Your Invitation to a Virtual Coffee Morning & Games Night for Language Learners

In 2017 Language Learners Journal supported Macmillan Cancer Support by hosting a virtual coffee morning. Our goal was for over 50 different languages to be spoken within our community group. We didn’t quite make our target, but we did have over 34+ amazing languages spoken in the group.

World leading polyglots and avid language learners from around the globe got together to raise awareness and money for people who are affected by cancer. The online language learning community raised over £100.

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November we plan to ‘try again‘! The aim to have over 50+ different languages spoken within our group during the weekend. The games evening will run from 6 pm till Midnight (UK time) on Saturday 23rd. The virtual coffee morning will be Sunday 24th November from 10 am – 2 pm (UK time). This year we will be raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Studies have shown that studying a foreign language can delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for over 4.5 years. More recent studies into bilingual people with early-onset to mild Alzheimer’s have shown them to have a ‘cognitive reserve‘!

How do I Join?

  1. Join our Facebook Group
  2. Post a short video greeting in the language(s) of your choice. The theme is ‘Coffee and Cakes‘. Tag @alzheimerssoc #LanguageCakes
  3. OR/AND post a selfie with cake/coffee and a message written in the language of your choice and hashtag Tag @alzheimerssoc #LanguageCakes #gamesnight
  4. Share this blog post with others to help raise some awareness of this event and help us achieve our target of 50+ languages.

Interesting in Speaking?

If you would like to give a live talk or a recorded presentation on any aspect of language learning during the weekend event please get in contact.

What is the Alzheimer’s Society?

As the largest and most influential dementia charity in the UK, we are calling on everyone to unite. Working together we know we will achieve our vision – a world without dementia.

To Make a Donation

I will be donating a percentage of my proceeds from the Parleremo Language Marathon in November to the Alzheimer’s Socity. I will also be donating a pound for every new language spoken during the challenge (up to the target number of languages).

If you would like to donate to the event check out our Just Giving Page. (If you can’t donate via this method, but would still like to donate please contact me directly).

For more information on this charity check out: Alzheimer’s Society

Learning Dutch in 100 Days Project: The Midway Mark!

I have been learning Dutch as part of the Parleremo Language Marathon (#PLM) Challenge. The challenge is to learn a language for a minimum of 15 minutes per day, everyday, over a 100 day period. The challenge is hosted on it’s very own platform and not on social media. #PLM has access to lots of language related tools, resources and a super supportive community.

The hope for me is to ‘level up‘ my language skills within the 100 days going from an absolute beginner to an A2 CEFL Level in Dutch. Back in August, I was a complete beginner in Dutch. I have learnt a number of languages over the years, but I have to say that for me Dutch has not been an easy language to learn! In fact, I found Mandarin Chinese easier to learn!

Here are a few hurdles that I have faced whilst trying to learn how to speak Dutch…

The Pronunciation of the Dutch Alphabet!

Many letters of the alphabet are pronounced differently in Dutch than they are in English. For example, ‘A’ in English is pronounced ‘ay’ but in Dutch it is pronounced ‘ah’ and ‘E‘ is ‘ay‘. Being an English speaker my brain sees the letters and words and instantly tries to correct my pronunciation to English. I need to make new neuro connections that branch off from English and the only way to do this is through consistent practice.

EnglishDutchEnglishDutch
AehahNenen
BbeebayOohoh
CseeseePpeepay
DdeedeeQcuecoo
EeeayRarerrrl
FefefSeses
GgeehayTteetay
HeychhaUyouooh
IeyeeeVveefey
JjayyeeWdouble-youvay
KkaykaXexicks
LelelY / IJwhyaye
MememZzeezed

The biggest challenge for me so far has been the pronunciation of the letter ‘G’! It is not a sound we tend to make in English! The Dutch ‘G’ sound originates in the throat prior to reaching the mouth – it’s almost as if I want to spit. To overcome this hurdle is going to undertake a heck load of practice.

Problematic Pronouns

I didn’t think this was so bad until I discovered that the Dutch have A LOT of words for you! Depending if it is formal, informal and plural. Then I discovered Zij could mean she or they depending on context! The formal ‘u‘ is pretty much like my teenagers informal ‘u‘ text speak.

jij/je (Informal Singular)you
u (Shirt and tie type formal)you
hij, zij/ze, hethe, she, it
jullie (informally plural)you
zij/zethey

Further Reading: Learning Flemish Dutch in 100 Days Learning Dutch in 100 Days Project: In the Beginning

Dutch Grammar Joys

Dutch grammar does not follow the same pattern as English. In English the sentence structure begins with the subject and is followed by a verb. An example of this is ‘I do not break the glasses’. With Dutch, the action typically precedes the subject with something a little like, ‘The glasses break not‘ To overcome this I just think “How would Yoda say it?

Then there is the drama of ‘het‘, ‘de‘ or ‘een‘! Het and De mean ‘the‘, whilst ‘een‘ is the equivalent of the English a/an and not be confused with the number een that is pronounced differently! Don’t get me started on where to place the ‘niet‘, negative particle in a sentence.

