Life is a continual learning process but that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance yourself by choosing to learn a specific something. Be it a second language, a craft, or how to write computer code, learning a new skill is very beneficial. If you’re going to learn something new, it requires commitment. This makes it good for a New Year’s resolution. And if you make a resolution, you need to know how to stick to it.
1. Accept That Learning for Its Own Sake is Fun
Embrace the concept of life-long learning and life will never feel dull! Learning for the sake of learning keeps the little gray cells from stagnating and keeps your mind as bright as a button. Even if you're learning new skills you don't seem to have an immediate use for, you'll never know how handy they might turn out to be one day - and in any event, you become a more open, interesting person in the process! Attitude is important to sticking to New Year’s resolutions.
2. Sign up to 100 Days of Practice
The app 100 (giveit100.com) enables users to participate in a challenge to get better at something for 100 days and share a 10-second video of their achievement with others as they go along. Use the app to lean juggling, tap dancing, gymnastics, the trumpet or how to cook a meal from scratch. Obviously, there cannot be any promises how much progress you'll make in 100 days - that's up to you - but the app and community can act as a "buddy" to help you stay motivated, practice and learn from the example of others.
3. Actions Speak Louder than Words
Learn by doing! Ever wondered how to change a fuse in a plug or wallpaper your bedroom? Why not start with a simple DIY project - lots of DIY stores offer great free video tuition on anything from tiling bathrooms, laying carpets to how to use stencils.
4. Get Your Mind into Shape
There are many different, and quite easy, tricks to sharpen your mind. Getting adequate sleep is the first step, clearing clutter from your living space and your mind is another. Start having fun and relaxation with coloring books or doodling, playing video games with a world-wide community or simply sitting down with an absorbing spy thriller. The more active your mind, the easier it will be to imbibe all sorts of new skills and information.
5. Believe in Your Own Success
You can prepare yourself for a new learning phase by believing in your own ability to see the project through and to succeed. Having confidence in your own intelligence has been shown in studies to result in successful learning.
6. Blink More
According to research blinking more helps humans to focus their attention and process whatever our eyes see before us. Take a blink break once in a while!
7. Never Mind Outcome, Get Technique Right First
If you focus on getting the technique of a new skill right instead of the outcome, you can practice without being stressed. When you've mastered the technique, start setting yourself attainable goals, before finally asking and making use of feedback from trusted sources, such as a tutor or somebody who has already mastered the technique and has proven experience in the particular skill you've been learning.
8. Immersion Learning
While children soak up new skills and knowledge like a sponge, adults need a little more help to absorb new knowledge, such as learning a new language and speaking it as well as a native in the end. With immersion training, so research has shown, adult brains can better retain what they've learned.
9. Adopt Good Study Habits
Anyone thinking about taking a class in the New Year should also embrace the idea of good study habits right from the start. Taking written notes, reading aloud texts to see they flow and training one's memory - perhaps by learning short poems or using image/picture puzzles - are all part of a good study routine that can help you succeed in your chosen class.
10. Practice Hacking
No, not the kind that gets you into trouble with governments for breaking their secret computer codes! Life hacks are tricks and shortcuts, tips and positive approaches that make copying with everyday life easier, more productive, more fun and more efficient. There are even life hacks that make learning easier. Focus on one area of your life you'd like to have a better handle on, be it personal finance, etiquette, weight loss or getting fit, and select a handful of life hacks to learn and incorporate into your daily routine.
I want to set myself a resolution this year to learn something new but as yet am undecided as to what. As there’s nothing that I am passionate about as an idea right now, I know I’ll probably have to work extra hard at it when I start.
Have you set a New Year’s resolution to learn something new?