my students understand why proper international relations theory will allow them to achieve optimal victory conditions in Civilization V or Europa Universalis IV.


– I will return reviews prior to an "outstanding review" email from an editor.  Failing that, I will return it before the third such email.

– I will not use a Two-Face style coin to determine whether or not to desk-reject each submitted manuscript to my journal. 

– I will not attempt to filibuster committee decisions.

– I will blog on substantive topics and not just on popular culture items like movies and holidays.



*To be clear, this does not suggest that I engage in any of the behaviors the above resolutions seek to correct. That is, this list is meant purely for humor.


About Michael A. Allen

Michael is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Boise State University with a focus in International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Methodology (quantitative and formal). His work includes issues related to military basing abroad, asymmetric relations, cooperation, and conflict. He received his Ph.D from Binghamton University in 2011.

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