zen habits : breathe

The 30-Day Learning Challenge

By Leo Babauta

There are probably a dozen items on your lifelong list of things to learn: a foreign language, guitar, martial arts, yoga, a sport, chess/poker/billiards, programming, html/css, drawing/painting, ancient history … the list is endless!

Now is the time to do it.

I hereby challenge you to tackle one of your learning projects for the month of June 2015: join the 30-Day Learning Challenge and study one topic for at least 10 minutes a day, every day of the month. And report back at the end of the month.

Why join the Challenge? Because you’re looking for a new challenge. Because you’ve always wanted to focus on learning these things. Because you’ll develop a lifelong habit of learning.

Ready to join the Challenge? Sign up here.

Effective Learning Techniques

In addition to this free challenge open to all, I’m offering articles, videos and a webinar in my Sea Change Program on effective learning techniques that I’ve been using and that I’ve found through my research (and reading the excellent book Make It Stick).

We’ll talk about why traditional study methods aren’t effective, and what research has found to be more effective for using your study time wisely. I’ve been putting these ideas into practice myself and will share what I’ve learned, with my suggestions for how you might tackle your learning challenge in June.

In addition, we’ll have a daily accountability group and weekly reviews, which I’ve found to be really important in creating new habits and learning from your experience.

If you’re interested, the first 7 days of Sea Change are free, so sign up here.

Tips for a Successful Challenge

Whether you join Sea Change or not, I want you to succeed in the 30-Day Learning Challenge … so here are my suggestions:

  1. Carve out a daily session. Lots of people sign up for challenges but then don’t actually make it happen. If you really want to succeed, set a time when you’re going to do your studying or practice. You just need 10-15 minutes. Set a reminder. Find a space to do it. Turn off everything but what you need.
  2. Journal daily. After you study, do a short journal entry about it. It can be in a paper notebook or a computer document, doesn’t matter … just reflect on how you did, what you learned, what went wrong, what you need to do next.
  3. Have an accountability partner. It’s much easier to stick to challenges if you’re doing it with someone else, or if you report daily to a group or a bunch of your friends. Make a commitment!
  4. Don’t be afraid of effort and mistakes. True learning happens only when we put effort into it, and when we make mistakes. Most people want learning to be easy and successful, but you won’t really learn anything that way. Force yourself to really concentrate, to do the hard work (in small doses), and you’ll see great progress.
  5. Enjoy the process, but let the results come later. Each learning session might be hard, but smile as you do it. Enjoy the miracle of being able to learn new things, of immersing yourself in something new and uncomfortable. You’ll get results later, over time, but for now, just focus on the process.

Join us in the Challenge!

[Update: See the full list here, more than 2,000 people have accepted the Challenge so far!]



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