The Secret to Learning New Skills

Do you apply the 50% rule to your hobbies?

Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash

The 50% Rule

The 50% rule is simple — whenever you’re learning and practicing a new skill, half of your time should be devoted to having fun with it.

  • You can stay motivated by remembering why you’re learning the skill in the first place.
  • You’ll improve your abilities by putting theory into practice.


You can see how helpful this rule is by thinking through two common skills that people typically learn for fun.


To learn a foreign language, you’ll need to spend time studying grammar and memorizing vocabulary. If you spend all your time in conjugation tables though, you’re going to get bored out of your mind.


Learning a new instrument typically requires many technical skills, for example, practicing scales, learning chords, and studying music theory. It’s easy to get so lost in the technical side of music that you never get around to actually playing a song.


I have had much more success sticking with new habits and hobbies since implementing the 50% rule. Whenever I’m learning something new, I ask myself how I can have fun with it.

I’m a lawyer and teacher from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, running, and more. Buy me a “coffee” at

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