Do you know how your habits can work for and against you?
Earlier this year I learned quite a bit about habits, when I was qualifying as a practitioner of applied Neuroscience for personal development with MyBrain International. I found it a fascinating area, and it really helped me challenge my own unhelpful habits and think differently about how to bring new positive habits into my life to achieve my goals.
This is particularly valuable as I often feel like I do not have enough time between client and connection meetings, running my business, and my family time. So when I want to do something new, I find it challenging to find time for it.
But that is where the concept of habit stacking started to unlock quite a few new possibilities for me. This concept means doing the new activity at the same time as an existing habit, so you can make time for it. Suddenly I can be listening to a podcast and learning, while running on the way home from the school run. Or tidying up at the end of the day while listening to an audiobook. Revolutionary!
I am a great believer that we make progress when we commit to our goals and make space and time for them in a way that makes sense in our lifestyle and routine. But we do need to commit and make the space. Otherwise it is just another task on the to-do list that falls to the bottom of the pile.
This is a conversation I always have with my new clients, because even though I work with them intensively in our meetings, they also need to make the commitment to make progress between our meetings in their English development to make the most of the momentum.
Here are recommended strategies to leverage your existing habits and habit stack to regularly boost your English development.
- Start with your why:
Why do you want to improve your English communication?
What will be the impact on your current role performance?
What will this enable you to do?
How is this going to help you in your career?
2. Decide on your number:
Allocate a specific, limited amount of time that you will work on your English development. This is not school, so you do not want to be learning for hours! Instead focus on short bursts and fix the amount of time you can realistically stick to on a frequent basis, for example 5, 10 or 15 minutes per day to develop your English. Quality learning is better than quantity.
Bonus tip: hard for you to stick to a daily routine? Then allocate 15 minutes every other day.
3. The habit stack trick:
Habit stacking just means doing two or more things at the same time to be efficient and fit more into your day, so think about your existing daily routine habits, especially at the start and the end of the day (as we often get busy with life and work during the day). What habits do you have that you could combine with improving your English?
My English habit stacking ideas for you:
- Listen to an English language podcast on a topic of interest while showering and getting ready in the morning.
- Watch a TED talk or interview on the way to work. Bonus tip: turn on the English subtitles if it is noisy on your commute.
- Read a short article on your phone while waiting in the queue for your coffee, or for the kettle to boil if you make tea.
- Listen to an audiobook while washing up and loading the dishwasher in the evening.
As you can see there are lots of creative ways to build your English development into your daily habits!
What other habit stacking ideas can you think of?
4. Schedule it:
This is an appointment with yourself to make your learning happen. So commit to your personal development, as you would to a meeting, and schedule this English time into your diary, at least 24 hours in advance. Choose the time of the day when you are at your best, whether morning or evening.
5. Choose the activity in advance:
Do not leave it until the actual time to work out what you will do, otherwise you will waste time trying to find something. If you know your learning preferences, tap into these, to choose an activity to watch, listen or read. If not, pick one activity to try out and make sure you have it to hand, ready to go, so you make the most of the time. Mix up the activities regularly to keep learning varied and keep your motivation up.
I hope this has given you great inspiration and motivation to start developing your habit stacking routine for your English development. Make a start now and commit! Just contact me here and tell me you are starting this, and I will email you regularly to check in that you are sticking to it.
Are you looking for further accountability and motivation?
Then let’s set up a time to talk so I can give you some more tips about how to move your English development forward.
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