Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of Innovative Language.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: Listeners, this is it! We’ve reached the end of the year.
Peter: That’s right, and in this final Inner Circle, we’re talking about the Power of Rewards for Long Term Motivation.
Chigusa: And you’ll learn;
Peter: One: How I Kept Going.. or The Power of Rewards for Long-Term Motivation
Chigusa: And Two: How You Can Miss A Monthly Goal And Still Reach Your Yearly Goal
Peter: ...All so you can master your target language and reach your goals.
Chigusa: Welcome back to the Inner Circle, Listeners.
Peter: Chigusa, this is the final Inner Circle of the year....
Chigusa: Yes... which means we get to find out how your yearly goal went!
Peter: Well let's slow down a bit. We’ll get to it in a minute.
Chigusa: Oh no... I hope you didn’t miss your goal!
Peter: Well, Goals are... that's the thing, they're kind of fluid in a way. You have to be a little flexible and back in January, I promised a goal of 30 minutes of Hindi conversation... which we then scaled down to 15 minutes.
Chigusa: And you used small, measurable, and actionable goals for every month to build up to the final yearly goal.
Peter: So, listeners, if you’ve been following along, I’ve introduced many language learning tactics that I’m still using to this day...
Chigusa: We’re hoping that you’re using them too, listeners.
Peter: So back to your question, Chigusa.... So remember, the 15 minute goal was reached in November and we were going to stretch to 20 but we wound up settling on 18 and I did reach the 18 minute goal in December.
Chigusa: Oh, wow. That’s great! So, how comfortably can you talk in Hindi?
Peter: Well, I can’t get into politics or economics but I can hold down basic conversations about what I did and what the family did and steer them my way...
Chigusa: Like towards talking about your own interests?
Peter: Exactly. There are still words and idioms I don’t know, but I can always ask “what does that mean?” or “What does that word mean?” So using the language to learn more of the language.
Chigusa: Wow. You know Peter Hindi sounded tough when you set the goal in January...
Peter: It's very tough and we noticed, we adjusted it down. I didn't reach my original goal, but learning to adjust the goal so that you can progress is one of the key things to pushing forward and making it a part of your routine. But in hindsight, most goals you set are very reachable or very doable.
Chigusa: What do you mean?
Peter: Again, when I first started, I was only hitting about a minute or 2 minutes of conversation.
Chigusa: And they were chats about the basics like.... “How are you today?” and “What are your plans?”
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: ...But 18 minutes seemed very far off back then, right?
Peter: Right. But once I started consistently hitting goals towards the middle of 2022, I wasn't too worried about my yearly goal. I just started focused on reaching the next monthly goal.
Chigusa: You weren’t worried?
Peter: No, I mean, I was making progress, so I wanted to learn more. The only next step for me was to focus on the next monthly goal. Not the long term goal.
Chigusa: Ah, I see.
Peter: And once I started hitting 8 minutes, 10 minutes, 12 minutes...
Chigusa: ...I bet 15 minutes seemed a lot more realistic.
Peter: Exactly. So, now, in hindsight, this was very doable and realistic. Even though I didn't hit my original goal, I was able to reach a modified goal. But speaking of hitting goals, there’s one thing I’ve been using this past year that I didn’t get to talk about yet.
Chigusa: Wait, you've been having a secret technique throughout the year? What is it?
Peter: That's right. It’s using rewards. So, let’s get into part one.
Chigusa: Part one: How Peter Kept Going.. or The Power of Rewards for Long-Term Motivation
Peter: So, the first topic is the Power of Rewards.
Chigusa: What do you mean by that? Have you been buying yourself gifts after every month?
Peter: Not exactly. But you’re not too far off.
Chigusa: I mean, that’s what I do.
Peter: Rewards are important for two things:
Chigusa: Is motivation one of those things?
Peter: It is! Rewards are important for 1) building good habits and 2) maintaining motivation, like you said.
Chigusa: Ah, I see.
Peter: So in order to keep going with my monthly goals, I needed to get into the habit of sitting down and studying.
Chigusa: Yeah, that really makes sense.
Peter: And to create that habit you need a cue, a routine, and a reward.
Chigusa: The cue, in your case, is the time you set aside to learn Hindi?
Peter: Exactly. If you remember our Inner Circle episode on creating habits, time and location are powerful cues. So, there are weeknights at 9PM in the living room. There’s the morning commute where I study on the App.
Chigusa: And the in-person tutor lessons.
Peter: And those lessons were every Thursday. So, the cues prompt me to start the routine - or start learning, whether I’m with a tutor or by myself.
Chigusa: And then... you reward yourself?
Peter: Ah yes, the reward - which could be anything you enjoy - and is necessary to help your brain remember this cue, routine, reward loop for the future.
Chigusa: Got it. So how did you usually reward yourself when you reached your monthly goals?
Peter: So each month I hit my goal, I took a little bit of money and added it to an envelope-e. And as the money accumulated in the envelope, I would go to this art gallery that would have this Indian themed art. So I constantly looked and found the art that I liked. So the first time that I hit my 3-month goal, I bought a piece of the art and then the art was shipped to my house and I hung it on the wall. And then it was really interesting, it really reinforced... I wanted more of this art on the wall but seeing the art every day kept me focused on reaching the goal. So, that was the way I was rewarding myself.
Chigusa: Cool. Do you think it helped with motivation?