Back to Front Numbers!

0nul
1een
2twee
3drie
4vier
5vijf
6zes
7zeven
8acht
9negen
10tien
11elf
12twaalf
13dertien
14veertien
15vijftien
16zestien
17zeventien
18achttien
19negentien
20twintig
21eenentwintig
22tweeëntwintig
30dertig
40veertig
50vijftig
60zestig
70zeventig
80tachtig
90negentig
100honderd

Did you spot the difference between the Dutch and English numbers? Ja, the second number in a double-digit number is always spoken first! Thanks to learning a little Slovenian a couple of years ago I am used to this way of numbering!

How am I over coming these hurdles?

PRACTICE + PRACTICE + PRACTICE

The Past 50 Days

I have been studying consistently every day using a range of resources. There wasn’t a Dutch Meetup group in my area so I have created a one!

This month I also became a Volunteer Global Ambassador for Duolingo. I am passionate about supporting Duolingo’s mission to bring free education to the world.

I’ll be hosting a range of free language learning events over the next 12 months in my local community. The first official Duolingo event will be in November, ‘The Dutch Language Club‘.

#Clearthelist: Goals for the Next 30 Days…

For anyone new to Clear the List, each month the awesomeness that is Lindsay Williams and Shannon Kennedy host a language blogging goal setting community called ‘Clear the List’.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Speaking

Daily – Recording myself speaking on Instagram and Parleremo.

Weekly – 1-2 hour weekly Dutch lessons or language exchanges.

MonthlyThe Dutch Language Club (Monthly community meetups)

Listening

Daily – Listening to the radio or YouTube for about 10 minutes per day. Parleremo has a great collection of resources that are freely available to use.

Weekly – Checking out Netflix and YouTube to watch some shows.

Reading

Daily – Maintain my Duolingo streak – 15 minutes per day. Now I am feeling slightly more confident with Dutch check out Clozemaster. Read some blogs and online news articles.

Weekly – Re-take some older Duolingo lessons, Use the UTalk app and Learn Dutch.org flashcard app to brush up on vocabulary.

Writing

Daily – Start making regular social media posts in Dutch. Some of my posts are in part English/Part Dutch at the moment.

Weekly – Throughout November I would like to make regular journal articles in Dutch on Parleremo.

Other

Although Dutch is my priority language I will also be exploring some languages indigenous to the UK.

Scots

For the next mini-marathon I’ll be doing a short Scots Project. You can follow my progress with Scots here…

Irish Gaelic

I will continue to check out some Irish Gaelic on Duolingo.

In Summary…

Obstacles aside I love the Dutch language, thankfully as my focus is more Flemish Dutch the dreaded ‘G‘ sound is softer. Breakthrough moments have included understanding basic texts and conversations, finally getting a green (after about 20+ red crosses and dings) on Rosetta Stone for my pronunciation of the letter G. Those that have been following my progress have felt my pain!

I look forward to using the language when I visit Holland and Belgium (Flemish) in the new year. I still have a long way to go. I’m not sure at this point if I’ll hit my target of Absolute beginner (A0) to a talkative A2 and confident reader in 100 days, but what I have achieved so far is a comfortable A1 level.

At the end of the Parleremo Language Marathon Challenge I hope to do a 10 minute Facebook LIVE completely in Dutch!

If you have any tips about how you overcame any obstacles when learning Dutch OR recommended resources/Dutch blogs/articles please post a link to them in the comments section below.

10 Things to Ensure a Successful Language Learning Challenge…

There are a lot of language learning challenges to choose from these days. From a weekend challenge to 26-day mini-challenges and 100-day mega language marathons. Here are 10 things you can do to ensure the successful completion of a language learning challenge…

Some of the most popular challenges are Language Jam, Add 1 Challenge (now rebranded as the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge), My Language Challenge and the Parleremo Language Marathon.

Now a lot of people like the idea of speaking a new language, but do not put in the focus and work required to actually learn the language!

Drop out rates in challenges can be high, so what can you do to ensure you successfully complete a language learning challenge and not be just another dropout…

1 What Challenge is RIGHT for you?

Firstly, you need to ask yourself what you would like to achieve?

If you don’t know what language you would like to learn maybe a shorter challenge that offers an auto-generated language is right for you, such as LangJam (held over a weekend) OR the 26-Day Parleremo Language Marathon. A short challenge that gives you a little taster into a new language without the commitment.

If you know the language you want to learn and want to hold a conversation for 15 minutes within a 90 day period then My Language Challenge or the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge would work well for you. These challenges like regular video updates to be posted during the challenge.

If you have hopped about languages in the past without making great progress, but now want to get focused on just one language, build a consistent study routine and level up your language learning then the 100-Day Parleremo Language Marathon is a perfect option for you! This challenge also focuses on literacy in your target language. In the challenge, you have the option to make regular progress updates via video, audio recordings or journal entries.

