Like many of us, you have probably come back to work with a mind full of New Year’s resolutions to pave a brighter road for the more improved you!  By now you may have ditched a few of the more unrealistic ones like giving up chocolate or caffeine and opted for the ones that will give you a better outcome than a cranky mood and headache.

A lot of people embark on a new study venture and enrol into a qualification to enhance their skills and while this seems like a great idea at the time, once you get started it can turn into a bit of a chore, which in turn breeds a number of excuses as to why you cannot complete it.  To avoid this happening, here are some factors to keep in mind when looking at a new study venture:

Make it a positive experience –  you need to have a clear idea on what you want to get out of the course and ensure that the course outline meets your needs and captures your interest.  There is nothing worse than being bored off your chops while studying – you need to be interested in what you are learning and be able to relate to it.

Be prepared to put in the hard yards when required – the course you select should not be a walk in the park, you need a comfortable challenge to help you learn new skills while calling on previous experience at the same time.  Build up a network of colleagues and subject matter experts to help you through the sticky stuff.  Remember it is all for learning and there are a lot of brains in your workplace/social circle – you won’t get shot if you ask for help.

Stick to the deadlines – they are there for a reason and when you miss one, it can lead to more pressure on you, not only to catch up, but to ensure you do not miss future deadlines.  Deadlines are nasty little things that can steamroll out of hand very quickly but if you keep to them, they will help you complete – I know which side of the deadline I prefer to be on.

The Tutor/Assessor is not your enemy – build good relationship with your tutor, you will call on their assistance from time to time to help you along the way.  These people are a great sounding board for ideas and the best thing is that they understand what you are going through and will have a raft of ideas to help you keep sane during your enrolment.

Time is of the essence – make sure you have time to complete this course.  Don’t sign up to a course if you cannot allow the time to complete the various tasks required.  The only person you will be letting down is yourself.  Make sure your family and friends know you may need to allocate time to study and ensure you have their buy-in too.  Pick the right time of the day to study that is best for you. If you are completing your qualification through work, ensure you put time aside for course work.  Communication with your colleagues and manager is the key, remember they form part of your support network too.

Qualifications are a great way to progress in your career, don’t turn them into a drag, all it takes is a bit of discipline, a good network of people who can help and good time management and before you know it you will be qualified in your chosen arena and have met at least one of your New Year’s Resolutions!  Can that be so bad?