Do you ever wonder why finding the time for yourself and your English is such hard work?
Let me tell you something:
Many English learners think they need to be spending hours on the language every day.
The problem is that when they think like that, they immediately feel overwhelmed and can’t find the energy or enthusiasm to start.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t need to spend hours each day. You just need to create a better routine so that you can achieve better results.
And what is your routine made up of?
Little things we call habits!
In short, how successful you are in your language journey depends on what you consistently do each day.
Just imagine: if you set up the right habits, English could become as effortless as your morning breakfast routine:
- Wake up
- Go to kitchen
- Make coffee
Small steps every day that are easy to implement AND have a long-term impact too.
Why do you need habits/a routine?
Without a routine, we fall into the trap of busyness.
And when the busyness of life takes over, we get stuck on automatic pilot. Never really working on what counts.
You know how it is: too many priorities means no priorities. Then everyone else’s priorities become your priorities.
But that person doesn’t have to be you. Not if you create mindful habits that work.
Ready? Ok, let’s go.
Would you agree that:
- the more we do something, the better we get at it? And
- the better we get at something, the more we enjoy it? And
- the more we enjoy it, the more we do it?
It’s like a loop that continually gains momentum and we gradually “fall in love” with the daily process.
But, before you can fall in love, you first need to start in a very specific place.
And where do you start exactly? You start with you.
You need to create habits that “start with you”. This type of habit is called an identity-based habit.
I first heard this concept from James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits who said that if we want to start new behaviours or habits, we need to first change our “old” beliefs about how we see ourselves and our lives (what we can and can’t do, what is possible, etc.). We need to start believing new things about ourselves.
In a nutshell, we need to work on creating a new identity first.
And, as James pointed out, changing our beliefs doesn’t have to be nearly as hard as we might think. It’s a simple 2-step process:
- Decide the type of person you want to be.
- Prove it to yourself with small wins.
So, back to you.
Ask yourself the questions below.
Question 1: What do I want to be able to achieve in English?
Question 2: Who do I need to become to achieve this?
Question 3: What type of habits could I create to prove to myself that I AM this person?
Some simple examples:
Want to become a better writer in English?
Identity: Become the type of person who writes 1,000 words every day.
Small win: Write one short paragraph each day this week.
Don’t forget: it’s important to start small with something you find fairly easy and then you can gradually build up. This way, you achieve “small wins”, you feed your motivation to continue and by doing so, you gain momentum.
Want to become a better speaker?
Identity: Become the type of person who never misses an opportunity to communicate in English.
Small win: Take a 10-minute coffee break once a week with an English expat in your company/environment.
What could you do?