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Habits are the core of a man’s productivity and success. Why? They make our lives easier, they don’t drain too much of your energy.
Habits are automated behaviours that makes our life much easier, simply because we don’t need to think about the how. We just repeat the habit, day by day.
Think of your habit of sipping your cup of coffee or tea in the morning. How does it feel? You know that exactly, every morning, when you jump out of bed. You don’t need to figure out what kind of coffee beans you need or how to prepare it. You just do it.
What has all this to do with Italian Language Learning?
Apply this concept to you learning journey, by creating a routine that sticks to you. Can you image how efficiently and quickly your Italian will improve?
4 reason why you need to create an Italian language learning routine
- You eliminate decision fatigue issues (what am I going to study today? Duolingo or my textbook? When should I plan my next session with my tutor?).
- You improve time management. Stop planning what, when, where. You do it once. Every three months.
- You stop your sense of guilt. You stop saying “I haven’t done anything even today, I won’t have time, I was just too busy this week.”
- Excellent results. Everything is learnable. No excuses. Do something. Do it well. Do it every day.
And now… I will show you how to create the habit of learning Italian, in 6 steps. No Italian teacher needed, just a daily little dose of discipline.
Visualize your Italian learning goal.
Do you want to become just conversational or do you want to be entirely fluent in Italian and by doing so feeling at home during your next Italian trip?
How do you want to use your Italian?
Do you want to take a cooking class in Italy or do you want to read Dante?
Whatever your dream is, it is worth to pursue. Write down your goal and put it in a visible place. Seeing it all the time will help you to not lose sight of your objective.
Take some time to think through your weakness (and also your strengths) and about how to change them and why. Write it down. Clarity is half of the work. Ditch all the tactics that are not helping you to progress in your journey. Stick to all the powerful practises that help you to make incredible progress in little time.
Select a part of the day where you are usually fresh and resourceful enough to absorb something new. Your new Italian language habit must be a small one. 20 minutes a day, every day will do wonders in the short term. The ideal time should be in the morning before work, during lunch break or in the evening after work. I advocate for mornings.
Why? It’s simple. You won’t have to think about it for all the rest of the day!
Create a micro-habit (20 – 25 minutes, for example) and make it enjoyable (by choosing stimulating and quality learning material for you). If what you are learning is not enjoyable enough, it will be trickier to create, automatize and stick with your new Italian learning habit habit.
Be your own cheerleader. Think about something that you can gift yourself after 3/6/12 months (a dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant in your town, an adventurous trip to the Italian Riviera, an Italian cooking class, a DIY Italian immersion trip). Unleash your endless creativity!
Tell your loved ones that you are learning Italian on a daily basis to get to X result. This will give you accountability and energy buzz to reach your brilliant goals.
And now let’s get practical…
How long do I need to create a new habit?
- 21 days to form a new habit
- 90 days to create a new lifestyle
Plan your next 3 months. It’s easy.
Plan one week by using a language study planner and repeat it for twelve times.
Let’s get more practical…
4 QUICK IDEAS TO TRANSFORM INTO HABITS AND IMPROVE YOUR ITALIAN LISTENING SKILLS
- Listen every day to a piece of news using www.euronews.it. You can do it in the morning, for instance, when preparing breakfast or getting ready for work. Listen to the same piece of news a second time throughout the day. Write down on two or three new Italian words or (better) phrases.
- Listen to stories in Italian, by using the fabulous page the fable cottage.
- Listen to a Podcast in Italian during your lunch break or while commuting. Listen to it a second or third time on the following days to prove your memory and fight “the forgetting curve.”
- Pick-up an Italian influence on IG and follow her stories.
- Do the same with Italian Youtubers.
- Create the habit of listening to a mini-dialogue in Italian on italianpod101.com every second day, for example.
3 QUICK IDEAS TO TRANSFORM INTO HABITS AND IMPROVE YOUR ITALIAN CONVERSATION SKILLS
- Find an Italian speaking friend on Italki, Hello Talk, or Tandem (for free) or get an Italian professional online tutor. The best is to block out time in your schedule on a weekly basis. To be extra efficient you should meet your tutor or coach on the same day and time each week.
- Join a network of Italian speaking people that speak Italian as a first or second language and share your love for all things Italian, like you. Where? On Facebook, for example.
- Fund or join an Italian language meetup in your town
4 QUICK IDEAS TO TRANSFORM INTO HABITS AND IMPROVE YOUR ITALIAN VOCABULARY
- Journal in Italian. Write down a simple sentence each night to describe your day, in Italian of course.
- Start a blog on Wordpress or a studygram account to share your Italian Language Learning Story..You could write once a month about your progress or your new (Italian) discoveries.
- Become a member of some Italian magazines like www.internazionale.com, and make sure to go through a couple of articles each week.
- Write down two Italian sentences every day, using the new words you have come across.
My learning habits (Yes, I am too a serial language learner)
- I plan one or two months of my language learning routine through a planner.
- I am a minimalist (I carefully choose brilliant and quality learning material, I don’t juggle strategies or resources). This is probably my best advise. Be picky about your Italian teachers, learning material and activities. Don’t spread yourself thin on many apps or learning sources.
- I review. I make sure I can spend one or two sessions a week reviewing my wordlist or reading my articles a second time.
- I blend my interests with language learning (e.g., I read about a subject I am interested in my target language).
- I am patient.
- I am not a perfectionist.
- I set goals entailing a small reward if reached (a trip, a book).
The accountability challenge – how to get support and accountability from a community of likeminded learners
Do you find it not so easy to create and stick to your Italian Learning routine? Take part in mini-challenges to help boost your motivation and stay consistent while learning Italian. At www.parleremo.org you can join a “language marathon” every month to hold you accountable and interact with fellow language learners.
Serena is a proud polyglot, teacher and language expert. After learning 8+ foreign languages and working long hours a job she was not born for, she decided she urged a significant life change. She is now combining what she loves doing with what she is good at, helping people to learn Italian online. She has been sharing her love for Italy and the Bella Lingua across the world for the last four years. Her goal is helping enthusiastic humans to transform Italian Language Learning into a habit in their lives.