So May was MAYHEM! But here in Las Vegas we’re done with school and now looking forward to summer! You’ve got a lot more free time in the summer …
Hear me out, I’m not trying to give you homework. But think about something you’ve always wanted to try or you’ve thought about recently, and hadn’t looked into it because you didn’t have the time or didn’t know how to accomplish it. Welp, summer just might be the perfect time for that! I want to give you some skill ideas and Tools how to develop it.
Now depending on where you live or when you listen to this, it may be a totally different season right now. Here’s the thing —
any time is a great time to start a new skill.
Let’s brainstorm some ideas right now. No time like the present, right?
- Speaking of presents, how about you learn how to make your own gift wrap and wrap a present?
- Try tying a tie or different types of knots.
- Use tools to hang a picture on the wall or assemble something.
- Find out how to get stains out of laundry or how to iron wrinkles out of clothes.
- Make a budget and stick to it so you can save up money for something you want.
- Sew a craft or clothing item by hand or using a sewing machine.
- Have someone show you how to change a flat tire, check the oil, and use jumper cables.
- Draft a resume and practice filling out a job application.
- Take a babysitting course or get certified in first aid & CPR– and changing diapers.
- Plan a family dinner — research a recipe, go grocery shopping, learn food prep safety, and prepare the meal.
- Practice shutting off your home’s power, water, and gas in the event of an emergency.
- Learn how to mow a lawn or tend a garden.
- Read 1,000 pages from books.
- Write in a gratitude journal regularly.
- Up your photography skills.
- Study a world language.
- Improve your ability with an instrument or try a new one.
- Learn how to organize — your room, clothes, papers, email inbox, phone apps, etc.
- Go camping and practice outdoor survival skills.
- Get familiar with using public transportation or ride share.
- Put together a package for someone and mail it at the post office.
- Learn how to sketch, handletter, watercolor paint, or throw clay pottery.
- Play a new sport, or try a new sports skill/move.
- Learn what to do if you get pulled over or you’re involved in an accident.
- Check out rollerskating or rollerblading.
- Try to code a game or robot.
- Explore editing techniques to make your own movie or song.
- Take a no-digital daytrip using a physical road map.
Hopefully at least one of those ideas sparked your interest. Once you’ve got a skill goal, you can start developing it.
There is actual science to goals — Dr. Gail Matthews from Dominican University studied different groups of participants:
The first group made no goals or plans.
The second group wrote down goals but didn’t make a plan to reach them.
The third group wrote down specific goals and made a plan how to reach them.
The fourth group wrote down specific goals and made a plan how to reach them, then told a supportive friend about their goals and plans.
The fifth group wrote down specific goals, made a plan how to reach them, told a supportive friend about their goals and plans, and then every week they followed up with their friend on the progress of their goals and plans. And they were the most successful at reaching their goals.
The first Tool to setting goals is you want your goals to be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. For instance, with hand lettering, I could say, “I want to hand letter a birthday card for my best friend next month.”
Then, like Dr. Matthews’ experiment, Write down your skill goal with a plan. Think about what information or resources you’ll need to help you develop your skill. You may start out by gathering materials, like I need proper hand lettering markers, special paper, etc. If I don’t already have materials, I could ask to borrow some from a friend, or I could earn some money from doing chores or helping neighbors or a lemonade stand so I can buy my own materials.
Then you need to learn how to do your skill. You could get tips from someone you know who’s already developed that skill, or you could look up a tutorial online. Write down these steps in your plan to develop your skill.
Once you’ve got your materials and information or resources to help develop your skill, should you expect to instantly master it the first time? No! That’s not realistic or fair to you. So write down a SMART plan how you will work on developing your skill. Break it down into small steps if you need to. I will practice hand lettering for 30 minutes three times a week over the next six weeks.
Now that you’ve got a SMART skill goal AND a SMART plan to develop it, tell your accountability buddy — you’re way more likely to reach your goal when you have someone else who will cheer you on and keep you on track.
And then you’ve gotta get to work on developing your skill! As you learn and develop your it, try to teach it to someone — it’s helpful for both them and you!
One of the most important things I’ve learned from developing my own skills is
Consistency matters WAY more than accuracy.
You need to Prepare for obstacles, expect to mess up and even fail multiple times, but keep trying. Consistency counts! Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Take breaks if you get frustrated, but don’t give up. Adjust your timeline if needed. Keep at it.
When you reach your goal and develop your skill, Reward yourself! Be proud of your efforts! Remember where you started and how much you grew!
So I’ve got a personal story about setting goals, setbacks, and rewards. Many years ago, I planned to hike a big mountain with my husband Brent. The week before our hike I prepared by going on long walks and double checking that I had the gear I’d need for the trek. The day arrived and we set out on our hike, but it was much harder than I anticipated and I wasn’t able to reach the top of the mountain. I was disappointed it didn’t work out the way I’d planned. Years later I made another goal to hike that same mountain. Again, I prepared by making sure I had the right gear — this time I got hiking poles — and I went on on long walks uphill to condition myself for the difficult climb up that mountain. The day arrived and we set out on our hike. It was hard, and once I made it past the point I’d stopped at last time, there were new obstacles to overcome. But I persevered and made it to the top! The view was spectacular, and I felt very proud of myself for accomplishing my goal. I knew I could do it, and I’m glad I challenged myself to do hard things.
To help you with this, I created a “Teen Skills” worksheet for you to print out, circle your favorite skills, and start working on one. I also have a “SMART Goals” poster for you to print out, personalize, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, believe it, and achieve it!