We’re well settled into the new year and we’re all full of hopes and dreams for the next 12 months – learning a new language, getting fit, changing our job, travelling more. Most likely in the first week of the year you were super pumped, ready to drop anything to stick to your main goal(s).
By the time the second week came however, you kind of settled in, relaxed the rules a bit and got back to some of your old habits. When January’s over, your goal will be completely forgotten like it was never there and you’re going to be thinking ‘how silly of me to think that I could learn Spanish’.
That can be one of the ways the future looks. Let’s take a different turn. Lets push through the phase when we want to give up and see what happens. The other road is familiar but wouldn’t it be nice to see what else can happen? What if you did learn Spanish this year? You could read books in Spanish, and you could talk to other Spanish speakers, and on your next holiday in Spain you could strike up a conversation with a stranger and end up making new friends.
Studies have shown that the human brain tends to value immediate rewards more than future rewards. When you set a goal or a resolution you are in fact making plans for your future self and it ‘s easy to imagine how your life can look. But, when the time comes that you actively pursue that goal most people choose immediate gratification and opt to do what they feel like in the moment.
Now that we understand how our mind works, it’s time to find ways to stop this from happening.
- Start slowly and build a ritual. Set yourself to practice for half an hour a day – that’s not too much to ask right? Offer yourself a reward after – if you’re learning a language with uTalk, the reward comes in the form of earning points and we all like to build up to a nice score, right?
- Put aside some of your other tasks. Obviously not work or eating but if you usually browse the Internet while commuting why not replace that with your main goal?
- Keep your eyes on the prize – never lose sight of your motivation. Look at pictures of beautiful Spanish landscapes and imagine yourself having a chat with the locals, or listen to Spanish songs and try to understand the lyrics.
I hope this helps you push through the temptation of giving up and will ultimately get you to your goal. And don’t worry about making mistakes; the only person who loses is the one that gives up, so no matter how slow you are going, it’s still better than if you weren’t doing anything.
And if your goal is to learn a language (or twelve…), there’s still time to join the uTalk Challenge!
Today we’ve got a guest post from Charlotte Donnelly, who’s taking part in the uTalk challenge this January, on why she chose to learn Slovak. Charlotte also has a fantastic blog of her own, all about her language adventures.
When I decided I wanted to do this challenge, I went through the uTalk app and looked at all of the languages that are on offer – but I didn’t spend a long time deciding. I’ve studied a few languages before, so I didn’t want to pick any of those; and there are some languages on the app that look really exciting, but I didn’t want to learn anything I wouldn’t be able to use soon, either.
So, why Slovak? Well, at the end of October I visited Bratislava for the first time with my friends and absolutely fell in love with the place, the people, the food… However, it was one of the few trips I’ve made where I knew nothing of the language. Obviously, a lot of people in Bratislava speak good English, but it felt a little odd to me, to not understand what was going on or to be able to explain myself.
Conveniently, I’m living in Vienna at the moment, so I’m lucky enough to have Bratislava (and the rest of Slovakia) more or less right on my doorstep – the capital is an hour away by train, so I can visit when I like. Plus, I’m excited to learn a Slavic language for the very first time! If this challenge ends up setting me off on a 2015 quest to learn Slovak, then so much the better – I’m really looking forward to it.
Who else is doing the challenge?
If you’d like to share your own reasons for choosing a particular language, we’d love to hear from you, so please drop us an email!