Do you feel stuck or unmotivated on your English journey?
Most teachers and textbooks just focus on memorizing and repeating phrases. But this is boring and not motivating.
They don’t focus on the psychology of learning, which is just as – if not more – important than the learning style.
In today’s post, I will show you three ways that you can develop good English habits that will help you stay consistent, help you grow, and take your English to the next level.
Habit-builder 1: Study English at the same time each day
I know, life is busy and unexpected things come up each and every day.
But if you are able to pick a time where you can study English at the exact same time every day, it would really help your progress.
At first it will be hard to do, but after a while of consistently studying at the same time, day after day, eventually it will just become part of your daily routine.
In fact, having a daily routine is habit number two.
After the initial challenge of studying at the same time every day, it will become almost “easier.” It takes a lot of effort in the beginning, but it will pay off in the long run.
Lots of people study English early in the morning before work or school. Another good time is after work or school.
You can pick whatever fits in your schedule, for however long you can. Even 15 minutes at lunch every day will improve your English more than not studying at all, making excuses, or inconsistent study.
Warning: I never said this would be easy! But you can do it!
Habit builder 2: Develop a routine
It’s important to stay in a sharp mental state while studying.
If you are distracted, tired, or not feeling good, you will not study effectively and will not remember everything you studied.
What a waste of time!
A way to fix this is to develop a routine.
Have some anchors. In the study of psychology, anchors remind you of something or prepare you to get in a good mental state for something. Here are some anchors to help your habit develop and to stay in a consistent routine:
- Study English every day with coffee or water
- Study in the same room, or in the same chair or desk
- Listen to the same song on your iPod before studying
- Meditate before studying
- Do 10 jumping jacks and 10 push-ups before studying
- Many more!
Note: I don’t mean do all of these things at once!
I mean pick one or two.
For example, every day you study, drink a glass of water. The water is the anchor and helps you stay in your “study” routine.
If you don’t have your water, you might feel weird studying English without it.
If you develop your routine with the help of your anchor, it will prepare you every day to fight against the urge or skipping studying and will make you a stronger and better English learner.
Habit-builder 3: Have an “anti-incentive”
An incentive is something positive; a reward for doing something.
In business, sales people sometimes get paid commissions — a percentage of each sale. The more sales they make, the more commissions they get, and thus the more money they make, so the theory goes.
A proven strategy for habit creation is the opposite of this. If you don’t achieve something, you have to pay a penalty.
Have an “accountability partner” and make a promise to them. Start small.
Here are some things you can say to your friend, spouse, or accountability partner:
- “This week, I will study English on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at lunchtime for 15 mins. If I don’t, I will pay you $5.”
- “I will wake up at 6:00AM and study English every day this week before work. I will send you a text when I am awake. If I do not send you a text and do not wake up early, I will do 50 push-ups.
These “penalties” will make you take action.
Start small, and increase the “stakes” to your liking — if you are rich, paying $5 to someone is not painful, but $50 might be!
Bonus Habit-builder 4: Make your goals specific
I know I said there would be three ways for you to build English study habits, but here is a fourth!
Studies show that you are more likely to stick to a habit if you define your goals specifically.
Lets look at two examples of “goals”. Which do you think is better?
- Improve my English.
- Study 10 vocabulary words every day related to slang and phrasal verbs.
The answer is clearly the second one!
Think about how you can apply these lessons, and write your *specific* goals in the comments. I will check in with you later to see if you are following them :).
Look back later, as I am going to create a more in depth guide to habits and goal setting in English. Is this something you would be interested in? Let me know in the comments. It could take your English to the next level!