New Skills For a New Year

Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions are silly. Why attach a desire to improve your life to a specific time of the year? Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time to set your sights on some real, long-term resolutions that will truly change your life for the better — no matter when or how they take place. 

Committing to developing new skills is a great way to invest in the future. If you’re looking for a way to improve yourself in 2021, here are a few suggestions for achievable, reasonable skills worth learning.

Learn a Digital Skill

If you’re looking for a skill that can have a huge impact on your professional life, digital skills are the way to go. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Digital marketing: 2020 pushed countless businesses into the e-commerce space, where digital marketing is king. From content creation to social media, email, and more, consider looking for an online course that can help give you an edge in the digital marketing arena.
  • Adobe: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator — Adobe has offered a suite of professional products for years now. Taking a class to learn an Adobe program or two can help you foster skills that can be used in countless online work environments.
  • Analytics: Data is everything these days. Try getting a certification in search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), Google Analytics, or some other area of business information. By doing so, you can position yourself to stand out the next time your boss is looking for an informed answer.

It’s smart to learn more about digital skills now, while the pressure is low. That way, if you find yourself in a position where that skill would come in handy, you won’t just be scrambling like everyone else — you can be the hero with the skill-based solution.

Cultivate Soft Skills

Soft skills are always talked about, but many of them are never really worked on. You hear things like communication or interpersonal activity and it’s easy to think “I can totally do that well!” Nevertheless, there are actually a large variety of soft skills that are always worth working on, such as:

  • Mindfulness: The ability to live with greater intention can’t be overrated. Mindfulness enables you to be more positive, thankful, grateful, and generally aware of the present.
  • Active listening:  Again, it’s easy to say that you’re good at listening. But do you really hear what other people are telling you? Do you empathize and see things from their perspective?
  • Growth mindset: A growth mindset means you’re willing to learn and grow, no matter what situation you find yourself in. This includes an ability to be flexible and to adapt at a moment’s notice. It’s a great skill for the uncertain times that we find ourselves in.

Consider the above list and pick out the areas where you’re the weakest.  Then commit to developing them this year. If you’re serious, you’ll be able to see a difference in both your personal and professional interactions before long.

Hone Random Skills

Finally, don’t be afraid to look for the random skills that can quietly deliver huge benefits in your life. Here is a handful just to get you thinking:

  • First aid training: Taking a first aid training course can introduce a slew of different benefits into your life. If you know what to do when an emergency takes place, you can reduce accidents, improve your confidence, and even save lives. 
  • Exercise: We live in a sedentary age. Work and entertainment are largely focused on sitting and minimal movement. This has literally made exercise a life skill — and a critical one at that. Do your research, find a gym, and start to hone your ability to exercise properly.
  • Writing: It doesn’t matter if you struggle to put pen to paper or the words flow out the instant you open up a blank document. You can always improve your writing skills. This can help you with everything from personal journaling to professional communication. It’s even a skill that you can use to pick up a side gig if you ever find yourself in need of some extra cash.

Of course, these three suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. This is the fun part, though. Consider the vast array of your interests, talents, and existing skills. As you do so, look for the areas where you can genuinely benefit from investing some time and effort. 

New Skills — New Year or Not

It’s never too late to set new resolutions. The important thing isn’t the timing of those commitments so much as your willingness to choose quality goals and then stick to them. Choosing to develop new skills, in particular, can have a huge impact on your life. 

Skills like digital marketing and using Adobe suite can improve your performance at work. Going for a jog each morning and learning how to journal can dramatically affect your physical and mental health. Being mindful and listening to others will help with your interactions both in and out of the workplace. 

So, take a moment to consider your current situation. What skills can you focus on right now that will help you either now or in the future? Once you’ve got something in your sights, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Carpe diem!

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