For many working adults, finding the time to learn a new language is enough of a struggle, not to mention keeping up with daily practice. If you’re looking for ways to stay disciplined and committed to a training routine, upgrade your ordinary learning to smart learning with productive learning habits!
You can increase the productivity in your daily practice with highly effective habits by setting up realistic goals, transforming a workable schedule into a positive habit loop, and applying focused efforts to your learning. Each of these habits are easy to adapt to, so let’s get started right away!
Set Realistic Learning Goals
Every learner approaches goal-setting differently, as a number of different factors affect the way they define their goals. Nonetheless, one of the most important things to keep in mind when setting up any learning goal is to make it as realistic as possible.
For instance, if you’re learning a new language, it’s reasonable to give it 6 to 9 months’ time before you get definite results. On the other hand, when you’ve had very little or no learning experience in a particular language yet are hoping to become fluent within weeks or even just a few months, you might be getting ahead of yourself.
Before constructing a training schedule, think about where you’d like to be in the next few weeks, months, or even years. Rather than aspiring only for an “end goal,” set up milestone goals – these small but sure wins will boost your confidence and motivation!
Once you follow through with your daily training with consistency and discipline, you’ll reach where you set out to be while enjoying every winning moment along the way. After all, you can only reap real results by setting up real goals first!
Make Your Training A “Good Habit”
Once you have a clear goal to reach, it’s time to plan a training schedule that fits your lifestyle or better yet, make it a “habit.” A habit loop consists of a trigger, a behavior, and a reward, where we can design each of these components in correlation to how we manage our daily lives.
First, assign your daily training at a specific time (trigger). Whether it’s early morning, during your commute, at lunch break, after work, or before bed, consider the amount of time you can spend on your daily schedule and actually make it happen. The purpose of a training schedule is to keep you on track, so that your effort will not go wasted but transform into disciplined practice (behavior). Finally, reinforce your behavior with some sort of celebration (reward) when you reach each milestone goals. Plan something fun, like eating out and ordering food in your new language or a foreign film marathon weekend – you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come when learning becomes an enjoyment in your daily life.
Focused Effort Makes All The Difference
Being able to deliver excellent performance requires focused effort – by giving your full attention during training sessions. When it comes to language learning, certain things require more attention than others, such as the speech flow and patterns, sentence intonation or colloquial usage in certain situations, to name a few.
Think about what you’d like to improve on. If you set your heart on conversational fluency, then paying attention to native speakers’ recorded conversations is a great place to start! Learning complete sentences is beneficial when it comes to the context of expression and intonation, and it’s best applied when starting from short to long. By learning actively and repeating after native speakers, you’ll become more aware of how you should sound like while fine-tuning your accent.
In terms of learning methods, spaced repetition is one that doesn’t require any intentional memorization or grammar explanation. So, if you’re using this method to learn a new language, be sure to commit to listening and speaking. Just keep in mind that both your speech and muscle memory will take time to build!
Moreover, studies have shown that our brains reach peak performance at 90 minutes, and then it starts to decline. This means no amount of over-work will make up for lost time – all the more reason to really focus and make the most of your time.
Start Learning Productively Today!
Once you apply these productive learning habits to your daily training, you can actually enjoy your learning without feeling lost or pressed for time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your learning progress. Take a closer look at your training habits and see if there’s anything you can work on. Sometimes, all it takes is adjusting the way you approach your learning – develop good learning habits, regain your momentum, and keep moving forward!