Building Helpful Habits
Why is it so hard to form habits and to keep them? I’m sure we can all think of a few habits that we would like to have and that are at the top of the list every year. Let’s go through some of my personal suggestions on how to start a good habit that can change into a lifestyle. At the bottom, I'll go over how I have applied some of these very tips in my quest to learn Spanish.
Find Your WHY: For a habit to stick, you need to have a ‘why’ attached to it for when the going gets tough or motivation is running low.
Why do I want to accomplish this goal?
Why is it important for me to implant this habit into my life?
Why is this habit going to help me?
Why do I find it hard to have success obtaining this habit?
Why do I keep quitting when I know I want to succeed?
Why is this habit worth my time, money or both?
Stick to a schedule:
I am going to accomplish my goal every morning at 7:00 A.M.
I am going to make sure I finish my goal by noon every day
If I haven’t finished my goal by the time I brush my teeth at night, I’ll do it right after
I’ll call my friend every night around 8:00 P.M. and we’ll practice what we learned
I want to spend ‘x’ amount of time on this every week
I’ll make sure it do this ‘x’ times every day
Make a calendar to record your progress
Give yourself a timeline to accomplish the task
Find ways to practice in healthy / encouraging environments
Join a club that has the same interests as you
Record yourself and see your improvement as time goes on
Create a ‘light at the end of the tunnel” prize and go for it! (Our recommendation is to plan a future foreign trip!)
How have I applied some of these tips?
WHY: I want to learn Spanish because many important people in my life know how to speak it. I especially want to learn so it can create opportunities to converse with people that only speak Spanish. My wife’s grandparents are from Chile and I want to be able to talk with them and relieve my wife of her constant translating duties. She does a great job, but it’s not the same as talking back and forth and holding a genuine conversation.
Schedule: I have been trying to get through one level of Speakalanguage each month. I have successfully completed my first month. To be honest, there were days where I did 2 or 3 of the lessons while folding laundry, going on a run or even washing dishes. Listening to music is fun, but that way I was able to get closer to my goal.
Quantify: My goal is to listen to and repeat Spanish each day for 30 minutes. Not really much more to say. We all have moments that could be complimented with a little language learning.
Enjoy it: I went with my in-laws to a little birthday party the other night and was able to follow the conversation enough to ask intelligible questions to my wife’s grandparents and they were impressed with my progress!
I also enjoy being dramatic in Spanish and every time I see my Dad, our discussions somehow turn into a soap operas.