It’s always a good time to learn something new right? Well, before you go down a rabbit hole – here are some ideas for practical and valuable new skills to learn this year!
If you’ve been stuck in the same place, crave a change, or just have some spare time and are feeling a little bit bored, there are many new things to learn and feel good about.
Whether related to your professional development or just for fun, acquiring new skills like the ones on the list below could benefit you in many ways. And it’s never too late to start.
Why learning new skills is good for you?
Let’s start with the obvious – learning to do something new enriches your personality and this in turn makes you more confident. It makes you feel proud of yourself.
Another benefit to learning new skills, is that depending on what you’re learning, it can positively affect your social life through meeting new people. All of this could make you happier, calmer, and more fulfilled.
Now that’s all great, but did you know that learning a new skill also helps to keep your brain healthy? This is because it changes your brain chemistry by forming new neural pathways.
Keep your brain on regular cognitive practice by continuing to learn past your school or university days! This is very important as it could improve your memory and prevent cognitive decline, often manifested as dementia, later in life.
Okay, great! What should I learn?
Here are 25 ideas for practical new skills to learn that range from arts and crafts to sports and abilities useful in professional and personal life. Choose the ones you like, and start learning!
Getting your hands dirty with soil is an excellent stress-reduction method. Moreover, it’s rewarding because you’re planting new life and contributing to natural biodiversity.
House plants may purify the air in your home, while if you plant something edible like vegetables and herbs, you can soon actually taste the fruits of your labor.
Enhance your fine motor skills and attention to detail by taking up painting as a hobby. It also helps with spatial awareness, concentration and stress management.
Don’t worry if you think you’re not very good at it. You don’t need to be the new Van Gogh to reap the benefits of practicing painting and making your life more artistic.
Learning how to take good photos is easier than ever now, thanks to the little computer with an advanced camera in your back pocket called a smartphone.
Whether it’s something you see every day on your street, a beautiful view, or a warm moment with family and friends, taking photos will help you gain a different perspective on life.
Take a photography class, invest in equipment if you feel that’s your thing, and go out there to find something worth taking a photo of.
A new language
Improve your memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills by immersing yourself in a new language territory. If advanced enough, you can watch more movies, read more books, and communicate with more people via this new knowledge. This could also prove beneficial for your professional life.
Even if you don’t get very far with your new pursuit, it’s still nice to be able to greet the locals in their language or order a coffee when traveling to foreign countries.
All kinds of physical activity are beneficial new skills to learn, but swimming is a truly fantastic sport to master! At the very least, because it works the muscles in your entire body.
It’s often prescribed to people with joint or back problems. Besides being in the water could also have a relaxing effect, thus improving your overall well-being.
You can’t always call somebody for everything that breaks in your home, right? Well, you can, but for some things, it’s easier (and cheaper!) to try fixing them yourself.
I find this new skill to be very rewarding since we moved into a new house last year, because there’s always something to do! A sink, a chair, the kitchen cabinets…Learning with your hands will not just save you money but also boost your creative thinking. And all you need is a basic household tool kit. It’s like playing lego for kids, but challenging. And we like a challenge, don’t we? (as you can tell I need the pep talk).
This could save your life in certain situations.
But okay, let’s look on the bright side – you can’t go camping outdoors without knowing how to build a fire. And camping is a great way to enjoy nature and release the stress accumulated in our noisy, dirty, busy cities. It’s also useful if you have an actual fireplace at home in the winter.
Besides, you’ll impress your friends with your skills, and having drinks while singing songs around the campfire is a great bonding activity.
Playing an instrument
Yes, singing songs around the campfire is great, but who will play the background music?
Music uniquely stimulates us because it evokes a variety of emotions. Besides, playing an instrument is a multisensory activity that will boost your brain in many ways and help with cognitive development.
Guitar, piano, or flute are among the most popular choices, but if you’re feeling adventurous, why don’t you try the drums?
Video editing or videography
This skill can be very valuable since video content is getting more and more popular. It’s also an exciting way of self-expression that will stimulate your imagination.
If you’re looking for a way to spend time in nature and cultivate patience, fishing might be your activity.
On the other hand, if your days are hectic, you’ll probably enjoy the peace of an early morning outdoors with a fishing rod in your hands.
The breeze in your hair, the sun in your eyes, and the smell of the sea…If you’re feeling adventurous and get the opportunity take some lessons and learn to sail a boat. You’ll have the best time and you’ll gain a skill that will make you feel proud of yourself.
Clear, concise, and error-free writing is vital for many aspects of your life, not just your job.
If you often make spelling errors or want to sound more confident and have your thoughts flow freely on paper, try to improve your writing skills. You can take classes, but the best way to master this skill is to simply practice for a 20 minutes a day, preferably in the morning.
If you’re like me and feel your stomach curl into a ball before speaking to a small or a large crowd, rest assured you’re not alone.
Mastering the fear of speaking in front of people and practicing this skill, even when it feels very scary can really pay off. It can tremendously enrich and improve your professional, but also personal life, because you can meet new people and it will boost your confidence like nothing else.
This mindful hobby could positively affect your stress levels and cognitive abilities. Knitting also develops your fine motor skills. And as with gardening – you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor (well – wear them). You don’t need to invest a ton of money to start knitting, there are tutorials online for free and you could practice it everywhere as long as you have your tools.
Nothing can beat a home-cooked meal. You don’t have to learn to cook like a chef, as even the simplest dishes could bring great pleasure.
Some people feel intimidated by cooking, but it’s pretty easy to start – you can take classes, because they can be fun, but you can also watch a cooking channel, or search for easy recipes online. It’s a tasty skill to have and to share with others.
Learn how to make the best cappuccino
Not life-saving, but a money-saving and very fulfilling skill, especially for coffee lovers. Once you master the best cappuccino, invite your friends and experience the social benefits.
Become a grill master and host the best dinner parties in the summer. It may seem easy, but there sure are some tricks you can learn from the masters of the craft.
When you have a lot to do, it’s easy to become distracted, multitask, and procrastinate. Ultimately, you get much less done than if you had organized your tasks and goals. So instead, build structure into your life and see how much more you’ll achieve this way.
If you want to be appreciated more, lead by example and stop being a follower. Read books on leadership or acquaint yourself with the biographies of successful leaders. Even though you may not be able to copy their results, cultivating some of their positive traits will empower you to inspire your peers.
Meditation is the practice of putting your brain on a break. It’s much more complicated than it sounds because mental chatter is hard to silence. However, the process, and not the immediate success, is what matters. Besides, the benefits apply to your overall health, so it’s worth trying.
You can think of dancing as a musical workout. It’s a great way to release stress and tension and has a social element to it. That’s if you’re not doing it alone in front of the mirror, which is also great!
Widely popular as a stress-release method, doing pottery is great, even just to create something with your hands. It’s an excellent way to let your creativity flow while immersing yourself in a mindful activity.
It sounds like a given, but we all could improve our communication and listening skills. Relationships too often fall victim to misunderstandings, bad moods, and self-centeredness. Learn how to pay more attention to your daily communication with the people around you, and life will flow more smoothly.
Living in the present moment
Most people fall into this trap. We’re either constantly checking our phones or worrying about something past or future. This behavior robs you of enjoying pleasant experiences and contributes to higher anxiety levels. Instead practice being present in the moment – going out for a walk and leaving your phone behind can be a great place to start! This skill can improve your relationships, your career and your life in general.
Whether you work in marketing or have young kids who want a good night story, storytelling is a great new skill to start. It broadens your creative horizons and trains the brain to think differently, which works wonders for your imagination and creativity.
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