Do you ever feel that you will never speak Hungarian? Or that your progress is painfully slow? Or that you are stuck? Or that although you would really like to speak Hungarian, you just feel it’s a pain in the neck?
Try making learning Hungarian a daily habit.
Why? Habits drive our behaviour in powerful ways. You never have to gather the motivation to brush your teeth before going to bed: it’s a habit which means it’s automatic. When you build language practice into your habits, you automate your learning without much effort.
In the first part of our article series about making language learning a habit we will give you 5+1 tips on building habits.
Set realistic goals
This one is the most important advice in habit formation. If you set unrealistic goals that you cannot achieve, you will become demotivated. On the other hand, setting realistic goals that you can achieve every day will boost your motivation. So instead of saying “I will work on Hungarian every day for at least an hour”, say “I will spend at least a couple of minutes with Hungarian every day”.
Learning does not necessarily have to mean language lessons or an endless amount of worksheets. The point is simply to do something, ANYTHING with the language as often as possible. So instead of saying “I will fill in 1 page in my grammar workbook.”, say “I will do something with Hungarian every day”.
Commit to 30 days
Research says it takes 3 to 4 weeks to form a habit. So, following the first two tips, try to commit for 30 days and you’ll see that it will be easier and easier towards the end of that first month.
Find a cue
Experts say that finding a cue (such as a specific time or place) can help you form habits more easily. For example you can try to connect “learning” (but as we’ve mentioned above, this does not strictly mean learning) with your morning coffee. Watch 5 minutes from a sitcom in Hungarian, read a couple of lines in Hungarian, jot down 1-2 new words etc. You can also connect learning with a place, e.g. when you are using public transport, you may check your favorite language teaching accounts on social media, or listen to podcasts in Hungarian. (We’ll give you more ideas in the next article.)
Allow yourself to be imperfect
Forming a habit is definitely not easy. Do your best to stick to your (realistic!) goals for the first 30 days, but if you “fail” one day, don’t be too harsh on yourself, do not get discouraged. Plan something really easy for the following days (e.g. listen to a song and read its lyrics, learn two new words) to help you get back on track.
Track your progress
You can also download a habit tracker app to help you form a habit, or if you like bullet journalling, you can draw a tracker for yourself. Just enter “5/10 mins of Hungarian” or “do something with Hungarian” and track your progress. What’s the longest streak you can achieve?
If you’d like to read some more about habit formation, here‘s a very interesting article.
In the second part of our article series we’ll give you some super simple ideas that you can do to make learning Hungarian a habit.
Read our previous articles with study tips here:
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