Best Practices When Trying to Learn an New Skill as an Adult

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It’s never too late to learn a new skill. Learning a new skill can be immensely rewarding, whether you’re looking to change careers or simply want to pick up a hobby. According to a recent study, adults who learn a new skill earn an average of 4% more per hour. They also tend to suffer less from depression and anxiety.

However, as an adult learner, you may be at a disadvantage compared to younger ones. Because aging comes with a decline in cognitive abilities, learning new things can be more challenging for adults. But if you are determined to learn something new, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your learning experience.

1. Set realistic goals for yourself.

When embarking on any new endeavor, setting achievable goals is essential. As an adult learner, you likely have other commitments that will take up your time, so it’s vital to be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to learning. Once you have a goal in mind, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.

For example, if your goal is to learn a new language, start by setting a goal of being able to carry on a basic conversation in that language. You can further break this down into smaller goals, such as being able to say common phrases or learning basic grammar rules. You can’t expect to become fluent overnight, so take your time and focus on small goals you can realistically achieve.

2. Find a method that works for you.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. Some people learn best by reading textbooks, while others prefer hands-on learning. Experiment with different methods until you find one that works best for you. If you’re struggling to retain information from a textbook, try listening to audio recordings or watching videos on the subject matter.

Many people also enroll in classes or hire tutors when learning something new. This is not always necessary, but it can be an excellent learning method. If you are trying to learn how to play the piano, you can easily find a teacher in your area. But you can also find online piano lessons for adults if you prefer to learn from home. Depending on your budget and schedule, there are many different options available.

Two women planning their schedule for the month

3. Create a study schedule and stick to it.

One of adult learners’ most significant challenges is finding the time to study. Again, because you likely have other commitments, it’s essential to create a study schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Dedicate at least 30 minutes each day to studying, and set aside time on the weekends as well. You want to ensure you’re giving yourself enough time to learn without overwhelming yourself.

Some people prefer to study in the morning, while others find it easier to focus at night. Find a time that works best for you and stick to it as much as possible. Learning a new skill takes time and effort, but if you’re dedicated, you can achieve your goals. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Learning takes time, but it’s always worth it in the end.

4. Get organized and stay focused.

When studying, create clear notes that are easy for you to reference later on. It may also help to create flashcards or take practice quizzes on the material you’re trying to learn. And avoid distractions by studying in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. If you can’t find a quiet place at home, try studying in the library or a coffee shop.

Depending on the subject matter, you may also want to find a study buddy. This is especially helpful when taking a class or working with a tutor. Having someone to study with can help keep you motivated and on track. They can also offer helpful feedback and answer any questions you may have.

5. Persist even when you feel like giving up.

Learning anything new requires patience and persistence—two traits that don’t always come naturally to adults! When starting out, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or discouraged but don’t give up! Learning anything takes time; eventually, with enough practice, it will become second nature.

If you find yourself struggling, take a break or try a different learning method. The most important thing is not to get discouraged and give up. With enough time and effort, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Learning any new skill can be daunting, but by following these tips, you can set yourself up for success! Just remember to be patient, persist even when things get tough, and, most importantly, find a method of learning that works best for you! If you do all of this, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

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