Can you remember how hard it was to learn how to tie your shoes? Some kids never got it and switched to slip-ons. Since then have you had to think about it? Can you tie your shoes while half asleep and doing other things at the same time? Of course, you can. It is automatic and “easy” without even thinking about it. It is now a habit that takes place every morning.
Remember learning your multiplication tables? Rather boring but after the original practice you need not even think about it. What is 5 X 7 ? What is 2 X 4 ? Did you think about it? No, it came without effort. This too is a habit. Our brains and most of our wakeful life experiences are habits. We do not think about them. We do not even know they are happening. Some of our habits are bad. Most are good and functional. But all have one thing in common, to become “easy” we had to train ourselves.
That training, to develop any habit “they say” takes 3 weeks on average. Who are they? I don’t know but it is generally accepted that whether a fun thing, a natural thing or a seemingly hard thing, it takes about three weeks to make it automatic. You are a remarkable creation. Virtually anything you wish to do, can become automatic and effortless. Yep, you guessed where I am going with this, even learning. English learning can seem easy also if we learn how to ease into the habit.
Today, I would ask you to do an important experiment. Borrow or purchase an MP3 player. It must be portable, not your computer. I can write a note to your parents if they do not believe it is required for learning 😉 Listening is a critical skill for language learning and the MP3 will provide many years of opportunities to continue learning many things, not just English. You may find this tip harder than it sounds, but I promise, it is well worth the effort.
ACTION STEP Play something, anything on your MP3 consistently throughout the day. You need not pay attention to it, but play it whenever you can. Driving, walking, working, eating, even when going to the bathroom. I do not care what kind of music you listen to. We are simply trying to trick ourselves into learning a new behavior (habit) which we can adjust later to achieve our main object… learning English. It sounds easy, but it will actually take a considerable effort to develop this habit. You will be surprised at how much time you can capture in your day without stopping your other activities.
As some of you had this particular habit in the past, it may come faster for you. Some of you will find that extreme doubts come up as soon as you think about applying this to learning. That doubt is important whether you experience it now or later in our tips. There is one main thing that can prevent us from taking this simple and fun activity to a powerful learning system. That is the subject of our next tip. Stay tuned and keep that MP3 player going! Make it a game to find how many opportunities you can discover to use this simple technique.
Today’s author is George, he teaches spoken English in live-online classes at the My ESL Friends – Edupunk English Course.
Last week: English KISS Episode #0 – Introduction
Next week: English KISS Episode #2 – Cry if you want to
Title Music by: Lasswell | BeeKoo