becoming better at learning

Step 0 of Becoming Better at Learning: Goal Setting and What’s Your Why

Erik Learning, Personal Development and Lifestyle, Thoughts of a Mastermind Leave a Comment


In May 2018 on The Mastermind Within, we are learning how to become a better learner. This is post 2 in the series. 

Before doing ANYTHING in life, it’s important to define a few things and set expectations.

What is your end goal? Knowing your end goal will help with the next steps in learning, which is why it’s critical.

Also, what is your why? Why are you doing the things you are doing?

In this post, I will be asking you a bunch of questions to help you figure out what’s your end game, and also prepare us for the coming posts where we will be learning how to become a better learner.

What is Your End Goal for your Learning?

Before starting, l believe it’s critical to ask yourself, what’s your end goal for your actions?

In particular, why are you interested in learning and personal development?

A few questions I’d ask you:

  • Do you want to be an expert in a certain field or topic?
  • Do you want to become a little more knowledgeable to round out your wisdom?
  • Are you looking to get a job or new role from your studying?
  • Is there a certain test or level of proficiency you are after through your actions?

Your answers should come from inside yourself – as you have taken control of your life and are now on the path to success.

An example I can give you: I love playing sports, and in particular, playing basketball.

One skill I’ve worked on considerably the last few years is my dribbling.

What were my goals for my dribbling?

I wanted to be able to dribble with both hands comfortably. I wanted to be able to comfortably go between both legs, around my back, and when in trouble, be able to keep the ball without it being stolen.

These were my goals for the skill of dribbling.

Figuring out your goals is step 0A before diving into learning. Let’s move on to step 0B: figuring out your why.

What is Your Why for Learning?

How to Become a Better LearnerWithout a why, there’s no point to doing anything.

If you don’t care, then don’t do it.

It’s critical to have a why, or you will not put full effort into your work, and the results will be sub-par.

With a why, you can do anything.

What’s your why?

  • Do you want a better career?
  • Is it you want to increase your income?
  • Do you want to have more fun in your hobbies and unlocking a new skill will do help this?
  • Are you competitive and just want to learn to be better than your friends?
  • Do you just enjoy what you are learning and want to learn more casually?

Your why could really be anything – as long as you are aware of it, you will be on track.

Going back to my dribbling example, my why was quite simple: I wanted to be better at dribbling so I could be a reliable teammate (someone who wouldn’t lose the ball when I started moving around) and also, I wanted to be able to imitate some of my favorite players in the NBA with their moves.

With your why and goals, you are now ready to start learning and growing.

What are My Goals and Why for this Month?

Show me, don’t just tell me.

Anyone can put up anything on the internet these days.

I can write all about learning and how to become a better learner, but all of that is wasted knowledge if I don’t actually apply it in my life. (it’s also bogus if I don’t practice what I preach!)

This month, alongside this series, I’ve started playing piano again with the intent to learn how to become a better piano player.

What are my goals and why for piano playing?

I have 2 main goals:

  1. I want to be able to sight-read most pieces of music successfully.
    • Being able to sit down, take out a random song, and then be able to successfully play it would be a great skill to have
    • Side note: in my first video in this learning series, I noted how I used to play piano when I was younger, and then in high school, started playing Guitar Hero. I found a YouTube video I recorded back in 2010 (Before I Forget from GH3 on Expert) to share with you my skills there… also on that channel are some of my Rubik’s Cube solves. (Okay confession time, I get pretty good at a lot of things I try…)
  2. Improve my musical ear
    • One of my thoughts going into my piano playing is I want to be able to play popular songs. While it would be great to be able to sight-read this musical pieces, TRUE TALENT would be able to listen to a song and figure out what chords, rhythms, and notes are in the song, and then sit down and make music organically.
    • This will require quite a bit of thinking and learning about music theory – something I have little to no knowledge on.

Here’s my second video where I discuss goals, where we are going in the next video, and where I benchmark my sight-reading by playing a song for the first time.

Concluding Thoughts on Setting Goals for Better Learning

Before starting, it’s important to define what’s your end goal and why you are doing something.

Without a goal, you won’t know where you are going, and without a why, what’s the point?

Next post, we will get into the first strategy of better learning.

Going forward in this month, I’m excited to share with you some great learning tips on becoming a better learner, and looking forward to seeing you crush your goals and achieve wild success.

Readers: what’s your why for what you are currently working on? What are your goals? What’s your why?




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