125 awesome new skills to learn in 2021
With a new year comes new possibilities.
As we move further into 2021 there are all sorts of opportunities to learn new skills.
Even during this pandemic and the lockdown, many of the disadvantages have a hidden silver lining.
The main silver lining is:
More time and more energy.
Whether you want to become a five-star chef or a virtuoso pianist, there’s a world of new skills out there to master and I’m here to spur your imagination.
This is a list of 125 awesome new skills to learn in 2021.
Here we go!
1) Pick up photography
Photography is a lot of fun and it’s also a valuable skill.
Whether you want to start off with just learning the basics of snapping better photos on your smartphone or are looking to upgrade to a professional camera, there are all sorts of wonderful resources to become a great photographer.
I recommend starting with this list of the 10 best free online photography courses.
2) Become a braider
Braids are beautiful, and with only an hour or two of practice, you can become a braider, too.
There are so many amazing styles to choose from that the sky’s the limit. French braids, Dutch Mohawk braids, Plait braids, lattice braids, box braids, or lemonade braids?
You can learn those styles and a hundred others as well!
You don’t need any previous experience, just a passion for braiding.
Check out this free video on how to braid for beginners.
3) Create a coin collection
Want to get into numismatics? It’s a fascinating field.
Coin collecting is a ton of fun and it’s also a very unique way to take a walk back through history.
You can actually tell a lot about civilizations by the coins and money they once used.
Learn how to start out in coin collecting with this free guide for beginners.
4) Get into graphic design
When you think about it, so much of what is around us on TV, the internet, and everywhere else comes from somebody’s imagination.
That somebody is a graphic designer.
It’s a super-useful and enjoyable skill that you can learn as well with just a little bit of curiosity, a computer or tablet, and some time.
5) Take up gardening
In today’s stressful world, there’s nothing like creating your own peaceful sanctuary and reconnecting with the land.
Learning to garden is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and flex your creative muscles.
Whatever kind of garden you want to design and plant, you’ll find endless books, websites, and guides that will fill you with ideas and all sorts of magical visions for planting the garden of your dreams.
Check out these free gardening tips for beginners.
6) Sew like a pro
Sewing is one of those skills that sort of crept up on me.
I had several shirts and pants which got holes in them and I eventually had the derring-do to grab a needle and thread and try my hand at repairs.
What I found out was that it was extremely relaxing and satisfying to repair clothes and sew. Even though I was just sewing by hand, I felt a sense of accomplishment and peace.
If you’re feeling ambitious move up a level and learn your way around a sewing machine as well.
Learn to sew like a pro for free with this handy guide.
7) Learn cabinetry
My dad’s a carpenter and he taught me a few basics of cabinetry and woodwork back in the day.
I have to say: it’s awesome!
If you’re a fan of cupboards, shelves, and furniture (and who among us isn’t?), then learning some cabinetry and carpentry can be the perfect project to meditate on and maybe even make a little bit of cash on the side by selling your products.
Cabinetry is cool.
Get started here with this free video from the “Wood Whisperer” about the basic tools and skills you’ll need.
8) Make a mandala
The mandala is a sacred design in Buddhism which is intended as a holding space that contains power, wellbeing, and blessings.
You can learn to make a mandala and have a great experience doing so.
Making a mandala can be a deeply spiritual experience and brings a real sense of fulfillment and inner peace.
9) Get in style
Some of you may argue that “getting in style” isn’t a skill but I would beg to differ.
Whatever your personal style and fashion sense are, learn to accentuate your positive qualities and feel great in your clothes and accessories by focus on style.
Look at magazines, watch passersby in the street and even just envision the kind of image that you want to project and the way you want to physically and emotionally feel in your clothing.
Then go out and make it come true, even if it’s just with one new awesome outfit.
10) Try filmmaking and video editing
You may not end up being the next James Cameron, but with just your smartphone or a basic video camera and an editing app, you can become a filmmaker.
The question then becomes: what kind of filmmaker?
You could always make a short action movie or a basic documentary. Think about an issue or topic you’ve always cared about or found fascinating and then go film a little bit about it.
Maybe it’s the incredible stories your grandpa tells from the war. Sit down and interview him, then splice it with archival footage.
Here’s a short free guide to getting started in filmmaking.
11) Design an app
These days it’s all about the apps.
Considering that most of us now tote our phone around like an extra thumb, it’s no wonder that more and more useful and incredible apps are being created.
So why not design one of your own?
The challenge here is that there are already more than four million apps in Google Play and the Apple store.
But if you have an amazing idea and want to make money or you just want to learn the skill of making an app then there’s plenty of room to grow.
Check out this free guide from Chris Ching on how to design an app.
12) Pick up painting
I’ve dabbled in painting in the past and it’s really cool activity.
Whether you want to focus on watercolors, acrylic, or an oil painting, there are all sorts of styles you can pursue and free lessons you can watch.
Painting is all about creativity, and the use of vivid colors to express your thoughts, emotions, and memories is a refreshing and energizing experience.
Get started with this free tutorial: the Ultimate Beginners Guide to Oil Painting from Kevin’s Oil Painting channel on YouTube.
13) Model madness
Interpret this one as you will. You could definitely try strutting your stuff in front of a mirror and work on becoming a supermodel.
But what I’m referring to are models like model trains, airplanes, automobiles, and ships.
Building and painting models is a hell of a lot of fun.
I always think about my summers at my grandparents’ lake house working on these complex navy destroyers that I never seemed to get quite right but which fascinated me.
Model building really focuses your mind and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Plus you can proudly display them once you finish (or leave the half-finished model far in the back of your closet never to be spoken of again).
Kick things off with this beginner’s guide to model building from Hobby & Toy Central.
14) Learn to code
The world basically runs on computer code these days, so learning how to code puts you in an elite club that can communicate with your mechanical friends.
If that doesn’t fire up your imagination, just think about all the fun you’ll have crunching numbers and learning to talk the language of machines.
Coding is not as difficult as it looks and you can always start out with a fairly simple language like Java or C++ before moving on to harder ones.
Have I piqued your interest?
Learn to code for free with Codecademy and let me know how it goes.
