Three Life-Changing Skills to Learn this Year - Why they Matter

By now at least half of your New Year resolutions will have been thrown in the metaphorical trash can - as apparently only 9.2% of Americans feel they're successful in achieving their resolutions each year. It is time to maybe look at things in a different way. This year, why not commit to trying to learn a skill that will have a very real and positive effect on your life – for the rest of your life? Even better, why not commit to mastering three new skills, all of which are attainable are fun, and are a great way to improve your body, your mind and your social life?

Learn a Language

Traveling is a great way to broaden your mind, get new perspectives on your own little world and even to just take a break from the daily grind. It is even better when you can converse with the locals and order what you want in the bar or restaurant without resorting to hand signals and phone apps. We are lucky that English is the second most spoken language in the world, but there are huge swathes of the world that don’t speak it. Chinese is the obvious choice, with more than 955 million native speakers, though if the characters and alphabet put you off, Spanish (427 million) is a good second choice especially as the majority of countries where Spanish is the mother tongue are practically on our doorstep. 

Learning to speak a new language has literally never been easier, though. There are of course traditional classes, which also serve as a great way to meet new people in a stimulating, safe and relaxed environment. But for those who haven’t the time or inclination for that, there are literally hundreds of online classes to join up to, or tutorials to download. What's more, smartphone apps such as Memrise offer ways to learn a new language or brush up the language skills you once learned in school while on the go.

"poker" (CC BY 2.0) by shoobydooby

Take up Poker

Poker is fast becoming one of the most popular games in the world. In the US more than 10% of the adult population play poker regularly either online, in a casino or at home - and that number is growing according to PokerPlayersResearch. If you haven’t been bitten by the bug yet, it’s time to find out what you’re missing out on. It can be intimidating to sit down at a table – real or virtual - if you have never played the game before, but despite what you may have heard it is a fundamentally simple game. Most people think of Texas Hold'em when poker is mentioned, but there are several different versions of the game, such as Hi Lo and Stud, all with slight and subtle differences in rules and strategies. As a newbie, it's always good to try all of them, to see which best suits your style and temperament. Additionally, by playing all variations, you will develop a better all-round game and skill set. Practising is easy, on one of the many sites offering online Hi Lo and Texas Hold'em. If you're looking for an online poker room, make sure you try a few before you choose. Some providers even allow for no deposit casino and poker games, so that you can try out their services before committing to them. Before you know it, you'll be counting your chips on a high rollers table in Vegas.

Learn to Cook Like a Chef 

Cooking should never be seen simply as a means to an end. It can be hugely rewarding, enjoyable – and sensual, and something that should become part of the whole evening and dining experience. Home cooking in the US has been steadily declining for the last five decades. Regardless of gender, social standing and income, the amount of time spent in the kitchen and the number of home-cooked meals prepared have continued to fall across the country. In fact, Americans spend less time cooking each day than any other developed nation, according to the Washington Post.

This is despite more and more evidence pointing to the fact that meals prepared at home have numerous health benefits over ones bought out. It is also a lot easier on your wallet, but the most important reason is that it is a whole lot of fun – when you know what you’re doing. By signing up for a cooking course, you are not only learning an essential life skill, you are arming yourself with potentially the most powerful weapon on the planet to woo a date.

So go on, instead of choosing not to do something this year, why not decide to do something new. Give the above three ideas your best shot and make this year – and every other year - a better place to live.   

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