Speaking a language is a skill. In order to use that skill confidently, you need to dedicate time and energy to developing it. This means building a practice habit into your life.
Building this habit can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be.
Today, I’m going to help you plan your language practice schedule. I’ll walk you through some of the most effective techniques to keep you on track without overwhelming your already busy schedule.
Dedicate 30 minutes a week to reviewing schedule.
- Reviewing your progress helps you see what techniques are most effective for you to keep up a habit. Some people do really well when they practice in the morning, others are more effective in the evening.
Plan in your break.
- However strong our motivation is at the start of the project, we all know that burn-out is real and taking a break can be more effective than powering through a project.
- These breaks act as deadlines to work against. If you decide that you’re going to step away from language work every Friday, for example, you can make Thursday your conversation day and spend Saturday through Wednesday focused on practicing for your conversation.
Start with 5 minutes.
- If you’re a beginner at habit building, starting with a small commitment can mean the difference between keeping up the habit or not. When I started a writing habit, I could only commit to 30 minutes a day 3 days a week. After a few months of maintaining that schedule, I was able to bump up that commitment to 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. Maybe soon I’ll expand to 4 hours or 4 days a week!
Accept you will not want to maintain the habit.
- As soon as you create your plan, you’re going to start making excuses why it’s okay to not maintain it. “I’ll start tomorrow.” “I don’t have the energy to practice so my practice won’t be effective anyway.” Every time one of these excuses pops up, write it down, then write why that’s just an excuse and why you really do want to practice. Or just ignore the excuse and practice right in that moment- Bulldoze through negative thoughts keeping you back.
- Learning a new skill involves changing your brain and your brain really doesn’t like changing. It takes energy to build new neural pathways, so it rebels against this “waste” of energy by reminding you how much easier things are when you don’t change. It’s important to build up responses to this self-sabotage right away.
Creating a habit means you’re taking responsibility for your progression. Teachers, coaches, and fellow learners can be a great help in supporting your habit, but your success ultimately comes down to the effort you put toward it.
This is a fact I have to remind myself all the time. Building a habit is a trial and error process. Each new skill you learn is going to require different kinds of habits to lead to success. You have the potential, you just need a little help at drawing it out.
If you like what you read, I’d love to help you draw out your potential! Check out my courses or just sign up for the Pronunciation Habit newsletter where you’ll get weekly pronunciation practice techniques. Plus, exclusive special offers.
And if you found this post helpful, feel free to post it around. We can all use all the help we can get with our goals.
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