You may also need to consider things such as resources and recording eqipment, budgets, community support vs professional support. The Fluent in 3 Months Challenge will give you results if you are willing to commit but comes with a hefty price tag as you are paying for the brand and the awesomeness that is Benny.

Whilst the Parleremo Language Marathon and My Language Challenge offers the same amount of high-quality and support for a lot less, but with no Benny, unfortunately. LangJam is currently free to participate in.

2 Are you READY?

Once you have decided what challenge is right for you then ask yourself if you are ready? Languages challenges are a big commitment and you don’t always see results straight away. It takes time, consistency, motivation, discipline and FOCUS.

All of the challenges listed do give an excellent amount of support, but there is also an element of personal responsibility and acceptance required too. No one can learn this language for you!

3. MAKE YOUR INNER VOICE THE CHEERLEADER

Our inner voice will determine how we approach a language challenge. What we are saying to ourselves at any given moment has the potential to make or break us! This could be the difference between staying in the challenge OR quitting. If your critical inner voice starts telling you that you are “no good, you aren’t going to learn this language“, it will just highlight any fears and anxieties that you may already have.

The language you use dictates that internal movie you play in your head, for example: “I can’t do this it’s too hard”. If you keep repeating this to yourself over and over you may come to believe it and are more likely to give up and pull out of the language learning challenge!

So it’s very important to become aware of the language we are using and become our own cheerleaders. “This is new to me, I can do this with some practice/support“. One great bit of advice that was once given to me by a teacher was to always add “yet” to any negative learning thoughts. For example “I do not understand this YET” OR “I can’t do this YET“. As humans, we’re very good at talking in negatives to ourselves.

Let’s change this NOW and choose to focus on the positives instead!

4 VISUALISE speaking the LANGUAGE!

Imagining yourself speaking the language to a native speaker is actually only helpful to an extent! It’s like an athlete imagining themselves getting the gold medal! It may give you a certain level of belief but doesn’t help in the actual process. What you really want to be able to imagine is doing the ‘little‘ things that will get you to the finish line. Start practicing the vocab in your head and applying it to real life situations.

When we imagine being able to do something we are mentally rehearsing it. It communicates with the body too – when we imagine something, we fire up the same neurons in our brain as when we are actually experiencing it. We want to prime our brains to be able to deal with those situations such as conversations in our target languages.

5 Discover YOUR OWN STUDY ROUTINE…

Having a consistent study routine is crucial. You will not always be motivated and this is when you need to be disciplined in your approach. Sticking to your language learning routine and studying on the days you really don’t feel you want too!

Eventually, the routine will start to become a habit. My own personal routine starts at 7 pm I do 20 minutes focused study, followed by a 10-minute break where I think about all the new vocabulary I have just learnt (diffused study) and then I do another 20 minutes, with the first 5-10 minutes reviewing what I did before the break. Before moving on to any new material.

I do this for 6 days a week and then on day 7, I use an app, such as Drops, UTalk or Duolingo for 15 minutes. We are all different, some of us study better in the evening whilst others prefer to study in the morning. Use the first week or so of the challenge to discover what works best for you.

6 SET small GOALS

Once you are in a language challenge, don’t think too far ahead! Although you do want to be aware of how much progress you make in a weekend, 26, 90 or even 100 days. The progress you make is personal to you and depends on many different factors so please don’t compare yourself to other language learners.

A lot of people tend to do the first 10 days or so and think: “Oh my god I’ve still got 16/90 or whatever days to go!” And even if you are thinking positively, that doesn’t help because your mind goes out to the future. And where you really want to be is ‘in the zone’. The zone is a present state of mind – the here and now.

If you start thinking “oh my god I’m going to win this challenge and unlock the gold badge” it can actually have a detrimental effect on performance because you are not focusing on what you are doing in the present moment. Set yourself small weekly or even daily goals.

This week I have set myself a goal to learn the 1000 most common words in Dutch! I have broken this down into learning about 150(ish) words per day. But that’s all I’m going focus on: Then after I have completed this goal I will set another goal. Then another one AND another… The goal for you may be to learn just 5 – 10 new phases per-day. Having a goal makes a big difference because you are staying more in the moment rather than than focusing on the distance, which is where all the anxiety lies.

7 It’s all about the PROCESS, NOT the OUTCOME!

Real winners don’t actually think about winning as their focus is on performance. The best way to complete a language challenge is to think about what you are doing in the present moment.

Focus on the process rather than the outcome. That’s the only thing you are in control of at any given moment. Remember it’s the process that will determine the outcome and drive you forward, not the other way around!

8 Don’t fear mistakes -LAUGH at them!

Enjoy the language challenge, ensure that you connect and support others, have some fun and don’t take things too seriously. We all make mistakes! I remember I kept calling my Spanish teacher an ‘arse‘ BUT what I was really trying to say was ‘year‘. This actually bonded us and gave us something to talk about! Trust me I NEVER made that mistake again.

