It’s only the second Monday in January but already my determination to make progress with my language-learning in 2018 is wavering…
This morning I had an online lesson scheduled, but I hadn’t slept well and wasn’t really in the mood.
Also I’d had a busy weekend with the January Sale.
Still, a commitment is a commitment, so when my Swedish teacher Skyped, I had my homework done and was waiting for her call.
OK, the lesson didn’t go well, particularly, but that’s beside the point.
One answer to the ‘What to do when you’re not in the mood to study’ dilemma is to step up and do it anyway.
As Woody Allen said, eighty percent of success is showing up. That’s surely gotta be true of language learning, too.
As an alternative to the true grit approach, you could just skip it for today.
Maybe a grey Monday morning in January really is not the moment.
Why not give yourself a break from the grammar books?
Instead. you could bake a cake (and eat it). Or maybe go for a walk?
The risk, of course, is that one ‘cheat day’ leads to another, and another.
Until… the days when you used to study a language are but a memory.
Still, there are definitely going to be times when life gets in the way.
And then, as W.C. Fields put it:
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
So, what about a middle way between advancing into enemy fire and turning tail to run?
Suppose, for example, I’ve set myself the task of working through so many pages, or a chapter, of my language course each day, say a good, solid hour of study.
But that, then, I hit a motivational bump, or get too tired, or don’t have as much time as I expected?
Instead of giving up completely or of ploughing on regardless, perhaps I could do something different, instead?
I have a few of these back-up options up my sleeve, ready for just such a situation!
An obvious one is to ‘dip into’ free online materials, like those the club offers, or to play around with an app.
Grammar exercises can be fun. The low-on-motivation option is to revise topics you covered back in the distant past and are fairly confident you already know. Getting some good scores should cheer you up!
Listening practice is always a useful way to spend your time, even just a few minutes.
There are hundreds of tracks on the club site, many of which have transcripts.
For motivational Viagra, begin with a level that’s significantly lower than your current one, so as to savour that rare feeling of understanding most of what you hear!
And don’t forget the many possibilities the real world offers.
My daughter was watching a crime series in FRENCH the other day. It looked so much more fun that what I was doing, I almost sat down to watch it with her.
But when I really, really can’t be bothered, I click on the Swedish TV News website, which I have memorised in my browser’s ‘favorites’ bar.
The site offers a combination of short articles (easier than newspaper articles) and brief video clips with subtitles. Perfect for when I’m in a lazy mood!
Plus, there’s the fun of finding out what’s going on. A measles epidemic is dominating the headlines in Sweden just now. Who knew?
So it’s Monday, it’s January and it’s drizzling outside.
What to do?
Quit, for today at least? Life’s hard enough.
Take a break from the grammar book? In favour of something easier, or different?
Or show’em what you’re made of? Stick to the study plan!
Over to you.