I’ve been reading a lot about successful people and their habits recently and thinking about how I can implement this into my own daily life. I realised that these people are successful precisely because they have developed habits that directly contribute to their success.
This is, of course, true of language learning as well – attaining a level of fluency in a language requires regular and consistent practice.
However, in our busy lives, it is incredibly easy for that chapter in your textbook or vocabulary list you were planning to study to fall by the wayside. So how do you strike the right balance between language learning and the other aspects of your life?
When thinking about the above, I decided to try and improve my own language learning habits by aiming for five language related activities a day, just like the recommended minimum five portions of fruit and vegetables we should eat in a day.
If possible, aim to spread these tasks over the course of the day and try to focus on the different skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
For example, I thought about when I personally have time in the day I can make better use of and came up with the following 5-a-day plan for learning Japanese:
- Morning commute: use an app like Hello Talk to chat to someone in Japanese (due to the time difference between the UK and Japan it makes more sense for me to do this in the morning)
- Lunch break: read something in Japanese (normally a news article)
- After work commute: listen to a podcast (normally Bilingual News Podcast or News in Slow Japanese)
- Before dinner: watch a Youtube video or something on Netflix in Japanese
- Before bed: write in my language journal or review new vocabulary
Needless to say, getting in 5 language learning activities a day may be too intense depending on your language goals. Hopefully the above can help you to think about the times in your day that you could spend more wisely instead of browsing social media, for example. It is important to think about what you want to achieve and then think about how you can set about achieving them.
The truth is, aiming to do at least one activity a day and doing that consistently should also bring about positive results.
I’ve written a little bit about achieving your language goals before and a key part of this is keeping yourself accountable.You can do this by using a calendar, bullet journal or app to track your habits.
I happen to use Google quite a bit but only recently realised that Google Calendar has a nifty goal setting function where you can set up reminders to work towards your given goal. I now have a daily language learning goal set up with a reminder that coincides with the beginning of my morning commute to work (mainly because I am a morning person and I am more likely to remember to study at this time). It’s quite satisfying to swipe away that little reminder I get, knowing that I’ve kept up my language learning streak!
Similarly, 30-day challenges are all the rage when it comes to health and fitness, but can be applied to language learning too. Particularly when learning a new language, this is a good way of making sure that you begin to familiarise yourself with the language from day 1 and start positive language learning habits.
My aim at present is to get at least 2 of these activities into my day on a particularly busy day, and as close to 5 as possible on a good day.
Do you have some sort of daily/ weekly/ monthly language learning plan? How do you prefer to track your habits? Let me know in the comments 🙂