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or worried about the challenge this will impact on performance. In challenges, some participants think they need to to take it more seriously as it’s a challenge. But actually, we are less capable when we take things more seriously than when we are having fun – #truestory! When we are happy we are more energised. We’re actually more intelligent. The synapses in our brain fire better when we are happy and when we work together with others.

9 Think of the Challenge as STAGING POST, NOT an END GOAL

If completing the challenge is your only end goal then this can be a problem! What happens after the language learning challenge ends? You get this a lot in sportspeople who want to win the gold medal or a particular tournament because it has been their life’s dream. They achieve it – and then quite often people don’t achieve very much after that, because they haven’t set anything up for after the event.

So set a goal for post challenge, even if it’s just to do a Facebook live in your new language. A challenge is a stepping stone to kick-start the language you are learning in a motivational and supportive environment. What you do after that is UP TO YOU!

If you have something to move on too afterwards it can really help the mind focus. And it means all that studying you’ve done isn’t just for one thing. It really does have a purpose and that makes it more meaningful whether the language learning challenge goes well or not.

10 REMEMBER what you have ACHIEVED

If the worst happens and you have to pull out, or you get ill, try to think positively. Focus on what you have achieved and not what you haven’t. If you managed 25/50 days, that’s still amazing. Top performers reflect upon challenges as learning experiences.

If you were going to do it again, what would you learn from this experience? What would you do differently? Then your mind starts looking for answers. Instead of focusing on the negative you look at things you did right, and look for areas of improvement and that fires the brain towards something rather than away from it.

If you look at all the things you do wrong you actually are mentally rehearsing your mistakes, which means you are more likely to repeat them in the future! So don’t go into denial, put your focus on solutions and what you need to do to drive you forward, achieve your goals and complete a language learning challenge. Good luck!

Taking part in a language challenge? Let us know which one and how you are getting in the comments section below…

Learning Flemish Dutch in 100 Days

Trisha founder of
Language Learners Journal

Hallo there, starting in September my next language project will be learning Flemish-Dutch in 100 days!

Dutch is spoken by around 23 million people. It is a Germanic language at the heart of Europe. Spoken in the Netherlands (Holland) and Belgium. Flemish is the Belgian variant of Dutch and is spoken by over 5 million people in Belguim and parts of France!

Over the last few years, I’ve undertaken a number of language projects including…

  • Icelandic Basics in 28 Days – (Success).
  • Exploring Scots in 28 Days – (Failed).
  • Spanish in 90 days – with the goal of having a 15-minute conversation with a native speaker. I managed 20 minutes PLUS a Facebook LIVE! (Success – goal smashed).
  • A Year of Mandarin 2019 – I’ve had a 15-minute conversation, but the ultimate goal is for 30 minutes of conversation time!

During each challenge, I’ve documented my personal language learning journey on social media to inspire and (hopefully) help motivate other language learners. Plus to share the resources I have used.

For this challenge I want to demonstrate…

  • What you can achieve in just a minimum of 15-30 minutes consistent study a day over 100 day period.
  • Prove that you don’t need to move to a country to learn the language!
  • Demonstrate that you can learn a language independently and without breaking the piggy bank.

Why Learn Dutch?

Bruges, Belgium. Photography by Simon Dunbar.

More often then not English is spoken better in Europe than by UK natives! So if that is the case why bother!?

During my last trip to Belgium just saying things like please and thank you seemed to earn me the respect of the locals and they appreciated me trying.

As Holland and Belgium are my favourite places to visit I’ve been feeling for some time now that learning Dutch would be of great benefit to me – even if it’s just to read the menu without a double take.

Image may contain: text

The Goal: To learn to speak and read in Dutch to A2/B1 cusp level within 100 days, so I can have conversations with the people I meet – in Dutch – and make sense of the menus!

The Starting Line…

Currently, I am an absolute beginner in Dutch, but I’ll aspire to a B1 ‘cusp’ level within 100 days. Given my native language and knowledge of other Germanic languages, I feel this is challenging, but not unrealistic.

Goal setting is really important in language learning and I will have a plan in place because ‘you will never reach you destination if you don’t know where you are going‘!

Further Reading: Dutch in 100 Days Project – In the Beginning… * Dutch in 100 Days Project – The Midway Mark

The Plan?

Bruges, Belgium. Photography by Simon Dunbar.

To set aside a minimum of 15-30 minutes of consistent study time per week for the next 100 days. I’ll spend the first 10 days listening to materials and building vocabulary. Then I will move on to reading and writing before speaking.

I’ll be documenting the whole thing via my blog and on social media and post updates every 25 days. I’ll be working in blocks of 25 days.

Prep Week

To take a placement test to determine my current level of Dutch (done). To learn 1000 most common words in Dutch and complete the mini-review tests and exams. Then retake the placement test to see what progress I have made.

Block 1 : Greetings and Survival Phrases

  • The input method through audiobooks, podcasts, and vocabulary builders.
  • Work through the ‘Learn Dutch’ modules.
  • 15-30 minutes study per day.

