What comes to mind when you see the word learning? Is it history, trigonometry or astrophysics?
Learning doesn’t just mean algebra and equations. Learning can also include cultural exploration, physical learning, mental learning and casual social learning. It can also include developing the skills needed for your hobbies, such as photography, gardening or painting. Maybe you could learn a new cross stitch or learn a new dance move. There are no boundaries when it comes to continuous learning.
Learning is an art and art can be learning – but only if it is done properly.
Did you know that continuous learning can improve brain function, result in better quality sleep, improve confidence and reduce the risk of Alzheimers?
The benefits that can be obtained from continuous learning are countless. Studies have shown that lifelong learning can improve confidence and emotional intelligence, reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, and align your existing knowledge with rapidly advancing technologies.
Why not reap all of the benefits of lifelong learning and start now?
Many of us have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit in our lifestyle. Unfortunately, a study conducted by Phillippa Lally revealed that the true number is around 66 days, or over 2 months. This does not mean that you should give up. Even though it may take you longer than expected to make lifelong learning a habit, the benefits you could gain from it are worth the extra effort.
To keep you motivated one day at a time, here are some key tips to help you make continuous learning a habit in your life.
- Find out what you want to learn
Learning is all about knowing yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. To begin with, you can write a list of around 10 general skills that you wish to possess on Post It notes. Organize them into the ones that you feel that you could be good at very soon and the ones that need improvement. Then you can research the type of activities, topics or subjects which can help you to acquire the skills that you want to develop.
- Set your own goals
Setting your own targets is hugely important for individuals who feel like they do not have a lot of control in their lives. It also creates a general sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and purpose in life. Furthermore, becoming your own motivator and being in competition with yourself is extremely useful and can help you in various aspects of your life. Just make sure that you set achievable goals to keep yourself motivated.
- Start small
It’s easy to plan to read 5 books per day, but how achievable that is another issue. Make sure that you can reasonably complete the tasks that you set for yourself. They don’t have to be large tasks, it might just be to read one article per day on a particular topic or cook 3 new dishes per week. You are more likely to continue with lifelong learning if you succeed in completing your goals. If you fall behind, you may lose motivation.
- Add learning into your timetable
It is important to schedule time to relax as well as to learn. When we unwind, blood flow increases around the body, which facilitates concentration and memory. Evidently, we need our mind to be at its best in order to learn in the most effective way. Discern the amount of time that you can reasonably allocate to developing your skills and schedule it into your timetable.
- Use multimodal platforms
Using technology in learning can help to keep you interested and engaged with learning. It is also a vital research tool for finding new things that you can add to your skillset whilst allowing faster and more in-depth learning. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself and create your own timetable, online video classes can also help you to begin your journey of lifelong learning. You can use platforms to purchase videos that interest you or participate in live tutoring calls with teachers who have a great deal of knowledge about the subject. This develops your ability to motivate yourself whilst not throwing you in the deep end.
- Change, adjust and tailor
If something that you have arranged isn’t working for you, you can change it. This is the beauty of continuous learning. You have moved past teachers forcing you to do your homework. You are in charge of your own learning experience. For example, if you have allocated a task that doesn’t seem to be helping you achieve your goals or is too difficult for you, change the task to something that is more suitable. Make sure that everything that you are doing is useful and helping you to learn.
- Remove distractions
Try to complete your tasks in a quiet room free of distractions in order to maximise your concentration. Leave the TV, your phone, your dog and your family members in a separate room. However, remember that if something is not interesting for you to learn and you are getting easily distracted, maybe you should adjust and change the topic to suit you and your needs better.
- Surround yourself with other lifelong learners
Friends that also participate in lifelong learning can motivate you, create a strong support system and make learning more enjoyable. You can learn new skills together, play games in order to learn or begin a new project as a group.
Online learning can also help you to form new friendships. If you enrol in a course that features live tutoring calls, you can come into contact with people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and locations. Therefore, you can acquire new friends and learn more about different cultures as a result. Surrounding yourself with these friends can then encourage you to persist with continuous learning.
To sum up
Now that you have a few tips and suggestions, you can become a better version of yourself and improve your skills with lifelong learning.
Continuous learning has a vast amount of benefits for the mind, the body and mental health. It can also improve your skills, employability and success within your career.
To make it a habit in your everyday life can be difficult, but with the right measures, goals and approach, it is possible and it is worth it.
Start your lifelong journey today, and reap all of the benefits that it can bring.
Author bio: Steven Michaels is the author and content manager for the InfoDepot blog. InfoDepot is a new global learning platform where anyone can teach anything and learn just about everything through educational videos and live calls with teachers.