Learning a New Skill is GOLD and here's why!

Learning a New Skill is GOLD and here's why!
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

There are lots of good reasons to want to learn a new skill - to break up a stale routine, to rediscover the sense of inexperience and growing mastery that you have at the beginning of a job or academic subject, and, in the current international situation, to fill the time you’d otherwise be commuting and working in or distract yourself for the stressful news headlines and endless waiting for change.

Learning a new skill can benefit your mental health under these conditions by giving you structure and a sense of reward and achievement, and depending on the skill you work on developing, it could even boost your CV!

It’s not all easy though - there’s a difficult period after the initial excitement, and before you’ve developed your new skill or hobby enough to start seeing it pay off. This is when you need to force yourself to keep trying: to keep practicing that instrument even though it’s a struggle to even read the music let alone produce a recognizable note, to keep going with your knitting despite dropped stitches and aching hands; to struggle with your comprehension of a foreign language.
There are some important ways you can make this easier on yourself.

For one, make sure you have everything you need. If you’re building up a crafting skill, it can be disappointing to realize that you’re missing important yarn or don’t have the correct type of needle. One solution here is to order the sort of all-in-one craft box UK companies are beginning to offer. This gets you everything you need to complete a project and build your skills in a single box, and you need to complete it in a single month before the next box from your subscription arrives! This leads to the second important point: structure.

It’s vital to structure your time as you develop this new skill, especially in that tricky time between the novelty of your project wearing off and your skill growing until it becomes a pleasure to practice.

Creating a timetable both helps to ensure you meet a minimum level of engagement with your practicing and also makes sure you don’t overdose. Losing a weekend to obsessively working on a skill you are not enjoying can make you reluctant to return to it in the future: little and often is the sort of engagement you need to build long-term commitment.

This means you can also timetable relaxation and rewards, so you recognize the milestones in your progress and can derive the all-important satisfaction that keeps you going.

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