Depending on who you ask, habits are either very important to language learning – or absolutely crucial. Since there’s such a lot of stuff to learn, master and improve, it takes lots of determination to keep your linguistic aspirations alive. As with all habits, there’s stuff that gets in the way – and, fortunately, there’s also lots of help out there. Today, for those who feel that their language-learning habits could use some help – one simple method and three low-cost, nifty implementations to take with you on the go. Get ready to have your willpower boosted!
“Don’t Break the Chain” – How Jerry Seinfeld Became Jerry Seinfeld
For me, this method was obvious long ago, but maybe I was just one of the lucky few? Anyway – for the Interwebs, the realization came in 2007 with this Lifehacker article detailing Jerry Seinfeld’s tips on working on pretty much anything. When habits and elbow grease was called for, Seinfeld would resolve to work at it every day – and marked off each successful day with a big nice X on his wall calendar. Each day, the chain of Xs got longer, and it felt more lousy to have to break it – just as it felt more and more awesome to be able to extend the chain of victorious Xs.
So there you have it. Make sure that each time you work on your language, you leave a mark that you can celebrate. Enjoy your collection of marks – and don’t break the chain. Could it get any easier?
Lift – A Pocket Seinfeld Method
Well, apparently it could. For those of you without a wall calendar – let’s hope you’ve go one of those iPhone thingamajigs, for now you can take the Seinfeld method mobile and revel in your accomplishments wherever you are!
Lift is designed for only one purpose – to give you a kick out of marking your achievement. It’s easy to use and looks pretty rewarding. The app is in its early days, so expect more awesome features as feedback rolls in.
Wonderful Day – More Xs, More Joy!
The premise is exactly the same: choose your activities, mark your achievements and find out how well you are doing. This one will cost you just under a dollar (Lift is free so far), but has been around for longer, so likely to be less buggy – and definitely looks more streamlined. Compare the two and decide, but if you’re looking for a more language-learning-focused solution…
Memrise App – The System You Love, Now In Your Pocket
Memrise lets you learn many things – and an awesome interface makes language learning really easy to use. Seriously, why haven’t I reviewed it yet? Well, here’s another reason to check them out: they now have an iPhone app. So with lots of languages to choose from – for free! – and a friendly way to keep up with your skills, your habit will have no excuse but to grow.
Fellow creatures of habit, I would love to hear your thoughts. What are your tricks for developing good learning and communication habits? Let us know in the comments below!
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