Coping with detraining: five ways to enjoying relearning a skills

The term detraining (not “leaving the train”) is commonly used in sport to describe a drop in performance after a long break. You will often hear runners use it when complaining they can no longer match their previous achievements, but anyone who faced the challenge of relearning a skill will find this relatable.

1. Enjoy the process

It’s interesting how learning a new skill can be so exciting, but relearning it is nothing but daunting, right? But if turning a hobby into a profession can drain the fun out of it, then being temporarily mediocre again is a great opportunity to reclaim some of the early enjoyment. With no pressure to achieve great results, this is your chance to reconnect with the reasons you wanted to learn the skill in the first place and just enjoy it.

2. Change your goals

Success comes in many shapes and forms and a change of focus can mean a difference between achieving and failing. You can’t run fast? Try going farther. Can’t draw as well as you used to? Focus on maintaining a streak of daily sketches. This is one of the rare occasions when focusing on quantity over quality can be beneficial.

3. Take a new route

You’ve done it once before, so a natural instinct is to repeat the exact same process again. But retracing your steps can be incredibly demotivating and you run a risk of constantly competing with your old self.

4. Connect with likeminded people

Joining amateur clubs, online forums or in-person meetups can bring both fun and extra motivation to your learning. In addition, no matter how much your skills deteriorated, I can guarantee you that someone out there does the same things ten times worse than you but enjoys it ten times as much! This is an important reminder that you don’t have to master the skills to get pleasure out of practicing it.

5. Share your achievements with your biggest cheerleaders

While joining dedicated online communities is often beneficial, social media in general can feed into your anxiety. By their nature, social media platforms highlight success and don’t give enough prominence to the hard work and numerous failures that often precede it.

UX designer at Make it Clear. Runner. Minimalist. Environmentalist. Rationalist.

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