If you’re one of those people who checks the same five websites every morning with your cup of coffee, it might be time to get your brain in gear for whatever you plan to accomplish in 2016. The top resolutions for people in 2015 were: Losing weight, getting organized, spending less, enjoying life and learning something exciting.
Here are five websites to help you learn something new (and they’re free so you’re spending less.) See how I worked that in?
Love to travel? Learn a new language
You’ve got your tickets and your passport, but now you need to say “Please bring me my umbrella cocktail” in another language. This website allows you to practice a language you’re rusty in, or attempt to learn a new one. I did a beginner lesson in French and then tried one in Irish Gaelic and I liked the way it felt like a game, not like a language lesson. A vocal translator accompanied each sentence, allowing me to practice pronunciation. You can create a profile to save your progress and even set your daily goal of mini lessons ranging from “Basic” to “Insane.”
Feeling too hip? Lose some weight
I have to say, I love this website. It keeps you honest. It’s a free online calorie counter and diet plan. It’s not rocket science, it’s just science. You lose weight by tracking your caloric intake. Because, as you know, those umbrella cocktails have a way of sneaking up on the scale. When you create a profile, which you can make private or share publicly if you want some support from fellow pals, you begin to slowly train your brain on what healthy foods (and fast foods) you can choose each day. When you hit your daily goals, it feels like an accomplishment and motivates you to keep it up.
Spark your creative side
Ugh.... January to April. The pervasive feeling if you’re not an outdoor person in the winter is that there’s nothing to do. But, you don’t just have to binge on Netflix this winter, because this is very cool site that taps into your creative interests. Writing, Photography, Culinary, Design, Business, Film, Fashion, Crafts and DIY—there are more categories to get that right hemisphere of your brain cranking with bite size (one hour) videos that show you how to get better at a particular skill.
Additionally, you can get real project feedback, participate in online discussions and read class notes from other students. I love that the app also works on your phone or your tablet.
Tuition-free college education
How is it possible in the age of exorbitant college costs these days to get a Harvard-level education and not pay a dime? With this website, you can get a English grammar and essay class from UC Berkeley, an Intro to Computer Science class from MIT, a Global Hospitality course from Cornell and way more. This free, nonprofit and open source online learning site allows you to take courses in in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, or marketing. They also offer “verified” certificates (for a fee) for people who want to use their completed courses toward a college degree. Hey, beats paying thousands of dollars at a community college for the same thing.
Personal assistant at your service
Trello is perfect for people are constantly smacking their foreheads and saying ‘D’oh!” because they can’t keep it all straight in their minds. Since I typically organize with Post-it Notes, I really like this easy- to-navigate website (and apps for your phone and tablet). It’s set up as drag-and-drop virtual Post-It Notes, whatever your daily to-do lists are, from bill paying, studying, work and personal development goals to a shareable board for ideas and tasks with your coworkers. Want to see inspiration on how to customize it for your life or profession? Check it out here.
Happy New Year everyone!
The Killer Convo
This blog is a is a killer roundup of all arts, entertainment, brewery & distillery, food trucks, happy hour happenings in the Midcoast Maine. Feel free to email me anything about Midcoast arts, entertainment & the creative economy.