15) Write a book
Do you know what social isolation and a global pandemic are good for?
Writing a book. In fact, I’m doing exactly that myself.
Writing a book can sound fairly intimidating but you come up with an idea you think is pretty good and write an outline, then you’re well on your way.
Remember that even if your book is short or full of issues, even the greatest writers always rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
Don’t know where to start?
Reedsy Blog has this easy-to-follow 15 step guide on how to write a hit book.
16) Find your funny bone
Stand-up comedy is something I want to try in the future.
I have several friends who did it and they loved it. In fact, one met his wife through it. I guess she found him really funny or maybe she just wanted to save him from further embarrassment.
If you’re limited in having anywhere open due to quarantines then consider starting up a Livestream and doing standup in your own living room or basement.
Can you crack a joke and get people to crack a smile? Just do it!
Benjamin Lindsay has this great guide on how to become a standup comedian as well, just in case you were wondering.
17) Go mudding
This one may be lost on some of you who aren’t from the Deep South of the United States or who don’t listen to country music, but mudding is a hell of a good time.
What you do is you get in a four-wheel-drive truck and then you drive through huge muddy fields and roads and splash mud everywhere.
I’m getting amped up just thinking of it.
New to the mud game? Here’s a free guide to the basics from Wade Auto.
Let’s get a little mud on the tires.
18) Learn a new language
2021 can be your year to learn a new language you’ve always been curious about.
Maybe that’s Japanese, Portuguese, or the Ndebele language of Zimbabwe, but now is your chance to make it happen.
Want a good starting point?
Try this free language learning series from the Goethe Institute for over 50 languages.
19) Take up hunting
This one won’t be for everyone, but that’s why the list has 125 items!
Hunting is a well-loved activity for millions of people around the world and it can also end up being very tasty and feed you all winter.
For others, hunting is also a way to reconcile themselves with eating meat and gather their food in a sustainable and environmental way, without relying on factory farming and mass slaughter.
Hunting can be a great experience out in nature searching for food.
Here’s a free beginner’s guide to hunting from Outside Online.
20) Brew your own beer
Brewing your own beer is a very satisfying experience, although you should be warned it can also lead to a bit of laziness once the drinking starts.
There was one summer when I was 25 where brewing beer was about the only thing I accomplished…
But it was actually pretty tasty.
Here’s a free guide about how to brew beer, although a two-gallon starter kit and hops itself is going to cost you at least 50 USD or so.
21) Start a YouTube channel
YouTube can be a fun place full of well-wasted time and interesting learning experiences.
What’s even better is that you have the ability to start your own YouTube channel with the click of a button.
The next step is to start uploading videos of yourself, or maybe videos of things you decide to go around filming.
Think about what you want your channel to focus on and then go for it.
Just remember that to start making real money on YouTube, you need to get tens of thousands of views every video.
22) Take trivia to the next level
Do you know what’s even better than being an expert in your field?
Being an information-filled trivia master about everything.
I love trivia, in fact just last week I competed at a trivia night here and our team got second place. Sadly our team got the answer wrong when it came to the national vegetable of Wales.
Of course, everything you learn and do helps you learn — especially watching old reruns of Jeopardy — but to truly become a trivia master look for online or in-person trivia nights you can join in on and take trivia to the next level.
23) Play a new sport
If team sports are still out of the question in your area try something more socially-distanced like tennis, curling, climbing, archery, gymnastics, rollerblading, squash hang gliding, or golf.
If you want a list of new sports to try check out this extensive list from BBC. Thanks, chaps.
Sports are outstanding and they’re good for your mental and physical health, so it’s a win-win.
24) Try out pottery and glazing
The only thing better than a fresh cup of coffee in the morning while you watch the maple syrup sunrise come up over the trees is doing it while drinking from a coffee cup that you made and glazed.
I’ve done pottery and glazing and it’s really a great activity with an obvious payoff: mugs, bowls, and plates galore.
25) Tie-dye stuff
If you want to look like you just wandered out of Woodstock or are just bored out of your mind and looking to add some color, then try tie-dying stuff.
Anything cotton and light-colored is a suitable candidate.
If you want to tie-dye your pillowcase or socks then who am I to stop you?
Generally, people tie-dye shirts but you can go ahead and tie-dye a towel or shorts, too.
Here’s a simple walkthrough on how to tie-dye at home.
26) Make a birdfeeder
Those lovely birds that wake you up in the morning or annoy the hell out of you when you’re trying to catch an afternoon nap are hungry little critters.
And you can be their biggest benefactor by building them a home!
Birdhouses don’t take long to make, but they can be a real work of love and there are so many unique designs that you’ll have fun even just looking through all the ideas out there.
Here’s a video on how to build a birdhouse.
27) Start singing
That’s good advice there from Mr. Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf Islam)!
So, do it.
Start singing in the shower, in the living room, in the kitchen, and in the car. You can sing online, you can sing while casting a line out fishing, you can sing until you feel just fine.
Become a singing Sally or a singing Sam, whether or not your name is Sam or Sally.
OK, I’ll see myself out. I’ll be here all week, the veal’s free.
28) Write a graphic novel
Maybe I should have said “draw” a graphic novel, but the point is to sit down and sketch and write out a graphic novel.
Take a look at what other people have done and try to model it after some of your favorites.
Graphic novels are a very enjoyable format and even if yours is short or basic you’re going to have a super time doing it.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a graphic novel. Go nuts!
29) Take an online course
Some of the best free learning sites to consider are edX where you can tap into over 2,000 courses from leading universities, Harvard University’s free online course catalog, and Coursera, whose offering and quality of courses just keeps getting better and better.
Check out my own list of the top 10 online learning platforms here.
30) Do epic desserts
If cooking isn’t so much your thing but you’re a big fan of that thing that comes after dinner then become a dessert master.
There are so many mouth-watering desserts you can craft that are easy to make, from raspberries and cream to tiramisu.
Learning just a few recipes is a lot of fun and will make you the most popular person in the room the next time you make dessert for family or friends.
31) Create an indoor cactus garden
Want to make an indoor garden that’s got a funky vibe and doesn’t require massive amounts of attention, water, or sunlight?
Cacti are the answer!