Block 2: Dutch Grammar and Reading

  • Start to speak and read in Dutch.
  • Continue to work through the ‘Learn Dutch’ modules.
  • Increase study time to 30-45 minutes per day.

Block 3 : Getting Conversational

  • Book some lessons with professional tutors.
  • Find a Dutch-speaking study buddy to speak with!
  • Continue with the input method.

Block 4: Wild Card and Final Review

  • At the end of my ‘Dutch in 100 Days Project’, I’ll be doing a Facebook LIVE in Dutch!

Resources For This Project

Bruges, Belgium. Photography by Simon Dunbar.

I’ll be using all of the resources on Parleremo. This free language learning platform is packed with useful tools and materials. This will mean that I do not need to waste time searching the web.

I’ll also be taking part in the Parleremo Language Marathon to help keep me motivated whilst learning Dutch. Many challenges tend to use Facebook Groups, but what I like about this challenge is that it is hosted on the Parleremo platform. It has a wide range of tools and resources in 35+ different languages to help build a consistent study routine within a very supportive language learning community!

I have invested in the Dutch in Three Months Course from DK and the Lonely Plant Dutch Phrasebook, which is available on Amazon.

UTalk is one of another one of my favorite resources for learning languages. It uses verbal, visual and fun exercises to teach languages. A fabulous free alternative to this is LingoHut.

Not to forget that I’ll be using Duolingo and Memrise to build my vocabulary.

Finally I’ll be checking out the Learn Dutch course and Dutch Pod 101

If you want to follow my progress…

Like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter / Instagram

Please leave me your comments below, as I’m very keen to hear from you about this project and any resource recommendations!

Introducing the Language Marathon from Parleremo…

Do you ‘hop’ between languages without building any real consistency to your study routines?

Are you juggling many languages all at once?

Would you like to learn a language, but feel you are just too busy?

Language Learners Journal is excited to announce that we have teamed up with the Parleremo Language Community to create a brand new and exciting language learning challenge!

Parleremo, meaning ‘we’ll talk‘ in Italian is a free language learning platform with over 1200+ members. It has resources for 35+ languages (and growing). Originally created in 2008 it reopened in August 2019. With some BIG changes, including the brand new (small fee) challenge to help ‘level up‘ language learning!

Practice writing by creating journal articles in your target language.

Online language challenges are becoming very popular for independent language learners as they encourage motivation and community support.

These challenges do have excellent methods to combine accountability and motivation to greatly improve language skills using social media.

Recently prices have soared for online challenges with the average cost now reaching triple numbers for a 30-90 day challenge!

However, Parleremo Language Marathon is slightly different as it is hosted on our very own secure platform with access to many resources, tools and a supportive community to help keep you on track of your language learning.

Practice pronunciation by making recordings in your target language.

Motivation is important, but discipline is required in language learning to make real progress. It’s the discipline that drives you forward even through those difficult moments, inturn this fuels motivation and the reward pathways in the brain.”

Trisha Dunbar,
Founder of Language Learners Journal.
Co-Creator of the Parleremo Language Marathon.

The Way it Works…

Choose between two options:

  • The Mega Marathon: Want to make real progress and level up your language learning? Discover what routine works best for you and commit to a minimum of 15 minutes per day language study for the next 100 days within a supportive online community.
  • The Mini-Marathon: Perfect if you want a ‘taster‘ of a new language, revive the love for a language you may have studied years ago OR to check out the Parleremo Randomiser, where a language is generated for you! Commit to a minimum of 15 minutes per day language study for 26 consecutive days within a supportive online community. (Recommended if you new to language challenges).

“The Parleremo Language Marathon is based on the successful Parleremo language platform. We have all the resources you need to kick start language learning with the aim of ‘leveling up’ your target language!”

Erik Zidowecki Director of Scrivermo Publishing
Founder of Parleremo and
Co-Creator of The Parleremo Language Marathon.

Benefits of the Parleremo Language Marathon


✅ Choose a language OR have one randomly generated for you when you create a profile for the Language Learning Marathon!

✅ Keep track of your language learning progress over 26 days (mini-marathon) or 100 days (mega marathon) with the Language Logs feature.

✅ Take part in mini-challenges and earn virtual badges and points to keep you motivated.

✅ Go head-to-head with other participants.

✅ Visit the video vault of languages.

✅ Check out our library of resources.

Record yourself speaking or write a journal entry in your target language using the tools on our platform and receive feedback from other participants.

✅ Chat with other language learners via the forum, messenger or video chat systems avaliable on the platform.

✅ Weekly live check-ins, workshops, and unlimited email/forum support throughout the challenge from our professional and experienced learning coaches.

Certificate from the creators upon successful completion of the Parleremo Language Marathon.

✅ PLUS lots, lots more…

Interested? Register here for more information on how to join the Parlermo Language Marathon or share this article with your language learning friends.

