"Micro Habits" for Language Learning
Forget “learning a language.” Focus on forming the habit.
[...]The rest of the article is about Demystifying the Habit Formation Process, and intentionally forming good habits that work for you. Here it is applied to language learning, but it could be adapted to many other areas also. Read the whole thing, for embedded links and more.
What is a Habit?
Habits are the key to behavior change.
When you form a habit, you won’t have to get “motivated” to do something. You won’t have to use willpower or “force” yourself and get it done.
Think about how it feels to go to bed without brushing your teeth. It feels wrong. You feel like your day isn’t complete — and you’ll even drag yourself out of bed to do it, despite being tired.
Because brushing is so deeply ingrained into your daily routine that it actually requires more willpower to NOT brush than just to brush! It’s a deeply formed habit — and you rarely miss a day.
How much more progress would you make if you could retrain your brain to treat language learning the same way? How much faster could you master the basics and move on to fluency if you practiced your new language 365 days in a row without missing a day?
You’d be unstoppable. And you’d definitely be able to hold a casual conversation without grabbing the dictionary every other word.
It all starts with changing your behavior and forming new habits.
This idea of making language study a habit in my life was on my mind a lot back in Florence when I was learning Italian.
And so I’ve spent the last two years rigorously researching behavior change and figuring out how to make goals like language learning, working out or waking up earlier a natural part of my day, rather than an eternal struggle. Since then I developed Pavlok — a wearable technology to help you build new habits (and break bad ones). Pavlok currently commits you to fitness, waking up on time, and being more productive — but we are currently working on integrating Duolingo and other language learning tools so it can commit you to forming the habit of learning a language.
In this article, I’m going to distill all of our best research and teach you the step-by-step process for reprogramming your brain and making language learning so efficient that it becomes part of your everyday life, automatically.
If you’ve ever felt like learning a new language was a chore, and that you weren’t making the progress you’d like, this article is for you.
Keep reading! [...]