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 InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we're talking about…
Peter: How to Maintain Your Mindset &Language Learning Routine
Chigusa: You'll Learn...
Peter: One: Do you maintain your mindset?
Chigusa: Two: Why it’s not enough to just “create” a routine
Peter: And Three: How to maintain your mindset and routine
Chigusa: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Peter: Last time, you learned all about the power of… learning with others…
Chigusa: ...whether it’s with native speakers or other learners who are ahead of you.
Peter: ...and how learning with others skyrockets your motivation and progress.
Chigusa: And Peter, last time, you also set a goal for… 20 minutes of Russian conversation. How did that go?
Peter: Well, let’s round up to 20. Actually, it was close but not quite 20.
Chigusa: I see, so now we have… November and December left. Do you think you can hit some more?
Peter: There’s always these Christmas miracles we hear of, but in all seriousness, I think - I think it’s going to be a little hard to get to 30, but I think the mid-20s is what I’m going to go for.
Chigusa: Yeah, it sounds like you have a lot of work ahead of you! I’m really impressed though, you’ve been on track with your Russian.
Peter: Thank you, Chigusa. I owe a lot of this progress to just… maintaining my mindset and my routines...which is the topic of this Inner Circle...
Chigusa: How to Maintain Your Mindset &Language Learning Routine
Peter: Let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part 1. Do you maintain your mindset?
Chigusa: And just so the listeners know, what do you mean by mindset, Peter? Like motivation?
Peter: That’s a great question. Motivation is part of the mindset. But, mindset is how you think, your attitude, and your approach towards language learning. For example, someone might think that they don’t have the talent for learning a language, right?
Chigusa: Right, I think many people feel that way…
Peter: And that’s a flawed mindset, but still a mindset. It’s just how people think about languages.
Chigusa: Or if you fail a goal… most people quit because they think it’s not meant to happen...
Peter: ...but if you have the right mindset, you know that you just need to aim for a smaller goal. So, there’s also the mindset of approaching learning with a small measurable goal.
Chigusa: Got it. So, it’s how you approach language learning.
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: But… How do you maintain your mindset, Peter? Do you just think about it? It sounds a bit vague.
Peter: So, I have several mindset rules that I go by. The easiest example is.. setting small, measurable, monthly goals… nice and small goals... that we do in every Inner Circle episode. I will try for 5 minutes here. I will try for 10 minutes there. I want to speak this much. I want to reach this much. By forcing myself to do this, I now have a goal-oriented mindset. I always think in terms of small, specific goals or breaking things down into small goals. And I apply this to everything I do, for languages and actually other personal projects.
Chigusa: Was there ever a time where you weren’t doing this?
Peter: Yes, maybe the first 40 years of my life. But many, many years back… I set goals like “I want to learn the language this year,” or “I want to have lots of money in the bank,” and sometimes, with these vague goals, it’s a little challenging to actually get where you want to be.
Chigusa: So, you could say you didn’t have the right mindset for approaching goals.
Peter: Exactly. It was only when I made a habit of aiming for small, measurable goals… that’s when I started learning languages faster. Next, for mindset, I always set deadlines. That helps me manage my time and puts more pressure on me to learn… But Chigusa, think about it if you don’t have a deadline...
Chigusa: ...you’ll never get anything done. Yeah, that’s a really good one.
Peter: Kind of thinking about what I missed today, thinking, oh boy, I need some more deadlines. So, the only way to maintain that is to give yourself a deadline. Again, just like we do in the Inner Circle. Next, if I miss a goal, I tend to aim for an even smaller goal… instead of giving myself more work.
Chigusa: And you do this to make the goal easier to hit, right?
Peter: Exactly. First, it makes bouncing back easier and makes failure less stressful, and second, it’s important to have some small wins - it’s good for your overall mindset and motivation.
Chigusa: Do you think talking about your language goals - like we do here - is good for your mindset too?
Peter: I think each individual is different, but in my case, definitely. I think talking about your goals is good for your mindset. You should keep your goals on top of your mind, right? And talking about what you’re doing...how you’re learning... with someone else is one of the best ways to keep it on top of it. The only counterargument to that is, if you tell someone you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, you might not want to see that person, right? So that’s why the key is to be able to adjust the goal and kind of be clear about what your goal is and… but talking about it is mostly about it.
Chigusa: I see.
Peter: To illustrate a bit further, it’s like we spoke about in a previous inner circle episode. It’s why I always involve other people in my learning process… like my premium plus teacher or live in-person tutors. It’s good for motivation. It makes things more fun... Which will all add to a positive mindset.
Chigusa: I think remembering your “why” - or your reason for learning a language is also a good thing to do. If you forget why you’re learning… and you’re just doing work, work, work… It's easy to get demotivated, right?
