12 Habits of People Who Are Always Learning New Skills

I’m a lifelong learner. Learning is a habit for me, not something that I have scheduled on my calendar to do; I just do it. One of my mottos is “If I’m not learning I’m not growing.” How do you become a lifelong learner? You learn from other learners. Specifically, learn about their habits.

Harvard Business Review has an article called 4 Habits of people who are always learning new skills. The 4 habits are:

  1. Focus on emerging skills. The first habit of people who are always learning new skills is to focus on emerging skills. These are the skills that are in high demand and that are likely to be in demand in the future. To identify emerging skills, you can look at job postings, industry reports, and trend publications.
  2. Be synchronous. The second habit of people who are always learning new skills is to be synchronous. This means that they learn in real-time, either through live online courses or in-person workshops. Synchronous learning can be more effective than asynchronous learning because it allows you to ask questions and get feedback from the instructor and other learners.
  3. Implement learning immediately. The third habit of people who are always learning new skills is to implement their learning immediately. This means that they don’t just learn a new skill and then put it on the shelf. They take the time to practice the skill and use it in their work or personal life.
  4. Set a goal. The fourth habit of people who are always learning new skills is to set a goal. This could be a specific skill you want to learn, a certain number of courses you want to take, or a certain amount of time you want to spend learning each week. Having a goal will help you stay motivated and focused on your learning.

Is that all there is to it? No. It’s a start.

12 key habits of lifelong learners

People who are always learning new skills tend to have certain habits and mindsets that support their continuous growth and development. In addition to the above, here are some key habits of lifelong learners:

  1. Curiosity. How active are you in learning about different topics? Or dig deeper into a topic you’re interested in? Lifelong learners have a curious mindset. They ask questions, seek new information, and are eager to explore different subjects and topics.
  2. Open-mindedness. They are open to new ideas and perspectives, even if they challenge their existing beliefs. They embrace change and are willing to learn from different sources.
  3. Goal-setting. Lifelong learners set clear and achievable learning goals. They break down their goals into smaller milestones to track progress and stay motivated.
  4. Consistency. They dedicate time regularly to learning. Whether it’s reading, attending workshops, or taking online courses, they make learning a part of their daily or weekly routine.
  5. Seeking Challenges. Lifelong learners seek out challenges that push their boundaries and encourage growth. They don’t shy away from difficult tasks; instead, they embrace them as opportunities to learn and improve.
  6. Reflection. They take time to reflect on their learning experiences. They analyze what worked well and what could be improved, and use this feedback to enhance their future learning endeavors.
  7. Resourcefulness. Lifelong learners are resourceful and know how to find information and learning opportunities. They utilize libraries, online platforms, and professional networks to access a wide range of resources.
  8. Self-discipline. They exercise self-discipline to stay focused on their learning goals, even when faced with distractions or challenges.
  9. Embracing failure. Lifelong learners understand that failure is a natural part of the learning process. Instead of being discouraged by setbacks, they use them as valuable learning experiences to grow and improve.
  10. Collaboration. They actively seek opportunities to learn from others. They engage in discussions, participate in group projects, and join communities where they can share knowledge and insights.
  11. Adaptability. Lifelong learners are adaptable and embrace change. They understand that the skills they need today may not be the same as those required tomorrow, and they are willing to adapt and learn accordingly.
  12. Teaching others. Sharing knowledge with others helps reinforce learning. Lifelong learners often teach what they have learned to friends, and colleagues, or through blogging and mentoring.

Incorporating these habits into your life can help you become a lifelong learner, continuously growing and expanding your skillset throughout your personal and professional journey.

Bottom line: Adopt an “I don’t know but will” mindset to learn new skills and become a lifelong learner. Being a lifelong learner is a life hack that will give you an unfair advantage; make it a habit and you’ll keep evolving.