I am passionate about learning Italian, but as I’ve discovered, motivation isn’t enough to learn effectively.
There’s a big difference between desire and action.
The biggest challenge in making progress with my Italian is finding time in my busy schedule. It’s like that saying goes…
If it’s important to you, you will find a way.
If not, you’ll find an excuse.
I’ve finally found a way to stop making excuses about why I don’t have time to study Italian: make it part of my daily routine.
I’ve created a sort of ritual around studying Italian so that I look forward to my “Italian time” every day.
Consistency: Study at the same time every day. I find that routines create expectations for ourselves so that our actions become automatic. For example, I always brush my teeth first thing in the morning, then drink water before I drink coffee. I don’t even have to think about doing things things. If I miss a step, something feels off.
I decided that I want to study Italian first thing in the morning while drinking my coffee. That way I won’t be able to make excuses or feel panicked as I’m trying to get ready for bed that I (yet again) didn’t make time for Italian.
Rituals: Make the experience something to look forward to. I love drinking coffee. It’s something that I look forward to every morning. By combining my coffee ritual with my Italian studies, it creates a positive association. If I study Italian, I get to drink coffee. Plus, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment early in the morning that I am sticking to my goals.
Time management: Use the Pomodoro Technique. I’ve been hearing about the Pomodoro Technique everywhere lately, with good reason. It’s SO effective. I ask Siri to set an alarm for 25 minutes, and then I get to work. For that 25 minutes (one Pomodoro session), I’m not allowed to do anything else but study Italian – no phone, FaceBook, or other multitasking distractions!
Focus: Choose ONE daily goal. I feel more motivated and satisfied when I accomplish mini-goals with each Pomodoro session. I often choose goals by skill (reading, writing, listening, speaking) or focus on certain vocabulary words or grammar points.
Movement: Keep your brain happy. If I’m doing more than one Pomodoro session (let’s say 25 minutes of Italian, 5 minute break, 25 minutes of Italian), I always make it a point to MOVE in between Pomodoro sessions. My preferred form of exercise is dance (I took ballet lessons all throughout my childhood). I love the Fitness Marshall on YouTube. His dance videos use popular music and easy dance moves that anyone can do. Plus, endorphins make you feel good, creating more positive associations with studying Italian!
Resources: Choose ones appropriate for your level. Right now my Italian level is around high-intermediate, so as much as I’d like to read the news in Italian, read novels, or watch movies, they doesn’t benefit me much because they are beyond my comprehension. For example, it takes me an entire Pomodoro session to get through one paragraph in an article. Right now, these are the resources that I find beneficial and appropriate for my level:
- Duolingo – to build my basic vocabulary
- Luke’s “Italian in Your Pocket” course – great for my listening & speaking skills
- Learn Italian with Lucrezia – fun & useful language & culture tips
- Italiano Automatico – interesting topics and helpful subtitles
- Hello Talk – to chat with native speakers
In future posts, I’ll be talking more in depth about what I love about all these resources!
Leave a comment:
What are your favorite Italian language resources?
What study habits work for you?