Happy New Year! What do you want to learn in 2020?
I posed this question to the 25 members who attended our first GaGa Sisterhood meeting of 2020. It was our member mixer, the most popular meeting of the year. We divide the members into groups of five and each person gets five minutes to answer four questions in their small group. Then we move to a new group of five and answer the questions again. Finally, we return to the big circle and share some impressions from the experience.
We’ve been having our member mixers for years and the reactions are always the same — let’s do this again; it’s such a great way to learn about ourselves and each other. In addition to answering what we want to learn in 2020, I posed 3 other questions which I list below. I encourage you to answer them yourself and if you’d like to share any of your answers, post them in the comments box.
- Share two things you love about your life right now.
- Share two things you’d like to change about your life.
- What would you like to learn in 2020?
- What obstacle(s) have you overcome in your life?
Tips for Learning Something New
Lifelong learning matters whatever our age may be. Learning something new takes courage and determination. But it’s the best way to keep the brain thriving.
There are many ways to learn – not just one.
The best way to learn depends on what you’re trying to learn. I always turn to YouTube for anything I want to learn from the smallest task (how to remove a spot from clothing) to how to play pickleball. I want to learn to play pickleball in 2020 and when I shared my interest at our GaGa Sisterhood meeting, six other members said they also wanted to learn. I’ve already taken my first lesson and can’t wait to play again.
If you’re trying to learn a new language, don’t just read the textbook. Watch TV shows, listen to music and converse with a native speaker.
Make it more meaningful for yourself.
Finding meaning in learning is the key. Make real-life connections with the new information and see how it fits in with what else you know.
Learn by doing
Find out for yourself what works best for you. Reading a computer manual has little meaning until you try for yourself writing an email or creating a new document.
Study others then practice.
They say the best way to learn to write well is to read lots of books. But you also need to practice writing.
Teach what you learn.
One of the most effective ways to learn a new skill is to teach it to someone else. You need to break down the material into simple, understandable chunks and understand it before you can teach someone else.
Take frequent breaks.
To prevent overload, take 15-minute breaks every hour or so.
Testing is one of the most effective ways to boost memory.
Find a mentor.
Find out if there’s someone among your friends, family or co-workers who’s an expert in the skill you’re trying to learn.
Always be curious.
Nothing stimulates learning quite like curiosity. Don’t merely memorize theories and techniques – question them at every step.
This list was compiled by the Memory Foundation, an organization founded by two sisters after their mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Their mission is to inspire people in their 50’s and 60’s to build a buffer of new brain connections to protect them against memory loss later in life. Learning at any age is the key to having an interesting and rewarding life.