New Year, New You: What skills to learn in 2018

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Learning shouldn’t stop the day you leave education – there are always new ways to better and improve yourself by developing new skills – some of which you might even be able to add to your CV and could help you land a new job.

We are a nation obsessed with our mobile phones – they are glued to our hands 24/7. On average, we spend 1 hour and 20 minutes on our social accounts including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, every single day. Just imagine if you used that time to learn a new skill, you would add another string to your bow before you know it and you could even use a smartphone app to aid your learning.

So, as we make our resolutions for this year, what new skill will you be aiming to learn?

Public speaking

Speaking in public is something that can make even the most confident among us feel terrified. It can cause knees to shake, hearts to race and voices to tremble. As a result, we can avoid it but this may mean missing out on incredible opportunities – particularly in your career.

So, this year, why not learn how to do it properly? You don’t even have to attend a training course, although of course you can. Simply listen to those that speak for a living by watching videos on YouTube and Ted Talks – then it’s a case of practicing in private, because it’s true what they say – practice makes perfect! Start talking in front of small groups and who knows where you could be by the end of the year.

Learn to play an instrument

Is there a guitar sat in the corner of your room collecting dust? Have you always said that one day you will learn to play the drums but never got round to it? Then this is going to be the year you actually do it. Come the end of December, as the clock strikes midnight, you could impress your friends and family by ringing in the New Year playing your instrument.

Not convinced? Playing a musical instrument regularly has been found to help you feel relaxed and less stressed as it lowers the heart rate and blood pressure – so what are you waiting for? You can take lessons or teach yourself with the help of YouTube tutorials.

A new language

Do you wish you had paid more attention in French classes at school so you could form some sort of conversation when you go on holiday? Well, learning a new language is easier than ever before – you don’t even have to go back to school and you can do it on-the-go.

All you need to do is download an app like Duolingo – choose which language you would like to learn – it has everything from German and Spanish to Chinese and Japanese. Start with the basics and these bite-sized lessons will have you fluent in no time.

A new sport

Do you say every year that you will take up running? Well, it’s time to now set yourself a challenge by perhaps entering a 10K race or even a half marathon – if you feel brave enough. Although ensure it is taking place nearer the end of the year, so you have plenty of time to train.

Start by using Couch to 5K – this smartphone app will help get you started and build up your stamina – then you can take it from there. Likewise, you might want to learn a new dance – belly dancing, street, ballroom – the possibilities are endless. But, if dance isn’t your thing then why not join a rowing club, the local netball team or any other sport you have been thinking about trying? It is a great way to meet people, make new friends, have fun – all while picking up a new skill!

To cook a new cuisine

Adding recipes from a new cuisine to your cookbook will impress dinner guests and make meal times much more enjoyable. This might be Moroccan, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern or Mexican – whatever tickles your taste buds! You may want to learn how to cook some delicious vegetarian or vegan recipes, or if cooking isn’t your forte – why not work on perfecting one new dish or teaching yourself to bake, instead. Take a look at recipes online and food bloggers – for tips.