the New Year well
As this year draws to a close and we transition to a new one, your
attention, like mine, might be focusing on how to improve certain areas
of your life and make progress by developing positive habits.
Let’s take English, for example. Are you happy with your progress during
these last twelve months? Could you have done better by studying more,
passing an exam or going outside your comfort zone to improve your
According to studies done at the university of Scranton, only 8% of
people reach their goals. And only 20% of us actually set goals which
means that 80% of us don’t even bother.
I suggest focusing on habits rather than goal setting. Every evening at
9pm I stop work, sit on the sofa and watch Netflix and YouTube. It’s a
habit and, I would argue, not a very good one. So, how effective would
it be if, instead of watching films and TV series in English for an hour,
I watched TV in Spanish or read a book in Spanish? I’m sure my Spanish
would improve. And what if I did that every evening for a year? Yes, my
Spanish would probably improve! So, I suggest you try it with English.
Now, to make this work, we need a paradigm shift. What does that mean?
Well, instead of getting a reward now and feeling a bit frustrated later,
perhaps it would be more productive to do the hard thing now and be
rewarded later with better language skills.
Another example of this is waiting for something to happen passively
rather than being proactive and going outside your comfort zone. Is it
easier to sit at home instead of finding a language exchange group in
your area? Of course it’s easier! Which would you rather do, find a
conversation group online and practice your English on Zoom or look at
your favourite social media platform or play a game on your mobile phone?
Think about it.
The easy decision often results in slow or no progress. And as my
grandmother used to say, ‘You can’t make an omelette if you don’t break
a few eggs!’
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