The older we get, the harder it is to learn a new skill. It's just science. But learning how to do new things can bring you both a happier, more well-rounded personal life and a more successful career! Whether you want to keep up with current technologies and learn how to use new tools or programs or just need something new to do with your free time, new hobbies are essential. Lifelong learning makes you a better person all around.
Did you know that learning new things doesn't have to cost a lot of money or time? No need to go back to school or spend hours at the library. In this post, I'll share how you can take up a new hobby no matter how many hours or dollars you have to spare.
Check out our list below for the top 5 reasons you should learn a new skill!
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There are tons of ways you can learn a new skill. Hit the books (or the internet) at your local library, enroll in a class, or ask a mentor for help. But if you love to learn in the comfort of your own home, you should give online courses a try.
Online courses allow you to learn at your own pace so there's no fear of falling behind and embarrassing yourself. They also let you learn whenever and wherever you want. That means if you want to brush up on your Spanish in your PJs, have at it! Want to learn how to fix your car while on the treadmill? You got it!
One great source for online classes on literally any topic you can imagine is Udemy. This website has courses on everything you could ever want and more! I have linked a ton of awesome courses in bold throughout the article below, so be sure to check them out! The site has easy to navigate menus, but you might also want to just browse. You might find a new passion that you didn't even think of!
Now that you have an amazing resource to get started on your learning right away, here's my top 5 reasons you need to learn a new skill!
1. It Looks Great On Your Resume
Listen up, ladies.
Having a broad range of skills, especially technological ones, is key to a successful career in the 21st century. With so much constant change, you need to keep up! Having a base knowledge of the programs commonly used in your field of work before you even apply for jobs will give you a leg up on the competition.
Research the skills you will need to learn for your dream job by scrolling through a bunch of job postings. Already know all the common “must-haves?” Put yourself even further ahead of the pack by learning the things on the “nice to have” lists.
If you already have a job you love, don't think you can sit idle and never learn anything new. Keeping up with new programs and software often leads to promotions and therefore a bigger paycheck. Take the initiative to learn on your own, and your boss is sure to notice.
Some employers may pay for you to attend a course or even get a graduate degree to ensure you have all the skills you need to advance. Schedule a meeting with your boss to figure out the steps you can take to move up! Even if she doesn't offer you funding options, she is sure to appreciate your taking the initiative.
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2. You'll Make New Friends
A fun side effect that often happens when you learn a new skill is making new friends. There is something about sharing a passion that makes it easier to bond with people. If you're taking a class, chat up your neighbor. Chances are she's a newbie too and will appreciate having a support system.
Learning at home? You can still find new pals! Research meet-ups and other events in your area put on by like-minded people. Some examples of this including creative writing workshops, Instagram meet-ups for novice photographers, craft fairs for artisans, and even jam sessions. Don't be intimidated out of attending events like this. Everyone started out somewhere, and people are usually nicer than you think. Plus you could find your new BFF!
Getting involved with the community surrounding your new skill or hobby is a great way to learn and grow. By bringing your own unique point of view to the table, you may even teach others something, too. Being inspired by and supporting each others' ventures will help you form long-term friendships.
Even if your new hobby doesn't end up being a major part of your life, the friendships can still last. When I was a kid, I played softball even though I was horrible at it. I bonded with another girl on the team who wasn't very good and we are still friends to this day!
3. You Can Pursue a Childhood Dream
Sometimes following our dreams as kids were just not in the cards. Maybe you wanted to learn to surf but lived in a land-locked state. Or you wanted to ride horses, but there were no stables nearby. Or you begged to play guitar but buying an instrument just wasn't in your family's budget.
Whatever the reason, if you never got to carry out your childhood dream, chances are you still have a curiosity about it. Now that you're an adult, why not pursue it? Even if it turns out to not be all six-year-old you cracked it up to be, at least you won't have to wonder anymore.
That's not all.
Another angle you can play on this is thinking of what you wanted to be when you grew up. Though most kids couldn't even imagine the jobs they end up with as adults, using your childhood passion as a volunteering opportunity can help yourself and others. Wanted to be a vet? Spend some of your free time helping out at your local animal shelter. Dreamed of becoming a teacher? Check out tutoring opportunities in your area. You'll learn a new skill and help others at the same time. Plus volunteering is a major resume booster!