These prickly desert denizens make the perfect little mini-garden and they’re also fairly cheap to buy.
If you want some tips for creating an amazing cactus garden, watch this great video from Nell at JoyUsGarden.
32) Start a stamp collection
Nowadays it’s all about the text messages and e-mails, but back in the day people sent these incredible things called letters. And to send them they used stamps.
Stamps are actually very cool, and collecting stamps teaches you so much about history, geography and the world.
Growing up my grandfather got me into stamp collecting and I just loved getting packages of stamps from him and fitting them into the stamp collecting book.
It’s easy to get started in just a few simple steps.
33) Learn to juggle
Sometimes you’ve just gotta let loose and start throwing around some balls in a circle. Before you know it you’re juggling.
I’ve tried it myself and didn’t quite master it, but all my respect goes out to those talented humans among us who do get the knack of it.
Here’s a free guide for beginners on how to juggle.
34) Make a wall mural
You know something you can do with just a wall and some paint? A wall mural!
If you have a great idea for a wall mural then you can make it a reality with just a day or two of work. The process involves cleaning the wall, applying paint, and making your vision come true.
It’s a lot of fun.
Make a mural today, just make sure that you’re not doing it without permission on public property!
35) Volunteer to help those in need
There are a lot of folks out there who could use a helping hand.
Even if you just have a few spare hours a week that can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, helping at an old folk’s home or animal shelter, or anywhere else that speaks to your core values and the impact you want to make in the world.
Here’s an article by Kerry Hannon at Forbes about finding the best place to volunteer that’s a match for your skills and interests.
36) Write a screenplay
All the entertaining films you see on the silver screen started in someone’s mind. Then they transcribed their idea onto paper.
Writing a screenplay is a challenge and you will have to do a number of drafts and close readings, but it’s so much fun and you have the chance to really express what you want to say and present characters who are fascinating and fun.
I wrote my first screenplay in a high school screenwriting class about a university dropout who goes to find ancient Aztec treasure after a disastrous breakup.
Sadly, it hasn’t yet been made into a feature film.
A good first step is to read the screenplays of popular films online.
Here’s a free resource for writing your first screenplay as well.
See you at the movies!
37) Flip a house
Flipping a house is a new skill for those looking for a challenge and wanting to get some extra money as well.
It takes time and a little bit of expertise to pick the right property that’s going to have mega potential, but if you do it right you can flip a house and make a pretty penny.
My uncle used to flip houses and made a lot of money. You can either hire a crew to do the work or do it yourself if you’re handy with a skill saw.
Here’s a simple 8-step guide on flipping houses.
38) Make new friends
Making new friends can be a matter of luck, but it can also be considered as a skill.
In my experience, making new friends is mainly a matter of finding something in common and chatting a bit. You’ll find that once you clue in on what someone cares about or enjoys they will seek out your company and conversation.
Making new friends is easy and it’s a lot of fun.
Here’s a guide on the skills you need to make new friends from Shana Lebowitz.
39) Become a sommelier
You know what would go down really smooth right now?
A nice, classy, delicious glass of wine. Red, white, purple, you name it!
If you want to take it up a notch, learn the art of being a sommelier, a professional wine taster who is also an expert in pairing wines with food and grading them.
Even if you don’t do it as a job it’s an impressive skill to have.
Are your taste buds tingling? Learn how to become a sommelier today.
40) Make soap
Soap is something we all need, but most of us just load up when we’re out at the grocery store.
If you want to learn a fun and useful new skill, try out the art of soapmaking. It’s easier than you’d think and it’s a lot of fun.
You don’t need to be a science whizz either. Making soap of various flavors and types is completely doable at home with only a few simple ingredients.
This simple guide from Food52 will walk you through some do-it-yourself soap recipes.
41) Start smoking
Another excellent skill to try out is smoking.
I don’t mean cigarettes or cigars, of course, I mean food!
Smoking meat is a stupendous skill and the result is mouth-wateringly delicious meats. You will need a smoker, but it’s well worth the money, and the variety of flavors of smoke you can do is amazing.
Want to learn how to smoke meat? Check out this free walkthrough from the Food Network.
I expect to be invited over later to share in the tasty treats.
42) Bake amazing cakes
When you’re feeling blue just bake a cake.
It’s a recipe for happiness, and even if you have nobody to invite over right now you can sit down after and eat the entire thing while you watch your favorite TV show.
Talk about paradise.
Here’s a guide to the best easy cake recipes.
43) Write a blog
Blogs are very rewarding and interesting and almost anyone can write one!
There’s even a dog with a blog! (Great show, by the way).
As for the subject matter, think about what you love, hate, find funny, or what makes you unique.
Then write, video, and post photos about it on your blog. Readers will start coming and taking a look at what you’re up to.
44) Speed read
Speed reading is one of those skills that’s super useful and easier to learn than you think. Once you get it down you’ll find reading is a breeze.
Learning speed reading will help you excel at your job and save precious time from your daily life that you could use to do important things like eat tasty snacks and watch Netflix.
Learn how to speed read today with this free course from Udemy.
45) Get down
Get down and get groovy with some dancing.
Whether you want to try out samba, tango, or hip hop dance, you have the power in your own living room or garage to become a swirling sensation.
Dancing is a great way to relieve tension and get into your body.
Some of my best memories of high school were from doing Russian folk dance at the local community center with my Russian friend Dimitri (and the 10:1 girl to guy ratio didn’t hurt either).
You can find almost any kind of dance you want to learn online.
Here’s a 5-minute lesson to learn samba! Vamos.
46) Get hooked on crochet
Crocheting is a relaxing and rewarding pastime that results in all sorts of nice scarves, baby boots and crafts.
It’s not hard to learn and all the equipment you need is yarn and a pair of crochet needles.
If you feel called to crochet then go for it and learn how to crochet today.
Some of the happiest people I know are hooked on crochet.
47) Practice impersonations
You know a great skill that can make you the life of the party in no time flat? Impersonations.
Celebrity, politician, your next door neighbor – you name it. If they have a funny accent or are memorable in some way then your imitation is going to have people roaring with laughter.
Learning to do good impersonations is just a matter of a little practice and few key skills.
