Sure, most of us want to be intelligent, well-rounded, informed people with an interesting opinion and an ability to conduct an adult conversation. But sometimes that’s hard when your days mostly involve diaper changes, the carpool line, or conference calls.

As a student in school, it’s easy to learn new stuff—you’re bombarded with it, actually. But as you dig into the trenches of post-school adulthood, it’s easy to move into survival mode. Your brain can turn to mush without exercise.

I want to be a lifelong learner, and I want to raise kids who feel the same. This means that to thrive as a well-informed person, I need to seek out learning resources for myself, even in the midst of parenting and running a business.

Here’s a few things that have helped me.

1. Read.

Get in the habit of always reading something. There’s no possible way to read everything available, so start your “to be read” list now. 3,000 books are published per day in the United States alone, and you can find one on about any topic imaginable.

Don’t wait until your kids are older, you get enough sleep, or you have more time—something else will always come up. Start with a goal of just a few pages per day.

Libraries make reading affordable, as do used bookstores. Audible

‘s huge audiobook selection also makes it easier to listen to audiobooks while running errands and working out (and this does quality as reading).

2. Read quality.

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.” –Charles Jones

Sure, you could read anything, but why? With so many options out there, there’s no reason to waste your brain with twaddle like gossip mags, poorly-written novels, or cheesy self-help books.

I’m all for light reading during certain seasons, but even then, there are thousands of brilliantly-written novels and quality magazines from which to choose.

Pursue your interests, but stretch your brain and try new things. Historical biographies, non-fiction that challenges your thinking, and the classics are great places to start.

3. When you do enjoy screentime, make it quality, too.

I do enjoy a good movie or binge-watch, and I could watch Ina Garten cook all day.

I just like to make sure that:

1. My TV is off way more than it’s on, and that

2. When it is on, that I’m watching something interesting.

Don’t waste your precious brain and time watching fluff. It’s the golden age of television, man! Pick out a few shows you enjoy, and only turn on the screen for those. Then, go do something else.

4. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.” –Charles Jones

The people you befriend makes a huge impact on your attitude. Do your friends encourage you to pursue good stuff? Are they also interested in the world around them?

Life’s too short to spend time gossiping or talking about things that just don’t matter. Find friends that support your desire to exercise your brain, because they want the same thing, too.

5. But, be around people different than you.

It’s easy to get tunnel vision when you surround yourself only with people from the same background, geography, or life stage. Leave your comfort zone and make friends with people you least expect. You’ll be surprised at how much you might learn.

Get to know your elderly neighbor. Be friendly with the person with an accent in line next to you. If you’re a Christian, do you only have Christian friends? Be proactive and meet your neighbors, and hear about life from their perspective. You’ll be challenged.

6. Keep up with the news.

Don’t bombard yourself with the 24/7 news cycle, because you’ll get overwhelmed and depressed. But do stay in touch with the basic 101 of world events, even if you’re in the little kid stage or are super busy with work.

7. Make a list.

Once you have a few spare minutes, it can be hard to remember those things you want to learn about, read, or try. The kids are in bed, the kitchen is clean, and—what is it I was gonna do? I can’t remember.

As you think of ideas, write them down. Keep an ongoing list of books you want to read, podcasts you want to listen to, or hobbies you want to try. Then refer to your list often. Keep it somewhere prominent, like in your bullet journal, on the fridge, or on your phone.

8. Take an online class.

I mean, they’re everywhere (here’s mine, in fact). If there’s some way you want to improve your life, I’ll bet you a bag of nickels there’s a class on the internet you could take to learn about it.

Aside from my own classes and the classes of a few friends, my personal favorites have been from Skillshare, and they often offer a first month of unlimited classes for free.

Learn on Skillshare

9. Say “I don’t know” to your kids.

When your kids ask you something and you truly don’t know the answer, admit it—and then discover the answer together. Search the internet, head to your library, head to the museum, or email someone who might know.

You’ll show your kids that you don’t know everything, and yet certain things are worth the trouble to learn. Plus, it’s fun bonding time when you learn together.

10. Just do something.

When it comes down to it, just trying something is a good start. Refer to your list, and check out one new podcast a week. Try an unexpected book from the library, and keep it on your nightstand—give it a few chapters and then decide if you want to keep going.

Try to find the answer to one new thing a day. If you find it, awesome. If that satisfies your curiosity, move on. But if you dig deeper and find more interesting questions, then you just might be on your way to adding a new interest to your life.

Never stop learning. Set a good example for your kids. And exercise that brain of yours.