My Habit Motivation Worksheet

So, I’m forcing (encouraging?) my English-learners to work with me on making language a habit. To that end, I’ve made a habit worksheet which I’m going to make them fill out (but not read to the class).

This is all part of a bigger project of mine, which is my learning Latin as we work together to talk about how to learn a language. So, to that end, I thought I’d share my answers here.

In the original, the questions are all about English, I’ve changed them here to be about Latin.

  1. Why are you learning Latin? — The short answer is to practice learning a language, but also, I’d like to get some language-nerd street cred and, to be honest, I’m 36 years old and want to prove there’s still some plasticity in my brain.
  2. When you imagine ‘sucess’ with Latin, what does that look like? It looks like me being able to read Julius Ceasar in the original, being able to describe my life in Latin, and being able to seek out other Latin speakers for conversation (whether I wind up liking that experience remains to be clear).
  3. Brainstorm a minute or two on things that would be good ‘tiny quotas’ for you, personally. I think that Memrise is a good personal quota, maybe focusing on doing both the Familia Romana and the Cambridge Latin Course courses. From there, I think that would push me to keep up with both courses, as the vocabulary caught up to my activity. I think that doing an exercises or two every day could be a realistic goal, so would (in the beginning, at least) finding a Vikipaedia article to read through. Also, I want to continue practicing reading Familia Romana out loud.
  4. Think about a normal day in your life. When could you find time to perform your tiny quota of work? I think that, for me, making it a goal to do a little bit each time I’m home and nobody else is is a good time. Or, to say that I’ll do Memrise before I open Facebook on my phone.

I’ve set a reminder for myself to come back to these things in a month and see how I think I’m doing. Right now — while I’m full of enthusiasm — I like the idea of making habits, forming who I am. Even more, I like the idea that I’m the kind of person who makes his mind up to learn a language and then learns it.

Forming Habits

It’s hard for me to tell what is typical of me, and what is part of ‘the human experience.’ That is: it seems obvious to me that I’ve organized my life into a series of habits and routines that I could carry out in my sleep, which may be part of the reason that I’m able to function as sleep-deprived as I often do.

But, I don’t know if more people are more. . . conscious. To me, it seems like the way that people move through the world, and it’s a ‘model’ that I often use to explain the actions of others to myself. (“He probably wasn’t looking for me there, probably didn’t see me.”)

However, where I was once proud of my ability to set up routines and habits that I thought were constructive, I’m beginning to feel trapped.

Not trapped in my habits, trapped in my inability to form new habits.

Looking back, running was the last habit that I’d set up deliberately. And, perhaps some of my knee-jerk don’t-use-that-tone reactions that I have with my children.

If I’m going to continue thinking of myself as a work-in-progress authored by myself, I realized, I’m going to need to work on the authoring.

So, aside from fitness — I’m trying to get into the habit of doing strength-training every day — I’ve set up a few habits to get into. In the near future, I’d like to be a proficient fireside guitar player. Even more, I’ve decided to learn Latin.

I can sell guitar-learning as a brain-plasticity, do-it-for-the-kids kind of thing. After all, I’d like to have some campfires with them. Why not be able to do some songs.

Latin is easy for me to get: I’ve been meaning to learn another language, but I didn’t know which one. Part of living here and being in the international community, I know a ton of people who actually speak something other than English or German natively, but none of them do I know well enough to learn their language (it’s like asking someone to take you to their hometown… if they don’t invite you, you don’t go). So, I was stalled.

But, more than travel, I like obscure armchair-level scholarship. And, I like ancient Rome. Why not learn to read some texts in the original, wind up having a good base from which to learn another language? That’s what I’m doing.

Of course, I tell people I’m doing it to get the experience of learning a language as an adult, find tips to suggest to my own students. Look for opportunities to say “This is what worked for me…” And, that might be part of it, but really it’s just how I mention it to people in the hope that they’ll keep me accountable.

So, look for updates on the guitar and Latin here.