Here’s a free guide to doing incredible impressions.
48) Master romance and seduction
This is one of those skills they don’t teach in school, but it’s pretty important.
Romance and seduction can be your ticket to a messy divorce and custody battle – just joking – it could also land you the girl or guy of your dreams.
Learning how to seduce your object of desire is actually easier than you think.
Check out this free video on the “Halo Effect” from FarFromAverage.
49) Bolster your self-defense skills
The world can be a dangerous place, and self-defense is going to come in handy.
Even if you never have to use your Chuck Norris skills it would be nice to know you have them, right?
50) Fire some rounds
Spending some time at the shooting range is the perfect way to blow off steam – and get ready for the zombie apocalypse.
The cost is less than you think and you’ll find it’s a great way to sharpen your focus and enjoy yourself.
Whether you go to an indoor or outdoor range and fire handguns or heavier caliber rifles and semi-automatics, a day at the shooting range is a good time.
Here’s a great video on range etiquette from Andrew McKean of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
51) Start journaling
Keeping a journal is something I’ve done on and off for years. Mostly off.
I admit to being a little lazy.
But I will say that the journaling I have done has been rewarding and really helped me get my thoughts and emotions in order.
There’s just something about getting your words on the page that helps clarify various situations, thoughts, and even dreams.
Here are some tips for keeping a journal.
52) Learn to read Tarot cards
Tarot cards are one of those things that have always fascinated me. I’ve never learned how to do them, but I have friends who swear by it and who say Tarot readings have helped them enormously in life.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of Tarot reading I suggest starting here with this free guide to Tarot card reading.
53) Master moonwalking
This is the party trick to top all party tricks: moonwalking.
It was made popular by Michael Jackson, but you can be the next sensation who deploys its devastating coolness on the dancefloor.
All you need to do is try this free guide to moonwalking and you’ll be strutting your stuff in no time.
54) Try a home workout
Gyms are still closed in many places and home workouts can be the optimal solution.
In any case, it’s always great to have a little home gym set up for when you’re late working but still want to get in a little sweat session.
Pump it up like a champion.
Here’s a useful guide on how to set up a home gym from Shape magazine.
55) Say yes to yoga
Yoga has so many benefits that it would be hard to list them all even in an entire long article.
I strongly recommend learning to do yoga and trying it out. I’ve done yoga a few times and found it to be an incredible workout.
I was tired after, but I also felt so much more “integrated” in my body and respiratory system if that makes sense.
How about some yoga for complete beginners from Adriene? She’s nice, trust me you’ll like her.
56) Solder on
Soldering is one of the most useful skills on this entire list. As long as you have the right basic equipment, you can quickly learn to solder circuits and do effective work.
Soldering is a part of so much of what’s around it, and learning how to do it gives you ultra-valuable repair skills and a lot of competence.
57) Become a storytelling maestro
Telling good stories is a more specific skill than it seems like.
It’s a matter of choosing the best stories and then telling them in a clear, compelling, and persuasive way.
Whether you want this skill for public speaking or just for becoming a more interesting person, storytelling is really an excellent skill.
Want to bolster your storytelling prowess?
Here are 16 tips from storytelling experts to take your public speaking and storytelling skills to the next level.
58) Get into breathwork
If you haven’t heard of breathwork before, now you have.
It’s the practice of using our respiratory system to heal emotional and physical blockages and problems and to revivify and reenergize.
I’ve found breathwork to be really powerful and transformational and I highly recommend it.
Here are 6 keys to discovering the power of your breath from the shaman Rudá Iandê.
59) Grow an avocado tree
I tried to do this at one point because I found it fascinating, but my avocado tree only made it a few weeks before I forgot to tend to it and it dried out and died.
Growing an avocado tree is a lot of fun and involves soaking the pit of an avocado part way into a jar of water and letting the root naturally emerge before eventually planting it in the soil.
Considering the price of avocados these days and their nutritional benefits this is a great skill to have.
60) Fly drones
Master the technology of the future by learning to fly drones. These little guys aren’t that expensive and they’re fairly straightforward to maneuver.
You can take photos or videos and do many other things with drones, so they’re a lot of fun and let you explore from above.
Here’s a free guide to flying drones!
61) Find inner peace
Inner peace is underrated. When you feel good within yourself many things fall into place and even those aspects of life which are kicking your ass stop crushing you so badly.
You get back in the driver’s seat of life and refocus on what’s in your control and rediscover that inner peace that’s so vital to survival and thriving.
Inner peace is a skill we could all use more of, 100%.
Take a look at this helpful video on how to find inner peace right now (even when you feel stressed, anxious, and insecure).
62) Learn to pick locks
This skill should obviously never be used to commit a crime. But it’s actually super useful in some situations.
Imagine you’re locked out of your apartment at 3:40 a.m. on a winter night after a wild one at the pub.
You get home and you’re freezing with the wind nipping at your ears, but you realize you’ve locked yourself out.
This is where your lockpicking skills could save your life (assuming you’re sober enough).
It’s actually easier to learn than you think, too.
Here’s a free beginner’s guide to lockpicking.
63) Learn cool card tricks
You know that person who does great card tricks that makes everyone go “ooh” and “ahhh!”
You can be that person.
With only a little bit of patience and some skill at shuffling and remembering cards you can master cool card tricks that will have people scratching their heads in bewilderment.
Here are three easy card tricks you can learn in just 5 minutes.
64) Embrace your inner thespian
You could be the next Al Pacino or Scarlett Johannsen in waiting.
Even if you’re not, acting is a great time and your skills will come in handy the next time your mother-in-law asks you to come over for a visit and it turns out you have a toothache that just won’t quit.
There are various philosophies of how to act such as method acting, improvisation and more, but it’s best to start slow by learning the basics and then build from there.
I recommend this free resource which is full of acting techniques for beginners.
Knitting is nifty and you can learn it in no time flat.
Whether you embark on an ambitious project like knitting a sweater or something simpler like a small scarf, knitting is an enjoyable and absorbing activity.
I did a lot of knitting growing up, because the kind of independent school I attended had knitting handwork classes that included knitting, and I still remember the orange and blue case I made for flute (another class we had to take).
