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How You Can Learn Anything In Just 30 Days

How You Can Learn Anything In Just 30 Days

We are all capable of learning and succeeding in anything we set our minds to, but we’re often told that it can take years to learn and perfect a skill. Ben Apple of 30 Day Life Upgrade challenged this. Here, Ben shares how you can learn anything in just 30 days:

We have been given an amazing world to explore and somewhere down the line, many of us end up getting stuck into routines and never break out to discover new things.  Think back to your childhood days and all of the things that you wanted to do and the things that you wanted to become.  Somewhere down the line, those things become lost as we get caught up in our day-to-day routine.

Today we’re going to change all that by figuring out something that we’ve been putting off learning, and we’re going to map out a plan to conquer a new skill over the next 30 days.

Choose Something To Learn

To learn something new in 30 days, the first thing that you need to do is figure out what it is that you’ve been putting off learning.  Think back to things from your childhood that you always wanted to do but somewhere down the line gave up on. Explore those things, no matter how silly they may seem today, and think of the things in this life that you’d wanted to explore and maybe given up on.  Maybe you’d always wanted to learn to juggle or play basketball.  Make a list of these things.

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You may also have things in your daily life that you want to improve or learn, but don’t think you have the time.  Learn a foreign language?  Cook delicious meals for your family and friends?  Play an instrument?  There are many things that you can learn to improve your career, social life, or simply make life more interesting and enjoyable. Add these things to your list.

Now you should have a starting point with a list of things that you truly want to learn.  Now, simply choose one item off the list and make a commitment to yourself to practice and learn this skill for the next 30 days.

Study Your Chosen Topic

You may feel as if you don’t know where to begin in your new endeavor.  Fortunately, I can almost guarantee that whatever you picked to learn, the hard work has already been done and many people have walked a path before you and documented their findings. In this age of information, you will be able to find books, wikis, blogs, and research studies, all at your fingertips. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  All you’re doing is accessing and processing the information that is already available.

The hardest part of this process shouldn’t be finding information, but finding quality information. I advise a simple Amazon search to look up reviews and information on available and relevant books. Remember where you stand in your journey when seeking information.  If you are a beginner on your selected topic, ignore the advanced books.  Don’t skip the basics.   The goal of this is not necessarily to become an expert in 30 days, but to develop a strong mastery and understanding of the basics that will put you ahead of most.  If you are trying to improve upon a skill for the next 30 days, then you may choose to look up the more advanced books or search for more specialized books.

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Set a Goal

Goal setting is the most important part of the process to learn something new, so that you make sure you are on the right track.  With no goals, most people are left floundering and will move ahead slowly with no end in sight.  Having one simple goal to strive for throughout the 30 days will make the task at hand seem very attainable and make it easier to follow through.

Goals should be set to challenge you but also realistic enough so that you may achieve them and continue to push forward.  Setting a goal to become the best in the world at something sounds great, but with only 30 days, this is highly improbable.  Instead you’ll want to set goals that allow you to make great strides in a positive direction.  Learning to play the guitar?  Maybe you’ll want to master the basic chords and learn some of your favorite songs.  Want to learn to cook?  You could set a goal to host a dinner party and cook a three-course meal at the end of your 30 days.    These are goals that are well within the realm of possibility and will allow you to continue improving upon these skills after the 30 days are over, or maybe you’ll want to just sit back and enjoy the benefits of this new skill that you’ve acquired.

Make sure your goal is relevant to your ability level.  If you want to learn a foreign language from scratch, your goal should not be to become fluent in 30 days, but maybe to order at a restaurant in your target language, or have a basic conversation with a native speaker in 30 days. If you have conversational ability in a language and are trying to jump to the next level, you also need to set a goal relevant to what you want to accomplish- maybe watching and understanding a movie in the target language or reading a newspaper in that language.

Setting a measurable goal is also important. 

It isn’t clear enough to say that you’d like to be fluent in Japanese or become a world-class chef.  Those are interesting goals, but you need a way to measure your goal to know when you’ve succeeded. If your goal is to become better at chess, how do you know if you’ve actually improved over the last 30 days?  You could decide to make the goal to beat your computer chess game at a level that you have not previously been able to beat.  This is something that is very easy to measure over time to test whether or not you have succeeded at your goal.

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Remember, make your goal realistic and attainable, at an appropriate level, and make sure it’s measurable.

Break It Down

The truth is, it can be very easy to learn something new and become very skilled with just a bit of effort and a little time.

When you have your goal, the next part is to break down the next 30 days into chunks of learning and practicing to help you achieve your goal.  Not matter what you’re trying to learn, you should be able to identify sub skills needed to learn the skill completely.  For your 30 day challenge, you want to be able to break the skill into 4-5 sub skills to practice, learn, and master so that you can conquer your main goal over the next 4 weeks.

From the beginning, you should be able to create a basic outline of what your schedule should look like over the next 30 days.  Things may change as you find you need more time and practice with something, and this is fine. The main thing is that you sit down at the beginning and have a plan to get started.  Identify the sub skills necessary for the chosen skill, and spend a little time each day learning and practicing these skills that will help you achieve your goal.

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Measure and Test

Now you’ve found something to learn for 30 days and you’ve studied and outlined a plan to learn and practice your skill.  The last step is to measure and test what you’ve done.  You could wait to do this at the end of 30 days, but I recommend that you make time to test yourself at regular intervals to make sure you’re on track.  Going back to the chess example, you could give yourself a weekly test game at the level you’d like to beat or test yourself at other levels to make sure you’re improving and on the right path to meet your goal.

This guide should allow you to outline a 30-day plan for which to conduct your experiment.  At the end of the 30 days, you will be able to test to see whether or not you have succeeded.  If you haven’t reached your goal, don’t worry!  You’ve not only come a long way in your new skill (if you stuck to the plan), but you’ve also created a positive habit of working towards something and bettering yourself.

In order to truly make this valuable, I’d like you to post whatever it is that you’ve decided to learn down below in the comments, share your progress, share this with your friends, and upgrade your life over the next 30 days!

How To Learn Anything in 30 Days | 30 Day Life Upgrade

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on June 3, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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