In today’s article, I wanted to flesh out the feelings we have when trying to learn a new skill. After a relatively short period of time, we feel demotivated and procrastination sets in and ultimately we give up.
Often we want to learn a new skill and in our initial thoughts, we think to ourselves that we will pick up the skill fairly quickly. However, our minds are pretty good at deluding us.
After a few attempts, we realise its a bit harder than we anticipated and it is taking longer to learn than we thought. So we give up, we blame other factors or tell ourselves this just wasn’t for me.
But taking a step back and really thinking about it, what it boils down to is the lack of perseverance. We just needed to keep putting in the effort and be a little more gentle with ourselves on our self-talk in the beginning stages when we are learning.
What we also need to realise is that we will make many mistakes in the beginning and therefore shouldn’t judge ourselves too harshly and allow ourselves time to get into the groove.
By asking ourselves a few basic questions like how long did I try the new skill for? When was the last time I tried? What did I accomplish this training session? And what can I focus on for next time? By asking these questions and tracking the inputs one can figure out where one is going wrong. Let’s examine the questions below
How long did I try the new skill for?
By allowing enough time for you to get to grips with the new skill will help your mind to focus. Remember we are used to doing 95% of the things in our life with relative ease and without too much friction and thinking of what exactly what happens next.
This fools us into thinking that we need a short amount of time to learn a new skill, so we dedicate small pockets of time here or there. This doesn’t help us as after a while it feels like we have been working for a long time on this new skill and we are not making progress.
In reality, we haven’t really allocated enough time to try and allow ourselves to learn. What we should do is dedicate at least an hour initially maybe even two until we understand the fundamentals of the skill we are learning. We also need to make sure we can focus without any distractions.
As we improve we can shorten the periods of learning and start to enjoy the benefits of the new skill or hobby. This brings me to my next question.
When was the last time I tried?
If you have large gaps between your learning sessions you will find what you learnt the previous time will have been forgotten and then you will have to relearn that again, causing you much frustration as it feels you are not making progress and then the negative self-talk starts and you give up.
To set yourself up for winning at honing this new craft or skill try and schedule dedicated time to do it at least 2-3 times a week initially. Feelings of procrastination will be normal as we don’t like to do things were not good at yet.
Therefore by making dedicated time to work on our skill, we can fight the feelings of procrastination because we are not relying on inspiration but just get on with it.
What did I accomplish this training session?
By keeping a list of wins you can help the negative self-talk and can look at this list of wins when you are feeling demotivated. Sometimes we feel like we have slogged for hours or days and have nothing to show for it but by keeping a list of wins we can see that we are making progress slowly but steadily and keep ourselves motivated.
This comes in especially handy on the days we are feeling demotivated, heavy procrastination has set in and now we need to work on that new skill as it is scheduled. To help combat these feelings we look at our next question.
What can I focus on for next time?
By having a list of things to work on will make it much easier to start your learning sessions, especially on hard days when you are experiencing heavy procrastination and feeling extremely demotivated.
By examining your list of wins and now looking at what you want to work on in the new training session will help you focus and even if you just knock one item off your list of things to focus on you would have added another win to your wins list and have made progress. The funny thing is once you started you generally can keep going.
How to do it.
If you are using a journal it’s very easy, just create a blank spread where you can track the dates and the time duration on one page and then record the dates and how long you are working on the new skill. On the second and third page keep your list of wins and what to focus on the next training section.
If you are using a digital note taker Like Evernote/Onenote/Notion you can easily create a table to help you track the dates and time duration. On the same page under the table, you can keep your list of wins and things to focus on in bullet form and then it can easily be moved between the sections.
If you are battling to keep track of your learning on new tasks maybe try this method out and you may be surprised to see how much time you are actually dedicating to learning this new skill and craft.
let me know in the comments below your thoughts on this.