As mentioned in my last article, my attempt to improve my listening in French (so as to demonstrate to you how ‘easy’ it is to improve your Italian listening) has rather, well, ground to a halt.
I know I COULD do the work.
And I do WANT to.
But actually, I don’t really HAVE to. I could just write an article, like this one, about how I haven’t managed it (for example).
So many other things also need to be done. There’s the rent, the payroll, and you wouldn’t believe the taxes a small business in Italy has to pay each month.
Prioritising the French listening practice seems, sort of, perverse.
And so doesn’t happen.
I have a motivation problem
Way, way back on my teacher-training course, we were taught all sorts of stuff about motivation.
Science, being what it is, has likely moved on since then.
So rather than dazzle you with out-dated psychology, I’ll just speak from experience:
- People learn when they really want to
- People learn when they have to
- People often don’t learn even if they need to
A shopping analogy
Everyone understands shopping, so here’s an analogy:
- I saw something in an online store that I couldn’t resist (want to)
- My kids drink lots of milk so I always make sure there’s some in the fridge (have to)
- My BMW motorbike won’t start. A new battery would do the job… (need to)
Guess which of the three I haven’t done, yet.
Right. The motorbike is still in the garage. I have alternative forms of transport: there’s the bus, the bicycle, I could even walk to work.
In fact, if I don’t spend €100 on a motorbike battery, well, I won’t have to pay €300 for the insurance. So we’ll be better off as a family by €400.
My inaction, therefore, is justified!
End of analogy.
And the French?
I’m just working on my French listening to show you guys that it can be done.
But I could do that in other ways.
And there are always other priorities (write an article for this site, or work on my French listening?)
Just as I could leave the motorbike in the garage and save money, so I could skip the French and focus on something else.
Maybe you know that feeling.
Time for an expert tip
My mother, who’s an avid follower of this site, reminded me “You said you’d practice what you preach”.
But I never said I was perfect.
We all have plenty of reasons to NOT achieve our goals.
The problem, as always, is finding reasons to keep going.
In another article I suggested some ‘easy-to-do’ ideas for improving your Italian in 2014.
About time, then, that I followed my own advice.
I’ve just set the home page of my browser to http://www.lemonde.fr/
At least once a day, but likely more often, I’ll be faced with the news headlines in French.
I love newspapers. And you know how online newspapers are these days: videos, interactive sections, photo galleries… Plenty of opportunities to distract oneself from the ‘must do’ tasks…
The idea is, I’ll be seeing French every day, whether I like it or not. And in a context that is inherently interesting to me.
So that will (hopefully) reinforce my intention to improve my listening, maybe moving it from a “need to” to a “must”, or even a “want”.
If you’re not making the progress you’d like to with your Italian, take some time to address your motivation issues.
If you’re not motivated, you’re not going any place fast.
So maybe you should spend some time thinking that through.
Find motivation, or fail.
Have the same problem motivating yourself to study Italian? Let me know what works for you! Leave a comment on this article.