Try out knitting and see how it goes.
This free resource from Sheep and Stitch will help you get started.
66) Morph into a masseur or masseuse
Massage is an excellent skill to have in your repertoire and the more you do it the more you improve.
In my case, I’m more a fan of getting them, but giving them can be nice as well.
Why not learn massage and upgrade your skillset? You can even focus on learning how to relieve neck and back tension and use it to become everyone’s favorite person.
Here’s a free guide.
67) Learn to play a new instrument
Some people say money makes the world go ‘round, but personally I think music makes the world go ‘round.
I play guitar and piano, although I haven’t been playing piano much since being on the go the last few years. It’s also been about four months since I practiced guitar, since I had to give mine away after leaving Brazil due to the expense of bringing it on my outbound flights.
But playing a musical instrument is so fulfilling and enjoyable. It takes a little bit of work, sure, but it’s more than worth it and there are so many instruments to choose from.
Here’s a great guide on how to choose which musical instrument to play.
68) Collect sports cards
Growing up I was a sports card fanatic, especially hockey and baseball cards.
I was also into pogs (remember those?) and marbles and Magic: the Gathering cards and Lord of the Rings cards and basically anything else that could be made into a collectible or game-worthy item.
Collecting sports cards isn’t just for kids, though, and those things can really rack up a hefty price over the years, too!
Come to think of it, I should go check out what some of my old hockey cards are worth these days.
Here’s a free guide to collecting and evaluating the worth of sports cards.
69) Master basic mechanics
In my early 20s my dad showed me how to manually clean a carburetor and we also changed the oil on his Jeep together.
It was a great experience and I realized that learning basic mechanics is a thing that’s missing for a lot of people in modern life.
Some schools have shop class and teach a bit, but most people I know don’t really know much about vehicles, and the changeover to more computerized cars and trucks is taking away the last of the old-time mechanical skills.
Why not brush up? You never know when the computer chips could break and we’ll need to go back to old-fashioned engines.
Here’s a free video about mechanics basics.
70) Learn some P.I. skills
How would you like to lurk around a diner at night scoping out the local scene as you take a pull on your cigarette?
Private investigators are an interest category of people, and there are plenty of them out there.
If you’d like to learn some of the skills they use to nab baddies then you have the chance. With a little attention to detail and some natural born skill you could be the next Sherlock Holmes.
Here’s a list of 11 essential P.I. skills. How many have you mastered?
71) Try a new board game
Are you bored? Try a board game!
See what I did there?
When I’m not delivering pun-ishing puns and wordplay, I like to sit down and play a board game with family and friends.
Life, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Clue, Battleship, Risk, Axis & Allies.
There are so many out there and new games every day that I don’t think I’ll ever be bored again.
Here’s an excellent guide to the best board games of all time. Enjoy!
72) Become a biker
One of the best exercises you can do is bicycling. For less than you think you can be outfitted with a nice mountain or road bike, a helmet, and a nice backpack to go on little trips.
Then head out into the fresh air and enjoy our beautiful planet.
Bicycling always leaves me feeling rejuvenated afterward and the muscle soreness the next day is just a sign that you did it right.
73) Pen a poem
I wrote a lot of poems as a teenager and I still do now and then (mostly love poems).
Poetry is beautiful and it’s a lot easier to start writing it than you might think.
That’s because even though you can choose to follow definite and strict rhyming conventions you can also just go for it and write free verse that doesn’t rhyme.
Or get really creative with alternative rhymes, one-word lines, and whatever you want in ways like e.e. cummings, William Carlos Williams, and other poets have done.
Here’s a clear and inspiring beginners’ guide to writing poetry.
74) Create home remedies
Nature is amazing and it’s full of natural remedies that you can use to heal from things like colds, fevers, rashes, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, and much more.
It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for. With the right herbs, you can create all sorts of home remedies and skip your next trip to the pharmacy.
From calendula and echinacea to homemade creams, teas, and gels, the sky’s the limit when it comes to getting crafty with home remedies.
Here’s a free guide from Learning Herbs.
75) Roast your own coffee beans
Coffee is a core part of my day, although lately, I’ve also been hopping aboard the yerba mate train.
But one of the best things about coffee is that you don’t need to shell out big bucks daily at Starbucks or settle for shitty Nescafe in order to save money.
You can roast your own coffee beans. It’s easy to buy unroasted green beans and you can use a skillet to roast if you don’t want to pay out more for a full roaster.
Here’s a free guide from Thrillist.
76) Become better at taxes
Death and taxes, am I right?
That’s it…that’s the joke.
In any case, taxes are something none of us can (legally) avoid, so it’s a great idea to polish your tax skills when you have a chance.
Learning the ins and outs of deductions, write-offs, tax credits, and income declaration can help you get refunds and avoid huge payouts to your friendly federal government.
Here’s a list of free tax courses from Udemy, including such tantalizing offerings as “The Tax Advantaged Investor: A Guide to Legal Tax Reduction!” and “Fundamentals of Business Taxes.”
77) Learn basic landscaping
Landscaping is a job I’ve done several times in the past. It was a lot of work putting down new lawns, planting trees, digging gardens, and carting around gravel and mulch but it was also profoundly satisfying to see the final results after a week or two of labor.
Without the need to hire an expensive landscaping crew, you can learn the basics of landscaping and do some yourself.
Even if you end up hiring an outfit to do the heavy lifting, knowing what you want and where you want it makes the whole job more flawless and fast.
Here’s a free video on 7 core principles of landscape design.
78) Become an Instagram influencer
I have to include some skills in here for the shallow people too, right? After all, it takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round.
I jest, I jest.
Becoming an Instagram influencer can actually be a pretty savvy move these days and there’s potentially a lot of money in it.
I mostly use my Instagram to post photos of my gym progress and food, but for you, it could be the portal to a new career or a lot of fun times gaining a large online following.
Here’s a free guide on how to become an Instagram influencer.
79) Make your mark in marketing
Before a product or service makes it to the big time, people have to find out about it and what it can do for them.
That’s where marketing comes into play. And learning marketing skills can be a lot of fun and very useful.