4. You Might Find a New Passion
Young adulthood often comes with a “stuck” feeling. You've moved on past your teenage and college-age personalities but don't yet feel like a “real” adult. It's natural to feel like an imposter of yourself, especially when hanging out with old friends. You need to add something new and exciting to shake up your routine!
A fun way to get out of this rut is to learn a new skill you find interesting. Learning something new every now and again is essential for personal growth and will boost your self-esteem! Part of the “stuck” feeling is thinking you are only capable of doing the things you already know how to do, but it's just not true! Taking on a skill or hobby you've never tried and crushing it is the perfect way to prove to yourself and others that you're an ever-changing, complex, and amazing person!
I have two examples of this that I'm so proud of. First, I used to know nothing about cooking. I helped my mom bake when I was a kid but when it came to real food, I was clueless. I have been forcing myself to learn about different techniques and ingredients and it feels awesome! And the yummy outcomes aren't bad either. I also used to be absolutely horrible at anything physical. I played a few sports as a kid but was usually one of the worst players on the team. Now, while I'm no athlete, I have learned how to work out and have more control over my body. It feels amazing to prove my negative thoughts wrong!
Learning a new skill (or a few) can even open the door to a passion you never knew you had. Maybe you're like me and were never the athletic girl. But you could try a new kind of exercise class and fall in love! Or perhaps it seems like technology hates you but you're a whiz at coding. You never know until you try! Be fearless and learn as much as you can to open as many doors to happiness and success as possible.
5. It Can Make You More Independent
A big part of “adulting” is learning to live on your own. That doesn't mean you can't ever call your family for help in an emergency (like if your dishwasher is overflowing bubbles) but you should try to figure things out on your own. It feels amazing when you conquer a grown-up problem all by yourself!
If you want to learn a new skill but don't know where to start, try one that can help you live a more independent life. Learning cooking, gardening, organization, budgeting, and first aid skills will give you peace of mind at home and make your life feel less hectic. Knowing how to put together a good meal or not run out of money every month are huge steps towards feeling like you have your life together!
Why does this matter?
Not only will learning these types of skills make life easier, it can make you more attractive to others, too. Whether it is as a potential employee, partner, roommate, or friend, knowing basic life skills makes you appear more put-together. Nobody wants to associate with a 30-year-old who can't balance their checkbook or organize their house!
How do I choose what skills to learn?
In a world with so many different skills and hobbies you can try, you might feel overwhelmed with choice. Believe me, that's a good thing! In order to choose the ideal side project for you, you will need to ask yourself a few questions.
First, take a look at the five reasons to learn a new skill I listed above. Which of these is your number one reason for trying something new? Wanting to pad your resume will lead you to an entirely different list of options than if you are focusing on meeting friends, and that list is totally different from if you are trying to work on your “adulting.”
You should also take your finances into account. Some hobbies and skills will take more money to pursue. For example, sports equipment and musical instruments often come with hefty price tags, so if you're on a budget, cooking or coding might be a better fit for you.
Finally, think about how much time you have to put into your new venture. Becoming an expert in anything new will take time, but some hobbies require more practice than others. If you want to learn how to exercise effectively or gain first aid skills, these can be mastered with just a few hours of studying. However, learning a language or how to train your pet will take a lot more time.
Need some more help deciding on which hobby to try? Check out the video below for tips on finding your perfect passion project.
Learning a new skill in adulthood can seem daunting at first, but it can have significant benefits. A stand-out resume, new besties, crazy high self-esteem, and independence are just some of the things that can come out of perfecting something new.
Trying new things as an adult can feel scary or overwhelming. But don't be afraid! Hit up a class, enroll in an online course, or grab some books and get ready to learn a new skill. You have nothing to lose! Plus learning something new can make you a more confident, well-rounded, and interesting person.
What are your top reasons to learn a new skill? Have you recently dipped your toes into any new hobbies? We'd love to hear your stories in the comments below!