“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
Your attitude toward personal growth and self-development through continuous learning is an important factor in how you succeed in life. In this article, I have highlighted some learning goals to help you become a better version of yourself and be more successful.
How Independent Learning Leads to Growth and Development
When you are dedicated to lifelong learning, you will experience development in key areas of growth. This includes intellectual, professional, social, and physical growth.((Dan Silvestre: Personal Growth Plan)) You can pick these areas of growth one by one and learn something to improve yourself. When you have achieved your goal in one area, you can then consider another area that also needs improvement.
There are different ways to learn, and these include reading, listening, webinars, online courses, mentoring and any other means by which knowledge can be passed and absorbed. You can also learn by observing people: friends, colleagues, bosses, or any other person whose lifestyle you admire.
Examples of Personal Learning Goals
We learn not just for the sake of learning but to gain knowledge and improve certain areas of our lives. Highlighted below are areas where you can set personal learning goals. There is a sample learning goal statement for each of the items on the list. You can adopt these goals or adjust them as they apply to you.
1. Develop Communication Skills
Your ability to communicate effectively plays a crucial role in your pursuit of success. This applies to both verbal and non-verbal communication to colleagues, clients, customers, friends, and families. While everyone cannot be an orator or great writer, we can all be great communicators by learning.
In whichever industry you are in, having a goal towards improving your communication skills would be of great advantage.
Enroll in online courses to learn topics in communications, such as speaking to an audience, communication strategies for sales and marketing, effective corporate communication, virtual communication, etc.
2. Negotiation Skills
Whether it is about contract terms, business deals, salary, or prices of commodities, negotiation skills are essential to have at hand. They can save you tremendous time and money and can also give you leverage in your dealings with people. You might not be able to always get everything you want, but negotiation skills can help you get more of it.
Take an online course or read three bestsellers on strategies and skills for negotiating effectively.
3. Ethics and Social Responsibility
Sometimes we know what is expected of us, but at other times, we are not so sure. We often come across situations where we get confused about what we are supposed to do.
Knowing what to do and being able to meet up with expectations can boost your positive image and earn you a favorable reputation at work or in the community. It can also open a door to leadership or make you more effective in your leadership capacity.
Continue to learn about ethics and social responsibility by reading wide on the subject. In addition, read all available information within an organization regarding its ethics and core values. Read also the ethics of the particular industry.
4. Teamwork and Flexibility
Some people find it easy to blend into a team, while others are more of the solo type. If you belong to the second category, you need to be intentional about being flexible and working in a team to achieve a common goal.
Learn to be open-minded, volunteer to help out, and ask for help from colleagues. Also, offer suggestions on solutions to fix a common problem.
5. Reasoning and Making Good Judgment
The ability to make sound decisions depends on how you can deploy your reasoning skills. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can pull off easily, especially when it comes to making tough decisions.
A Harvard Business Review article outlined the following useful tips for making good judgments((HBR: The Elements of Good Judgment)):
- Listening attentively or reading critically to turn knowledge into understanding.
- Picking up what is not said and interpreting body language.
- Cultivating sources of trusted advice: people who are bold enough to tell what you need to know and not what you want to hear.
- Understanding, clarifying, and accepting different viewpoints.
Improve the capacity to listen and read information and intentions carefully to gain proper understanding and assess different viewpoints before making a decision.
6. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are described as the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problem.((DOL.GOV: Skills to Pay the Bills)) It is being able to think about a problem and proffer an immediate solution or come up with ideas that can lead to a solution. The competitive world of work requires a great deal of critical thinking, and being able to fix problems is a great advantage.
Learn how to analyze and synthesize information and predict the future outcome of a decision. Use puzzles and games to develop logic and create mind maps to practice visualizing a problem and its solutions.
7. Analytical Thinking
Analytical thinking is also a component of problem-solving skills. It is described as visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly using a methodical step-by-step approach.((IQ Doodle: Analytical Think)) Analytical thinking helps to break a complex problem down into smaller, manageable components.
Improve analytical thinking capacity by practicing brain games, reading books, and using the analytical approach in solving problems.
8. Creative Thinking
Thinking about new ideas and ways of doing things rather than the old way is creative thinking. It can also be referred to as disruptive thinking — bringing new, fresh perspective into current realities. In this era of innovation, creative and disruptive thinking are essential to achieve success at work.
Improve creative abilities by tapping into inspiration from books, videos, documentaries, and other sources. Create time daily or weekly to brainstorm and create something new.
9. Improved Memory
A good memory prevents us from forgetting important dates, facts, and deadlines.((Illumine: How Important Is a Good Memory In Business)) Memory also helps us to avoid committing the error of omission due to forgetfulness. Such an error can have serious consequences on our work and business.
Boost memory by learning to memorize and recall. Learn a foreign language or learn to play a musical instrument.
10. Staying Organized
Take control of your schedules, activities, and routines by getting organized. Getting organized will give you focus, increase your productivity, reduce stress, and help you manage your time better. Some have assumed that being organized has to do with personality types, but being organized is really not an issue of personality. Anyone can learn and develop this habit.
Learn more about how to be organized. Create a daily to-do list. Learn to keep things in their proper place and declutter regularly.
11. Build Self Esteem and Confidence
One of the ways to build your self-esteem and confidence is through reading. Reading equips you with valuable information that makes you knowledgeable and vast. It also makes you more intelligent as you will gain a broader perspective on issues, and this makes you more articulate and confident when communicating with people.
You can also build your self-esteem by learning to make positive affirmations about yourself. Read self-help books and make daily positive affirmations.
12. Toughness and Resilience
Your ability to stand strong in the midst of storms depends on how tough and resilient you are. Whether you anticipate them or not, there will always be some tough times on your success journey.
Learning to be tough and resilient will ensure that you don’t buckle when under pressure. It also helps you to keep your mind sane when working through difficult situations. Read biographies or watch movies and documentaries featuring heroic acts. Participate in mental drills.
As much as it feels good to learn new things, consider perfecting an area of learning before moving on to something else. You might have a number of things to improve on (and you should), but you can’t take on everything at once. When you have chosen your learning goals, put a timeframe on each of them. You can also create a yearly calendar for your learning goals and pick them one after the other.