New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

It is traditional at this time of the year to create a list of resolutions that you hope you will achieve by the end of the year. The vast majority of people that create New Year’s resolutions will not achieve them. When I said to somebody that most New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time, they replied that they thought I was being very harsh and that this was a gross generalisation. But the reality is that a resolution that is specific, measurable, and has a timeframe, is no longer a resolution it is a goal. And goals are achievable, especially if you make a plan for achieving your goal. Most people that create New Year’s resolutions make their resolutions non-specific and wishy-washy. For example, “I want to lose weight”, “I want to exercise more”, or “I want to do better at work”. These resolutions are not specific and they not measurable in a meaningful way. If you rephrased this and said that by the end of the year I want to be 72 kg, that is not so much a resolution as it is a goal. It is specific and it is measurable. But in order to achieve this goal you need to have a plan.

It is better to set yourself specific goals, set a timeframe, and develop a plan to achieve those goals.

For example, maybe you have a resolution to get better at Vectorworks. Let’s turn this into a goal. First of all, goals need to be specific. So it’s no good saying “get better at Vectorworks.” By learning one new tool you could say that you’re better of Vectorworks, thereby achieving your resolution. What we need to do is to set a goal (a target), something that is measurable. Let’s set a goal of saying we want to be 20% more productive at using Vectorworks. This is now be measurable. Now we need a plan to achieve this.

In order to become more productive at using Vectorworks we will need to take on board some new knowledge. We get this knowledge from:

  • YouTube
  • Books and manuals
  • Training courses
  • User groups
  • Online training

YouTube

In order to gain more knowledge from YouTube, you could set yourself a target of watching one new video each week. Part of the problem with this is that it is an unstructured way of improving your skill, what you might call a hit-and-miss process. You might learn somethis each week, you might not. You might also learn some bad habits that will make you less productive.

Books and Manuals

The Vectorworks website has several books and manuals that you can buy to improve your knowledge. For example, there is a manual for Vectorworks Architect, Vectorworks Landmark, Spotlight, Stage Lighting  and 3D Modelling. Buying one of these manuals and working your way through it would certainly improve your knowledge. This would be a structured way of learning and it would certainly improve your productivity. Part of the challenge with this is that you have to put the time aside to read the manual and do the exercises. At the beginning of the year this will probably be easy to do, but as your work gets busier, it’s harder and harder to put aside the time that is required.

Training Courses

I see several people offering training courses in large cities. For example in Los Angeles there is a lot of choice for attending training courses. However, if you live in the Midwest, or if you live somewhere like New Zealand, the opportunity for attending training courses is extremely limited. If you are able to attend one of these training courses you will find them extremely useful and they will help you to achieve your goal. But what about the thousands and thousands of users who do not live close to a large city like this? Online training is the solution.

User Groups

The beauty of attending your local user group meeting on a regular basis is that you develop a habit of putting the time aside to attend. At each meeting you should learn something from the other attendees and from the presenter. This information will be tested, so it will not be a hit-and-miss process for gaining new knowledge. It also helps to develop a network of like-minded users who might be struggling with the same issues that you are, thereby allowing you to learn from their experiences. There are several user groups around the world, but if you are not close to one of these user groups you will need to find an online solution that will replicate a user group.

Online Training

There are several people that offer online courses, and I am one of them. Online training is a fantastic way to develop your Vectorworks skill in a structured way. Online training also allows you to attend the course regardless of where you live. Online training is also very time efficient, because you no longer have to allow travelling time to get to the course. Once you’ve scheduled the training into your diary, it’s easy to attend, and you will become much more productive when you put your learning into practice.

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