Friday, February 20, 2015

Habit 2 - Begin With the End in Mind

In this video LingQ founder Steve Kaufman compares language learning to ideas in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Setting a goal is so important for learning a new language.

With Russian, my goals are pretty typical. I want to learn Russian so I can read Dostoevsky in his native tongue. I want to be able to communicate proficiently when I get the chance to travel in Russia. I want to be able to understand the news, videos, songs and movies without subtitles or text. I don't think of fluency as my end goal, yet at the same time I also don't think in terms of my goal of learning Russian ending.

What I mean by that is when I got out of high school, I didn't think in terms of being done learning Spanish. I am not a fluent speaker, but the Spanish language is very much a part of my life. For decades I genuinely enjoy listening to Hispanic music, watching Spanish movies, reading the news in Spanish, or talking with people I run across in their language.

I think that making a habit of using a language is an important part of working toward the goals we set. The first video in Kaufman's "seven secrets of successful language learning" series talks about spending the time to learn the language. I think it is fundamental to think of goal setting in terms of spending the time to develop a habit. Spending time with the language has to become a habit if we're to succeed meeting our goals.

That's probably why Covey used the word "habit" in his book's famous title. A more recent look at The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.