Small steps – big results

24 September 2009


Wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked ‘How can I improve my English?’  I could have retired by now.


OK – so that’s probably an exaggeration.


But I think that most everyone who asks that question already knows the answer.  Keep practising – find a native speaker and talk with them regularly – read English books and magazines – take courses – watch English movies and TV – and so on.


What’s the real question?


Perhaps the real question is, ‘How can I discipline myself to improve my English?’


Or maybe the real question should be, ‘Is improving my English really important to me?’




People ask similar questions about improving their health.  Recent studies suggest that by exercising only 10 minutes a day, you can reduce the risk of major disease and improve your quality of life.


Is maintaining your health important enough to commit 70 minutes a week?


How about 10 minutes a day to improve your language skills?  Even small steps will help you reach your destination.


How can I discipline myself to improve my English?


Productivity coach Dave Navarro suggests two ways to discipline yourself to meet a goal.

1)  Hang out with people who have a similar goal. 

My husband and I worked together some years back when we decided to get serious about losing weight.  Having a partner for support made the task much easier – and we both met our goals.


2)  Reduce things that steal your time and use that time to do what’s 

      important to you. 

Things that steal your time could include TV, video games, an over-active Twitter habit – whatever.   You don’t have to give up these things completely, of course.  Just take back 10-20 minutes a day to work on your goal.


 Is improving my English really important to me?


Is it really important? 


If so, then

--set a goal (for example – ‘I’d like to improve my English fluency.’)

--find a learning partner

--claim back 10-20 minutes from one of your daily ‘time-thieves’

--and get to work!


And if you want, you can contribute a dollar to my retirement fund! J 

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