Don’t be fooled by the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” If you want to learn something new, you CAN do it. Perhaps your industry has adopted new technology, created a groundbreaking product, or maybe you just want to improve yourself personally. By taking your learning seriously and committing your time and effort to the task, you can accomplish your goal. Use the following suggestions to help you along the way.
- Write down what you want to learn. Don’t underestimate the power of this one simple step. Writing down a goal mentally prepares you for all that its completion may require. Additionally, you can sort out what details are involved in tackling this endeavor. When writing down what you want to learn, include an objective, map out a plan of action, and give yourself benchmarks and deadlines. It’s also a good idea to write a few sentences about why you want to do this…what are the benefits you’ll enjoy as a result? Any time you get frustrated or encounter an obstacle, reread those sentences to regain your motivation.
- Commit to a lot of studying and practicing. When Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty,” he really was on to something. Think of anyone who has achieved greatness in any area of sports, entertainment, business, etc. When you take on something new, there will be a great deal of research, studying, and practicing. It is crucial that you incorporate time for this into your day in order to make progress towards your goal.
- Embrace your mistakes and adjust them to improve. Although making mistakes is frustrating, instead of letting them get you down, embrace them as learning experiences. Use those mistakes to modify your approach and improve. Almost nothing is done right on the first try. Mistakes are part of the process, and using them to your advantage will bring you closer to your objective.
- Visualize yourself doing it. Mental preparation is a significant part of any kind of performance-based task. The next time you are out for your morning jog, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or lying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep, use your mind’s eye to picture yourself doing or using whatever you are setting out to learn. Doing this regularly helps boost your motivation and confidence.
- Personalize it and make it a part of who you are. In order to truly incorporate something new into your life, it has to become a habit. Think about how you can personalize your new knowledge so that it gets worked into who you already are. For example, if you want to learn about photography and need to practice how/when to use different shutter speeds, incorporate that task into your existing routine. Do you regularly take your children to the park, attend sporting events, or just relax with your family at home on a Sunday? Use those opportunities, things you normally do, to practice using your camera correctly and experiment with different lighting situations. If you personalize your task, you are much more likely to stick with it and see it through to completion.
Taking on something new to learn is a brave and exciting journey. Prepare yourself mentally and commit to hard work.
What strategies have you used to learn new thing? Please share your ideas below!