Have you ever been lost in a city without a map, trying to find your hotel and you’re just walking around in circles hoping to find the right way?
Well, if you don’t set specific language goals and form habits to get you to your goals, that’s what it can feel like – lost without a map!
Our special guest this week is Bree from the Into The Story podcast and Bree has some excellent advice on how you can avoid that frustration and help you get on the path to achieving your language-learning goals.
Bree and I talk about goal setting and why you should set goals for your English study. Bree explains what SMART goals are and why you should make your goals SMART.
We speak about habits, habit building and habit stacking. We also discuss the difference between active practice and passive practice and how to make your English practice fun!
We had a lot of fun recording this podcast and we hope Bree’s tips and advice will help you organize your self-study and reach your English goals.
Bree and I have spoken about habits before. Check out Bree’s podcast and my personal story at INTO THE STORY.
Bree is from Canada and people sometimes confuse her accent with a North American one.
It’s important to set goals and build habits around your English studies especially if you’re studying by yourself and not following an organized course in a language school or studying with a private teacher.
We’re going to explain why goals and habits are important and give you some advice on:
- Setting goals
- Building habits
- Practice! – Practical tips on how to take those first steps.
- How can you make it fun?
Why is it important to set goals, especially if you’re studying by yourself?
Goals give us a destination. They give you focus and motivation and this helps with consistency and leads to success.
What are SMART goals and why is important to make your goals SMART?
SMART goals are:
An example of a SMART goal is passing the Cambridge C1 Advanced exam by November.
It’s a good idea to set goals around your weaker areas of English. For example, speaking.
If you want to improve your speaking, you could find a meet-up group in your area. https://www.meetup.com/
If you would prefer to do an online speaking course, you could join one of Craig’s conversation groups:
Why are habits important for self-study?
Habits are the steps and the key to any goal we want to achieve.
Try the ‘start with five minutes’ rule. If you can do something for five minutes, you’ll probably want to continue for longer.
We tend to think of our future self as a separate person.
What is “habit stacking” and how is it useful in language learning?
- Make a list of your current routine.
- Identify existing habits (e.g. breakfast, commute, cleaning)
- Choose one to create a “trigger” (e.g. getting on a train).
- Set a time (e.g. listen to inglespodcast on Sunday)
- Prepare the environment (e.g. make sure your phone is fully charged and you have your earbuds with you)
What can you do if you break the habit and something disrupts your routine?
You need to be flexible and return to your habit as soon as you can. Be realistic. Sometimes life happens!
Too much rigidity can be the enemy of a good habit. A behavioral scientist’s advice for changing your life
Should you give yourself a reward when you’re starting a new habit?
Yes, go for a walk, watch your favourite TV series, listen to your favourite music, have a coffee milkshake etc.
Give yourself something to look forward to when you have completed your task.
Practice Makes Progress!
What’s the difference between passive & active English practice?
Babies learn by listening first and then they speak. They speak when they have a need to communicate. Similarly, adults learning a second language do the same and their passive language is often broader than the language they use actively for speaking and writing.
Listening and reading tend to be more passive, speaking and writing, more active.
Is it a good idea to have a balance of active and passive language?
Yes, it’s a good idea to mix active and passive. For example, listen to a podcast with a transcript or focus on vocabulary and take notes while watching a film or reading a text.
Shadowing is another technique you can use to actively improve your English.
Isolate a piece of language and repeat it after the native speaker. Use a transcription, or subtitles, and try to copy the pronunciation of the speaker in real-time or just after the speaker.
Make It Fun!
Use the shadowing technique with your favourite TV series or podcast.
Find what you like and do more of it.
Don’t worry about “doing it wrong.” Follow Nike’s advice: Just Do It!
What kind of learner are you? Find out the most effective way that you learn.
For example, Craig likes video. He prefer’s learning from audio and video to books and writing.
Track your progress and keep a record of the things you do.
Have a lot of variety in your English practice.
Many thanks to Bree for sharing such useful and practical advice on setting and achieving your English goals and habit-building. Into The Story is a wonderful podcast.
I highly recommend it and I suggest you listen to it and subscribe today wherever you listen to this podcast. INTO THE STORY.
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English. Do you have a study plan for your English? We would love to hear it. Send us a voice message and tell us your English goals and which habits you have or intend to have in place in order to reach those goals. Send your voice message to: https://www.speakpipe.com/inglespodcast
You can also send an email with a comment or question to email@example.com.
This podcast is sponsored, in part, by mansionIngles.com. Visit the online store: https://store.mansioningles.net/
Thank you to all of you who are helping us by supporting this podcast on Patreon. Join our Patreon program for as little as $1.50 per month and you get instant access to recent transcriptions. https://www.patreon.com/inglespodcast
Welcome to our new Patreon supporters who have joined us this month:
Angel Albaladejo Pérez
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The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’