When motivation wanes

After I finished the part two of my Spanish mission I did not end up starting the part three right away. I went on a vacation, had a completely different rhythm and was very busy (one of those vacations where you need a vacation after vacation). So I was not studying Spanish as much at all. After I got back 10 days later, I thought I would get right back into it with the intensity I had before, but work got busy, lots of things to catch up after the vacation.

However, because of my habits I developed in the previous two months of always carrying headphones and downloaded Spanish learning podcasts with me on my my smartphone, I still kept listening to podcasts in any free moments – while walking or waiting for something. It wasn’t as much as before (73 minutes on average in the second month, or 57 minutes on average in the first month), but it was still a little bit every day, most days. I ended up skipping on average a day a week (usually a weekend day because it has a different routine).

The main takeaway is that I did not officially start the third month of the mission and did not set any new goals, as a result I did not pressured myself to study much at all. Therefore I did not feel bad about skipping a day during this time as Spanish was not even my main focus. It is much easier to pick yourself up after a “failure” if you don’t feel bad about yourself. So the missed day never evolved into two missed days. I felt good about doing any studying at all because I did not even HAVE to do any studying, but I did it anyways because of good habits on autopilot.

Why is it important to feel good? Because you will keep doing things that make you feel good. I did not quit learning Spanish completely! As a result, now I can pick it up right back where I started which much less motivation than what I needed to start learning Spanish for the first time.

So if you lose motivation part way through your 3 month language learning mission, don’t despair. Take a break from focusing on the mission. But don’t quit cold turkey. Still keep reviewing just for a little bit most days (even just few minutes) to keep the level you had achieved, so that it is easier to get right back into it when time/motivation reappears.

It has been a month and half since the end of part II (month 2) of my Spanish mission. In that time I listened to about one or two podcast episodes a day, which came out to a half an hour a day on average. That’s 2-3 times less than when I was actively focusing on Spanish, but it has added up! For one I think my level has stayed the same as opposed to dropping which is so easy when learning foreign languages. I also have finished 30 of the 40 Show Time Spanish episodes and all 30 episodes of Notes in Spanish Beginner series and few other episodes.

To sum it up: when motivation wanes – rely on good habits. How to create those habits, that’s another post 🙂

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