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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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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

Stop focusing on the material objects

Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

Plan gifts in advance

We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

Suggest a better way

If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

Here’s what you can do:

Set a healthier pattern

For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

Get a fitness watch

Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Find a physical activity that you enjoy

Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

Try intermittent fasting

This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

Leave bigger intervals between meetings

If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

Plan time to relax

As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

Try to be a little pessimistic

We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

Try waking up earlier

Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

Plan your day the day before

Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

Binge-watching TV series

Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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Running on coffee

Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

Procrastination

Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

5. Stop over-consuming

We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
  • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
  • Can I rent it?
  • Can I make it myself?
  • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

Set your phone on flight mode

When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

The Bottom Line

As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

But this year, promise yourself this:

Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

Reference

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