3 Types of Habits You Need to Succeed

Look, I’m not going to lie. We all want to be better at something. It could for school, for fun, for work, or for whatever reason we pick to do something. But we always seem to find a reason for why we can’t accomplish what we want to accomplish. Habits are a great way to help make sure we make steady progress towards our goals. I’ll give you guys three types of habits that you will want to have.

 

 

The Habit of Doing

Whatever you decide to do, you need to consistently work on it. You can’t just do it on occasion or when you feel like it. Otherwise your progress will be delayed.

 

For example, if you want to lose weight, start doing cardio. Get into the habit of doing it. Find a time of day that you can run, and run. Of course, if you never ran before, you won’t want to go full blown into running. You will need to start off maybe 2x a week and build up. But the point is that you need to start and get yourself in the habit of doing what needs to be done.

 

Try to make sure it’s the same time every day, such as after you get home from work. That way your mind sees coming home from work as “running time” which will make it easier to maintain the habit.

 

The Habit of Identifying and Improving Weak Points

Sometimes our progress is help back by a certain skillset that we have not developed. Maybe it’s because we didn’t like that particular aspect of what we are working on or it was too challenging so we decided to avoid it. Now it’s coming back to haunt us. This is especially helpful if we are stuck in a rut and don’t know why.

 

Take drawing. If you like drawing portraits but every time you do, you realize you mess up drawing the nose, well, that means you need to start drawing more noses. “But I hate drawing nose!” You exclaim. I’m sorry but if you want to quickly get better at portraits, you will need to focus on that. How? Well as I already said, draw more noses. Now that you accept that noses are what’s holding you back, now develop that first habit and just do it.

 

Get into the habit of looking for different aspects of your work that you could improve and start working on them. If you can’t see anything to improve, ask someone who is better than you at the skill and see if they can identify any weak points. Who knows, sometimes by working on the weak points, we can get them to be even better than our strengths. Don’t let weak points hold you back.

 

The Habit of Changing Bad Habits

Similar to improving weak points, sometimes there are habits that we want to get rid of altogether. Unfortunately, changing a habit can be very difficult (which is why we want to build good habits!), so sometimes it’s easiest to replace it with another habit that’s similar but better.

 

You usually crack open a cold one after a workout. Stop! This is not a habit that will help you gain muscle or lose weight. If you absolutely need to drink something after a workout, try making a protein shake instead. Don’t like the taste? Learn how to make a fruit smoothie and add the protein powder to the smoothie. This way you can still look forward to a refreshing beverage during your workout, but this beverage will be much more helpful in achieving your goals than a can of beer would.

 

 

As you can see, it’s very important to have habits that will expedite the way to your goals. The best part about good habits, is it eventually becomes hard for you not to do them! They become such an essential part of your day that if you don’t do them, it just doesn’t seem right. What habits are you working on currently?

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Rediscovering Home

So this is actually from a journal entry I wrote when I came home from being abroad for the first time.I studied in Taiwan for two months and made a big effort to try to experience Taiwan like a Taiwanese would instead of acting like I was on some extended vacation. When I came home, I found it very hard to adjust back to American life. Has anyone else experienced this before?

Coming Back Home From Abroad

Typically when I hear people talk about going abroad, culture shock is something that always pops up. Being in a foreign country not knowing what’s going on can be very confusing. In my experience going to Taiwan, I didn’t have culture shock.  On the contrary, what I lacked in culture shock I had in reverse culture shock when I came home.

 

Reverse culture shock is re-adapting to your home country after being abroad.

 

The reverse culture shock started as soon as my car ride home began. Everything that was once familiar to me I now saw from another perspective. Things that were commonplace before my trip were now strange. If something in the USA was different from Taiwan, I immediately noticed it and like a child, I couldn’t help but point it out.

 

Dang, the roads here are huge.

There’s so much space here.

Holy crap, I can read all the signs here!

People here can be total jerks.

Our coins are so tiny!

 

An hour or so after I came back to my house, a friend took me to get ice cream. Since I hadn’t seen a shopping center the entire two months I was in Taiwan, I was in total amazement of how America has stores that were so big and only one floor (in Taiwan, if a store is really big, it typically has multiple floors. Several department stores I went to had 14 floors). It was getting ice cream here that allowed to encounter another fun part of returning home-relearning how to use my mother tongue.

 

As I was used to using mostly Chinese to order food in Taiwan, I accidently ordered my ice cream in Chinese, getting me a funny look from the employee as well as the people standing next to me in line. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, I actually had to pause for a moment to remember how we ordered food in English (In Chinese we literally say “I want…”). After looking like a total fool for a moment, I just said the items that I wanted (completely skipped over the “Can I have…?”), and after my food was given to me, I said thank you in Chinese without even thinking about it, which got me another funny look from the employee. Needless to say, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t have a date the night I came back.

 

These are all but the easy parts of reverse culture shock. What would come next was much harder to bear.

 

I had grown to really appreciate and enjoy the Taiwanese way of life. It was a fantastic experience abroad. Coming back to America was like waking up from an amazing dream. It was like this internally and externally. What do I mean by that? I mean internally by the feelings that I felt- the excitement from all the wonderful adventures I had, the new outlook on life that came with travel abroad, and the nostalgia and longing to go back. What I mean by externally is the way that other people took what I had to say. I felt the need to constantly talk about my experiences in Taiwan. When someone would say “Man, it’s really hot.” My first thought would start off “one time in Taiwan…” It wasn’t that I wanted to brag about being abroad. Talking about it was almost like validated (to myself at least) that what happened in Taiwan actually happened.

