Making Your Aspirations into Realities...Goals! #BridgetheGap
Ah, it's the new year (and not just for New Zealand...it's the real deal!) May all of you find joy and prosperity in 2019.
I've been talking with some of my friends about their wishes for the new year...often, we put these on a list labeled "New Year's Resolutions" or something of that sort...these are things we are "resolving" to do, somehow with more dedication than in some random month in the previous year. And yet, in a month or two, there is a very high chance that you will have either lost that big goal or violated that big "no-no rule" that on the night of New Year's Eve you swore to yourself that you would never ignore.
Why do most of us forget or violate our resolutions? They seem so important, and so doable, on Day 1. But after a while, with the daily grind, these goals seem to fade into obscurity even as we work to approach them. A year doesn't seem like much time until you are at over a hundred days in... gosh, I'm less than a third of the way, and I'm not even doing (blank)!!
I know this feeling! It seems easy on Day 1 to do an hour of German, maybe 2, or 3...
all day like me. But after about 4 or 5 weeks, doing this seems like a lot of work for very little result. Maybe you've been writing all day, and go to speak to someone and can't get the words out. Or, maybe you do and someone makes fun of you because your accent isn't right.
(And, well, I suppose I have a different view on this, as I am very critical of myself and take this to heart but I really do not mind the accent of another if they are understandable. As someone who has many, many ESL friends, I avoid these pickings-apart in favour of grammar practice until they are more advanced, so as not to discourage. Honestly, I think foreign accents are awesome, but I can't speak for another on what I sound like...)
I think that with resolutions, we tend to go with a "go big or go home" attitude, and it ends up being so far away that we lose our motivation easily over the course of the next 365 days.
We need to bridge the gap between where we are now and where we want to be.
If you looked across a 30-foot-wide ravine at a really lovely house, where you wanted to go hang out, and tried to hop your way over there, you would fall! Why? Because that's too big of a jump for you. It's important to dream big, but there is value in knowing that you're not there yet, and there is beauty in the experiences you will have where you're at.... There is virtue in spending time building a quality bridge that you can walk across with ease so that you can be where you want to be and enjoy what you want to enjoy.
I want to quote "The Idiot," by Fyodor Dostoevsky...this is something I read last night with which I can agree whole-heartedly. Of course, the boy who said this, Ippolit, is highly tormented....but I cannot help but identify with that character a bit. Here is what I mean:
"It's life that matters, nothing but life- the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all."
How true this is!
Having shared this, I think that our resolutions should have more to do with dedicating ourselves to a daily process of becoming better, rather than the improvement itself.
That being said, here were my goals before and after reading this:
1. Complete 3 Russian-learning programs by 2020. >>> Dedicate to an hour or more of Russian language study per day.
2. Finish books in Spain Spanish. >>> Dedicate time to reading at least 1 chapter in the books about Spain Spanish per night.
3. Complete German and Portuguese courses. >>> Spend at least 4 hours a week studying German and Portuguese.
Suddenly, these big "mountains" are perfectly reasonable! In fact, both ways will probably yield the same result, if done correctly, but motivation is kept in the second form by not over-estimating myself and yet requiring a definite quantity of study from myself.
I am excited to say that I am planning to visit a largely Russian-speaking country with a non-Russian speaker next year, and I know he will depend on me to know what things say and talk to people for him, so I think it is a great motivation.
May your next year be filled with fulfillment, lots of epiphanies, and a ton of studying what you love. May you be satisfied with that progress by the time 2020 meets us!
Best of luck with reaching your goals, Lauriana! What is on your Spanish reading list?
I found some old books from my mother's old Spanish days...not sure which ones I will decide on yet!
So true! My resolution was to work on Swedish every day. Vague, but since it's my first language, I didn't want to set any limits or requirements.
Hello! I will complete the Memrise, Rocket Languages, and Duolingo programs, I hope. Good luck to you as well :)
We should all make our resolutions to be as dedicated as you are, Lauriana. Good luck! :)
I agree that dedicating yourselves to a daily process is a much more effective strategy than setting an ambiguous goal. Though I think it will be better to arrange your daily routine, not with time schedule but rather with small tasks. For example, I study Korean and found a great website with a Korean course, the course is divided into lessons, and I study one lesson per day, the lesson is pretty big, so it usually takes one-two hours to complete the lesson. It works for me very well. I tried earlier to stick with time-schedule, and it always made me feel very frustrated and anxious, and soon I gave up on that. So this one
"Dedicate time to reading at least 1 chapter in the books about Spain Spanish per night." is great.
Wish you luck with Spanish and Russian.