woman with sculpture

Develop yourself!
Time to learn something new?

We all have an intrinsic desire to keep learning. What new skills do you want to have under your belt? Read our advice on how to develop yourself…

Ever wondered why TV quiz shows are so popular? If it’s not Bradley Walsh’s charm on The Chase, or Alexander and Richard’s witty exchanges on Pointless, then what else could be drawing us to the telly every night?

Could it be that we enjoy these shows because we get to put our knowledge to the test and learn new things? We shout out answers from our sofas like we’re part of the panel, and we get that fist- pump-feeling when we correctly answer what the capital of Lithuania is.

We all have an intrinsic desire to keep learning. Many people are encouraged to continue training as part of their jobs, with exams and assessments sometimes being a requirement. But personal development is all about investing in yourself for yourself. If learning a new skill means you get a pay rise or promotion at work, well, that’s a bonus…

Got some leftover annual leave? Don’t waste it! Use the time to learn a skill, or achieve something you’ve always dreamt of achieving! A better you is just around the corner and your journey begins with answering three simple questions: What? Why? And How?

woodwork

What?

First up, what exactly do you want to achieve – what’s your vision? This will be something that’s been on your to-do list for years, but you’ve put it off by saying you’ll get round to it “one day…” Well, guess what? ‘One day’ is today! 

Perhaps you want to become très bon at speaking French, you enjoy woodwork or you want to perfect your tennis serve. Maybe you’ve wanted to do your bit for a charity close to your heart, but there’s never been an opportune time to do so.

class instructor

Why?

Whatever it is you hope to learn, do or achieve, there must be a reason behind it. This reason could be personal, emotional, practical or financial, or perhaps a mix of all four. You want to learn French because you’ve just invested in a timeshare in the Côte d'Azur, but you also know that adding the skill to your CV will make you more desirable to prospective employers.

Having a reason behind learning a new skill will help you stay focused, motivated, and committed to achieving it. So, when you face your first hurdle and ask “why am I doing this again?” you’ll be able to answer your question and keep going!

books

How?

Here comes the practical – and most complex – step. To really embrace learning a new skill you need to have a structured and well thought-out route to get there; consider it your personal business plan. And like a business plan, you need to consult the people around you, explain what you’re doing to them and the reasons behind it, and listen to their feedback.

Making a plan requires you to answer questions such as: What do I need to learn this new skill? What arrangements/sacrifices do I need to make? What barriers might I need to overcome, and how will I overcome them?

The two most important factors to consider are money and time. Sit down with those closest to you to discuss the financial implications of your plan – is it feasible in your current situation, or would it be best to save for a few more months? Are there ways to limit costs, by, for example, signing-up to a free online course?

According to online research, price isn’t the only benefit of an online course; 58% also opted for this method because it allowed them to complete it at their own pace. As well as online courses, there are also plenty of blogs, websites and even apps to get you started.

When it comes to choosing the best course or club for you, make sure you enter into something that truly excites you and that you think would enhance your life; that way, you’ll be motivated to stay with it. From first aid courses, which could prove invaluable, to scuba diving lessons, video editing, yoga, coding, public speaking workshops and foreign language classes, the options are endless. If you’ve already used up your annual leave, how are you going to make time to dedicate yourself?

Be realistic when setting timeframes, and be open to making temporary sacrifices if it means you’ll get to achieve what you set out to achieve. The more thorough the plan, the more likely you are to succeed. To help with the planning process, ask someone who’s ‘been there, done that’ to share their experience with you. Not only will you gain valuable insight, but hearing a success story will boost your confidence and reaffirm your decision to be a better, future you! Whoever regretted learning anything? Are you ready to make a change?

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