As of yesterday, I had my calendar set for what I want to accomplish by month (January through June), and my weekly and daily goals for January. Yet I was uninterested in doing them. This calendar, I realized, was a disappointment waiting to happen.
Last evening, I was writing some advice about learning languages, and I spent a good amount of time on the various reasons why one would want to learn a language. There are so many good ones, and I surely only came up with a small portion of them. I suggested that these reasons be kept handy, for when one hits a roadblock along the way, one can pull out these great, inspiring reasons.
I, however, had not laid out my reasons for learning Farsi. As a result, I hit a roadblock: uninteresting, uninspiring goals. So I had to take a step back and refer to my own advice. Here are the reasons I came up with, in the order they came to mind (though more are coming to mind even now–maybe I’ll bring them in later):
- Talk to a Persian about my language and travel history, and hear and understand theirs;
- Be able to get the gist of a Persian newspaper article;
- Gain insight into events in Iran;
- Test my ability to motivate myself and to develop and use concrete goals;
- Test the power of blog community to help me reach my language goals;
- Convey my love of learning languages;
- Connect with Persians in my home town and/or start a group to do so;
- Learn 600 words;
- Work through Pimsleur IA (and IB if it’s good), for a total of 14 lessons;
- Work through How to Speak, Read and Write Persian, for a total of 20 lessons;
- Connect with speakers on Livemocha.
I want to be sure I meet my goals. I realized, though, that some of these goals are easily measured and others are not. So I divided them up accordingly:
- Work through Pimsleur
- Work through How to Speak . . .
- Learn 600 words
- Test my ability to motivate myself, and develop and use concrete goals
- Talk to Persians
- Get the gist of a newspaper article
- Connect with Persians in my home town
- Connect with people on Livemocha
- Gain insight into events in Iran
- Test the power of blog community to help me reach my language goals
- Convey my love of learning languages
Now I know what to look out for in writing up a schedule. I need to include some goals from each category because some of the less measurable reasons are the most meaningful to me. I can get excited about talking to Persians and conveying my love of languages, but less so about learning vocabulary. I need to consider whether I’ve achieved my goals in the context of each category, because the category dictates what a success consists of.
I’ve rewritten my calendar now, and I am more excited about it. More excitement now indicates to me a higher likelihood that I’ll stick to my plan–and my language.