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Published on November 26, 2020

15 New Skills To Learn For Rapid Self-Improvement

15 New Skills To Learn For Rapid Self-Improvement

Personal development doesn’t just happen. You can’t expect to be bitten by a radioactive arachnid and wake up the next day with new skills. Self-development requires hard work, dedication, and an ever-growing skillset.

So, what new skills do you need to power forward? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but these 15 new skills are great places to start.

All skills have value, but some are more helpful than others when it comes to your self-development. Adding these to your arsenal will increase the pace of your growth:

1. Goal Setting

On your journey toward your best self, you need to set goals. The key is balance: If your goals are too lofty, you’ll get discouraged when you fall short. Start too small, and you’ll become satisfied with your progress too early and stop pushing yourself forward.

The better approach is to think in milestones. If you want to be a novelist, don’t set a goal to finish a book in a week. Focus on getting a couple of pages done each day, or on writing a chapter each week. This measurable progress is more sustainable and fulfilling.

Some resources for you:

2. Stress Management

Personal growth can create a lot of stress.

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.” — Ginny Rometty, former CEO of IBM[1].

To keep going when times are tough, you have to learn how to manage your stress levels. If brisk walks help you keep your head on straight, schedule one for your lunch period every day. If you need to take Sundays off to recharge for the next week, it’s more than acceptable to do so.

Some resources for you:

3. Organization

Organization is a skill that comes more naturally to some people than others. If you’re a naturally messy person, start small. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed.

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Focus on the places where you spend the most time. Clean up your bedroom or vacuum your car. If physical cleaning is stressful, start by culling files from your computer. Believe it or not, one clean space can set the tone for the rest of your life.

Some resources for you:

4. Problem Solving

On the road of personal development, you’ll run into some barriers. Nobody but you can remove these from your path. That’s why problem solving is a vital skill for self-development.

Perhaps anxiety is keeping you from doing your best work. Instead of struggling through it, quietly take a mental health day. “You absolutely don’t need to disclose why you’re taking a sick day,” says Carissa Toyama of Forward, a membership-based preventive care group.[2]

Don’t let personal challenges stand in the way of your growth. If you can solve them, do — and don’t let anyone give you flak for it.

Some resources for you:

5. Time Management

To master yourself, you must master your time. You only get so much of it, and every minute wasted is a minute you’ll never get back. The good news is, time management is a skill that transcends every situation.

Time management is about the power of routine. You can use an online calendar to give your day more structure.[3] You can develop morning and nightly rituals to promote better sleeping habits.

When in doubt, replace idle time with projects geared toward new skills. If your goal is to learn to bake, spend an hour making muffins rather than scrolling through social media.

Some Resources for you:

6. Work Ethic

You can wish for something all you want. But if you’re not willing to put in the work, you won’t actually achieve it.

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The first step is acknowledging the work you need to do for personal development. The second is actually getting your hands dirty.

If you want to squat a certain amount of weight, you have to spend hours in the gym. Simply imagining yourself becoming stronger will do nothing.

Some resources for you:

7. Accountability

You are responsible for your own actions. Hold yourself accountable to them. The sooner you do, the quicker you can get back on track after making a mistake.

If your personal development slows down because you opted to sleep in instead of getting up early to work out, don’t blame the cold, grey morning. You made that choice.

Some resources for you:

8. Networking

The fast track to self-development is through networking. By connecting with other professionals in your field, you gain access to the wisdom of those with more experience than you.

The internet makes networking incredibly easy. Social media sites like LinkedIn allow you to connect with workers and leaders from all corners of the globe. Make meaningful connections, and they’ll give you not just something to aspire to, but a helping hand along that path.

Some resources for you:

9. Empathy

The people around you impact your self-development more than you might realize. Treating them with empathy cracks the door not just to compassion and understanding, but to all sorts of mentorship opportunities.

Remember, mentorship is a two-way street. Mentors benefit just as much from the arrangement as mentees do. One study of CFOs who mentored others found the top benefit they cited was improving their own leadership skills.[4]

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Some resources for you:

10. Self-Control

Self-development is no walk in the park. In challenging times, you’ll be tempted to find comfort in relaxing activities, such as playing video games or scrolling through social media. In order to truly progress, though, you have to learn self-control.

