Stop Working On All of Your Goals

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of projects and a lot of goals that you’re trying to achieve all at once. And if you find yourself in a cycle of starting, losing steam a few days in, stopping, feeling bad for stopping and then vowing you’ll finally see a project through this time, let’s do both of ourselves a favor and end this circus.

I have discovered a more effective way of finishing my goals sans the self-doubt and discouragement. It’s so simple, yet easy to overlook in a world that demands us to be bigger, faster, stronger. Here it is:

Begin only one goal at a time and focus on mastering your process

How I used to operate is, I would have a burst of enthusiasm that was probably inspired by my procrastination and start to work on a list of things that I wanted to achieve. I would start a blog, exercise everyday, learn Arabic, create a meal plan, read a book a week, and start writing a book all at once. I would have a lot of fun planning all of this out, but the longest I’ve ever gone on this sort of regime was probably 2 weeks. Not exactly a sufficient time frame to even begin to make a small dent in that list.

The reason I would inevitably give up on everything is that I had not yet mastered the different processes for each item on that list. I was being pulled in too many directions at once without firmly establishing the rhythm of even one project into my life.

What must be done instead is start with one. For example, if I was learning Arabic at the beginning of the month I would start my process by committing to study at least 10 pages from a self-guided language learning book, or 1 exercise a day, or whatever method of measurement is the right fit for me.

After I giving myself enough time to form the habit of learning Arabic, let’s say 1 month, I can add on starting a blog. I will commit myself to that new process of posting twice a week for a month before adding on another project. If at any point, I have begun to slip in my processes, I will need to remove the very last project that was added and wait another month before re-assimilating it.

It could be that I reached my mental or physical capacity for learning and working on new things, so instead of stopping all of my projects, I can sacrifice delaying one. This way I will strengthen my capability to learn and my other projects will continue moving along.

With this method of incrementally adding goals or projects to your list, I believe you will find yourself finishing them quicker. This method is really a system that helps you learn how to learn, which is an absolute necessity for success. It’s been a game changer for me and I you should try it too — I am asking you to do less after all!

Let me know what you guys think,

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On Learning Languages

I have a lot of trouble seeing things through with the exception of about 3 things: my work, reading, and learning languages. So while my interests may come and go, ever since I was around 11 years old when I first started learning French in middle school, acquiring languages has been a relatively long-standing interest of mine. As such, I have collected a lot of methods for keeping that interest alive (even through the grammar bits!) that I would like to share with you today.

     1. Listen to music and memorize the lyrics to some of your favorite songs in the language you are learning.

I’ve found that this helps me learn and mimic the pronunciation and cadence of a language without sounding like a machine as most of those language learning programs do. Plus, you will be able to memorize the vocabulary much easily when its in a song.

2. Listen to language learning podcasts, watch youtube videos and movies with subtitles in the language.

I work and have many obligations outside of work that don’t provide me with much free time to sit and memorize vocabulary and grammar from a book (not that I’d want to even if I did) so I make language learning as enjoyable and interesting as possible. Granted, at the beginning stages of learning a language, you will need a book to learn from, however if you’re past that stage and have a grasp of the grammar and some vocabulary under your belt, start listening to the language in contexts that interest you. This makes the whole process much easier and fun, plus it’s cool see how much of the youtube comments you can understand!

3. Purchase and read from a dual language book.

These are great for visual learners. They are complete books or short stories with the foreign language on one side of the page and the English translation on the other side of the page. You are basically reading the book in the foreign language but have the English translation to help you out if you get stuck. This makes it easier to enjoy engaging in the language without having to search for the definitions!

4. Start to journal in the language.

I keep a (almost) daily journal and I alternate between different languages throughout the days of the week. This is great because you can start to acquire the vocabulary that allows you to express yourself in the language without feeling embarrassed if you make a mistake. You can start very basic (Today, I was happy.) and eventually through continued learning you’ll find yourself being able to write a pretty respectable journal entry.

5. Stay exposed to the language everyday — even if its for a few minutes.

Trying to keep all that goes into acquiring a new language in your head can be a tricky endeavor, especially when you don’t have anyone to speak with or are residing in your native country. It is crucial for me to spend some time everyday interacting with the language I am either learning or retaining.

So there are my 5 tips for learning and retaining languages. If any of you are learning a language or keeping up with one, please do let me know what works for you. I’m always interested to find new ways to interact with foreign languages!

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