Peter: It helped my motivation a LOT. But it also caused a lot of chaos in the house, hanging these things on wallspace we didn't have so... I think that’s how I kept it going for so long, every time I reached a monthly goal, the satisfaction of putting it into the envelope and working towards that next piece I wanted to add to the wall. And seeing it, they:re almost like badges you got when you were a kid or stripes on a martial art belt. They’re reflective of the progress that you had, or that I had.
Chigusa: And how about for long term motivation? What did you do when you reached your goal for the year?
Peter: Normally, when I reach a long term goal, I like to try to go to that country and speak the language. However remember Chigusa, I didn't reach my 30 minute goal yet, so I think this one, and for those of you who are saying, oh he just moves his goals around, so because I didn't reach the 30 minutes i cannot yet schedule a trip to India. But, if I do reach that 30-minute milestone in the future, that's when i'll reward myself with that long-term reward and I will book a trip to India.
Chigusa: Now Peter, are you recommending we all go out and buy an expensive reward? That's the only way we can achieve these goals?
Peter: That’s a great question... art and traveling to other countries, these seem very expensive. But I think it is important to get a reward for your work that you do because it creates that loop. And with the art, they weren't auctioned pieces, there was a local gallery, I found things I liked. You can find things online, you can also contact someone for a direct commission. So I think there are creative ways and inexpensive ways to do this. It could be going to a restaurant, a coffee shop, or something small - or taking a trip domestically, But having that reward is a key element of this cycle, this setting a goal, working towards it, reaching it, and rewarding yourself.
Chigusa: Right, it’s very easy to start learning a language... and put in the time and work...
Peter: ...but if you don’t add a reward to the process, you’ll struggle to keep that routine.
Chigusa: Because it’s all work.
Peter: So, the reward doesn’t need to be big, but it must be there. It’s a necessary part of a successful routine. And it’s important to get a reward that can be tied back to your goal. In my case, again, I chose the art because for me it was very interesting. But remember, this is my 7th or 8th time doing this. Some of the things I used in the past were eating in a restaurant, or going to a coffee shop... or buying the book. A lot of ways, the book was nice because it reminded me of all of that time I put in. The art was nice because it was something tangible that reflected all the effort that I put in. Kind of when you're a kid you have a trophy or a patch or a badge that you got for competing or doing something, something physically tangible to reflect everything you put in.
Chigusa: So, you’re kind of reminded of this goal.
Peter: Exactly. It serves positive reinforcement and it will help me with other goals in life.
Chigusa: Right. It’s like a... If I do this, I can do anything. Like achieving my next goal.
Peter: So it's not just about the reward... but also about the association. I associate it with learning Hindi.
Chigusa: Listeners, do you reward yourselves when you reach a goal?
Peter: Be sure to let us know!
Chigusa: Now Peter, I’m pretty sure you didn’t reach all of your monthly goals, Peter.
Peter: Well, that brings us to our second topic, Chigusa.
Chigusa: 2) You Can Miss A Monthly Goal And Still Reach Your Yearly Goal
Peter: I mean if you keep changing it like I do, of course you can reach any goal. But a bit seriously, Chigusa, out of the twelve months... How many did I miss?
Chigusa: I’ve got that right here Peter. You missed January, March and August.
Peter: That’s 3 out of 12, that's like a 75%.
Chigusa: And 9 months where you hit your monthly goals.
Peter: But despite those 3 months, I still kept at it and hit my overall changing goal. You have to kind of learn how to adjust because life gets in the way... and you have to learn how to prioritize.
Chigusa: Right, and I’m proud of you at the same time.
Peter: Thank you Chigusa. Well, here’s the important point: just because you miss a small monthly goal, it doesn’t mean you will fail the big picture goal, you just have to learn how to adapt.
Chigusa: And why is that?
Peter: First, it means that the first goal was not realistic and you have to adjust it. But keeping it and not understanding that this is not working, it's going to cause chaos in the rest of your life. And it’s no reason to fail and give up.
Chigusa: You can always adjust.
Peter: Exactly. Second, as long as you keep going and stay motivated...
Chigusa: ...by rewarding yourself...
Peter: ...and as long as you persist, your goal is guaranteed to come eventually.
Chigusa: So even if you miss a monthly goal, you’re still making progress.
Peter: Exactly Chigusa. For some of these goals, I did make progress, I just didn’t reach my promised total.
Chigusa: So, if you promised to get to 10 minutes from 8 minutes...
Peter: ...and if you only reached 9, you've still made some progress and I still made progress.
Chigusa: And it’s not like you stopped learning.
Peter: That sums it up perfectly. I never stopped.
Chigusa: Listeners, remember - it’s okay to miss your goal. As long as you’re learning...
Peter: ...you’re making progress, and you’ll get there.
Chigusa: So listeners, did you reach your yearly goal? Be sure to let us know.
Peter: And if you didn’t, don’t worry too much. It may only be an extra month or two away.
Chigusa: The important thing is that you don’t stop learning. So, Peter, do you have any plans for next year? What’s the next language?
Peter: So, You’ll have to wait until the next Inner Circle to hear about it in 2023. January. That is, January 2023.
Chigusa: Oh, I’ll be waiting!
Peter: And I'll be moving away from this conversation based goal and towards a standardized test which actually will be able to look at my points. So this is going to be a lot more pressure for me.
Chigusa: Looking forward to hearing about it.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Chigusa: Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next time.