Parrot Time Magazine: Indigenous Languages Special

*** OUT NOW!!! ***

A very special edition of Parrot Time Magazine to mark the year of #Indigenouslanguages 2019 ❤️

▶️ http://www.parrottime.com/index.php

You can read the PDF copy online here:
▶️ https://issuu.com/abavagada/docs/parrottime_issue035

The 28-Day Gratitude Challenge

From the 1st – 28th May Language Learners Journal will be running a 28-Day Gratitude Challenge in our online community The Self-Development Hub.

All you have to do is post one thing a day that you are grateful for.

Better still post it in the language you are currently learning (optional, but highly recommended)!

By committing to this challenge for 28 days you will be establishing a regular practice of wellbeing and self-kindness.

All posts from group members are required to start with…

I am grateful for...”

The 31 Benefits of Gratitude

#IamGrateful ❤️

10 Ways to build better habits that will improve your life.

Register

There is a misconception that it takes 21 days to form a habit. In reality forming a habit depends on the individual and the changes that one wishes to make. The misconception stems from a plastic surgeon called Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

Back in the 1950s Dr Maltz observed a  pattern emerging from his patients. It seemed on average it took a minimum of 21 days for a patient to readjust and accept the life changing surgery that had altered their appearance. This observation left Dr. Maltz to question his own experiences.

“These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” – Dr. Maxwell Maltz (1960), Psycho-Cybernetics.

However, here is how the misconception started as over the years self-help gurus have misquoted and shortened the minimum of 21 days to the belief that it takes ‘only‘ 21 days to form a habit! This is simply not true and habit formation depends on may different factors.

The author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg wrote that habits are not born, but created. Every bad, good or insignificant habit starts with a psychological pattern that he referred to as a “habit loop.”

This “habit loop” is a three-fold process.

  1. The first step is the trigger that tells your brain to acceptance certain behavior.
  2. The second step is the behavior itself, or the routine it creates and finally the
  3. The final step is the reward, or “something that your brain likes that helps it remember the ‘habit loop’ in the future.”

ACCEPTANCE + ROUTINE + REWARD = HABIT 

 Recommended Reading:

Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Mindset: changing the way you think to fulfill your potential. 

65 Inspiring challenge ideas to improve your life…

Bookclub 1

How long does it really take to build a new habit?

A Research study conducted by Dr. Phillipa Lally (2009) concluded that on average it took 2 months (66 days) for a new behavior pattern to become automatic and the participants to start seeing noticeable results.

“To change a habit, make a conscious decision, then act out the new behavior.”  – Dr. Maxwell Maltz

20 odd days to accept the new behavior pattern as observed by Dr. Maltz, a further 20 days to build a routine and finally 20 days to ensure you are rewarding the brain for the new routine it is establishing.

Get the ball rolling for forming a new habit with community support from the #15x100Challenge.  The 100 day challenge focuses on one goal for a minimum of 15 minutes per day for 100 days. This walks you through the ‘habit loop‘ to ensure you are not just setting better habits to achieve your goals, but you are starting to see noticeable changes in your life.

Are you up for the challenge?

10 ways to build a new habit…

silhouette photography of people near body of water
Photo by Bithin Raj on Pexels.com

1. Stop with the Self-judging

Research shows it can take months to build a new habit NOT weeks. So don’t be hard on yourself if you are not seeing the desired benefits straight away. 21 days is merely the point of acceptance and recognition. Push past this phrase to see success.

2.  Let go of perfectionism

It is worth noting that making a mistake once or twice has no measurable impact on your long-term habits. This is why you should treat failure like a scientist, give yourself permission to make mistakes, and develop strategies for getting back on track quickly!

3. Get into a daily routine

Your brain loves routine and habits are more likely to take effect if you work on a good daily routine. You will need to stick at this routine for a minimum of 66 days before it starts to become automatic.  So choose a time that you can stick to on a daily basis.

4. Discipline over motivation

There are a lot of articles on improving motivation, but this can be another misconception. The most successful of people will tell you that it is discipline rather than motivation that initially drives them. They continue even when motivation is low. Discipline drives motivation so by pushing through the difficult patches it will help motivate you in the future.

5. Learn to love the process

Remember habits are a process rather than a goal with a deadline. You need to embrace and enjoy the process.

6. Breaking goals into Small chunks

New habit formation will work best when you set small manageable daily or weekly goals  rather than focusing on everything all at once! Focusing on the bigger picture can sometimes feel overwhelming especially in the beginning.

7. Stop paying attention to negativity

Don’t pay attention to the negativity of others when forming a new goal. What they are really revealing is how they feel about themselves. Equally it’s your own choice if you listen to your own negativity or choose to push pass this. The most successful of people accept this is a stage that we all go through when building new habits and have learnt through experience that it will pass.

8. Don’t focus on the number

21/66/ 100 they are all but numbers, love the process and reflect upon your progress at regular intervals. Not making the progress you want? Reflect on goals and pivot if you have to just don’t give up!

9. “If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got“. – Henry Ford

If we keep doing the same things we will always get the same results. If you want to form a new habit then you must embrace change.

