4 Steps to Learn Anything New

4 Steps to Learn Anything New

Small child, holding a sign that says "first day of kindergarten". The sign covers his face. Behind him, the wall has blocks of color painted on.

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This is the follow up to yesterday’s post about finding your “why”. You’ve found your why and you’ve started reading all these workouts and how to eat. You’re so motivated, but you’re left feeling less than empowered because okay how do I use this information to get fit?

Feels overwhelming right? Been there, done that. I’ve read about a number of diets, workout plans, and about muscle hypertrophy, but I found it hard to put into practice because of the sheer amount of information. Now, this doesn’t just apply to fitness; this applies to every single thing I’ve ever tried to learn. It’s the reason I start something and don’t finish it (most of the time). It’s probably the reason you feel discouraged.

Don’t fear, my friend.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, start a blog, learn how to sell better, or train a dog, there are 4 simple steps to learning anything and being successful at it. It’s so simple you’re going to close out of this article and think I’m spouting bullshit. But I’m not.

So, MANY eons ago, a book called SPIN Selling was published (highly recommend if you haven’t read it). In Chapter 8, “Turning Theory into Practice”, Rackham (the author, duh) describes these 4 steps for adopting his SPIN Selling model and using it in the field. I’m going to discuss them in terms of fitness, but, again, feel free to apply these to ANY skill you’re learning.

<img src="https://eatliftwander.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/festive-scene-with-christmas-tree.jpg&quot; alt="Photo by <a href="https://burst.shopify.com/@matthew_henry?utm_campaign=photo_credit&utm_content=Browse+Free+HD+Images+of+Festive+Scene+With+Christmas+Tree&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=credit">Matthew Henry</a> from <a href="https://burst.shopify.com/holidays?utm_campaign=photo_credit&utm_content=Browse+Free+HD+Images+of+Festive+Scene+With+Christmas+Tree&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=credit">Burst

Rule 1: Practice only One Behavior at a time

This allows you to put all of your energy into one thing and master it. By focusing on only one behavior, you’re eliminating the other distractions. If you want to focus on improving your lifts, concentrate on only improving your lifts for a period of time. Perfect your form, pick challenging weights, try different technique and variations, so that whenever you step up to the rack, that lift is perfect and strong.

Rule 2: Try any new Skill At least 3 times

Before you write off a skill or activity that’s not for you, try it at least 3 times. You’re never going to be good at it the first time around, so make sure you try 2 more times before you throw in the towel. For instance, if you’re learning to do a handstand, chances are, you’ll do a wall walk first. Your first wall walk is going to be bad (mine DEFINITELY was), but that doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing the handstand walk.

Rule 3: Quantity over quality (Yes, you Read that right)

Do it a lot and do it often. Practice every day and devote some time to the skill. A study that Rackham cites found that people who practiced a language in quantity (regardless if the language they were speaking was broken), achieved greater overall success than those who focused on quality, or trying to get a sentence right the first time. So, instead of trying to squat perfectly and tweak your form each time, just practice the good form you were taught in large quantities, chest up, weight in the heels, hips back, and the quality will take care of itself.

Rule 4: Practice in Safe sCenarios

You want to try out your new skills in safe scenarios, not when everything is riding on the line. If you’re improving your squat technique, but are participating in a competition the next day, it’s probably best no to use the new technique because you’ll slow down and wreck your performance. Instead, practice during your workouts or with your trainer (I hope that’s me!) so that you can learn the technique in a comfortable environment and adopt the skill more naturally.

So, while you’re learning new skills on your fitness journey, don’t burn yourself out by trying to do too much at once Focus on one thing, try it a few times, practice the skills A LOT, and practice in safe situations, not when everything is on the line.

I’ll be using this technique to help you learn to count macros, learn movements, and establish good habits. Remember, it’s 21 days to build a habit and 90 days to build a lifestyle. Have patience with yourself and don’t worry if you’re not perfect at first. No one is.

Happy Lifting, Les

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