I Resolve To: Learn Something New (and Exciting!)

Learn to jump a car battery

In the last of our New Year's Resolution series, we'll show you how you can use your car to learn something new and reach that goal of self-improvement. Learning something new, trying a new activity, branching out and getting more out of life are all variations of the same resolution theme: to inject more excitement and enjoyment into your life.

  1. Learn to speak a new language: Yes, this very popular New Year's Resolution can be done in the car! Get an audio book or download a language learning app and start driving. You know how you have every word to "Livin' On A Prayer" memorized? It was just an awesome song to rock out to while learning to drive. Repetitive listening not only makes it far more likely that something will stick around in your memory, but when you apply it to learning a new language it will also help immensely with the pronunciation. You'll be oui-ing and si-ing in no time.
  2. Learn to drive a manual transmission: Americans are notorious for their preference for automatic transmissions, even though the vast majority of the world likes manual. And why not - stick is awesome! Learning to drive both types of transmissions is not just a new and exciting thing to learn, it's incredibly useful. Car rental agencies charge hefty premiums to rent an automatic transmission car in many other countries (partially because manual is standard, partially because you'll pay that premium if you have no choice), and you know you have at least one friend or family member who only drives a manual, which means you'll never be able to drive their car. The best way to learn to drive manual is to force yourself to rely on only that transmission for a few months. Get a lesson (from a kind friend or an agency), then see about borrowing or trading so you're forced to drive only a manual. Plus, buying a manual car is cheaper than an automatic and costs less to maintain so you'll be saving money!
  3. Learn to perform basic repairs: If blowing a tire scares you because it means you'll be stranded on the freeway with no help, now is the time to learn to do this most basic of car repairs. Make sure you have a spare and the equipment to change it, and have a friend (or YouTube) show you how. It's not as hard or intimidating as it looks and you'll feel so accomplished for learning this task. The same goes for other basic repairs and maintenance tasks: replacing windshield wipers, checking and refilling fluids, and jumping a battery. You'll also be taking better care of your car by learning these crucial skills.
  4. Learn to leave your comfort zone: This is a figurative and literal resolution. By figuratively leaving your comfort zone you'll be putting yourself out there more, and that's what this resolution is about at its heart. Go skydiving, learn to dance, or actually get up on the stage the next time your coworkers drag you to karaoke; you really will feel better about fulfilling this part of the resolution. But you can also literally leave your comfort zone by driving somewhere new. Never went to the hot air balloon festival because it required an hour of driving at 5am? Never catch a sunrise because you can't see it from your bed? Never go to a game at your alma mater because Los Angeles is soooo far away? No more excuses. Get out of your comfort zone, physically and figuratively, and enjoy your life!
  5. Learn to ski: Or snowboard, or water ski, or drive a dune buggy, or wake board, or mountain bike or sail, or kayak. Living in San Diego affords us so much versatility when it comes to hobbies, but most of them require the use of a car to get us there and transport our equipment. With lakes and mountains so close, not to mention an ocean that's right there, there's really no reason not to learn a new physical activity. For your first time, go with an experienced group or rent equipment to see how you like it. When you're ready to invest, almost any car can be outfitted with the right gear to easily carry your new hobby with you. You can turn many of these hobbies into mini vacations and really get to enjoying 2013.
Image courtesy of Lifehacker.

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