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My New Month’s Resolution January 1, 2007

Posted by Edwin in English, French, Motivation, Progress, Vocabulary.

How long does a typical New Year’s resolution last? A month?

We often make New Year’s resolutions for the sake of New Year. After failing for so many times, we just stop making them. Is there a way we can overcome this fate?

Say if a typical New Year’s resolution last for only a month, why don’t we try to have the same New Year’s resolution every month? Then it will last!

Personal development guru Steve Pavlina has explained the power of a 30-day trial. It seems that our determinism typically lasts for a month. What we can do is to try something out for a period of 30 days. If you don’t like it, stop doing it. Otherwise, you have the choice to continue doing it, and potentially you could turn it into a new habit.

I have already done my PCL for French, which contains high-level goals and actions. As for down-to-earth commitments, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I am going to make a New Month’s resolution.

An article from Voice of America last year gives some suggestions of New Year’s resolutions for English learners, but the resolutions can be applied to other languages. You may listen to this audio clip here.

In summary, English teacher Lida Baker suggested 5 simple goals:

  1. Listen to the radio
  2. Listen to songs
  3. Read Children’s books
  4. Learn a word everyday (or every other day)
  5. Talk with native speakers when there is a chance

‘Learn a word everyday’ seems attractive to me. But since I am going to try it out for only a month, I might as well make a bolder goal and make it 3 words per day, as suggested by David. So what I am going to commit in January, is that I am going to learn 31 x 3 = 93 new French words.

After 30 days, if I fail, or if I reach the goal but don’t like it, I will change my quota. If I like it, I will do it for another month. If I continue doing it until the end of the year, then it has become my year 2007 resolution.

Happy New Year!



1. Kelly - January 1, 2007

I quite like that idea of learning a new words (or words) a day…I might even think about doing that myself. 🙂

A suggestion I might make to ensure you know how to use that new word is find a few example sentences which use that word. I always find it handier to learn new words in context due to translation issues between English (or any other native language) and the target language. I find it much easier to retain that new word if I keep encountering it again and again.

2. edwinlaw - January 1, 2007

Thanks, Kelly, for your suggestion. Making 93 examples in a month seems challenging though. But I will give it a try 🙂

3. Mig - January 1, 2007

Hey, good luck!

I’m French/Australian and trying to become fluent in French, having never been taught properly as a child.
As a tip: I’ve found the audio books by Michel Thomas very helpful. The recordings are actually him teaching two beginners – so it loses some of the formality, and you learn with the two people on the audio book. Michel’s attitude uis that you shouldn’t have to ever memorize. A novel concept! If you have a soulseek/nicotine account I can share them online with you
I’ve long debated the idea of setting up some sort of blog for people practicing or learning French. Like a sort of collaborative blog language learning project.

Bonne chance et bonne annee 🙂

4. edwinlaw - January 1, 2007

Mig, thanks for your suggestions!

I actually spent quite amount of time searching for some French learner’s blogs last week. I couldn’t even find one!

I know the Linguist, which is only available in English now, will be available in many languages in its new version. It is probably the kind of collaborative language learning website you were talking about.

5. Sam - January 7, 2007

Audio books are great for learning a new language. In fact, “40 Minute French” published by Harper Collins Audio is a great title for learning the basics of the language. You can get the download version for under 9 bucks at http://www.TheAudioDownloadStore.com. Check out a sample and reviews at their site.

Good luck with that!

6. Monthly Resolution Status « Tower of Confusion - February 4, 2007

[…] 2007 Posted by edwinlaw in Progress, French. trackback At the beginning of this month, I made a new month’s resolution to learn 3 new/forgotten French words a day. This translates to 93 words in the month of January. […]

7. Vocabulary goals « Language Geek - May 14, 2007

[…] 14th, 2007 · No Comments I’ve decided to copy (hey, at least I’m honest) edwinlaw’s plan of learning so many words per day. I’ve created a Resources page, which links to the lists […]

8. Vocabulary goals « Language Geek - May 29, 2007

[…] decided to copy (hey, at least I’m honest) edwinlaw’s plan of learning so many words per day. I’ve created a Resources page, which links to the lists […]

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