Whether you want to eventually use them more for a career or any other endeavor which benefits from knowing effective promotional and publicity techniques, marketing is a great thing to find out more about.
Here’s a list of free marketing courses online at Coursera.
80) Get paid for playing video games
OK, how many of you scrolled through the list and just stopped now to read this? Be honest.
Yes, you can get paid for playing video games. There are two main ways: either by broadcasting yourself online in Livestream via a service like Twitch and accepting tips or by becoming a video game tester.
Before games go out to the general public someone needs to play them and find the bugs, issues, and problems. That could be you.
Want to become a video game tester? Here’s a free guide on how to do it.
81) Master the art of makeup
Makeup skills are a mix of spontaneity and knowledge. It helps to have a flair for bringing out your own or someone else’s best qualities, but it also helps to have a sound basis of knowledge and application skills.
Learning more about cosmetics is a great thing to do with some downtime and can also morph into a career down the road.
Make your mark in makeup and do it like a pro!
82) Make your own footwear
Designing and making your own footwear doesn’t just have to be for guys like Kanye West.
You can do it, too!
Boots, shoes, sandals, high heels, and more are all options…
Whether you want to work with leather, synthetic material, canvas, or rubber, there’s a world of possibilities out there for crafting your own footwear and becoming your own style icon.
Check out this free tutorial on shoemaking.
83) Make fridge magnets
Fridge magnets are one of those little things that are just so damn useful.
They can also be quite unique and pretty and remind you of past vacations, family members, and loved ones.
Making your own fridge magnets is quite easy and opens up a world of possibilities for new ways to stick stuff to your food box.
Here’s a free guide on making fridge magnets.
84) Learn how to do pedicures and manicures
Feet and hands are two of those things we use every day but often forget to pay enough attention to.
Pedicures and manicures are the solutions.
If you want to learn these wonderful appendage-restoring skills there are all sorts of great resources online.
85) Improve your memory
Memory is one of those things you don’t notice until it’s gone.
(Actually, even if you noticed you wouldn’t remember you noticed since your memory would be gone).
Anyway…if you want to try improving your memory there are all sorts of easy and fun exercises that you can learn which will wow the competition and make daily life so much more convenient.
Never forget a name or number again!
Try this free memory hack:
86) Learn to be a locksmith
Earlier I listed lockpicking as a skill you can “pick” up (Ha ha).
So, now here we go with the related skill of being a locksmith. What do locksmiths do, you might ask?
Simple: they repair and replace locks and make them better and more lockpick-resistant.
Never look at a doorknob the same way again.
87) Hone your grill skills
Grilling is a skill that everyone gets to enjoy because when you’re a grillmaster you cook up steaks, barbecued chicken, and all sorts of other delicacies that hit the taste buds just right.
But the path to becoming a charcoal champion involves some attention to detail and expertise.
You can’t just light it up and wing it if you want to make perfect Buffalo chicken wings on the grill: you need to do it right.
Here are 8 tips and tricks to becoming a grill guru from Buzzfeed Nifty.
88) Weave your way to success
Weaving is an ancient art that’s a lot of fun to do. My mom swears by it.
You will need a loom, but they’re not as outlandishly expensive as you might expect and you can order them online.
Throw in some yarn and time to do a project and you’re well on your way to a trendy blanket, scarf, or shawl.
89) Learn basic shelter building
Ever been lost out in nature with no cell phone, only a few matches and cold weather coming in?
But I’ve read pretty awesome books about people who have. Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet comes to mind as a classic in the survival genre.
Let’s be honest:
Learning how to build a basic shelter in the outdoors is one of those skills that everyone should know.
Here’s a free guide on how to do it from Survival Lilly (she really knows what she’s doing).
90) Learn how to change a flat tire
Have you ever had a flat tire and had to sit around waiting for a tow truck to come save you?
Never have this experience again by learning to change a flat tire yourself. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe and easier to do than you think, as long as you follow all the instructions.
As a bonus, the next time you see a poor individual stranded on the roadside with a flat, you can whip out your inner good Samaritan and help them out!
Here’s how to change a flat tire like a boss.
91) Become more flexible
This skill can be directly linked to skill #97, fyi.
Becoming more flexible is something all of us should aspire to. I know that for myself the problem in terms of becoming more flexible is just that my muscles are too big and prevent me from stretching well, but all of us have our own challenges in life, right?
Learning different stretches and short exercises to improve flexibility doesn’t take much time out of your day and pays off in spades.
Here’s a list of the best stretches to become more flexible from Amanda Capritto.
92) Create a video game concept
Earlier I talked about the skill of being a video game tester – which you can even get paid for – but another skill that’s amazing and can be pretty profitable is creating a video game concept.
While you may decide to focus more on the technical aspect of gaming, creating a concept is something fun that doesn’t require technical know-how.
It just depends on the creativity and depth of your ideas.
Want to make a game that’s about rescuing a trapped princess from an evil castle and you’re a mustachioed Italian man who always wears overalls?
You can do that! Oh, wait…
But you get the idea.
93) Practice better planning
Planning is a skill that ties all sorts of other skills together. When you get better at planning you get better at…well…everything.
There are simple things like keeping an agenda, various online scheduling tools, making a vision board and more, but there are also techniques and mindsets which will help you plan more consistently in your life.
Here’s an excellent guide on becoming better at planning your week from the Art of Manliness.
94) Make a hammock
Having been living in Brazil the past year I can tell you that hammocks are one of the greatest inventions of all time.
Whoever invented them should be given a large amount of cookies.
If you want to learn how to make a hammock you can do just that, and there are a number of different styles and materials to choose from.
Here’s a nice guide from Megan Bell on how to build your own hammock.
95) Learn to invest
Don’t try out this skill unless you’ve got some spare money to potentially lose.
But really: investing is risky!
If you want to learn your way around the markets, however, there are a lot of excellent free resources out there.
Here’s a good introductory video on investing from Project Life Mastery.
96) Produce juice
Making juice is a healthy and fun activity that leads to all sorts of delicious creations.
Pineapple juice, mango juice, orange juice, watermelon juice? It’s just a world of juice out here folks.
Juicing can also be the key to an amazing and effective diet.
Here’s a great video about getting started on juicing.
