It is that time of the year where so many things are flying around, especially as it touches the new year that is less than three weeks from now. 

While it is good to make plans ahead for the new year, it is also important to ask yourself one important question:

“Should I really learn something new in 2021?”

Take a pause and ask yourself and try to answer it before you continue reading.

It is necessary to be intentional about what you want to learn and with whom you want to learn the something new.
Beyond learning something new, it is great to be intentional about spending time asking yourself the thing you are exactly curious about. What does your soul need? What would be of great benefit to your mind? Body? How would it improve your overall wellness and even your finances?

Reflect on what you want to learn and don’t just set out on learning something new just because you think you have to be in on the newest thing. Don’t set out on something new because you need something to fill a void or keep you “busy”.

The times you set out to learn something new just because, you can tell that you weren’t committed overall, you felt so unsatisfied and you ran off to yet another new thing just to satisfy your persistent and insatiable quest for the “answer”.

Now is the time to sit back and pay attention to your desires and where it leads. Trust what beckons you to learn something new and to be more realistic about what you have time to take in.

Here are the prompts you can use to focus your learning to what really matters:

1. What do I want to learn if time and money were no object?

Consider anything and everything. For the next month, the next six months, the next year, the next five years.

2. What’s my motivation in wanting to learn _____ (insert what you want to learn)?

This question helps will help you ferret out if your motivation is related to fears of not being enough or getting THE ANSWER.

NB: “because it would be fun” is a great answer.

3. How might I grow by learning __________?

By learning about programming, you might grow and develop your problem solving skills. By learning about dress making, you might learn how to enjoy the process and journey of a thing even as you look forward to its outcome.

4. How could I learn this for free? Who could I ask for help?

There is so much great information in books, on the Internet, in your friends’ and colleagues’ brains, and already on your hard drive – all those programs and classes you’ve already bought!
All those bookmarks you spent 2020 saving and you’ve never gone back to reading, all those tabs you have opened in your browser.

If cobbling together your learning feels too hard, stop and ask yourself if you really want to learn this or if you just want to buy something that will make you feel like you learned it? Then go back and consider your motivation.

5. How will I measure my progress? What will be enough?

This question addresses the hungry ghost feeling of always wanting more, more, more, or signing up to learn something so you will finally be ready to do what you want. This question helps you get more clear on what exactly you want to learn. Maybe all you really want to learn is how to do this itsy-bitsy budgeting thing that you can learn from your friend who is an accountant rather than signing up for a two-year course in financial management.

6. Do I have time for this learning?

You may deeply desire to take your fitness seriously or get a Ph.D. in data visualization, but if there isn’t enough time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and waste.

7. Am I using learning as an excuse to wait to take action on a desire?

Learning can become a way fear convinces you to wait until you know a little bit more, have another certification or degree, or feel a little more confident, and then you can do what you want to do.

If that is why you want to learn, I beg you to first:

  • Use some of your materials and make a new dress. Practice that tailoring knowledge you already have.
  • Teach your subject to a group of friends in your living room.
  • Give a presentation at work on your subject.

There are a million ways in every field to create and share your ideas. Do that before you learn something new. Please!

And finally,

8. What learning would give you true pleasure?

Too often we sign on to learn things we think we should learn to prove ourselves to someone else, or because we are still pursuing a goal that we no longer care about. Why don’t we skip that in 2021?

Here’s to learning and growing until our very last breath.