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10 tips for becoming a good life long learner

Lifelong learning is a philosophy of approaching learning as an integral, inseparable part of your life.  It is important to make a plan for this type of learning.  Here are 10 tips to help you formulate this plan for yourself:
1.    Make a commitment to approaching learning as though it really is a lifelong journey.  This does not mean that you have to attend formal educational institutions in order to undertake this process.
2.    Lifelong learning does not follow a schedule like that you had in school, which is why it is so easy to ignore and procrastinate.  However, this does not have to happen to you if you are willing to create a system that works for you.  One such idea is to keep learning journals for each topic that you enjoy studying.
3.    Take the time to create settings that support and inspire you to learn.  For instance, the library, the mall, the park and a restaurant may all cause you to want to learn about different things.  You will also want to learn what supplies help to keep your energy up.  For instance, you may need a quiet environment for some learning while others can best be done in a busy environment.
4.    In order to learn effectively, it is important to figure out how you learn. This is not to say that there is 1 best way.  In fact, you should know that everything can be tied into learning.  Herein it is also important to figure out when your mind needs a break and how you best retain the information that you learn (i.e. by reading aloud, taking notes, summarizing things or sharing with others).
5.    Practice different types and ways of thinking so that you can keep your mind strong and flexible. This is like taking your mind to the gym.
6.    Whenever you are writing something, make it into an opportunity to work toward improving the way in which you use words to construct understandable ideas. This will lead you to be able to think more clearly.
7.    Take the time to listen to a teleclass or a book on tape and then write your own version of it.  This will help you to move it into your long-term memory so that you can use it in other situations.
8.    By experiencing other people’s communication styles and learning methods you will be able to grow, prosper, open your mind and develop new perceptions. Your ability to use these situations as an opportunity to learn means being willing to deal with conflict, criticism and any other points of vulnerability that you may encounter.
9.    You should know that both your physical and your mental health affect your ability to learn.  Make sure that you are able to identify and work through any health challenges in these areas just as soon as they appear.
10.    All of this should be written down as a part of your yearly learning goals.  These can then be subdivided into monthly topics that you make time commitments for.  From there, go ahead and minimize any distractions by tabling the other topics that you want to learn about.  You may wish to write these down in a folder that is for next year.

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