Instead of coming up with all sorts of intense resolutions that will totally change everything (until you stop doing them in a week or so) what if you did something different this year? What if you vowed to make 2019 the year that you learn stuff?
Now, before you roll your eyes and say, “That’s so lame. I learn stuff all the time” – answer this. Do you really? Or do you read an article or two on the internet, maybe watch a video on YouTube, and feel like your work is complete?
There are some steps you need to take to learn something well.
#1) Choose your topic.
Every winter, I choose something I want to learn while the weather is cold and I’m cooped up inside. Over the years, my winter projects have run the gamut. I’ve learned to make really good pizza dough without looking at a recipe, to raise microgreens in my kitchen, to braid a rag rug, to cross-stitch, and to pressure can. And all of those skills have been practiced over the years since then to the point that they don’t even feel like “skills” anymore. They’re just things I do.
The key is to pick ONE THING. You need to choose one topic and focus on it for a period of time until you’ve really learned it thoroughly. Don’t just read a couple of articles and say “I know how to do this.”
The age of the internet is a wonderful thing in many ways. You can learn practically anything if you know the right keywords to search.
When you are beginning to learn about a new topic, the internet is your best friend. You can find a website dedicated to just about any subject. I suggest researching using multiple websites and YouTube channels for the best results. If you find conflicting information, continue researching until you find a consensus.
You can also find lots of in-depth books on a wide variety of subjects at your local library or on Amazon if you have room in the budget. (Also, be sure to check out our inexpensive PDF books here on this website.)
Before spending a lot of money on lessons, tools, and supplies, spend some time researching so that you make good choices. There’s nothing worse than investing a fortune and discovering what you bought doesn’t fit your needs.
#3) Find a teacher.
Next, you need to find a teacher. There are all sorts of ways to do this. First, look for someone to teach you in person. If you look for local groups on social media or the website Meet-Up, you may be able to find folks in your area who like to get together and do the very thing it is you want to learn. If people are already in groups, clearly they like to talk about this subject. You can learn a great deal just by hanging out around them and chances are that they’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. You can also check out your county extension office and take advantage of any courses they might be running.
I learned almost everything I know about homesteading from a group that I stumbled across back in California. We would get together and learn from one another on a monthly basis. I learned to raise chickens, butcher chickens, milk a goat, grow fodder for my livestock, raise ducks, try hugelkulture, and forage locally in that group.
But I know that local learning isn’t always an option. We can’t all find a local blacksmith to take us on as an apprentice or locate an herbalist who will patiently show us how to make tinctures or a friendly farmer to show us how to raise and butcher rabbits. The kinds of skills that preppers like aren’t usually the kinds of things they teach at the local YMCA winter program.
Fortunately, in the age of the internet, there are other options.
For many things, you can simply expand your research and learn to do things. I learned to make pizza dough through using techniques from several different books (way back in the dark ages before internet.) Between blogs, YouTube, and websites, there are so many different resources out there that you can find guidance on a lot of different topics.
Sometimes you need a bit more than that. You need to be taught in a more organized fashion. Luckily, you can take online courses in just about any subject you might have an interest. If it’s a topic in which you need more guidance than you can find for free on the internet, don’t be afraid to make an investment to learn from someone with lots of experience and expertise.
#4 Practice, practice, practice.
The last but possibly most important part of learning is the doing. You can’t just read about things and think that you will be able to perform the task when it comes down to the wire.
I learned this lesson when I moved from the city to a cabin heated by wood. It took me weeks to master building a fire that would stay lit in my woodstove. I had built fires in my backyard firepit before. I had burned trash before. I never imagined I would have difficulty heating my house with a wood burning stove, but there I was, shivering and shouting unladylike things at a fire that would not stay lit. But I learned. It took a lot of practice and we experienced some chilly days and nights, but I got it figured out. Now I can have a roaring fire in a matter of minutes, but at the time, I was really questioning whether or not I was going to freeze to death before I mastered the skill.
In almost every case when learning to do things, you will fail. It may not be an epic fail, but you will run into a snag or two. Your goal should be to perform the task easily without referring to instructions. To do that, you’ll need to practice many, many times. Once you can easily show off your new skill without putting a great deal of thought into it, you’ve learned it.
Here are some ideas for stuff to learn in 2019.
Here are some courses you might find interesting.
Learn how to preserve food and build a pantry. Check out my course Build a Better Pantry on a Budget to learn how to increase your food stockpile without spending more money than you’re already spending on groceries.
Learn hardcore survival skills. Selco’s two courses, One Year in Hell and Survival Boot Camp, are available for the price of one. If you’ve enjoyed his incredible books, wait until you see his courses. They are simply the best ones available in our niche, bar none. (When you purchase Survival Boot Camp, you’ll automatically be given access to One Year in Hell.)
Learn herbalism. This is such an essential skill for preppers. What would you do for a family member who was ill or injured if no conventional medical help was available? Now with this Herbal Skills Intensive Boot Camp, you can go from an herbal novice to a confident herbal medicine maker in only 8 weeks. Cat Ellis, the instructor, is also the author of the best selling book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine and the course is the most intensive one I’ve seen.
Learn urban survival skills. Ladies, there are still two spaces left in Selco’s Urban Survival Course for Women in Croatia. (PS: I’m going to be there too and I’d love to meet you.) This is a big investment but it’s a life-changing opportunity.
Learn the science and psychology of weight loss. If you need to lose some weight to become a lean, mean prepping machine, I can’t recommend this 12-week transformation program enough. I’ve learned so much about why I struggle to stay at the weight I want to be. For me, understanding the “why” is the most important thing.
Learn to survive no matter what your setting. I’ve taken my course, Bloom Where You’re Planted, online. You’ll get a dozen videos, worksheets, and the information you need to turn your home into a survival retreat whether you live on Times Square or suburbia or anywhere else. We don’t have to live on a remote homestead in the boondocks to survive and I can help you create a plan that works no matter where you are.
Learn how to quit smoking. Of all the habits that people have to break, smoking is one of the hardest ones. If you have tried and failed dozens of times, the How to Become a Non-Smoker program is for you. It helps you to understand WHY you smoke so that you can break the addiction for good.
What do you want to learn this year?
I hope that this will be the year of learning stuff for you. I know that is my personal focus. I wrote yesterday about being a producer instead of being a consumer and learning skills is a very important part of that.
Are you planning on taking any online courses? Are you hoping to learn some new skills? Share your plans with me below – you just might inspire someone else!