Peter: Well said. It’s always good to remember your reason — why you started, and that’s what you truly want out of the language.
Chigusa: So, Peter, with mindset, it seems like you have rules that you follow - set small goals, set deadlines, if you fail, aim lower, things like that, right?
Peter: Aim lower. That’s a good slogan. But it’s true. One of the things about mindset is flexibility. It’s very hard to always be on your game, so this ability to be flexible and move things up and move things down is one of the key components of actually making progress and mindset. You don’t have to beat yourself up if you miss a goal, just be flexible, adjust, recalibrate and keep moving forward. Exactly. Of course, there are more rules, but having these rules... and putting them to use… is how I maintain my mindset.
Chigusa: What if you don’t follow these rules? Does it affect your mindset?
Peter: At first, it can. Let’s say I don’t set a goal for the month, Chigusa, I guarantee my mindset will be different, and I don’t get as much work done. If I don’t set a deadline, I guarantee I won’t be thinking about the language as much… because there’s less pressure, and there’s no clear date to aim for.
Chigusa: Yeah, I think most people find deadlines stressful but having a clear date… is better than “I’m going to learn language someday.” Now, how about maintaining your routines?
Peter: Let’s jump into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: Why it’s not enough to just “create” a learning routine
Peter: So, another thing I've been doing is… actively maintaining my routines.
Chigusa: By maintaining, you mean sticking with a routine, right?
Peter: Sticking with… and again, we want to stress adjusting it as needed. Because here’s the thing: it’s easy to come up with a routine like “I’ll study for 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday at 9 PM.” Your plan sounds good on paper… and maybe you can stick with it initially, but… let’s say you get busy at work, Chigusa.
Chigusa: Right. If I get busy at work, then the language takes a backseat…
Peter: ...and for most people, it’s hard to bounce back. Think about how many New Year’s Resolutions fizzle out.
Chigusa: Yeah, you start strong, then you get distracted, you stop learning, and that’s it. So then, how do you maintain your routine?
Peter: Related to New Year's, my friend, he likes to work out a lot. He said the worst day of the year for him is January 2nd, when everyone with their New Year’s resolution comes to the gym. And he said, by January 3rd, we’re back to the status quo. There’s a lot of truth in that joke, but for me, well, there’s one — actually doing and sticking with it, that’s first, and two — constantly reviewing my schedule. So I sit down and review my upcoming week. Nowadays, I try to put in 3 hours a week…, so if I see that I have a busy week coming up...and I just can’t do an hour on Monday, I’ll try to get at least 15 or 30 minutes in. I adjust down. It’s OK. And if I’m going somewhere with the kids for the day and can’t fit language in, that’s fine. But again, when I first started, it was very stressful for me not to reach or hit one of these goals, and I felt myself kind of a little more agitated than normal. I’m pretty agitated to start with, so it was easy for me to get upset that I wasn't hitting these goals. So the point is, as you adjust, you have to realize that… kind of forget fast…. and make it so that you’re able to adjust when you're not reaching where you want to be.
Chigusa: Got it, so you plan ahead.
Peter: Exactly. And by the way, for the overachievers, if you’re doing more than expected, feel free to adjust your goals up. I tend to go on the lower side of things. You can adjust up if you’re getting more done and down. Most of the time, doing 3 hours of language learning a week makes sense. But it’s still a massive amount of time. Other times, it won’t … and that’s where you need to adjust, and the mindset is key for this because it’s hard to really forget fast and be Ok with the fact that you didn’t hit your goal.
Chigusa: So, how do you think this has helped with your language progress overall?
Peter: Well, the most important thing is to stay consistent... even if it means doing 15 minutes on certain days. So, reviewing my schedule and adjusting my routine just makes learning easier… even if I’m super busy. If I didn’t plan ahead… Chigusa, just imagine you had a busy day, it’s 11 PM at night… and you NOW remember you need to do some language learning… What are the odds you’re going to do that, Chigusa?
Chigusa: I won’t do it, but I think that’s where your routine… and your language journey starts to crumble.
Peter: Well said...
Chigusa: Yeah, that’s a great point. So, proper planning just makes the actual routine easier to stick with. Now Peter, what about our listeners? What can they take away from this?
Peter: Let’s get into the 3rd part.
Chigusa: Part 3: How to Maintain Your Mindset &Routines
Peter: Listeners, one of the greatest things you can do for your mind when tackling a goal… is to avoid ambiguity.
Chigusa: So, that’s why some of these rules involve specific numbers.
Peter: For example, Number One: Always set small, measurable goals.
