If I made New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 mine would be learn to use my DSLR camera.
A camera I purchased a year and a half ago. A camera with awesome features that I never take off the Auto setting.
Except I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Saying, “I resolve to learn to use my camera,” sets me up for failure before I even begin.
Why Making New Year’s Resolutions Doesn’t Work
1. Resolutions are too general. My camera has 12 main settings, and seven menus that let you make almost infinite variations of those settings. Where do I start? What do I learn first?
2. Resolutions don’t have a time frame or take too long. How will I know when I’ve learned to use my camera? What do I really need to know for my application which is taking good pictures of my family and decent photos for my blog? Without knowing where it ends I may get discouraged, and give up before I’m finished. What if your resolution is to lose 100 pounds? That could take more than a year. That’s a long time to wait to feel successful.
3. There’s no plan of action. Resolving to do something really just means deciding to do something. I decided I wanted to learn to use my camera the day I bought it, but I never did. Deciding to do something doesn’t amount to much more than thinking about something. What am I going to do to learn to use my camera?
Instead of resolutions I set New Year’s Goals.
Why Setting New Year’s Goals Works
1. Goals are reasonable. I broke down my one big resolution into four smaller goals that build on each other:
A. Learn to shoot in shutter priority
B. Learn to shoot in aperture priority
C. Understand how ISO affects photos
D. Understand f-stop, shutter speed and ISO for shooting in full manual
2. Goals have a finish line. Each time I accomplish a smaller goal I’ll feel successful. Success will motivate me to continue. If I feel like giving up, knowing there is an end in site will help me keep going.
3. Goals have a plan of action. I bought a book that explains in detail each of the four things I want to learn. I gives me instructions and challenges to put into practice what I learn from reading. I plan to go through the book. I’ll practice each technique until I feel comfortable that I know it. Then I’ll move on to the next. I’ll use tutorials and information I found online to supplement the book.
Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? How can you turn them into goals, and set yourself up for success in 2012?