8 min read

6 skills you can learn in 6 months

If you’ve recently retired or you have some extra time on your hands, you may be looking to learn a new skill. The prospect of starting something completely new may seem exciting or perhaps slightly daunting, but according to Josh Kaufman, bestselling author of ‘The First 20 Hours’, retirement is the perfect time to pick-up forgotten hobbies or learn a new life skill.

The good news is, despite popular opinion, it’s entirely possible to pick up a new skill in a matter of weeks or months, rather than years. With the right tutorials, books and information, all you need is some extra time, commitment and determination.

The first thing to consider is, which skill would you like to develop? Are you looking to get fitter and feel healthier? Get in touch with your artistic side? Or develop a career-related skill such as mastering a new technology? With so many to choose from, we’ve listed some of the most useful skills below.

Learn a new language

Thanks to websites such as Duolingo, you can learn a new language such as Spanish, French, or Italian in a number of free, bite-size lessons. Learning a new language to a working proficiency could mean the start of a new career, or simply the chance to enjoy having conversations when you’re on holiday abroad. Alternatively, you could learn British Sign Language, opening up the possibility to converse with even more people.

Master the art of blogging

Starting your own blog is the perfect opportunity to improve your technical skills. Share your stories and stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. You can learn about the basics of blogging on the GCF Learn Free website.

You could also brush-up on your photography skills for your blog, with Lifehacker’s Basics of Photography; including a guide to your camera, composition and editing your favourite shots.

Develop your artistic skills

Alternatively, if you’d rather put pen to paper, why not start drawing? The DrawSpace website is a great place to start. Featuring free online courses in everything from outlines to shading, figures and perspective.

Take up a musical instrument

Six months is also the ideal timeframe to start learning a new musical instrument or develop your talent for singing. Berklee College in the USA offer free sample courses in everything from voice to songwriting; visit their website to find out more.

Fitness, health and wellbeing

If you’ve recently retired and you’ve finally got some time to yourself, you may be interested in focusing on your health and wellbeing:

  • Take up yoga and meditation; the perfect way to strengthen your body whilst helping you to feel calmer and more relaxed. The YogaGlo websiteis the perfect place to start, offering a 15 day free trial. You could also contact your local gym or community centre for information about classes in your area.
  • Learn CPR or basic First Aid. Two incredibly useful skills to have, especially if you have family or grandchildren. St John Ambulance offer a wide range of training courses, and you can search for courses in your area on their website.

Adventurous skills

Fancy trying something completely different? How about training for a Private Pilot License? If you haven’t flown before, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires you to spend a minimum of 45 hours in the air, and there are some written and medical exams too. It might not be the cheapest or most straightforward skill to develop, but it’s surely one of the most unusual and rewarding!

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