We have been given an amazing world to explore and somewhere down the line, many of us end up getting stuck into routines and never break out to discover new things. Think back to your childhood days and all of the things that you wanted to do and the things that you wanted to become. Somewhere down the line, those things become lost as we get caught up in our day-to-day routine.
Today we’re going to change all that by figuring out something that we’ve been putting off learning, and we’re going to map out a plan to conquer a new skill over the next 30 days.
Choose Something To Learn
To learn something new in 30 days, the first thing that you need to do is figure out what it is that you’ve been putting off learning. Think back to things from your childhood that you always wanted to do but somewhere down the line gave up on. Explore those things, no matter how silly they may seem today, and think of the things in this life that you’d wanted to explore and maybe given up on. Maybe you’d always wanted to learn to juggle or play basketball. Make a list of these things.
You may also have things in your daily life that you want to improve or learn, but don’t think you have the time. Learn a foreign language? Cook delicious meals for your family and friends? Play an instrument? There are many things that you can learn to improve your career, social life, or simply make life more interesting and enjoyable. Add these things to your list.
Now you should have a starting point with a list of things that you truly want to learn. Now, simply choose one item off the list and make a commitment to yourself to practice and learn this skill for the next 30 days.
Study Your Chosen Topic
You may feel as if you don’t know where to begin in your new endeavor. Fortunately, I can almost guarantee that whatever you picked to learn, the hard work has already been done and many people have walked a path before you and documented their findings. In this age of information, you will be able to find books, wikis, blogs, and research studies, all at your fingertips. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. All you’re doing is accessing and processing the information that is already available.
The hardest part of this process shouldn’t be finding information, but finding quality information. I advise a simple Amazon search to look up reviews and information on available and relevant books. Remember where you stand in your journey when seeking information. If you are a beginner on your selected topic, ignore the advanced books. Don’t skip the basics. The goal of this is not necessarily to become an expert in 30 days, but to develop a strong mastery and understanding of the basics that will put you ahead of most. If you are trying to improve upon a skill for the next 30 days, then you may choose to look up the more advanced books or search for more specialized books.
Set a Goal
Goal setting is the most important part of the process to learn something new, so that you make sure you are on the right track. With no goals, most people are left floundering and will move ahead slowly with no end in sight. Having one simple goal to strive for throughout the 30 days will make the task at hand seem very attainable and make it easier to follow through.
Goals should be set to challenge you but also realistic enough so that you may achieve them and continue to push forward. Setting a goal to become the best in the world at something sounds great, but with only 30 days, this is highly improbable. Instead you’ll want to set goals that allow you to make great strides in a positive direction. Learning to play the guitar? Maybe you’ll want to master the basic chords and learn some of your favorite songs. Want to learn to cook? You could set a goal to host a dinner party and cook a three-course meal at the end of your 30 days. These are goals that are well within the realm of possibility and will allow you to continue improving upon these skills after the 30 days are over, or maybe you’ll want to just sit back and enjoy the benefits of this new skill that you’ve acquired.
Make sure your goal is relevant to your ability level. If you want to learn a foreign language from scratch, your goal should not be to become fluent in 30 days, but maybe to order at a restaurant in your target language, or have a basic conversation with a native speaker in 30 days. If you have conversational ability in a language and are trying to jump to the next level, you also need to set a goal relevant to what you want to accomplish- maybe watching and understanding a movie in the target language or reading a newspaper in that language.
Setting a measurable goal is also important. It isn’t clear enough to say that you’d like to be fluent in Japanese or become a world-class chef. Those are interesting goals, but you need a way to measure your goal to know when you’ve succeeded. If your goal is to become better at chess, how do you know if you’ve actually improved over the last 30 days? You could decide to make the goal to beat your computer chess game at a level that you have not previously been able to beat. This is something that is very easy to measure over time to test whether or not you have succeeded at your goal.
Remember, make your goal realistic and attainable, at an appropriate level, and make sure it’s measurable.
Break It Down
The truth is, it can be very easy to learn something new and become very skilled with just a bit of effort and a little time.
When you have your goal, the next part is to break down the next 30 days into chunks of learning and practicing to help you achieve your goal. Not matter what you’re trying to learn, you should be able to identify sub skills needed to learn the skill completely. For your 30 day challenge, you want to be able to break the skill into 4-5 sub skills to practice, learn, and master so that you can conquer your main goal over the next 4 weeks.
From the beginning, you should be able to create a basic outline of what your schedule should look like over the next 30 days. Things may change as you find you need more time and practice with something, and this is fine. The main thing is that you sit down at the beginning and have a plan to get started. Identify the sub skills necessary for the chosen skill, and spend a little time each day learning and practicing these skills that will help you achieve your goal.
Measure and Test
Now you’ve found something to learn for 30 days and you’ve studied and outlined a plan to learn and practice your skill. The last step is to measure and test what you’ve done. You could wait to do this at the end of 30 days, but I recommend that you make time to test yourself at regular intervals to make sure you’re on track. Going back to the chess example, you could give yourself a weekly test game at the level you’d like to beat or test yourself at other levels to make sure you’re improving and on the right path to meet your goal.
This guide should allow you to outline a 30-day plan for which to conduct your experiment. At the end of the 30 days, you will be able to test to see whether or not you have succeeded. If you haven’t reached your goal, don’t worry! You’ve not only come a long way in your new skill (if you stuck to the plan), but you’ve also created a positive habit of working towards something and bettering yourself.
In order to truly make this valuable, I’d like you to post whatever it is that you’ve decided to learn down below in the comments, share your progress, share this with your friends, and upgrade your life over the next 30 days!