Smartphones in particular are a threat to self-control. The average person spends hours per day on their mobile devices. If you fall into that bucket, ask yourself: How could you use that time more productively?

Some resources for you:

11. Patience

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — An old Chinese proverb

Remember no meaningful goal is achieved overnight.

Be patient. Self-development is a process that can take years, even decades. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t see immediate progress. Take pride and find joy in even your smallest accomplishments.

Some resources for you:

12. Resilience

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. In other words, you have to push yourself through hard situations. Every time you throw in the towel, you lose momentum that’s difficult to get back.

Resilience is a skill acquired through struggle. That may not sound encouraging when looking for quick self-development, but you’ll soon see the power that comes from never giving up.

Some resources for you:

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13. Balance

Spend all your time at your profession, and you’ll become a master at your trade. Spend all your time with family, and you’ll have wonderful relationships — but fewer skills and a much smaller bank account.

The key to getting the best of all worlds is balance. If you’re tired of working on one thing, take a break. You can always come back later, when you’re feeling more up to it.

Some resources for you:

14. Self-Care

Self-care means different things to different people, as it should. But the overarching truth holds for everyone: If you don’t care for your health, you won’t see the self-growth you want.

Make time to exercise regularly, either at home or at a local gym. Choose a diet that will supply you with the nutrients you need, and stay hydrated. Meditate at least once per day. And if you’re having trouble managing your health on your own, reach out to a professional.

Some resources for you:

15. Sacrifice

What do you have to give up to achieve your goals? When it comes to personal development, there’s always something.

When you’re learning a new skill — especially if you also work full-time — you can’t spend the night socializing with friends. You may even need to sacrifice your weekends.

While it’s important to find time to enjoy life, this isn’t the same as indulgence. Too much of any good thing is bad. Be prepared to give up a few pleasures in service to your self-development.

For Best Results, Start Today!

Developing all of these skills is a tall order. You’ll find, however, that in doing so you’ll already have made a lot of progress.

Use that progress to push even harder. Keep honing your skills, and you’ll see just how life-changing self-development can be.

Featured photo credit: Melanie Deziel via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

Learning is an essential part of life. The more you learn, the more you need to learn. As Harry Truman put it,[1]

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Your attitude toward personal growth and self-development through continuous learning is an important factor in how you succeed in life. In this article, I have highlighted some learning goals to help you become a better version of yourself and be more successful.

How Independent Learning Leads to Growth and Development

When you are dedicated to lifelong learning, you will experience development in key areas of growth. This includes intellectual, professional, social, and physical growth.[2] You can pick these areas of growth one by one and learn something to improve yourself. When you have achieved your goal in one area, you can then consider another area that also needs improvement.

There are different ways to learn, and these include reading, listening, webinars, online courses, mentoring and any other means by which knowledge can be passed and absorbed. You can also learn by observing people: friends, colleagues, bosses, or any other person whose lifestyle you admire.

Examples of Personal Learning Goals

We learn not just for the sake of learning but to gain knowledge and improve certain areas of our lives. Highlighted below are areas where you can set personal learning goals. There is a sample learning goal statement for each of the items on the list. You can adopt these goals or adjust them as they apply to you.

1. Develop Communication Skills

Your ability to communicate effectively plays a crucial role in your pursuit of success. This applies to both verbal and non-verbal communication to colleagues, clients, customers, friends, and families. While everyone cannot be an orator or great writer, we can all be great communicators by learning.

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In whichever industry you are in, having a goal towards improving your communication skills would be of great advantage.

Enroll in online courses to learn topics in communications, such as speaking to an audience, communication strategies for sales and marketing, effective corporate communication, virtual communication, etc.

2. Negotiation Skills

Whether it is about contract terms, business deals, salary, or prices of commodities, negotiation skills are essential to have at hand. They can save you tremendous time and money and can also give you leverage in your dealings with people. You might not be able to always get everything you want, but negotiation skills can help you get more of it.

Take an online course or read three bestsellers on strategies and skills for negotiating effectively.

3. Ethics and Social Responsibility

Sometimes we know what is expected of us, but at other times, we are not so sure. We often come across situations where we get confused about what we are supposed to do.

