Usually around this time of year I get über excited to write out all my new years resolutions… but this year was a little different. It didn’t take me any time at all because I already knew what all of them were and I already had a plan to accomplish them. I’m not sure if anyone reads this, or if it helps anyone else, but it sure has helped me. In 2013 I accomplished so many of my random goals, and I know writing about them here made a big impact of actually following through and doing the work. I self titled 2013 – the year of achieving forgotten goals and growing up, here’s a look at what I did:
I also relearned 2 important lessons that have been hampering me most of my life:
1.) I always try to do too much, and it always ends up costing me.
2.) I get more excited about planning work than consistently doing it… I tend to get distracted and keep reworking the plan to make it perfect instead of just putting in the hours to accomplish the task at hand.
So while I have many many smaller goals and projects that I want to tackle in 2014, I want to try my first attempt at really learning from my past mistakes and focus on
1.) Not planning too much each month, no multi-tasking
2.) Make your plan, then put in your 20 hours, then stick to it.
The first one may seem a little vague now, but hopefully as the year progresses I will be able to catch myself over-planning! In the second one, you may wonder why 20 hours? Well it’s based on this guy:
Josh Kaufman suggests you can learn the basics of anything with 20 hours of real practice. I’m interested in how well this will work, but since it’s basically what I am trying to do anyway… I’m keen to believe it!
Please watch the video as he can explain it far better than I can paraphrase it, but the basic steps he suggests seem to be:
- Deconstruct the skill: Break down the parts and find the most important things to practice first. If you were learning to play a musical instrument, for example, knowing just a few chords gives you access to tons of songs. If you want to learn a new language, learn the most common 2,000 words and you’ll have 80% text coverage.
- Self-correct: Use reference materials to learn enough that you know when you make a mistake so you can correct yourself.
- Remove barriers to learning: Identify and remove anything that distracts you from focusing on the skill you want to learn… the internet, TV, ect.
- Practice at least 20 hours.
20 hours amounts to just 40 minutes a day for a month, or an hour a day allowing for some days off. At the very least, it can’t hurt 🙂 As I’ve known for a long time there is no magic pill for learning anything. You put the work in and you get results out.
I feel pretty excited about 2014 (I’ve always loved even numbered years) and while I am riding this new years resolution high, I am going to try for a project that I have been putting off for almost a decade… learning basic French.