And speaking of juice…
97) Get better at sex
Wait, what? Sex is a skill?
I mean, I can’t speak for you but yes, it could potentially be thought of as a skill.
If you’ve been finding that your sex life is in a real slump you can get better at sex – even without having sex!
Just by increasing your intimate knowledge, you can be ready for the next time things get steamy.
Here are 15 women giving advice on what men can do to be better in bed.
And for the ladies, here’s Mark Rosenfeld explaining what really turns most men on but which they rarely open up about.
98) Pick up healthy habits for longevity
Having a few good days is enjoyable but having a life of healthy habits can add years to your longevity and make the time you do have on our little water-ball all the more amazing.
Picking up healthy habits for longevity isn’t just about exercise, a healthy diet, and breathing well, either.
It’s also about healing and owning those difficult emotions and experiences that challenge us in life and optimizing our mental and emotional health.
Let’s call this self-actualization.
Want to know how? Here’s a free guide.
99) Learn about religion and spirituality
Religion and spirituality could be thought of less as skills and more as interests or beliefs, but by learning about them you will develop transferable skills of relating to people from all over the world.
Maybe you want to learn to chant the Vedas, meditate, pray the rosary or do salah properly.
You can even study atheism if you want to relate to people in the Czech Republic, for example, which is one of the most atheistic countries in the world.
And so on, and so forth.
Studying religion and spirituality gives you strong interpersonal skills and there are all sorts of awesome online resources like this one from edX for getting started.
100) Improve your spelling
Spelling is a great skill to have and will help you in every area of your life from e-mails to helping your kids with their schoolwork or just writing down notes for someone that are spelled correctly.
Spelling is easy to improve with just a little bit of time each day.
Here’s one simple tip to improve your spelling from mmmEnglish.
101) Try tiling
Tiling is something I’ve done a little bit in the past while working in construction and it’s a really satisfying and aesthetically pleasing activity.
Starting with picking out your tile design, color, shape, and size and then moving into the project phase, you can complete anything from an entire floor to just a small counter area.
Learning your way around a tile cutter (which you can rent) is also another skill you’ll pick up along the way, as well as using mortar.
Here’s a free guide to tiling from Instructables.
102) Learn to box
I took kickboxing and boxing lessons in university and it was one of the best things I did.
In addition to being a top-notch workout, I got more self-confident, made new friends, and learned a new skill for if I ever piss off Mike Tyson.
Learning to box takes some dedication but it’s a lot of fun.
Here’s a video explaining the basics of boxing from Tony Jeffries.
103) Climb the ranks
Climbing is one of those things that a couple of my friends are super passionate about.
I’ve only tried an indoor climbing gym once, but it definitely was really challenging and enjoyable, and making it successfully to the top was a rush.
I recommend starting out a climbing gym or easy outdoor climbs and going from there. And you should always climb with a partner and a communication device in case anything goes wrong.
Here’s a good beginner’s guide to climbing.
104) Become a bigtime bowler
Bowling seems like one of those fun things you do now and then growing up at birthday parties and wear funky shoes for.
But it can also be a real skill.
If you want to throw more strikes than Mark McGwire, you can polish up the old ball and head to your local alley.
Before you do, check out this guide on how to become a badass bowler.
105) Organize and declutter your home
Looking around at the state of my room I’m probably a hypocrite for including this, but nonetheless:
Organizing and decluttering your room is a major power move.
It can be the start of changing your whole life.
Have you heard Jordan B. Peterson’s advice to clean your room?
106) Train a pet
Some of the best friends I’ve ever had have been covered in fur and had four legs. I did always want a porcupine too, but let’s save that as a goal for the future.
The thing with pets is that many times they need training. This is a great skill to learn, especially if you want to become a parent one day.
Here’s a wonderful guide on how to train your puppy.
107) Fundraise for a charity
Whether you want to fundraise for cancer research, animal rescue, a religious organization, or mental health awareness, it’s a heartwarming thing to do.
There are all sorts of ways you can go about getting involved and raising money for a cause that’s close to your heart.
Even during the pandemic, there are a lot of different options, many of which are listed here in this guide to 6 lockdown-friendly ways to fundraise during the pandemic.
108) Lose weight
Losing weight is a skill I’m still working on because I like food. All of the food, all of the time, in fact.
But it’s still a skill I aspire to and if you do too then I wish you all possible success!
Having a healthy body weight leads to feeling great physically and mentally and with some healthy daily habits of food, exercise, and mentality we can all move towards that goal.
Here’s an informative video on effective and fast ways to lose weight naturally.
109) Try new winter sports
If you’ve always wanted to go tobogganing, snowboarding or skiing, why not make it happen?
This is your year to hit the slopes!
There are lots of online resources to help you learn the basics of some wintersports, and when you go to a hill you should also sign up for lessons to get even more safety tips and make sure you have a fun time.
While you’re at it, check out these cool new winter sports gadgets.
110) Find out about floristry
If you love art and flowers then picking up the skill of floristry could be right up your alley.
Arranging tasteful and lovely smelling bouquets can bring a lot of joy into people’s lives and you can also parlay it into quite a good career someday if you want to.
But even if you just want to learn floristry as a hobby and skill, there are all sorts of good resources that will let you learn floristry for free.
111) Make pesto
You may see this and wonder: wouldn’t making pesto fall under the broader category of cooking?
I’m going to argue that no it would not. Pesto is the god of all foods and deserves its own place on any list of the most desirable skills.
A good friend and I often make pesto when we spend time together and it’s strengthened our friendship enormously. And that’s just 1% of the power of pesto.
Many feel drawn to make pesto, but few are chosen.
If you feel the stirring deep inside there are some excellent online guides that can help guide your path to achieving pesto primacy.
Just one spoonful of authentic, well-made, fresh pesto is enough for you to understand why you should learn this skill.
Here’s an excellent pesto recipe from Bon Appetit.
112) Improve your resume
Resumes are important because they get you jobs.
But they’re also crucial because how you make them can help you clarify a lot about life and what you’re looking for professionally and even personally.
I recently helped a friend revamp her CV and in the process, we clarified a lot about what she’s looking for in work, where she wants to live, and what her strongest skills are.
