Learning a second language means acquiring a new set of habits. And as you all well know, there are good habits, and there are not so good habits. And the type of habits we nurture can have a big impact on our lives, and certainly on our English journey.
Habits are the actions that we take, and the thoughts that we have. Usually they are things that we’ve come to do automatically and repeatedly. So it’s important to reexamine our habits and see not only which ones we should keep or let go of, but also which new habits we can learn and make our own in order to realize our full potential.
When it comes to learning English, we can talk about three types of habits: learning habits, speaking habits, and thinking habits.
These are the habits that make up your practice routine. What exactly do you do, how often, and most importantly – how effective are they? You gotta have a clear idea of your learning goal and be consistent in your way toward reaching it.
For great practice techniques that will give you small wins along the way, click here.
These are the habits that we usually carry with us from our first language: the words that we use and the sounds that make them, grammar structures, etc. All of those are things that are ingrained in us. We don’t pay too much thought to them when we use our first language. But for speaking a different language, we need to learn a new set of rules and practice them intentionally until they become spontaneous too – meaning, we need to form new speaking habits.
These are the thoughts that come to your head when you speak in English or think about English. If some of these thoughts are negative and limiting, this is where you need to step in and flip them around.
Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Thank you so much for joining me. Today, we are going to talk about habits and language learning. Because essentially, when it comes to learning a language, we are talking about acquiring a new set of habits. Now, there are different types of habits when it comes to learning a language, and we’re going to talk about the three of them today. Also, at the end of this video, I’m going to talk about how you can learn about all of this even more and practice it with me, so make sure you stay until the end of the video.
If you’re new to my channel, then welcome. My name is Hadar. I’m a non-native speaker of English, and I am here to help you speak English with clarity, confidence, and freedom. And if you want to find out more, you can come on over to my website at hadarshemesh.com because I have a lot of free resources waiting for you to get started.
Let’s first define habits. Habits are the things we repeatedly do every single day. Habits are automatic, so we don’t really think about them. Habits are the actions that we take, and the thoughts that we think, and the decisions that we make. Whether we drink coffee in the morning, brush our teeth, go to the gym: all of these are habits that we accumulate. And the habits that we have ultimately either bring us closer to the person that we want to become, or farther away from that ideal or that identity that we want to have. Because there are good habits, and bad habits.
So, we want to recognize what are the good habits that we have, when it comes to language learning. So for example, when you start practicing your English, if you open up your phone right away, it’s probably not a good habit. But if after a conversation, if you forget a word, and you have this habit of going online and looking for the meaning of the word or the translation of the word that you were thinking about, that is probably a good habit that you want to keep.
So there are three types of habits that I want to talk about in this context: Learning habits, Speaking habits, and Thinking habits. Let’s start with Learning habits. It’s pretty obvious that if you want to improve your English, and if you want to become fluent, you have to practice, right? It doesn’t happen on its own.
Now, the question is, how do you practice? What do you do to actually get this language into your head and mouth and body? Do you do it every day? Do you make sure that you include speaking practice? Do you practice effectively, right, and you don’t just repeat the same mistakes? So the way you practice and the way you are committing yourself to doing the work and to showing up every single day – even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, listening to English in an intentional, careful way – that is what’s going to help you get the results that you’re after.
Now, I’ve created a lot of videos about effective practice, and I’m going to include all of them in the description below. Because I’m not going to talk about what to do, I’m just going to talk about the idea that in order for you to get fluent and to become more confident in English, you need to treat it like you would treat any other habit that you want to acquire. Which means being clear about what you want and being consistent.
So it’s not just about, “Oh, I have to learn English”, but it’s about how can I form a healthy habits where I learn and practice my English every single day. What am I doing that is preventing me from acquiring this habit, right? What am I doing that is distracting me from doing the work every single day; from creating this streak where I do it in a consistent way so that it becomes automatic. It’s just something that I do.
If you are a coffee drinker, you don’t wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “Should I drink coffee today?” No, it’s something that you do: you wake up in the morning and you drink coffee, right? It’s automatic. You don’t think of yourself as a person who brushes their teeth. It’s just something that you do, it’s part of your personality.
Same thing with learning English. So, you want to build those healthy habits. And the way to do it is to do it everyday in a consistent way until you no longer need to ask yourself whether or not you’re going to do it. Now, for it to make sense, it has to be effective. So, you want to have those small victories every single day. And that happens with efficient practice. And for that, I’m going to share more content in the description.
Next stop is Speaking habits. Here we are really talking about the spoken language, right? Because when it comes to speaking habits, I like to think of our first language as a set of habits, right? The sounds that we use – habits; words – habits, we don’t think about them, we retrieve them automatically, right; grammar structures.
So, this is something that is already ingrained in us, we don’t think about it. And this is why forming new habits: new sounds, grammar forms, new words, right – all of that should be treated as if we are forming new speaking habits. That means that we need to use them consistently. We need to be aware of them, right, so that they become spontaneous. And we need to use them effectively, to practice them effectively.