Knowing what to do and being able to meet up with expectations can boost your positive image and earn you a favorable reputation at work or in the community. It can also open a door to leadership or make you more effective in your leadership capacity.

Continue to learn about ethics and social responsibility by reading wide on the subject. In addition, read all available information within an organization regarding its ethics and core values. Read also the ethics of the particular industry.

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4. Teamwork and Flexibility

Some people find it easy to blend into a team, while others are more of the solo type. If you belong to the second category, you need to be intentional about being flexible and working in a team to achieve a common goal.

Learn to be open-minded, volunteer to help out, and ask for help from colleagues. Also, offer suggestions on solutions to fix a common problem.

5. Reasoning and Making Good Judgment

The ability to make sound decisions depends on how you can deploy your reasoning skills. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can pull off easily, especially when it comes to making tough decisions.

A Harvard Business Review article outlined the following useful tips for making good judgments[3]:

  • Listening attentively or reading critically to turn knowledge into understanding.
  • Picking up what is not said and interpreting body language.
  • Cultivating sources of trusted advice: people who are bold enough to tell what you need to know and not what you want to hear.
  • Understanding, clarifying, and accepting different viewpoints.

Improve the capacity to listen and read information and intentions carefully to gain proper understanding and assess different viewpoints before making a decision.

6. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are described as the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problem.[4] It is being able to think about a problem and proffer an immediate solution or come up with ideas that can lead to a solution. The competitive world of work requires a great deal of critical thinking, and being able to fix problems is a great advantage.

Learn how to analyze and synthesize information and predict the future outcome of a decision. Use puzzles and games to develop logic and create mind maps to practice visualizing a problem and its solutions.

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7. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is also a component of problem-solving skills. It is described as visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly using a methodical step-by-step approach.[5] Analytical thinking helps to break a complex problem down into smaller, manageable components.

Improve analytical thinking capacity by practicing brain games, reading books, and using the analytical approach in solving problems.

8. Creative Thinking

Thinking about new ideas and ways of doing things rather than the old way is creative thinking. It can also be referred to as disruptive thinking — bringing new, fresh perspective into current realities. In this era of innovation, creative and disruptive thinking are essential to achieve success at work.

Improve creative abilities by tapping into inspiration from books, videos, documentaries, and other sources. Create time daily or weekly to brainstorm and create something new.

9. Improved Memory

A good memory prevents us from forgetting important dates, facts, and deadlines.[6] Memory also helps us to avoid committing the error of omission due to forgetfulness. Such an error can have serious consequences on our work and business.

Boost memory by learning to memorize and recall. Learn a foreign language or learn to play a musical instrument.

10. Staying Organized

Take control of your schedules, activities, and routines by getting organized. Getting organized will give you focus, increase your productivity, reduce stress, and help you manage your time better. Some have assumed that being organized has to do with personality types, but being organized is really not an issue of personality. Anyone can learn and develop this habit.

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Learn more about how to be organized. Create a daily to-do list. Learn to keep things in their proper place and declutter regularly.

11. Build Self Esteem and Confidence

One of the ways to build your self-esteem and confidence is through reading. Reading equips you with valuable information that makes you knowledgeable and vast. It also makes you more intelligent as you will gain a broader perspective on issues, and this makes you more articulate and confident when communicating with people.

You can also build your self-esteem by learning to make positive affirmations about yourself. Read self-help books and make daily positive affirmations.

12. Toughness and Resilience

Your ability to stand strong in the midst of storms depends on how tough and resilient you are. Whether you anticipate them or not, there will always be some tough times on your success journey.

Learning to be tough and resilient will ensure that you don’t buckle when under pressure. It also helps you to keep your mind sane when working through difficult situations. Read biographies or watch movies and documentaries featuring heroic acts. Participate in mental drills.

Final Thoughts

As much as it feels good to learn new things, consider perfecting an area of learning before moving on to something else. You might have a number of things to improve on (and you should), but you can’t take on everything at once. When you have chosen your learning goals, put a timeframe on each of them. You can also create a yearly calendar for your learning goals and pick them one after the other.

More Tips on Learning

Featured photo credit: Seven Shooter via unsplash.com

Reference

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