How to Learn a New Skill and Improve Yourself This Year

how to learn a new skill and improve yourself this 2017

Did you make a resolution to learn a new skill or improve yourself this year? We hope so, because according to Statistic Brain Research Institute, “people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

Although Statistic Brain also claimed  that only 8% of people who made resolutions were able to meet their goals last year, we believe that you can beat the odds if you make some adjustments to your game plan this year.

Many articles have already been written to give you tips on how to keep your new year’s resolutions, but in this article, we are focusing on ways on how to improve yourself this year by learning a new skill.


In making resolutions, we often adapt a “new year, new beginning” mentality, which drives us to make oversize goals to “change and become a  better person” with excess optimism. Thus, we often choose to change our worst habits or weaknesses as our goal.

Of course, change is the ultimate goal. And being aware of our own weaknesses is the first step. But in reality, “changes happen in small steps over time,” psychotherapist Rachel Weinstein explains. So if we focus solely on changing bad habits or weaknesses that usually take time to change, we often get discouraged easily when things don’t get better right away.

The solution? While you’re working on your weaknesses, think of a strength or skill that you can further improve at the same time. Because one way to improve yourself is to sharpen a skill that you already have.

In other words: if you’re good at something, be better at it. Upgrade your skill by learning other related skills. For example, if you’re good at writing, hone your skills by practicing it often. Submit articles to a blog or start your own. Write stories as a hobby. Or take it up a notch by taking workshops on creative writing, technical writing, or social media content writing.

This way, you are continuously improving yourself with a more solid sense of progress. Not to mention that expanding your existing skill set means expanding  your career and creative opportunities without straying too far from your area of expertise.


The most common advice for keeping resolutions is: think big, but start small. This also works for learning a new skill. You may not become a fluent Japanese speaker overnight, maybe not even after one year of study. But if you break down “Learn the Japanese language” into smaller skills that are reasonably achievable in a shorter period of time, you’ll be able to work closer towards a bigger goal without getting too overwhelmed.

For example, in learning Japanese you can decide to learn writing kana and kanji first, or maybe start with basic sentences that are enough to get you through a solo trip to Japan. It all depends on the goals you set for each step of the learning process and the level of mastery that you aim to attain at a given period of time.


Career coaches say that you can translate your hobbies into skills. And if you’re passionate about something, you’re more than likely to be more motivated to be better at it. So if you’re thinking of what new skill to learn this year, start with your interests. Of course, writing movie reviews may not directly translate into skills needed for your job as an HR professional, but in the process you’re honing your writing skills and critical thinking.


One of the best ways to learn is through experience, so don’t be afraid to try new things, even those that you think are not aligned with your personal interests. You never know, it might be something that you can excel in. As Celes Chua of Personal Excellence advised: “…you need to explore. You need to get out there and start trying out different things. You need to gain experience, to pick up new knowledge, to get into new situations…The more experiences you get, the more knowledgeable you become.”


So what do you want to learn this year? Tell us in the comments!