 

Eventually people got tired of hearing of all the adventures I had, be it from jealousy, or just tired of hearing a bunch of “when I was in Taiwan” stories. Luckily, this problem stopped after a month, but I still have the thoughts of what happened in Taiwan. Most people who haven’t been abroad don’t understand the changes that occur when you go abroad. Your mind is freed from the box of narrow-minded thinking. You see things from another perspective. Somethings about your home country you learn to appreciate, while others you question and maybe criticize. In essence, your experiences influence the lens through which you view life, causing you to see things from the you that was abroad.

 

A couple days after I got back, I found that I started to get really frustrated with life here, for seemingly no reason at all. People noticed it and told me that I seemed really irritable. My best guess was that my frustration was a combination of re-acclimating to the American way of things, no one understanding how I felt, and not being able to go back. But it was also more than that. I realized that Americans complain so much about what they don’t have when in fact they have more than most other countries.

 

For example, while I worked in a restaurant, I’d hear a coworker complain repeatedly that it was way too hot. I told them it wasn’t that bad, explaining that in Taiwan, it’s very humid, so no matter what you wear, you still sweat like crazy. In addition, the people that work at a lot of food places there have their stoves outside. Now, Taiwan is already hot and humid to where getting too close to the steam coming off your food is enough to make you sweat, so standing over a stove just seems like torture. So the situation wasn’t as bad as my coworker made it seem.

 

I’ve heard the same with people complaining about how little money they made. Now, working at a restaurant 35+ hours a week, I’m making twice the money that a Taiwanese person makes at a regular office job. Yes the expenses there are less expensive than America, but overall we still have way more disposable income compared to the Taiwanese. My friends who were complaining about money just weren’t putting the money in smarter places. They were too busy spending $200USD a weekend at bars and restaurants or $100 a week on cigars (I love going out and having a cigar once every now and then too, but I’m definitely not spending that much to go out). Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s be thankful for what we do have, and work towards improving.

 

There’s some adjustments to be done, but at least I get to look forward to going back. Some other people that I’ve talked to that went abroad have had some similar experiences, so at least I know it’­­­­­­-

How to Start Learning a New Language

 

How many of you think it would be really cool to speak another language? To be able to meet people from other countries and be able to speak to them in their language? To be able to understand what people are saying when they are using another language? Or maybe you don’t care, you just looked at this article because you need a language for school?

When I was in high school, I was known for being good at languages. In college, this trend continued and I actually have had some of my friends ask me about how I managed to learn so many languages. The reasons were all different. Some people just wanted to learn a language better for a class that they had, others because they were about to go on a study abroad trip, or maybe because they just felt like learning a language. No matter what reason you have for learning a language, it is always possible to start learning one. Here I’ll lay out some of the main tips I gave my friends.

Now learning a language to be able to use it and learning a language for school are two different things. Luckily, if you learn a language to be able to use it, you will eventually get to a point where you can use it in class with little effort, although it might take some time. This article will focus on learning a language to be able to actually use it, but for those looking to help with language classes, these tips will still help.

 

Gather Materials

You need to have learning materials that motivate you to learn. Most people quit after a couple weeks of trying to learn a language, so because of this, be very careful when you pick your learning materials. If you think phrasebooks are stupid, then don’t buy it, you’ll just regret having wasted the money. Maybe you like textbooks. Go ahead and buy one. I would advise you to look over the first two chapters and then a chapter in the second half of the book. This way you know if you think the book will help you in the early stages of learning as well as if you think you will continue to use it in the later stages. Ultimately you have to decide what best fits your learning style.

Find a Native Speaker

When you learn another language, you want to find a native speaker that can help correct anything you say or write incorrectly. Of course, you don’t want them to correct you so much that you lose motivation, but just enough that major mistakes are fixed early on. There are plenty of websites that you can use to help you find people that speak different languages. Some you might pay for, some might just want a language exchange. Pick what works best for you. If you are unable to find a native speaker, then try to find someone that is at least conversational in the language. While they might not be able to correct your mistakes, it will still be good to have someone to practice the language with.

Learn and Use

The next step is to put the work in. Whatever you learn, you need to make sure that you practice it. If you were unable to find anyone to practice with, then at the very least talk to yourself with what you learned. Write out a dialogue and practice it. This holds true for grammar and vocab. Once you have it in your head, you not only want to be able to be able to say the word when you need it, you also want to be able to understand what they are saying. You will notice that some words you learn at the beginning of learning end up quickly becoming words your just “know.” As in, you hear and use them so much that you don’t even think twice when you hear them, you just instinctively know what it means. This will come in time, but the fastest way to facilitate it is to use it. Most of my friends made this mistake. They spent so much time watching TV shows and movies in the target language when they weren’t ready. They needed to spend more time using the language to help actively keep it in the brain.

It’s like learning to play an instrument. You don’t learn by reading a book on the instrument, playing the exercises in the book one, and then just reading the book. You have to spend a lot of time actually playing the instrument. So produce the language!

Don’t forget it is also very important that you learn words that you will actually be using at the beginning. No reason to learn fancy words that you aren’t likely to encounter at this point.

As time goes on you will end up learning more words talking to your conversation partner. When you feel ready, start listening to more audio and read more in the target language. This will greatly benefit you as it gives you more words to learn and allows you to see how native sentences are written and come together.

Stay Motivated

 After a couple weeks of basic words you will get to a point where it becomes harder to remember all the words you are learning, or it seems like there are too many grammar rules to keep in your head. This is okay. It’s part of the process. You will have ups and downs and with each down, there is always an up (which occurs once your head finally makes sense of what you are learning). Just remember that one day you will be able to have conversations with little effort.

 

So that’s it. There really isn’t that much to how to get started learning a language. You just need to make sure that you have the right materials and then practice.