“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” is a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that I’ve always been fond of. I love learning new things even if I don’t always love the process. Learning can be difficult sometimes!
If you find the whole idea of New Years Resolutions curious, you’re not alone. They baffle me and have never been an idea that has resonated with me. Instead, each year I make a decision to commit to learning something new.
Every December and January, I make decisions on my learning and development for the year ahead. Over the year, I keep ideas of what I’d like to learn next and hold off on making decisions until the reflective time of the holidays where I have the mental down time to think about what would be most fulfilling and serve me best.
My goal isn’t necessarily to become an expert, it’s to expose myself to new ideas, get fully immersed and strive for excellence. I may not succeed in becoming proficient and that’s not my aim. My aim is to get engaged in exploring something new and gain new perspectives. To see what sticks and if it really is what I thought it would be. To gain new awareness and if I find it’s as helpful or engaging as I thought my new learning might be, I’ll stick with it.
Whatever I set out to learn, I’ll certainly gain knowledge or skill whether or not I become an expert with it. I can guarantee that there is also unexpected insight or learning that I’ll take away from the process. For example, I may learn I’m more excited about a topic than I expected or that I’m not that interested after all! I may learn about myself in new ways such as my learning style, gain new perspectives on how I interact with others, challenge my beliefs or discover new passions.
This year, I’m working on some exciting professional development with my own coach and exploring training in new concepts and approaches to bring to my clients. On a personal note, I’m doing something terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I’m learning piano. Why? I’ve always wanted to. I know that I can if I put the practice in and put my heart to it. I might not become a great piano player and I can fulfill my wish to learn.
Here’s how to get started on your own learning plan for the year ahead:
Compile a list of the things you might like to learn that would:
- Make your job or life easier
- Move you ahead in your career
- Satisfy your curiosity about something
- Make your life more fulfilling “if only you had the time”
Sit on your list for a few days and come back to it.
- Circle the ones that resonate with you and choose three:
- One that is practical learning for your profession.
- One that is creative or strategic learning for your profession.
- One that is personal and just for you.
Take action and get started.
- Sign up for a course
- Find a mentor
- Join a club
- Get a book, videos or other self study materials
- Create a schedule
- … Do something, just start.
I’d like to leave you with inspiration from another historical great passionate about learning, Goethe:
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it, boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”