The other day, I read a quote that said “It’s by learning new things in life that makes us grow.” It made me think about how important it is to keep growing and learning every single day of our lives. Below, I’ve shared some of my favorite ways to do just that. Enjoy!
15 Things to Do to Keep Growing & Learning
I recently shared some New Year’s Resolutions that are far more meaningful than “lose weight” or “save money.” One of my favorites on that list is to learn something new every day. It’s a great one because it’s so open to interpretation, and anything counts, really. One day you may learn a new fun fact about the universe, and the next you could master a totally new skill.
But learning something new every day isn’t just about adding to your “book knowledge,” so to speak. It’s also about learning new things about the world around you, the people in your life, and yourself. It’s about making a conscious effort to keep growing all year, every year. The ideas below will help you do that! You don’t have to do everything on this list. Just pick the ones that speak to you the most.
We’ll start off with a few ways to get yourself into the mindset of learning and growing. Then, we’ll move on to some actionable tips. Sound good? Oh, and I’ve included a few of my favorite motivational quotes throughout to help inspire you even more!
How to get yourself into the “growing and learning” mindset
Before you embark on any journey, you have to do a little prep work first, right? These ideas below will help “activate” your “learning mode,” so to speak.
1. Start each day by opening your mind to new learning opportunities
Rather than beginning your day with coffee and a hefty dose of bad news, start it by mentally opening your mind up to new opportunities to learn and grow. Picture your brain as a sponge (which it kind of is, right?). Squeeze out all of yesterday’s stagnant water and imagine that it’s ready to soak up new knowledge.
It sounds a little silly, I know, but there was actually a study done in 2011 that found that goals you can visualize are easier to achieve. So when you picture your brain all ready to absorb new info, you’re helping achieve your goal of learning something new every day.
2. Choose to just be better than you were yesterday
There’s a great quote that says “Don’t try to be perfect, just try to be better than you were yesterday. ” That philosophy works for pretty much every aspect of your life, including your goals to keep growing as a person. Whether you’re trying to learn a new skill or striving towards being a kinder person, you don’t have to be flawless every day. You just need to be a little better than you were yesterday.
3. Cut out (or at least cut back on) negativity in your life
Just like a plant can’t thrive in a toxic environment, humans can’t grow when they’re surrounded by nothing but negativity. Cut toxic people and situations from your life as much as possible. Where you can’t outright eliminate it, reduce your exposure to it. Remember, you are what you feed your mind. Stop feeding it junk.
4. Spend more time with the people that support your growth
By “support your growth,” I don’t mean people who encourage you to reach for your goals. I mean, those are great people to have in your life, too! But in this case, I’m thinking more along the lines of people who feed your mind and soul.
Do you know how there are some plants that grow better together, like tomato and basil? I think of it kind of like that. Sure, you can grow fine on your own, but when you have a great “companion plant,” you grow taller, stronger, and healthier than ever.
5. Let go of the things that are holding you back
Give yourself permission to let go of things that really just aren’t good for you anymore. I don’t just mean toxic people. We already covered that above. I’m talking about goals that you set for yourself that you really just no longer care about, hobbies that don’t interest you, and philosophies that no longer represent what you really believe.
Too often, we hold onto things because we don’t want to feel like we’ve failed or wasted our time on them. By clinging to these things, though, you’re actually wasting more time that you could be using to grow and learn new things. Things that actually matter to you, that bring you joy.
6. Take responsibility for your own life
Look, there’s only ONE person that can write your story, decide on your path, and achieve your goals: YOU. So right now, decide that you’re going to “own” your own life. Quit blaming others and take responsibility. It truly is the only way you can grow.
7. Embrace the fact that you’re not right all the time
We all know someone who thinks they’re always right. As frustrating as those people are, I actually feel a little bad for them. Someone who believes that they already know everything is incapable of learning, which means they’re also incapable of growing. That’s a really sad way to live, don’t you think? I don’t just admit that I don’t know everything, I embrace it and revel in it! I’m thrilled that the world still has so much more to teach me, and you should be, too!
Things You Can Do to Growing and Learning Every Single Day
Now that we’re in the right mindset to make sure we’re continually growing, let’s talk about some actionable things we can do to make every day a learning experience.
1. Always have a new skill that you’re trying to master
To paraphrase Emerson, you really can’t grow if you just stick with what you already know. Keep a running list (on paper or in your head) of all of the things you want to learn how to do. Once you master one, move on to the next, and the next, and the next. If you do that, you’ll NEVER stop growing and learning, I promise.
2. Travel alone…
Solo travel is a great way to learn something new about yourself. You get to follow your own itinerary without worrying about whether everyone else is having fun, and that can lead to some interesting discoveries! I think everyone should go on at least one solo adventure in their lifetime.
3. …and with your kids!
By traveling with your kids, not only will you be making memories that last a lifetime and spending valuable time together, but I guarantee you’ll learn something totally new, too. Kids see the world very differently than adults do. When you can spend time with them free of all distractions and day-to-day stuff, you really see the world through their eyes. It’s quite magical!
4. Find a mentor…and be one to someone else
The first part is obvious. If you want to master something new, who better to learn from than someone who already mastered it themselves? But the second part is just as important. When you become a mentor to someone, you’re not only teaching them what you know but you’re also learning something new yourself: how to lead.
5. Ask new questions
One of the best ways to keep learning is to simply keep asking new questions. Curiosity gets a bad rap for “killing the cat,” but there’s a second half of that quote that people always forget: satisfaction brought him back. As long as you keep being curious about the world around you, you’ll keep growing every single day.
6. Make mistakes!
Mistakes are a vital part of learning and growing because they teach us how NOT to do something. Learning the wrong way to go about something is just as important as learning the right way. The more mistakes you make, the faster you’ll learn.
7. Make life beautiful for someone else
It’s not enough to just grow our minds. We need to feed, nourish, and grow our hearts and souls, too. There’s no better way to do that than by actively trying to make someone else’s life a little brighter.
8. Live one day at a time
You can’t grow if you’re constantly living in the past or worrying about the future. I think of it like this, an acorn doesn’t spend its time worrying about how long it will take to become a great oak. Nor does it think about how it almost became squirrel food back when it was a tiny seed. It just lives each day, growing little by little, until one day it’s towering over all of the other trees in the forest. Focus on nourishing yourself and growing inch by inch, and one day you’ll look out and realize that you’ve grown into a great oak, too!
Albert Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying,” and I think that’s so true. The moment we stop actively trying to grow is the moment we begin to stagnate and wither away. Keep growing, keep learning, and keep living!