CV-making is a skill that’s well worth your time.
Here’s a great guide with 43 tips to help you make a better resume.
113) Master social media
Social media can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a skill.
Learning to master social media puts you ahead of many people who only dabble in it and it also ends up saving you huge amounts of time.
Instead of scrolling around for hours trying to figure out how to tag an Instagram post or use Twitter hashtags, you just zip through and get it done.
Here’s a 7 step guide to mastering social media from the US Small Business Association.
114) Work on welding
In addition to being a skill that can lead to a lucrative career, some people learn welding in order to do hobby projects and fix things up.
From mechanical repairs and customizations to making metal art and crafts, welding is literally putting things together.
If you want to learn the basics of welding and find out the equipment you’ll need, I recommend this guide from DSport Mag.
115) Make your own clothes
In addition to embracing your inner shoemaker which I discussed earlier, you can also craft your own clothes.
There are all sorts of different designs and templates you can use, or you can go totally creative and do it all from your imagination.
A trip to the fabric store and basic supplies like scissors, thread, a measuring tape, and a sewing machine will have you fully in the game.
116) Redesign your kitchen
If you’ve been thinking about getting creative with your kitchen then now is your chance.
Reflooring, new cabinets, switching up the countertops, putting in new tiles and more are all options you can consider, as well as repainting, adding flowers or plants, and much more.
It all depends on how far you want to go and whether you want to do a real renovation or more of a reorganization.
Here’s an excellent video on redesigning your kitchen on a budget from Lee & Bri DIY.
117) Learn to canoe or kayak
One of my best memories growing up was taking a three-day canoe trip with my uncle around Saranac Lake in upstate New York.
We camped on a small island and made dinner over a fire and did an epic portage that felt like a major accomplishment for 13-year-old me.
Going down the rapids in one part was also a hell of a thrill – especially when we didn’t capsize!
Kayaking is also something I love and I went to kayak summer camp one year as well in Western Canada as a great kayak trip with my mom in Quebec.
If you want to learn to canoe or kayak your best bet is to go to an outdoors or boating store and see if they offer lessons and rentals.
Here are free guides to canoeing and kayaking, and here are eight incredible canoeing and kayaking destinations if you’re looking to plan a trip!
118) Go minimalist
You may have heard the term minimalism floating around and it’s really more of a skill than anything else.
Minimalism simply means having only what you need.
Instead of a massive wardrobe and twenty pairs of shoes, you have five outfits and two pairs of shoes. Instead of a massive home in the suburbs of Philadelphia, you have a tiny house on a rural farm.
Minimalism is a great trend that’s also good for the environment and getting back to basics.
Want to know more?
Check out this beginners’ guide to minimalism from Madeleine Olivia.
119) Start a home business
Whether you want to sell colorful bracelets on Etsy or do home accounting, starting a home business is the wave of the future.
However, it does require certain skills.
Most of all you need to have a plan and a fallback plan if your plan doesn’t go quite as you envisioned (which is very common).
Hint: ClickFunnels makes setting up a simple online sales page super easy.
Want to get inspired?
Here are 10 business ideas to start from home from Jessica Stansberry.
120) Learn to ride a horse
Equestrian sports are an excellent hobby, although they can add up in price.
Having said that, going for a trail ride and learning basic horse riding is not necessarily that expensive.
If you have a love of the outdoors and have always hankered to try out horse riding there are all sorts of opportunities to try it out and see what you think.
Look for a paddock near you that offers trail rides, and check out this free resource on how to ride.
121) Sail away
Sailing is one of those timeless activities that gets you outdoors and gives a perfect mix of relaxation and action.
Sailing isn’t as expensive or as difficult as many people think.
The best way to learn the basics of sailing is to take a course out on the water, but if you want to get a headstart and see what it’s all about I also recommend this free online course from veteran sailor Josh Post.
Come sail away!
Also, if you want to see something pretty cool, watch Sam Holmes document his sailing journey from Los Angeles to Hawaii on a 23-foot boat. Wow!
122) Improve your social skills
Not all of us were born as social butterflies, and sometimes striking up a conversation can seem like the hardest thing in the world.
This is especially true for introverts who naturally tend to keep to themselves more.
Fortunately, there are tried-and-true ways to improve your social skills, overcome your crippling shyness and become more comfortable with striking up conversations.
Here’s a helpful video on how introverts can improve their social skills.
123) Catch canning fever
We may not be living in the days of Little House on the Prairie anymore, but with the way things are going, we could be in the near future.
Just joking, maybe.
But hey, if you want to pick up a great skill that’s useful and fun regardless, you should try out canning. Putting foods, preserves and vegetables, and fruits into jars and learning to sterilize and seal them correctly is a valuable skill.
Here’s a free guide on how to can your own food from Mother Earth Online.
124) Have a go at homesteading
Homesteading is on the rise these days.
Too much fancy technology and fast-paced demands are prompting many folks to look for a return to some basics.
Homesteading means living in a rural area and keeping a small hobby farm and growing some vegetables. Chickens are a popular animal to raise because they’re fairly low maintenance compared to other farm animals.
Want to give it a go?
Here’s a beginner’s guide to homesteading from Greener Ideal.
125) Swim like a champion
Swimming is a wonderful activity. Not only is it great for cardiovascular fitness, but it’s also really relaxing and rejuvenating.
You’ll feel your self-confidence and mental well-being building as you glide through the water and try new strokes.
Some of my best memories from university are our weekly swimming meetups, although jumping off the high diving board was more of a blackout-in-midair memory.
But if swimming seems like something you’re interested to pursue more then I heartily recommend it.
Want to get back in the water?
Here are 7 steps to becoming a better swimmer from Runner’s World.
Welcome to the club
Even if you just try out one of these 125 awesome new skills, let me know how it goes.
I’ve done my best to include free learning resources for each one to help you along your journey.
The next time you’re debating between Netflix or a new skill, I encourage you to pull up this list and smack your finger down on one of the skills.
If it isn’t your cup of tea then try out another skill that’s more up your alley.
You’ll end up one talent richer for it and you’ll also find that the process of learning a new skill is a lot of fun!