Why learning something new is a great idea

Last year there were lots of discussions, tweets and conversations about how we’re in a pandemic, you don’t need to do xyz it’s totally okay if all you did was survive.

The thing is, of course you don’t need to do anything new or different with your time. That statement has always been true. But if you want to and if you feel like you can, why not choose to do something new?

And even if you don’t feel like it, even if you’re anxious and overwhelmed maybe trying 10 minutes of aerobics or a breath work exercise might actually help.

I think learning or doing something new during a period where you have more free time than usual is a great idea.

The reason for this is whether you sit around passively watching YouTube all day or try out a couple of new recipes every week, the same amount of time has still gone by.

You don’t need to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, pick something that you will enjoy.

And you don’t need to use up all your free time, it could be 20 minutes of meditation each day or a few hours a week doing an online course.

You don’t need to post about it online and it doesn’t make you better than others because you’ve now started a successful business or have perfected the crème brûlée.

The focus should be on how you feel about the way that you’re choosing to live and the way that you’re spending your time.

From one dream to the next

A dream life or even dream job doesn’t have to be a single fixed thing for your entire life.

The life you aspired to have at 15 years old is likely to change once you reach your mid-twenties, if not years before.

You might realise you’re no longer interested in the life you used to want. But perhaps you followed that path, had a great few years and have decided that you want to move on to another dream.

It can be challenging to move on from something you spent years working towards. If it didn’t work out you might feel like you failed and if it was going swimmingly, moving on might feel too risky.

However, sometimes when things are going well, we stick around for too long and end up unhappy. The reason behind this is, having a life of many dreams actualised is rarely encouraged. Instead we’re told to pick one thing and stick with it.

And so when we start to think about moving on to a new dream, we hesitate. We close ourselves off to the possibilities of life and settle for less.

But dreams aren’t rigid, restricted or confined. Don’t be afraid to dream a new dream.

Exploring something new

From a young age it is likely that you were taught to figure out what you wanted to do with your life. That in turn dictated the choices you made and paths you chose for many years that followed.

Sometimes what ends up happening is you end up creating a very specific life where you rarely explore something new.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with knowing what you like and what you’re interested in, you don’t want to be so set in your ways that you’re closed off to the unknown.

Exploring something new every once in a while allows your mind to stay fresh. It could lead you to take a new path or just remind you that you’re exactly where you want to be.

The problem with looking back

I think it’s fair to say that most people are enticed by new things. A new habit, a new opportunity even a new person. As much as we can fear the new there are many instances when it actually excites us.

Yet, in many cases instead of going towards the new thing, we look back.

We look back with this cosy feeling of nostalgia for what once was or what it’s time to move on from and all of a sudden we begin to hesitate.

That’s when the fear and ‘what ifs’ kicks in.

What if things don’t work out?

What if this new thing isn’t better than what I’ve left behind?

What if I have to start over again?

The what if questions we ask are rarely framed in a helpful way and only serve to amplify the fear.

The alternative to looking back is to focus on the possibilities that will come from embracing the new and learning to trust that you’ll be fine.

Starting over

So often we are afraid to start over.

Maybe starting over feels like a setback, it feels easier to just keep going, you haven’t seen it done before or maybe it just feels too risky.

Those are valid reasons to stay where you are. But if you don’t take a leap, you end up missing out.

The thing we often forget is that, if you try something new and it doesn’t work out, more often than not you can just go back to the way things are.

If that happens, at least you know you tried.

When to start

Do it now.

There are 100 cliches about the right time to begin

You’ve heard them, I’ve heard them and sometimes i even write them.

But the truth is now is really as good a time as any.

If you think something is worth putting off and doing later instead, ask yourself why.

Do you genuinely have more work to do behind the scenes. More planning, learning and preparing.

Or are you using it as an excuse to hide.

You don’t have to wait until you’re perfect to start putting stuff out out there, learn to see the beauty in your growth.

You say you’ll do it later but later may never come, so why not do it now?

Uncharted territory

It’s easy to stick with what you know especially when it works.

But sometimes it’s good to try something new, explore uncharted territory.

Not just because what you’re used to isn’t working but because there’s is so much out there.

Trying new things help broaden your perspective.

Plus, how can you talk about how great something is when it’s the only thing you’ve tried.

Granted what you already know might turn out to be the best option but it doesn’t mean that alternatives aren’t worth exploring.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

A new version of you

It’s not always easy to show people that you’ve changed.

Especially when on the outside you look exactly the same. For example, how do you show someone that you’ve developed new neurological pathways?

For the most part when you change, you do it for you. Although on the other side of it you might feel like you have something to prove. Or maybe you’re proud of how far you’ve come and so you want to share it.

But in truth when you’ve really changed you won’t need to parade it around. It’ll be clear to see in the way you talk and the things you do.

And sure they’ll be people who refuse to see it because they liked you stagnant and they aren’t ready willing to see that you’ve evolved but that’s not your burden to carry.

Setting goals and losing steam

It’s now a full week after New Year’s Day.

How are you goals, resolutions or plans coming along?

You might find that after 7 days you’re still enthusiastic and motivated or you might have found that you’ve lost steam.

If you resonate with the latter then it might be useful to ask yourself why?

Why after such a short period of time are you no longer committed or dedicated to the things that you were overflowing with excitement about less than a dozen days ago.

This could be the perfect time to call yourself out and acknowledge that the new year was not enough to change you into a brand new version of you.

There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I’d say that’s the case for most of us.

Forming new habits or committing to new projects isn’t easy when you’re used to doing things a different way. And so the challenge or the work is to find a way of implementing new habits that works for you.

Procrastination pleasure

There must be some explanation for why we do it.

When you don’t want to do something or you know it won’t be easy, putting it off feels good. There’s pleasure in indulging in the freedom of future deadlines, future work or future responsibilities.

But that doesn’t mean that you can avoid them forever. That pleasurable feeling of freedom and not doing what you “posed to do” can’t last. You see the thing is whether you do it now or later you still have to get it done.

Instead of indulging in procrastination pleasure followed by an intense stressful period, choose to indulge in productivity pleasure and give yourself as much time as you can in order to do things well.

Sure pressure creates diamonds but constantly putting yourself through stress when you don’t need to could result in insomnia, chest pain and diarrhoea.

You might be used to doing things one way but that’s no reason not to try something new.