Learning a new skill can be intimidating. The research, the schedules, the practice, and overcoming the difficulties can all sound like too much. The couch looks more appealing.
Have you had these thoughts before? Here are some things to consider.
Learning new skills has countless benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. It can prevent dementia, increase your learning speed, burn calories, and give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
It can open new doors and opportunities for your future whilst keeping your brain active and improving sleep quality.
You also don’t have to spend days on end trying to learn something new. You can spend as little as 15 minutes per day for as long as it takes to achieve the goal you wish to reach.
If you would like to learn a new skill but need a little push, keep reading. Here we have listed 9 ways to motivate yourself.
#1. You can explore your interests
You’re not subjected to a choice of topics, you are free to choose any topic or activity that you want to learn about. Whether it is gymnastics, golf, astrophysics, or sewing, you have the opportunity to learn about it and gain skills in a new activity. Research a variety of topics and think about which ones interest you the most.
If you are interested in the topic, you are more likely to be motivated to learn more about it.
#2. It doesn’t have to be so hard
Learning a new skill doesn’t mean you have to go back to the 6 hour days you had at school. Online learning platforms offer online video classes that you can purchase and watch, pause, and rewind indefinitely. The duration of these videos can vary, averaging from around 15-30 minutes. Even if you watch one per day, you are on your way to learning a new skill! You can create your own schedule and watch the lesson whenever and wherever you want. Once you feel comfortable, you could also try a live tutoring call. This connects you directly to a teacher via phone or video in real-time.
#3. Learning new skills can improve your employability
Self-motivation, ambition, and being an active learner are all skills that are very attractive to employers. If you take the time to learn something new and develop your skills, it can help your employability. Learning also shows your work ethic outside of formal education as well as organization and perseverance. Interestingly, you could also develop your communication skills by interacting with your teacher, asking questions, and initiating debates. This is particularly prominent with online lessons as mentioned before. Online learning connects people from all over the world, with varying backgrounds, ages, cultures, and beliefs. As a result, communication is essential for optimal learning.
#4. Health benefits
As briefly mentioned earlier, learning new skills can have numerous health benefits. It can drastically reduce levels of stress, improve memory function, improve your mood, and your ability to learn in the future. Learning increases the density of myelin, the white matter in the brain. This increased density and quantity of neural pathways is what allows you to learn more effectively and faster in the future. Particular types of learning such as learning an instrument have also been said to delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
#5. Improve your sense of control and purpose
Especially during the lockdown imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to feel like you lack control in your life. The inability to go out and explore the world can also make you feel a lack of purpose. By learning new things, you can regain some of this control and sense of purpose. You can feel as though you are achieving something, developing your knowledge, and have some direction in your life. This can benefit your mental health.
#6. Fill your time
Furloughed lockdown life has inevitably left some of us with a lot of time on our hands. People have been looking for ways to fill their time in a variety of ways, with some families building a pub in their back garden, making TikTok videos, and sewing protective equipment for hospital staff. If you are still struggling to find something to do, learning a new skill can be fun, fill the time, and aid your personal development.
#7. Build your confidence
Dedicating your time to choose an activity, plan, and schedule time to learn your new skills requires confidence within yourself. Signing up to a new online course, interacting with new people, and asking the teacher direct questions takes confidence. Interestingly, 64% of Americans state that they met new people and made friends whilst learning a new skill. Making friends with other learners can help to build your confidence so that you can then interact more confidently with the teacher.
#8. You can build your discipline
You won’t get detention or be told off by a teacher if you don’t do your homework or turn up to a lesson. It is completely up to you to execute the tasks, practice and persist until you reach your goals. Studies show that people work better and are more productive when they have written a list of tasks that need to be completed. A good practice is to write a to-do list every morning with tasks to complete which will help with working towards your goal. Writing your to-do list also helps you to hold yourself accountable for completing the task. Other techniques such as visualizing yourself achieving your goals or writing them on a PostIt note that can be stuck on the wall in your room have also been praised by successful individuals as a motivational practice.
#9. Earn money
If you gain a new skill and develop expertise in a particular area, you could become the teacher! You can create a 15-30 minute video about the topic you have skills in, upload it onto an online learning platform, set a price for learners who are interested to purchase it, and begin earning some extra money for yourself. Just think of that new set of trainers or the latest gym equipment that you have been wishing for to keep yourself motivated.
Learning new skills can help you progress in life in a number of ways, as described above.
If you wish to earn a little extra money, add some skills to your resume, improve your mental and physical health and regain that sense of control in your life, learning new skills could help you to do this.
Remember, visualizing yourself achieving your goals, writing your tasks down, and thinking about the benefits you can reap can all help you get there.
Start your learning journey today, and become the best version of yourself that you can be.