5 Reasons to Learn 5 New Things Before the End of the Year

I believe – 100% – that it is critical to learn new things all the time. And, learning new things in midlife is something we need to prioritize. We know it’s important to stay mentally sharp, especially as we age, and there are actually tons of reasons why it’s so important.

Every morning, as part of my routine, I write in my journal. Well…unless I’ve overslept and don’t have those extra 10 minutes (tbh – happens more than I’d like to admit). Anyway, on these days that I DO have the time to journal, I write down something I learned the day before. I don’t always give myself credit for things that I do, but I am pretty good at recognizing that I’ve learned something. Yay me!

I’ve always struggled with self worth and doing this helps reinforce that I am taking steps to improve myself personally and/or professionally. It helps me feel more confident and believe in my competence. 

It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

~George Elliot

Not every day am I learning something MAJOR like a new language or how to play an instrument (ok, I’ve done neither of these), but I’m definitely learning a lot. Most of what I’ve been learning recently is about blogging. Blogging involves writing, researching, website development, technology, marketing, data analysis, collaboration/connection, graphic designing, and so much more. It’s pretty intense!

I’m also constantly listening to podcasts and reading material where thought leaders are discussing personal growth, self development, happiness, mindfulness, and general well-being.  

Other things that I find I’m learning about regularly is “why people do what they do.” I’ve always been interested in psychology and since I launched Midlife Pursuits, I find myself being even more curious about people’s motives and reasons for their behavior and actions and just noticing patterns within the stages of life that people go through.

So, I’m never at a loss for what to write in the “What I Learned” part of my journal. 

learn new things in midlife

Enough about what I’ve been learning. What about you? Are you  learning new things in midlife? Do you intentionally seek out opportunities to grow? I bet you learn a lot and often don’t realize it. 

But maybe you’ve been thinking you’re sort of stagnant lately or you’re just spending most of your time on day-to-day responsibilities. You might find that time is getting sucked up by browsing the internet, online shopping, or scrolling through social media.  

Let’s take a minute (or a few) and consider how to intentionally add “learning new things” into our daily lives. And how about this – commit to learning 5 new things by the end of the year? 

Here’s some motivation – 

5 Reasons to Learn 5 New Things Before the End of the Year…

1. To enhance or change your career

For many of us, there is still a lot of time left before retirement. Are you feeling or stuck or bored in your job? Maybe you’re feeling like you want to change careers or move up in your company/agency, but think you’re too old or it’s too late in life for that.

Learning something new in midlife can help with this. You could take an evening or online class to gain the skills you need for that promotion. Remember, time goes by no matter what you’re doing – whether you’re taking the class or staying where you’re at. It’s never too late; you’re never too old. A few years ago, I took an online class about using WordPress to create a website, for my job. Now, I’m using that knowledge in my job AND for my blog! 

Also, remember, an added bonus here is to increase your income and potential savings!

2. To stay current

Learning new things helps you stay current with what is going on in your field as well as with technology and in the world around you. So, if you do want to move up or change jobs/fields, staying current is important for “competing,” especially with younger people. 

We might not want to believe it, but ageism is a thing could affect us in our pursuit of a new job/career. I’d like to think that our years of experience would give us the upper hand, but staying current is also super important. It also allows you to better relate to younger people who may be in the position of hiring or supervising you. 

And, there is the added benefit of being more able to relate to your own children or grandchildren, when you stay current. I know 70 year olds that are “hip” and hang out with their grandchildren and it’s not awkward at all! It’s funny how times have changed. Back when we were young, it seemed like all 70 year olds had gray hair and only did “granny” things. Right?

3. To find new interests

I never had hobbies. Whenever someone asked me, or there was some questionnaire I was filling out, about things I enjoyed doing in my free time, I struggled with answering. And, I felt somewhat ashamed by this.

Now that I’m in midlife, I know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of – to not have a “hobby” like riding bike, knitting, gardening, or redoing furniture. But, I do have some regrets that I didn’t try new things when I was younger; maybe I’d have found a hobby or two, or at least I’d have spread my wings a bit. Note to self (and you) – IT’S NOT TOO LATE (see #2). 

I am finding myself really interested in neuroplasticity and how the brain works and using mindfulness to improve all areas of life. So, it might not be an actual hobby but it is a new interest. When I took the class Mindfulness for Well Being and Peak Performance, it led to this newfound interest, which also led a yoga and meditation practice, which I completely enjoy!

4. To stay mentally sharp

We joke that, at our age, we forget things all the time. But staying mentally sharp by exercising our minds isn’t a joke; it’s extremely important. To some of us (me included) the word “exercise” makes us just want to avoid whatever it is – at all costs. But exercising our minds isn’t really all that hard, and the benefits can be huge, especially in midlife.

Exercising our minds literally means “learning new things.” The Association for Psychological Science says, “certain activities — learning a mentally demanding skill like photography, for instance — are likely to improve cognitive functioning,” and “less demanding activities, such as listening to classical music or completing word puzzles, probably won’t bring noticeable benefits to an aging mind.”

I know, in midlife, many of us are looking forward to NOT using our brains as much. We are “done with stress” and want to retire on a beach somewhere (ahhhh, yes). And, it’s true that too much or chronic stress can be bad for us. (Here’s more on that subject.)  

But, not using our minds and completely avoiding all “stress” can have equally negative effects on our health, including our brain health. So we should do things to stretch and get us out of our comfort zones, at least once in a while…like learning new things – even in midlife!  

5. To boost your confidence

I think this is one of the best reasons to learn something new. Recently, our shower knob was leaking and I didn’t want to call the plumber because I had other issues that had required a plumber and those visits can be expensive. So, I searched on youtube and found how to replace the part that was the likely culprit of the leak. Well, it was definitely more difficult than they made it seem on the videos, but once it was done – I felt super accomplished! I literally love youtube for things like that. 

Imagine the feelings you’d experience by by learning something a little more in depth or challenging. Creating the new website for the agency I work for gave me a huge confidence boost. 

Something I always remember is that competence builds confidence…not vice versa. The more you LEARN AND DO, the more confident you BECOME! 

Do these five reasons make you want to run out and learn five new things? 

Let’s plan to share what we’re learning – what we’re pursuing in midlife – and get inspired by one another. So….I’ll start by posting on Facebook. Just follow Midlife Pursuits so you can stay up on how I’m doing and also share what you’re learning too! (I’m excited to get some ideas from you!!)

~Lisa 

Connect anytime via email – Lisa@midlifepursuits.com

Or on Facebook

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. What a fabulous post! It’s so important to stay relevant and learning is the best way to insure this. Great tips and REASONS!

    1. Thanks for your feedback Phyllis! I truly appreciate you taking the time to read!

  2. Wonderful article and #5 absolutely resonates with me, to boost confidence! And, I loved your example of learning household repairs. Youtube has helped me do everything from replacing a bathroom fixture to fixing a leaky toilet!
    Thank you for this reminder that we are never too old!

    1. Thanks Susan! It feels good to learn and accomplish things- even fixing a leaky toilet! Appreciate you sharing! : )

  3. Love this post Lisa! We’re on the same path, it sounds like. I’ve been reading a lot about neuroplasticity as it’s always been an interest and at this stage of life I have the time to spend on it. I’m truly enjoying it. You have offered 5 great tips. Thank you for the inspiration!
    Melanie

    1. Thanks, Melanie! That is another plus to this stage of life – some extra TIME!

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