How to stick to your new year’s resolution of learning a foreign language

Photo from Auntie P

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Good Intentions and new year’s resolutions are typically forget as soon we realize that implementing them require a good amount of willing power, commitment and determination.

In this post I want to offer few advices inspired from research studies in human psychology that looked at what influences human decisions and behaviour.

A first powerful insight that can be used on our advantage is that people like to be consistent.

Therefore, the more evidence you have about a commitment made in  the past the more likely you are going to put the extra effort that is needed to stick with it. For example, writing down a goal has been showed to increase the likelihood to actually pursue and achieve that goal. A phenomenon that has been described as: “Writing is believing”.  Therefore, I suggest you write an accurate description of your goal of learning a language in 2013, including the level you wish to attain and the deadline to achieve this level, and that you sign this document and keep it as a record of your commitment.

Another way “to feel forced toward consistency” is to tell to the people of your social circle about your goal.

Also in this case it is important to be very specific, so that you are held accountable with yourself for a very specific result in a specific timeframe and less room for excuse is allowed. Once many people know about your goal, your need to be consistent will gave you some extra energy to keep your commitment alive.

Finally as explained in a previous post one could use “aversion loss” to his advantage

by investing money and resources in his objectives in order to feel obliged to pursue them. For example by buying a yearly subscription to a magazine in your target language or by buying a non-refundable expensive language course.

I hope that these tips will help you to transform your good intentions and new years resolutions in tangible results.

 

Peter

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