The start of a new year is a great time to learn something new, but it may be difficult to get started or know where to look.
You want to grow in your knowledge and skills, but you just don’t have the time.
You’re busy with work. You’ve got projects. You’ve got deadlines. Learning new things, especially if they’re for leisure, is at the bottom of your list.
But if you don’t commit learning, you’re missing out on potential opportunities that could grow yourself or expand your career.
Learning isn’t a one-time thing, it’s a lifelong process.
Why You Should Always Be Learning
You have the 2-3 things that you know a lot about or are really good at. It’s probably related to your career somehow, so getting better at them is beneficial for you.
But outside of that, you should be committed to learning a wide range of things. Everything from new skills to new knowledge, simply knowing more helps to expand your horizons.
In addition, learning in itself is a skill. The more you learn, the better of a learner you are.
And that can take you a long way.
There Are Multiple Ways to Learn Something New
Traditional learning may involve taking physical classes or reading textbooks. But now there are so many ways to learn, even if you only have 10 minutes a day to spare.
Some of these sources are great for browsing and learning random new things. Others are geared towards learning something specific.
You should do both.
Subscribe to feeds where you learn random new things.
Also keep track of all the things that pop into your head throughout the day that you may want to learn, whether it’s a specific fact or a skill. Then jot it down in Evernote to remember for later.
1. Read Books
Of course, the oldest methods of learning is still one of the best today. It’s a great way to get in-depth knowledge on any topic
You can stick with physical books or go digital on an iPad or Kindle. Shop for books on Amazon or listen to audio version of books on Audible.
2. Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to learn information that experts share on a regular basis. They save you time as you can listen to them while doing tasks or on your commute.
Browse through podcasts on iTunes, or use an app like Stitcher to find some of the trending episodes and shows.
3. Subscribe to Blogs
Blogs are a great way to connect with a specific author or company as you learn new topics.
Find a blog that you really like, and subscribe to it through email or with an app like Feedly. You’ll be notified of when a new post is released. Blogs allow you to go to interact with the author and other readers through comments.
4. Stay Updated with the News
It’s important to have a pulse on what’s happening around the world.
You may be tempted to stick with lighter news like entertainment or sports, but I challenge you to go deeper. Read stories on major world events so you can have a better understanding of what’s going on. Google News offers a great feed to bring you headlines, with personalization options to customize your preferences.
5. Browse Quora & Other Forums
Forums allow you to get very specific answers to questions.
There are a lot of forums based on specific topics. Quora is a great forum that houses almost anything. Browse the forum for question and answer threads or ask one of your own. You’ll get answers from people all around the world.
6. Read Wikipedia Articles
Wikipedia used to be mocked for it’s inaccuracy, but as more strict guidelines are put in place for editors, you get pretty comprehensive and accurate info now.
Think of a topic you’ve always wanted to know more about and find an article on it. You can also subscribe to Wikipedia’s daily article, in which you’re sent a random article each day so you can really broaden your horizons.
7. Watch Short Videos on YouTube
YouTube is not just for funny cat videos, but it’s a great resource to learn something new.
There are tons of learning channels that teach you things in engaging and compelling ways. Most are only a few minutes long, so you can easily absorb one or several at a time. Some of my favorites include ASAP Science and TestTube News.
8. Take Online Courses
Online courses are perfect for learning specific topics in-depth.
There are a wealth of both free and paid courses online in which you can learn a ton of skills taught by experts in their field. You can find some great paid and free online courses at Lynda and Udemy.
Read about other top online course sites >>
9. Watch Documentaries on Netflix
Sure, you can binge watch you favorite TV show or movies on Netflix, but you can learn a lot too.
Netflix is becoming a documentary powerhouse. Not only do they feature a lot of documentaries, but they’ve created a lot of their own that are incredible. Browse through topics that interest you, load up your queue, and start binging on knowledge.
10. Play Learning Games & Apps
Games provide entertainment, but can also improve your knowledge and skills as well.
Browse the iOS or Android app store and you’ll find tons of quick word, number and strategy games that are addictively fun but also improve your brain power. A few minutes here and there on a game can really add up and sharpen your mind.
Set Learning Goals This Year
When you commit yourself to learn something new on a regular basis, you’ll expand your knowledge and opportunities. You’ll be more skilled at work, more interesting in conversations, more levelheaded in making decisions, and more confident throughout life.
Yet learning can’t be passive. You need to intentionally commit to it.
Set goals this year to learn something new. These goals can be learning a subject matter or skill, or it can be a commitment to learn something new on a regular basis.
Pick a few topics your interested in growing in, then pick the medium of learning from the list that best fits you.
From here you’ll need to know how to set the right goals so that you’re learning and also moving forward in life.
Next, learn how to create goals that you’ll succeed in, and apply them to your learning in general. Read this article: