Lesson Transcript


Becky: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Becky and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Becky: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about…
Peter: The 3 Powerful Language Learning Habits You'll Pick Up at the Gym.
Becky: You’ll Learn...
Peter: One, How to Approach Learning or Any Goal...
Becky: Two, How to Find Time to Learn a Language...
Peter: Three, Why You Don’t Need the Best Possible Routine...
Becky: And Four, How Peter Reached His Language Goal for The Month.
Peter: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Becky: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to learn and master words....
Becky: ... with spaced repetition flashcards.
Peter: ...and why this learning technique is so powerful...
Becky ... especially for those that struggle with remembering things.
Peter: This technique is designed to help you remember words in the long run...
Becky: ...without forcing you to cram, study hard or write out physical flashcards.
Peter: I used this to learn 500 words last time.
Becky: So, uh, do you... still remember them, Peter? Can you recite all 500 out loud for us?
Peter: Becky, the great thing is... I don’t have to.
Becky: What? Why?
Peter: I’m still reviewing that flashcard deck. Except now, I get most of them right on the first try.
Becky: Ok, so you can recognize them and recall them.
Peter: Exactly. And that’s what it’s all about. I don’t need to recite all 500 for you.
Becky: What do you mean?
Peter: If I hear the word in a conversation, read it in an article, or if I want to use it...
Becky: ...You instantly know it.
Peter: Right. It comes to me. But memorizing for the sake of memorizing... isn’t really effective language learning.
Becky: I guess that’s true...
Peter: Again listeners, that’s the power of spaced repetition.
Becky: The goal is to revisit and review information over a spaced out period of time...
Peter: ...so that the information is ingrained in your long term memory.
Becky: Okay, Peter, you don’t have to recite anything. What about this past month’s goal?
Peter: I promised to do a Chinese proficiency practice test...
Becky: And?
Peter: I finished one. I reached my goal... BUT... you know how tests are usually an hour to two hours?
Becky: Yeah.
Peter: I didn’t do it all up front. I did a little bit every day over the course of the month.
Becky: Huh. Yeah, you hit your goal I guess, but why did you space it out? Tests are timed. You’re supposed to feel the pressure.
Peter: Good question. Actually, this approach was inspired by... going to the gym.
Becky: So let’s jump into this Inner Circle.
Peter: The 3 Powerful Language Learning Habits You'll Pick Up at the Gym.
Peter: And let’s get into the first part.
Becky: How to Approach Learning, or Any Goal.
Peter: So I started going to the gym again this past month. And the gym is great because it gives you a snapshot... of where most people are with their goals.
Becky: Right, everyone at the gym has one goal - to get fit.
Peter: Exactly. But not everyone is there yet. You have a handful of guys and gals that look like serious fitness models.
Becky: They’re probably there every day. What about the others?
Peter: Then you have around 20 or 30 people that a have good, respectable physique. The middle group. And then, the rest are still.... working their way up. The whole picture is very motivating to me.
Becky: Which group do you fall in? Are you part the of the fit top 5? Or the bottom of the totem pole?
Peter: Ah, Becky, always asking the hard-hitting questions...
Becky: Well, okay, I do want to ask... what’s so motivating about this?
Peter: Okay, I’ll answer your first question... I was part of the middle group some time ago.
Becky: You fell off?
Peter: Work, life, and language goals in the way. So I had to cut something out.
Becky: Very true. I can relate.
Peter: To answer your second question... it’s motivating because — and if you’ve been to the gym enough, you’ll understand this — it’s all about reps. A rep is the number of times you do a certain exercise.
Becky: Like 15 push ups is 15 reps of pushups.
Peter: Exactly. So, even those at the bottom of the totem pole have a fair chance of succeeding...
Becky: ....because it’s just all about reps.
Peter: If they do a little bit a day, over a long period of time…
Becky: ...they’ll get there.
Peter: And I say this after having seen results and then losing them because I stopped going.
Becky: So you know the process well.
Peter: Exactly. The process is simple. The more you do, the longer you stick with it.
Becky: ...the more progress you make.
Peter: And the same goes with learning language or any goal in life. It’s about putting in the reps....
Becky:... a little bit a day, consistently, for a long period of time...
Peter: I like the idea of “doing reps” because it makes goals feel realistic and simple to reach. If you want to get bigger muscles, you pick up a dumbbell, and you do reps.
Becky: If you want to jog more, you do the reps. Jog once a day, every week.
Peter: If you want to learn more words, you do the reps. 5 new words a day. Want to learn even more? Add more words. More reps.
Becky: So everyone has a chance to succeed...
Peter: ...they just need to make the time. This is where the second gym lesson comes in.
Becky: Two. How to Find the Time to Learn a Language
Peter: There’s a reason why the people you see at the gym daily, especially at 10PM on a Friday... are the ones with the best results.
Becky: ....they’re the most consistent ones?
Peter: Exactly...but how do they get that level of consistency?
Becky: That’s a good question.
Peter: So every now and then, I like to ask the bigger guys about their routines, what they do for work, how they find time to train...
