How “Micro-Commitments” Can Skyrocket Your German Learning
How has your German learning progressed recently? Are you still practicing every day? Do you still notice little things about your environment and integrate them into your brain bank?
Often when we start a new language we have a burst of enthusiasm which propels us for days or weeks, and our new learnings give us a great sense of achievement.
But sometimes the devil known as “procrastination” creeps into our actions and we take our foot off the accelerator.
I know I do it all the time!
I’ll use one of my learning apps for 20 minutes a day, 8 days in a row… then something will change the pattern. Maybe I’ll go for a hike all day with friends and avoid technology to give my mind a break. Then the next day will be travelling to Basel and spending the day with my girlfriend’s family.
That’s already two days lost, and my momentum has been interrupted. I think “I’ve only missed a couple of days, what harm will it do if I miss one or two more?”
That attitude is sometimes my downfall.
That’s what I had to learn how to overcome.
And the best thing I discovered is consistent micro-commitments.
I decided that at the very least, I would spend 3 minutes on my phone in the morning (with coffee!) learning some new phrases or practicing some old ones.
That’s it. Just 3 minutes. It’s such a tiny commitment that it seems silly not to do it.
But the power behind the intention to learn is the real gain.
The thing with micro-commitments is that they tend to snowball… which means 3 minutes turns into 6, which turns into 9, and so on.
More often than not, I would end up practicing for a lot longer. And I’d also practice again during that day.
By completing my commitment, I removed any pressure and self-judgement that would have arisen if I kept big targets that took up a lot of my time.
Instead of feeling that “I should be doing this” and “I must practice 40 minutes a day”, I feel the success that comes with completing a goal… no matter how small.
This way of thinking is essentially how social media becomes so addictive.
Every time you click “Like” on Facebook or “Upvote” something on Reddit, you are making a tiny commitment towards whatever the post is about.
That releases some feel-good chemicals in the brain because you have completed something. Your brain loves these chemicals and will seek them out.
So why not use this effect to improve your German?
Every time you complete your 3 minute micro-commitment, your brain will make you feel good because you completed that tasks… and your brain can become addicted to the happy feelings you get from learning!