Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about...
Peter: The Halfway Point &How to Keep Going with Language Learning.
Chigusa: And today, you will learn...
Peter: One – Why You Should Review Your Past Language Goals.
Chigusa: Two – How Peter Reviews his Progress &Maintains Motivation
Peter: ...and Three – How You Can Keep on Going Past the Halfway Point
Chigusa: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to learn a language with others...
Chigusa: …and last time, Peter, you hit 6 minutes of Hebrew conversation…
Peter: … I did. And I also promised 8 minutes for August.
Chigusa: So, how’d your goal go?
Peter: I hit it. I reached 8 minutes. By the way, listeners, so you know, we’re recording this a bit later than August. We weren’t able to use the recording studio due to the pandemic, and we’re catching up now. The schedule has been pushed back, so we’re catching up - still in catchup mode.
Peter: But Chigusa, I was looking back at some of our Inner Circle episodes from previous years….
Chigusa: ...yeah?
Peter: For some years, I was already at… 13 minutes or even 15 minutes of conversation by the end of August.
Chigusa: And right now, you’re at 8 minutes. But maybe you shouldn’t compare here...
Peter: Exactly. Well, it has been a very unusual one.
Chigusa: Yeah, sometimes goals don’t go according to plan, right? But why were you looking back?
Peter: Well, Chigusa, when you set goals, do you ever go back to review your progress?
Chigusa: Yeah, it’s kind of fun.
Peter: That's something I like to do around the halfway point of each year, even though we’re a bit past it now. It’s really good, or it can be a reminder of how far you have to go in relation to your motivation.
Chigusa: Really?
Peter: And it’s also the topic of today’s Inner Circle.
Chigusa: The Halfway Point &How to Keep Going with Language Learning.
Peter: So, let’s get into the first part.
Chigusa: Part 1: Why You Should Review Your Past Language Goals.
Chigusa: So, you backtrack to look at your learning progress?
Peter: I do. I’ll show you why Chigusa. Let’s say you started learning a language, and you’ve been at it for a few months.
Chigusa: Ok.
Peter: So, in month 1, you’re excited and motivated. In month 2, you’re still going at it, but maybe the motivation is not as strong, and you want to make sure that you don’t fall off… unfortunately, as most people do. So, you work hard to keep at it. By month 3, you’re kind of on autopilot and learning with whatever has been working for you.
Chigusa: That sounds like a good place to be. Cruising on autopilot.
Peter: It seems like a good place to be, but the problem is, by month 4, 5, or 6… if you’ve been coasting along for a too long and haven’t had any significant improvements, you may start wondering if you’re actually learning or if you’ll ever master the language.
Chigusa: Ah, I see. You might start losing motivation…
Peter: And at worse, you might quit.
Chigusa: Yeah, if you're learning by yourself, it’s hard...
Peter: ...and if you’re not tracking your progress, by month 4 or 5, you might look around… and realize that the textbook you’ve been using isn’t making you fluent…
Chigusa: ...and you might think that you’re going nowhere.
Peter: So, the reason I like to review — is to see progress. So, I spoke 0 Hebrew in month 1 and 3 minutes by the end of March; now, that’s some progress.
Chigusa: ...and if you’re at 8 minutes now, then you can say that you’ve improved since the start.
Peter: Exactly. It’s good for motivation. Just knowing that you got a return on your time investment.
Chigusa: So, reviewing is good for progress and motivation.
Peter: Also, it’s natural to lose motivation with anything you’re trying to learn or do. So it’s something you need to keep in mind.
Chigusa: So, when your motivation dips…?
Peter: You can stop, take some time to review and reflect. Is your motivation dipping? Are you studying less? Do you feel like you’re not making progress? And if you say yes, then you can work on boosting your motivation to help you keep going.
Chigusa: How do you boost your motivation?
Peter: Do you remember anchor points?
Chigusa: Yes, anchor points are things... that connect or anchor you to your goal, right? Like a language class or a program?
Peter: Exactly. It could even be relatives or friends who speak the language, tv shows in that language you like, and an upcoming trip to the target country. All of these things - in one way or another - keep you anchored to your language learning goal.
Chigusa: So, if you’re watching a tv show in your target language,...
Peter: ...then it’s natural for you to want to understand it better…
Chigusa: ...so your desire to learn goes up. And you learn more.
Peter: Exactly. If you are taking language classes where a teacher expects homework from you, that’s another connection to the language. So you do the homework, you attend classes, you learn more.