Chigusa: Having a goal-oriented mindset and setting small, specific goals...
Peter: like… doing 30 lessons or learn 1 minute of conversation this month…
Chigusa: ...makes learning easier and more approachable. You can wrap your mind around it.
Peter: Exactly. It’s easier to do 30 lessons in one month because you know exactly what you need to do - 1 lesson a day for 30 days - and you’re not dealing with any ambiguity.
Chigusa: But if you just set a goal like, “I want to be fluent someday,”
Peter: This goal is too big and too vague… and you're already overwhelming your brain with too many questions. How will you do it? What resources will you use? How long should I study every day? When will you stop? What is fluency? And that’s bad for your mindset.
Chigusa: Two: Always set a deadline.
Peter: This helps you maintain your routine and your mindset. Having a clear deadline in mind gives you a clear date to aim for…
Chigusa: And It makes it easy for you to manage your time and priorities.
Peter: Otherwise, if you have no deadline… then you’ll never get anything done. So, always approach learning and goals with a deadline in mind.
Chigusa: Another thing you can do is, set a time limit for your actual sessions. For example, limit it to 20 minutes.
Peter: By setting a clear limit and knowing when to stop, you won’t have to stress about how much time you should put in… or if you’re not done yet… After 20 minutes, just walk away.
Chigusa: Three: Remember your reason for learning a language.
Peter: Your reason for learning may change the longer you stick with the language, but… keeping the big picture in mind is good for motivation. So, set aside maybe 2 or 3 minutes before each session and just think about your reason for learning and picture yourself reaching that goal.
Chigusa: Four: Watch TV shows and listen to music in the target language.
Peter: This is an interesting one. In other words, have fun. Language learning is work and pretty hard work, but… allowing yourself to enjoy music or tv in that language won’t make it seem like work at all.
Chigusa: Five: Write out your routine and plan for the week.
Peter: And this is good for both maintaining mindset and routine. And by the way, not just applicable to language learning. This can be used in every part of your life.
Chigusa: By writing your plans out, you keep them at the top of your mind… which is good for the mindset.
Peter: It’s also good to know what you’ll do, when, where, and for how long. So, for example, do 2 audio lessons every night at 8 PM, by the computer, for 30 minutes.
Chigusa: Again, having these specifics takes out the ambiguity...and makes it easier for you to have a clear mindset.
Peter: And by planning out your upcoming routine, if you can adjust your routine during the busy days. So, for example, If you’re busy on Monday, you can settle for just 10 minutes, and it’s okay because you can make that time up, or you don't even have to make that time up. But you understand ahead of time that you won’t reach that goal for the day, or it might be challenging, so you won’t beat yourself up, and you’ll start the next day ready to go with a positive mindset.
Chigusa: By reviewing your plan and schedule, your overall language journey won’t get sidelined by busy days… because you’ve planned ahead.
Peter: Six: Reward yourself.
Chigusa: So Peter, if you hit a goal, what kind of reward do you give yourself?
Peter: Chocolate and coffee - those are the daily rewards, but you can even trick your brain and associate drinking coffee with studying, so your brain craves studying. And this is great for maintaining your mindset because rewards are a powerful motivator. It’s just much more fun to get something in return for all the hard work you’ve been putting in. So coffee during and chocolate after. But many times…. The chocolate jumps the line.
Chigusa: Number seven: Add more anchor points….and, more specifically, add others to your learning journey.
Peter: Anchor points are the connections that you have with the language… whether it’s a friend, a tutor, a teacher, or something like a TV show or a restaurant you go to. In this case, I always use my Premium PLUS teachers, and I always get an in-person tutor because interacting with someone is good for overall motivation and mindset. It feels good to get corrected and know you’re improving.
Chigusa: You could also say that working with a tutor helps maintain your routine because you have to show up to their lessons.
Peter: That’s very true, Chigusa. It’s easy to skip a study session if you’re on your own...
Chigusa: ...but it’s harder to skip a lesson when someone is expecting you. Speaking of expectations, Peter, what are you expecting goal-wise for November? What’s your next goal?
Peter: Let’s try 20 one more time. This is kind of admitting that 30 will be a stretch, but I also understand what my Novembers are like, and I know it’s going to be quite challenging, so I’d rather have a nice November while sticking to my routines and trying to push ahead. But, let’s go for 22 minutes. Oh sorry. I said 20. Alright, you know it, Freudian slip, let’s make it 22. I’ll go for 22 minutes.
Chigusa: 22 minutes. Great. Deadline?
Peter: November 30th.
Chigusa: Okay. Listeners, how about you?
Peter: What's your small, measurable monthly goal? And what's the deadline?
Chigusa: Let us know.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


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.