10. Get Accountable for your actions

I read a blog post once that said keep goals to yourself, actually the opposite is true hold yourself publicly accountable for your goals. You never know who might be able to help you or inspire you to continue when you feel like giving up.

15x100Join the #15×100 Challenge, where you choose to focus one thing, i.e. learning a new language, mindfulness practice, exercise for a minimum of 15 minutes per day for 100 days with full support from an awesome community of goal-getters.

 

What new habit would you like to form? Let me know in the comments section below or on social media using the hashtag x15x100Challenge.

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The 15x100 Challenge

 

65 Inspiring challenge ideas to improve your life…

You can make a massive difference to your life without having to spend lots of money in only 15 minutes per day for 100 days. This post presents you with 65 challenge ideas to inspire your life.

65 15 minutes x 100 day inspiring challenge ideas…

1. Learn a foreign language by practicing for as little as 15 minutes per day for the next 100 days.

2. Give a compliment everyday for the next 100 days.

3. Draw or paint a picture everyday for the next 100 days and build a portfolio.

4. Write in a journal for the next 100 days.

5. Exercise daily – doesn’t mean joining a gym!

6. *Give up alcohol for 100 days and research ways to detox.

7. Give up watching TV for 100 days and use the extra time to find a new hobby.

8. Listen to a different song everyday for 100 days.

9. Spend 3 – 15 minutes just focusing on your breath every day!

10. Take time out each day to observe your thoughts without judgement and note your mood.

11. Take a photograph & add some effects to it… every day for the next 100 days.

12. Work on writing a story or song 15 minutes per day for 100 days.

13. Grow your vocab – learn a new word a day!

14. Teach others something new every day.

15. Think of your worst habit that you’ve been meaning to ditch and work on giving it up over the next 100 days.

16. Do some gentle stretching exercises for 15 minutes everyday for the next 100 days.

17. Do some yoga everyday for the next 100 days.

18. Read an inspirational and motivational blog a day…extra kudos if it is in a language you are learning!

19. Write a blog post everyday for the next 100 days!

20. Spend 15 minutes a day repeating positive affirmations and practicing positive thinking.

21. Keep a laughter journal. Write down one thing a day that really made you laugh.

22. Work on those abs – Do 50 sit-ups a day.

23. Scribble or write some quotes on the back of a postcard everyday for the next 100 days.

24. Prepare or cook something healthy everyday for the next 100 days.

25. Cycle for at least 15 minutes everyday for the next 100 days.

26. Keep a worry journal, rate worries from 1 – 10 and write a solution for the main worries. Notice any patterns occurring? Note these down too, along with an action plan.

27. Write and reflect upon a gratitude list for the next 100 days.

28. What have you always wanted to do but never have? Write a bucket list and spend the next 100 days completing as many items from it as possible. #BucketList

29. Take up knitting or crochet. Random I know, but knit or crochet an item a day! Post your creations on Instagram or Pinterest with the hastag #15x100Challenge for extra credit and as a record of progress being made.

30. Don’t bitch OR moan or saying ANYTHING negative about people for the next 100 days!

31. Live on a really strict budget for the next 100 days and save some money!

32. Wake up at 5am to do 15 minutes meditation every morning for the next 100 days.

33. Spend 15 minutes every morning playing devils advocate with yourself to challenge your own beliefs.

34. Face a fear!  Push yourself out of your comfort zone and work on a phobia for the next 100 days.

35. Spend 15 minutes learning to love yourself.

36. Learn a new magic trick everyday for the next 100 days.

37. Plant a flower a day — in your garden or at random places.

38. Write a motivational quote on a sticky note everyday for you guessed it the next 100 days and pop them in random places, such as in library books or on trees!

39. Business owner? Work on your social media marketing for at least 15 minutes per day everyday for the next 100 days.

40. Get you and your friends to write down cool ideas for things to do and put them in a hat and pull out a different thing each day for the next 100 days.

41. Can’t draw? Then practice every day for the next 100 days record your progress in a sketchbook and post on Instagram, prepare to be amazed with the results!

42. Learn to play an instrument in 100 day, i.e. the ukulele, flute, guitar…

43.*Stop smoking over the next 100 days. If you need some support check out this awesome NHS site. #SmokeFree.

44. Learn something new over the next 100 days…

45. Make a patchwork quilt in 100 days.

46. Research a different culture, religion or philosophy every day for the next 100 days.

47. Read about a different period of history every day.

48. Do one thing each day that makes you feel inspired.

49. Revamp your house in 100 days.

50. Deep clean, sort and tidy your home by focusing on one small area everyday for the next 100 days.

51. Spend at least 15 minutes in nature whether it’s your garden, a park, the countryside or the beach.

52. Go caffeine free for 100 days.

53. Ditch social media sites for 100 days, or limit yourself to just 15 minutes per day.

54. Spend 100 days as a vegetarian or vegan

55. Do at least 1 random act of kindness everyday.

56. Visit a new website everyday.

57. Read a chapter of a book. Finished the whole book then start a new chapter of a new book!

58. Ditch your car and walk.

59. Be positive for 100 days straight even if things go wrong, focus only on the positives.

60. Change sleeping patterns i.e. go to bed earlier or wake up earlier and stick to those times EVERYDAY for 100 days (even weekends).

