Are you set for Inevitable Doctoral Success?

Gina Holmes
4 min readJan 18, 2022

By enrolling in your doctoral programme, you have set yourself a big, brave goal. Sometimes this seems like a great idea; other times, you’ll wonder exactly what you did wrong in a previous life to end up here. And if you’re juggling family, work commitments, and — well — life too … that’s why you’re here, right?

Thinking about Completing

Often, you’ll hear people-who-should-know-better say, “Set yourself up for inevitable success.” But what, exactly, does it mean to be set up for inevitable success?

Simply put, setting yourself up for inevitable success is creating the best possible conditions to thrive and succeed with whatever goal you set. It means to avoid the trap of self-sabotage — whether consciously or subconsciously. It’s mapping the best route to your end goal. For each doctoral candidate, that route will be slightly different, but we all have a common goal: completion!

It’s also being aware of the known pitfalls along the way. When you know what can possibly get in your way, you can plan for these challenges and avoid or overcome the obstacles more easily. This creates the best chance for your eventual success.

Plan For Success

Knowing how to set up for inevitable success does not guarantee success 100% of the time. However, without planning for and mapping out the steps to take, success is less likely to happen. So you could say that planning for your success is probably the easiest way or the fast track to that completion. The Doctoral Journey Designer is written especially to help doctoral candidates create a meaningful plan of action that is achievable and supports a positive progression of action.

As the first step, I strongly recommend using my Productively Planned Workbook, which will introduce you to the joys of planning your time and goals for greater achievement — get it here.

Your beliefs about how successful you can be WILL influence your outcome

This is so powerful. In academia, we don’t pay enough attention to our personal ontology. We say, “I just need to write more / get up earlier / spend more time on my thesis …” Yes and no.

Whether or not you achieve success may be ultimately traced back to your personal philosophy. What you believe to be true — this includes subconscious programming from childhood as well as what you believe to be true throughout your life has a virtual stranglehold on your work patterns and habits. One of the best ways to set yourself up for inevitable success is to have a check-in with your belief system.

Your Beliefs and Thoughts

Check in with your core values and what you believe to be true about yourself. These beliefs create your thoughts and what you tell yourself about the world and your place within it. Do you have thoughts that are empowering or do you believe that you’re not worthy of experiencing success?

What are your thoughts about achieving another degree as a benchmark for success? If your belief is that without the doctorate, you lack validity in your career, it will feel as if you’ve got your back to the wall, you’ll feel trapped. That might lead to self-sabotage — whether you’re aware of it or not.

Your thoughts are constantly forming in your mind seemingly without your control. Research shows that we each have approximately 60–80,000 thoughts on average per day. Most of these thoughts are automatically negative unless your underlying personal philosophy is of a positive nature.

Your Actions

Your behaviour and actions are controlled by your thoughts. So your philosophy is responsible for your thoughts and your thoughts are responsible for your actions. It’s also responsible for what you choose NOT to do — your inactions.

The best predictor for your future behaviour is past behaviour. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes. In order to get a different result, have it be sustainable and keep those results coming, you need to go back to your belief system, your philosophy and check in there. Believe in yourself, your inevitable success and that you are worthy of success.

Most people jump right into action (behaviour) to create a new result without going deeper into their personal beliefs. However, anchoring new action steps with a belief that you are worthy and deserving of success is necessary to get sustainable results.

If you need help exploring your philosophy and how you came to believe the things you do, a few sessions with me as your academic mentor will help you gain clarity and see where you might have been sabotaging yourself in the past. Find out more here.

Set Up For Success

Once your personal philosophy is examined and you’ve let go of any old limiting beliefs or assumptions, you’re ready for a plan, a system, and action steps. In this series of articles about setting yourself up for inevitable success, we’ll be examining all the steps necessary for the best possible outcome for all of your goals.

Visit my website to find out about my journey and how I can help you to push your study towards completion. I really look forward to meeting you!



Gina Holmes

I support doctoral candidates to get their thesis written. No technical jargon, just lots of good techniques and ass-kicking with love. Let’s Get It Done!