Chigusa: Okay, then if you want to boost your motivation and keep going…?
Peter: You should get more anchor points.
Chigusa: Peter, how do you do it?
Peter: So, let’s jump into the 2nd part.
Chigusa: Part 2: How Peter Reviews his Progress &Maintains Motivation
Peter: Now, before we get into my anchor points, let’s talk about reviewing first.
Chiugsa; Ah yes, how do you review your progress?
Peter: First, I always set small measurable goals, and I always track my results.
Chigusa: Yeah, we talk about them in every episode. Small, measurable goals help a lot, right?
Peter: They do, and I can quickly look back and see: 0 minutes of Hebrew in January, 3 minutes in March, and 8 minutes as of now. So, I missed a few months due to the pandemic, but I have clear, measurable progress—8 minutes of conversation.
Chigusa: Then, what if you’re not tracking goals? What if someone spends 2-3 months on a textbook…?
Peter: The textbook itself can be a great tool. The tool is not so important. Chigusa, it’s easy to get demotivated and think that you’ve learned nothing. In regards to a textbook, setting a number of pages could be a really good motivator. But, making sure you’re getting through and then testing yourself is a little harder when it comes to textbooks...if you’re not using it. The tool is not so important but measuring it and make sure you’re progressing is the key.
Chigusa: What about the number of words? Do you know how many Hebrew words you know?
Peter: That’s a great question. I have not been tracking that very well. But if I were to guess, at this point around two, three hundred words. But, I think this illustrates that I probably need a little more and a little comprehensive goal setting strategy.
Chigusa: ...yeah, then you’d feel like you weren’t really learning anything.
Peter: Exactly. Setting goals and tracking progress are key. If you feel like you’re not making any progress...
Chigusa: ...then perhaps you’re not setting measurable goals.
Peter: And if you do set goals you can measure...
Chigusa: Then, reviewing is as simple as looking at your past goals and results.
Peter: You can also do it the old school way and look through your notebooks - see how much you’ve written out. In fact, we have something called the Dean's Date with Premium PLUS where our Premium PLUS users send in all of their work they’ve completed with the teacher -- the writings, the recordings, the assignments — and you can see it all - everything that you’ve done.
Chigusa: And if it’s 3 months' worth of work …
Peter: ...then you can see your actual results of your 3 months of work. Everything you’ve accomplished is in one place. Now, Chigusa, you asked how I’m able to keep going, right?
Chigusa: Yes, I did.
Peter: So, the second point is — I’m able to keep going because I set those small goals.
Chigusa: Usually, it’s the big goals that trip you up, right?
Peter: Exactly. It’s okay to aim for fluency, but if you don’t have a specific path or smaller goals to reach along the way…
Chigusa: ...then it can get overwhelming. You’ll have no idea how to get to fluency.
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: But Peter, let’s say you set these small goals, you hit them, you make progress… it’s still work, and it can be tough to maintain, right?
Peter: It is.
Chigusa: Do you ever run out of motivation?
Peter: Of course I do. And it’s natural for everyone’s motivation to dip after some time.
Chigusa: Then, If you lose the motivation… How do you keep going?
Peter: Just as we talked about earlier. I add more anchor points — more connections to the language. For example, years back, I enrolled in in-person classes at a real language school. I bought flight tickets and planned trips. I signed up for the Chinese proficiency test - the HSK. But, I can definitely tell you that these weren’t my reasons for starting to learn the languages. At the start of the year, I wasn't thinking… I want to learn the language because I’m flying to the country or enrolling in a language school. Those anchor points came later and helped me stay motivated. So, to kind of sum up, I started studying because I was interested in Chinese, and as my Chinese progressed, I added more difficult or more time-consuming anchor points. So again, your connections to the language evolve as your language skill evolve.
Chigusa: Right. So, when you noticed you were struggling with the language, you added an extra anchor point.
Peter: Exactly. Whether you’re struggling and you can even say, whether you’re progressing rapidly, you have to keep… it’s adaptive. As humans, we’re adaptive. We adapt to environments, and this is the same. Your language learning path has to adapt as you progress. If you’re progressing faster, there’s a way to adapt. If you’re progressing slower, there’s a way to adapt. And in my case of Hebrew.
Chigusa: What about with Hebrew?
