One of the most amazing things about humans is our ability and passion to pick up and master new skills. It’s a process that comes innately to every child, yet as adults, we can sometimes struggle with where to begin. The good news is, the perfect time is now. Whatever you’ve dreamed of doing, from learning something to boost your value at work such as coding, to those guitar lessons you’ve meant to start for years, you can master it much quicker than you think. There are a few simple tricks along the way that will help you, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Spanish and planning that dream vacation or finally picking up tennis. Here’s how:
Set A Realistic Goal
You have to set out with the end firmly in sight, so begin by learning to set goals which are ambitious enough to stretch you, but not so tough that you give up immediately. Articulating what you want is a personal process. If you’re learning a language, is it enough to be able to hold a basic conversation? Or do you want to be able to read the local newspapers like a native? Find the bigger purpose that is driving you, and tap into that. Very rarely do we want to acquire a new skill solely for its own sake – it’s usually about a benefit we hope to gain as a result of having the skill. So remind yourself of the higher purpose at stake when things get challenging.
Know Your Blockers In Advance
Take a moment to think realistically about all the barrier standing between you and your aim – why have you never managed to do this before? Is it a lack of time? Not identifying the right contacts to support your learning. Try to overcome your mental objections early on and make it easier for yourself to complete your objectives. The truth is, you will have days where you lose motivation and feel like giving up. If you know in advance what is likely to trigger that reaction, you can avoid, eliminate or prepare yourself for it before it occurs.
Break It Down
When it comes to mastering something new, baby steps is the best approach. Breaking your goal down into a set of milestones keeps the momentum going and gives you the chance to celebrate small wins and get fired up to carry on going. So stay small and focused for best results – for example, rather than rowing 200m in your fastest ever time, you may choose to focus first on getting the technique perfect, gradually building up the distance in increments, and then shaving down the time.
Use the 80/20 Rule
Thinking of Pareto’s Principle can be helpful when it comes to your learning curve – namely that only 20% of your time input will be those breakthrough moments where you really make progress on an outcome. The other 80% is the getting to that point. Using smaller goals to support your overall masterplan should help with this. Which are the most important of those to master? Making sure you’re locked onto to the most impactful areas will help you on the path to success.