61. Spend 100 days fundraising for a charity or promoting a good cause.

62. Grow those brain cells… Do a brain training puzzle everyday,  like sudoku, crosswords or  Lumosity puzzles for 15 minutes per day, everyday for the next 100 days.

63. Reflect upon and write down something you love about your partner or a close family member every day and give them the list after your 100 day challenge.

64. Read or write a poem a day.

65. Dance or sing everyday — whether you’re good at it or not.

BONUS. DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for 15 minutes, everyday for the next 100 days!

Thank you for reading this post. I wish you all the best with whatever challenge you decide to do over the next 100 days. If you decide to try out any of the challenges mentioned then please keep in touch or share your progress on social media with the hashtag #15x100Challenge.  I’d love to hear how you get on.

On Twitter? Why not hold yourself publicly accountable and Tweet about the challenge you would like to do!

Don’t forget to like our brand new Facebook Page and join our free supportive Self-Development Hub to help keep you motivated and disciplined during the challenge.

If you have any ideas not on the list please let me know in the comments section below.


Register

The Parleremo Language Marathon Challenge

The Parleremo Language Marathon is one of the most underestimated language challenges out there! Unlike a majority of the higher-priced language challenges, Parleremo has its own resources and tools. It is also hosted on its very own language learning platform.

I’ve enrolled! 😀

Are up for this language challenge too?

Keep reading if you have no idea what the Parleremo Language Marathon is?

BUT if you are ready to sign up to complete the challenge, the big blue registration button is below 👇👇👇

Not heard of the Parleremo Language Marathon? Then I am pleased that you have discovered this blog post today! Registration for the last 26-day mini-marathon of the year closes on Thursday 7th November 2019!

I’ll explain what you can expect from the challenge in this short video below…

JOIN ME!  I’m taking the 26-Day Parleremo Language Marathon in November to kickstart learning Scots!

If you do decide to take the challenge, let’s help each other and share our language learning experiences using the hashtag #PLM19!  Although the challenge is hosted on its very own platform, we have created a private Facebook Group for marathoners who have registered (or are potentially interested in registering) and graduate members of the language marathon. JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP HERE!  

What is Parleremo?

Parleremo means “We will speak” in Italian. It is a free language learning platform where you can learn 30+ different languages from the usual English, German, Spanish and French to Dutch, Mandarin and even Arabic online.

Although the language learning platform is free there is a small entry fee for the challenges. This is to cover the costs of creating new resources, hosting the ever-expanding site and paying professionals to ensure the accuracy of the resources.

What I love most of this challenge is unlike most language challenges out there it is hosted on its own platform and actually has language resources and tools! I am a busy person so not having to find my own resources saves me tons of time that I can then re-invest into my language learning ❤️

Also, a lot of challenges focus on the conservational approach, whilst Parleremo does not neglect the literacy aspects of language learning. You can choose to post updates in a video, audio or written form.

The Parleremo Language Marathon is a challenge designed to take your language learning to the next level providing you put in the work!

Motivation is great, but it will only get you to the halfway mark! Just like a real marathon, if you want to be successful at learning a new language it is going to take commitment, discipline, consistent practice, and community peer support to give you a boost in fluency within 100 days!

There are 2 options available…

  • The Mega-Marathon: If you want to boost your fluency. Commit to a minimum of 15 minutes per day language training for the next 100 days. Challenge starts in January 2020
  • The Mini-Marathon: If you want to get a ‘taster’ of a language. Commit to a minimum of 15 minutes per day language training for 26 consecutive days. Recommended if you are new to language challenges or want to check out the randomizer feature. Challenge starting shortly, register today!

You can take the marathon in whatever language you are studying (we have resources for 30+ languages on the platform).

When does it start?

The next mini-marathon starts on Friday 9th November and lasts 26 days. This will be the last marathon of 2019 🙁 BUT we will be back in January with our popular 100-day mega marathon 😀

Want to know a little bit more about the language Marathon? Check out some testimonials of previous members too, click the button blue below?

Do let me know if you register as I’m doing the marathon too!!!

I’d love you to join me on the next language run! If you register for the Parleremo Language Marathon come and hang out with me and our supportive community in our Facebook Group. So we can help keep each other motivated and accountable!

Did you know….?

Parleremo is a big supporter of the Language Learners Journal’s mission to make high-quality language learning resources more affordable. I am also a really big fan of the Parleremo language products and the free resources that they provide to language learners globally.

I am excited about the opportunity to kickstart my learning of Scots for the 26-day challenge and continue with Dutch for the next 100-day challenge starting in January. Time to push through the comfort zones and level up our language learning together!

If you are interesting in taking part in the challenge, have already taken part in one of the challenges OR just have any questions please post them in the comments section below…