Becky: Are they athletes? Because if they are, that explains where they find the time. It’s their job.
Peter: A few are, yes. But, I’ve also run into accountants, business owners, dentists, and programmers. And usually, I get one of three answers.
One: They have plenty of free time after work so it’s a non-issue.
Two: The busier ones; they make time regardless of what their schedule is like. Meaning, they show up at 1AM just to fit in a session or they cancel other plans to make time.
Or Three: You have guys running on autopilot. They’re so in the habit of going that they don’t have to think about it. I can’t get a clear answer out of them.
Becky: Huh, I like the 3rd one. I think that’s the ideal place to be.
Peter: I agree. But most people fall into the 2nd camp. The cold, hard truth is, they have to make time....
Becky: ...they have to cancel other plans.
Peter: Some wake up earlier to squeeze in a session in the AM. Some go late at night.
Becky: It’s the same exact thing with language learning. You make time.
Peter: Listeners, if that level of sacrifice scares you, don’t worry.
Becky: The good news is, you don’t need open up a lesson at 1AM.
Peter: That’s exactly why we suggest setting small, measurable, monthly goals.
Becky: That way, your daily routine is super easy to accomplish. For example..
Becky: If you’re learning 100 words for the month...
Peter:...that’s about 3 words a day.
Becky: If you’re aiming to finish 25 lessons of an audio series in a month..
Peter: That’s less than 1 lesson a day.
Becky: You don’t have to sacrifice much time to learn 3 words or take 1 lesson.
Peter: If you have 5 to 10 minutes to squeeze in a lesson on the app...
Becky: Or review your flashcards.
Peter: It’s kind of what I’ve been doing over the month….
Becky: ...doing a few test questions a day.
Peter: But, there’s something you can learn from beginners and the guys in the middle too...
Becky: Oh?
Peter: Let’s get into the next lesson and third part.
Becky: Why You Don’t Need the Best Possible Routine to Get Results.
Peter: What I mean is... most learners spend a lot of time worrying about starting right…
Becky: ...instead of just starting and keeping at it?
Peter: Exactly. Some don’t even get started at all. They quit after the first try.
Becky: That’s so true.
Peter: And it’s the same with language and with fitness. If you start learning from a textbook and stick with it...
Becky: You will get results. You’ll improve your reading, vocabulary and grammar.
Peter: Of course, it won’t get you speaking. You only get good at what you focus on....
Becky: ...but the fact is, you make progress.
Peter: Same with the gym, if you start off with bicep curls, you’ll see progress in time... but at some point, you’ll need to add in legs as well.
Becky: That makes sense.
Peter: So here’s what you can learn. The smart beginners know this. They don’t look for the best way to start..
Becky: They just start and keep going...
Peter: Exactly. And once they have a consistent routine, they start optimizing. They improve their routine.
Becky: If you started taking 1 lesson a day... and can easily maintain that routine..
Peter: ...then, you might realize that you want to practice speaking. You need to shadow that lesson’s conversation.
Becky: So, now you add shadowing to your routine. And that’s how you grow.
Peter: Same thing with the gym. The smart beginners make sure they do their reps and come in as much as possible.
Becky: Right.
Peter: And doing the basics is enough for them to build muscle.
Becky: And later on, they start adjusting their exercises and adding new ones.
Peter: But.... you will NEVER get to that point if you overthink yourself into inaction and don’t build that habit.
Becky: That’s a great point. So most starting routines, learning methods...
Peter: As long as you start and continue... they’re good enough, listeners.
Becky: You don’t need the best possible one right now.
Peter: You could have the best possible language book but if you don’t consistently use it...
Becky. It’s useless. So, Peter, let’s talk about your practice exam
Peter: Let’s get into the fourth and final part.
Becky: How Peter Reached His Language Goal for The Month.
Peter: It goes back to the idea of just putting in reps. Now with a 1 hour timed test...
Becky: ...doing that up front is too much.
Peter: Exactly. It’s like lifting 200 pounds on your first day at the gym. You won’t do it.
Becky: What you can do is start smaller.... And put in the reps.
Peter: That’s what I did with the practice exam. There are about 100 questions in total.
Becky: And they cover reading, listening and writing?
Peter: That’s right. What I did was, I just did 5 or 6 questions a day. I could easily make time for that.
Becky: ...so you took your time until you finished it all by the end of the month.
Peter: I wanted to get the questions right, have time to review, and understand and correct my mistakes... instead failing on the spot.
Becky: That’s pretty smart. And you passed the test... obviously, since you had all month.
Peter: I did. But here’s my goal for next month. I’ll take 2 practice tests. I want keep putting in the reps.
Becky: And since your goal is to pass the proficiency exam...
Peter: ...Doing more practice tests is the best way to go about it.
Becky: Sounds exciting! Deadline?
Peter: October 31st.
Becky: When do you have to take that Chinese proficiency test? The end of the year?
Peter: It should be at the end of November. I’ll have a concrete date for you next time.
Becky: Got it. Listeners, let us know as well. What’s your goal for the month?
Becky: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Peter: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


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