So for example, if you want to learn a new sound, let’s say the TH sound, and you don’t have TH in your language. And your habit is to pronounce a T sound every time there is a TH. So you might say ‘tank you’, and ‘tink’, and ‘toughtful’, instead of “thank you”, “think”, and “thoughtful”. To switch that sound from T to TH is actually switching or changing a habit, repetition is key here. Repetition, but not just like this mindless repetition, where you might be practicing something different and not what you want to achieve, but it has to be intentional practice. Or you practice and you know that you’re actually changing something. It needs to be uncomfortable.
When you are acquiring a new skill, and when you’re learning something new and acquiring a new habit, it has to be intentional. And the sad thing is that we do so many things on autopilot – practice and speaking. So, I’m not saying that you need to be conscious of your speaking all the time when you speak English, but when you practice, you have to be intentional about what comes out of your mouth.
And understanding that, for example, if we learn new words, repetition is really important. You can’t perceive a word and then expect yourself to use it, if you haven’t gotten into the habit of using that word. That’s what I mean by Speaking habits.
When it comes to Thinking habits, this is the way you think about your English, and the thoughts that come to your head every time you speak English. And again, I talk about it a lot, but when you understand that it’s not spontaneous thoughts, and it’s not just like how the brain works – or, you know, you are just reflecting on reality – but it’s habits. Thoughts are habits, especially repetitive thoughts, especially the same thoughts that come up every time you want to speak, or you want to do something in English.
So, understanding that, that it’s only a habit and recognizing it ahead of time, breaking the pattern, avoiding it – that could significantly help you with your confidence. Because you won’t have that negative inner critic in your head constantly putting you down, constantly telling you how it’s going to be impossible for you to speak, or to succeed, or to sound good. Okay? Habits.
Why we acquire those habits? Well, it’s rooted in our past, and the things that we hear around us usually as we grow up. But it doesn’t matter, because ultimately, it’s just a pattern of thought, and that could be switched around.
Let’s go back to the coffee example. Let’s say, you want to quit drinking coffee. So, in the morning you would wake up and your body would say, “Coffee! Give me some coffee!” And your brain would be like, “Mmm, I want to smell and taste and…” But when you are able to overcome that need, right, whether it’s the physical need or the mental need, you can start shifting away from having that habit of drinking coffee every morning. Okay?
Same thing with your thoughts. The thoughts come up because there was a trigger, right? You were about to speak English, someone looked at you in a weird way, and that triggered a thought, right? So, just like waking up in the morning and wanting that coffee – that’s a habit. And you can say, “Okay, no coffee. I’m going to quit coffee.” Right?
Same thing here. Something triggers that negative thought. And you’re like, “Nope, that’s just a thought, that’s just a habit. I’m not going to… I’m not going to listen to it.” Then you can start building that mindset where things are possible for you. And that allows a lot more space for everything else: learning habits, because you’ll be motivated, and you won’t have that negative feeling, like “Why bother? Because you know, it’s not going to work for me anyway.” Right? And also, your speaking habits. Because you’ll be more open to seeing things as they are, and to changing without judgment. Okay?
So, let’s wrap it up. When it comes to language learning, we have three different habits that we want to acquire. Learning habits – showing up every single day, practicing effectively, intentional practice. Speaking habits – understanding that when it comes to learning a language, it’s all about habits, and repetition is really important. And number three, Thinking habits – making sure that the thoughts that you have around your English, English practice and English speaking, are thoughts that take you towards the person that you want to become and not pull you away from that person. Okay? Good.
Now, if you want to find out how to build those strong, healthy learning habits, and how to avoid negative thinking habits, and how to build pronunciation confidence and everything that I talked about here, and to do that with support and guidance, then I’m inviting you to get on the list for my new program – New Sound.
This program doesn’t only teach you the pronunciation of sounds in a simple way, and in a way that you can actually use, because of the Pronunciation Confidence Technique. As I told you, I’m basing it on this idea of building new habits. It’s not only that, this program will also give you a deep understanding of how the rhythm of English works, and the stress system, and the melody, and all of those things that felt ambiguous and elusive.
You are going to learn it in a way that makes absolute sense and you can implement right away. But of course, we’re going to talk about building habits, and learning habits, and mindset, and high performance, when it comes to your English practice; your voice, public speaking, other communication skills, and so much more. It’s the most transformational program I have ever created. And I guarantee that you are going to love this, if you are committed to your English journey. If you want to find out more about this program, and to be the first to know when I open doors to this program, you can click the link below and get on the list.
Thank you so much for watching. If you have any questions for me, please ask them in the comments, or send me a DM. I’m on Instagram at @hadar.accentsway.
Have a beautiful, beautiful day. And I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.
And if you want to find out how to build those strong and healthy habits, how to build your pronunciation practice and avoid negative thinking habits, and so much more – all with clear guidance and support – check out my new program, New Sound.