Membership Minute: To Benefit, You Have to Do It

tie shoe workout gym
Jimese Harkley, CUDE, J.D., SPP, CCE Photo

3 minutes

How to transform intention into motivation—and then stay motivated—to keep learning in 2024. 

On New Year’s Day and for several weeks afterward, gyms are often full of people who have made a resolution to get fit. A few weeks into the year, the gym is much quieter. 

But some people keep coming. They’ve found ways to motivate themselves to continue working out. And once they go enough times over enough weeks, they start to reap the benefits of being stronger or more flexible, of losing weight and even feeling better. That in turn, helps them go and even find joy in their efforts. 

What do the people who stick around do differently? And how do we apply these same ideas to learning? If you resolve to learn more in 2024, how can you deliver on your goal in ways that make you better at your current job, prepare you for your next role and maybe even enjoy your work more? 

Get Motivated 

  • Blend both external and internal motivators. For example, you might get a certificate for your wall or your LinkedIn profile from a course you take. That’s an external motivator. In contrast, you might care deeply about diversity, equity and inclusion, so taking a course on how to start or support such an initiative in your credit union might matter a great deal to you personally. That’s internal motivation. 
  • Take care with your goal setting. “If your goals aren’t realistic or don’t inspire you,” this article from BetterUp says, “take the time to reassess them. Taking a moment to pause and reflect will help ensure that your goals are attainable and will help grow your motivation.” In the same vein, the same article suggests, don’t be afraid to start small. Consider breaking your bigger goals into smaller steps that are less daunting. Then celebrate your achievements each step of the way. 
  • Share the journey with others. Lots of people go to the gym because they see friends there. So to with learning. Take a class with a colleague. Join an online forum of industry peers. Talk over your learning with your supervisor. When you build community around your learning, you’ll be more likely to make the effort to learn as well as more likely to retain what you learn. 

Stay Motivated 

Here are some good habits to follow to sustain your motivation for learning: 

  • Choose development goals that interest you. Sure, your learning needs to apply to your current job or your next one. But you still have choices about what you tackle next. It's easier to stay motivated when you are engaged, when you see value in the task or the journey. 
  • Regularly review your goals and progress. It can be really heartening to see how far you’ve come. And you may have learned something that will help you mindfully adjust the goals you have in place. 
  • Develop a routine. According to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, people take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to establish a new habit. Making learning a regular occurrence can help you do it long enough to transform it into something you do as a matter of course. 

Remember, to get the full benefit of a gym membership, you have to go work out! To do your best learning, you have to make the time and expend the effort. Some things can make it easier though. By putting courses, events and content you value all in one place, as well as connecting you with like-minded peers, your CUES membership will help you get motivated to learn and stay that way each year! Happy learning 2024! Let me know how I can help. 

Jimese Harkley, JD, CUDE, SPP, CCE, is VP/membership for CUES. 

Bolster Your Learning in 2024

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