Peter: So, unlike Chinese, I was not progressing fast. So I had to add some new anchor points, and they were related to keeping me motivated as the progress was slow. And, I dealt with many other...different priorities, higher priority things such as family, people in the company - coworkers. You know, it was a very, very tough time this year for many many people. So, that’s why you have to adapt; you have to be adaptable as you study because your situations constantly changing, and that’s why it’s critical - don’t take too much at the start.
Chigusa: Now, what can our listeners take away?
Peter; Let’s jump into point 3.
Chigusa: Part 3: How You Can Keep on Going Past the Halfway Point
Peter: Listeners, if you've been learning the language for a few months...
Chigusa: ...it’s normal to start losing steam.
Peter: And if you’re not and you’re progressing really well, then great job. Maybe you can even share your tips with us because that’s one of the hardest things - to stay motivated. But if you’re starting to lose steam, this happens with any goal you’ll ever have or anything you’ll ever learn.
Chigusa: By being aware that these dips are natural and that they happen.
Peter: ...you can expect them.
Chigusa: So, when one does come around, you’ll know how to boost your motivation and how to keep on going.
Peter: And here’s what you do when a dip does come around.
Chigusa: One: Review your learning progress.
Peter: If you’ve been setting small measurable goals every month, then this will not be a problem
Chigusa: The goal here is to see how far you’ve come along.
Peter: ..and this will help maintain motivation.
Chigusa: If you can see that you learned 50 words in January, 50 in February, 100 in March, and so on…
Peter: ...then you have measurable progress, and this lets you know that you’re improving - even when you don’t feel like you are.
Chigusa: Second: If you’re a Premium PLUS student, you can also participate in the Dean’s Date…
Peter: ...and submit your work on the deadline. Be sure to ask your Premium PLUS teacher about it.
Chigusa: Third: If you’re a Premium or Premium PLUS user…
Peter: You can also check your Dashboard…
Chigusa: ...and see how many flashcards you’ve studied...
Peter: ...and how many lessons you’ve completed. We track your progress for you.
Chigusa: But of course, it’s best to set goals like learn 50 words, or speak 1 minute of conversation…
Peter: ...because completing a lesson may not mean that you’ve mastered everything inside.
Chigusa: So, if you’ve not been setting goals and tracking…
Peter: Now is the time to start.
Chigusa: Otherwise, do you know much of the language you can speak?
Peter: Or how many words you’ve learned?
Chigusa: If you don’t, then you’ll feel like you’re floating around and not learning anything.
Peter: So, be sure to set small, measurable monthly goals, like I do every month.
Chigusa: For example, “learn 100 words by the end of the month. Deadline: September 30th.”
Peter: Or, “speak 1 minute of conversation by the end of the month. Deadline: September 30th.”
Chigusa: Fourth, create more anchor points to boost your motivation.
Peter: Listeners, Anchor points are connections to the language - that keep you anchored to the language and your goal.
Chigusa: It could be friends or relatives who speak the language, tv shows in that language you like, an upcoming trip to the target country, language classes, or language programs.
Peter: All of these things - in one way or another - keep you anchored to your language learning goal.
Chigusa: So, if you started learning a language because your relative speaks it…
Peter: ...that motivation may not last forever. It may help you in month 1 or month 2…
Chigusa: ...but by month 4, 5, or 6, your motivation can wear off, if it didn't earlier.
Peter: But, you can decide to enroll in a class…
Chigusa: ...or start watching a tv show in that language…
Peter: And that gives you new reasons to keep going to the language.
Chigusa: In a way, you give yourself more reasons to learn.
Peter: And Chigusa, a lot of the time... the reasons why we start something are not often the reasons why we continue them.
Chigusa: That’s very true. Your reason for learning Hebrew was because your best friend speaks it.
Peter: Exactly. And I now understand my best friend will never talk to me in Hebrew. So, that was the initial spark. But you can see how my vision talking to him in Hebrew never manifested, and I'm pretty sure never will. So I had to add different anchor points to help me keep going. For example, new connections with my teachers, my classmates, finding Hebrew TV shows. This again kind of helps reinforce the idea of adaptability. If you’re not adaptive - if my goal was basically to speak to him, I would not be studying anymore...
Chigusa: Alright, so let's keep on going. You hit 8 minutes. What’s your next goal for next month?
Peter: The next goal is 10 minutes. Speaking Hebrew. Not with my friend.
Chigusa: Sounds good still. Deadline?
Peter: September 30th.
Chigusa: And listeners, let us know what your small, measurable monthly goal is.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com, and stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye. Everyone!
Chigusa: Thanks for listening!