I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, ‘You never stop learning’, but sometimes it can be hard to keep learning when we are so busy with business and personal lives. Even more difficult can be actually completing a piece of learning and that’s usually because we don’t set clear targets. We are often very good at doing this for our businesses, outlining clear outcomes such as increasing sales by 5% in December or taking on three new employees within the next three months, but we don’t do this with things we want to learn. Instead, we give ourselves vague unsatisfying goals such as ‘learn to speak Spanish’, ‘be able to use WordPress’ or ‘be a confident speaker’.
The trouble with these goals is that they are so vast that it is almost impossible to fully complete them. At what point can you say you can speak Spanish? Is it when you can order your dinner and the waiter actually brings the right thing? Is it when you can have a conversation with a Spanish person?
Is it when you can write an article in another language? The same applies to the second goal of learning WordPress. Are you satisfied when you have created a basic website that someone can visit? Is it when you are able to customise the theme and change the code? Or it is one of those projects that you start and then put to one side when something else comes up?
The trouble with not being clear about what we want to learn is that when we start, we get too busy to continue and then we feel unsatisfied about the whole experience because we feel like we didn’t get anywhere. Most of this can be overcome by splitting the learning process into small goals to allow yourself that sense of achievement and satisfaction when they are achieved, which encourages you to then move on to the next step.
An example of small goal setting for your overall aim of being a confident speaker might be to stand up in the next board meeting and make a point to the team or be able to do a sixty-second pitch to a networking group. The next step might be to make a video for Facebook or LinkedIn. Next, might be doing a five-minute presentation in front of a small group. By achieving each of these you will become more confident and motivated to move to the next step.
Over the Christmas period, many people take some time out and it’s a great opportunity to learn something new. I’d like to challenge you to choose something you either want or need to learn and then set a few small goals that you can easily achieve over the holiday season without compromising time with your family and friends – you could even learn something together. I hope that by doing this you will then begin the new year with a sense of achievement.