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10 / 01 / 2005

ENGLISH HABITS: meaning and examples

Good morning. Happy New Year and welcome back to the Daily Vitamin! I hope all of you enjoyed your holidays. For many people, January is a very popular time to start studying English again. But if you are going to return to English this month, then you are probably doing something wrong. Successful English students don't ever leave their English "studies" in the first place; they know that they must not only learn, but also constantly maintain their English. If you want to learn English AND maintain what you've learnt, you have to make English a habit; a part of your Daily routine, even on Sundays and holidays! An English habit MUST NOT be difficult. For example, an hour study session or going to class would be difficult, if not impossible, to make a daily habit. The English activity that you want to become an automatic habit should be short and easy: reading aloud to improve pronunciation; watching films and TV programmes in original version, etc. (NB: If you are not a Ziggurat student and would like me to send you a document with sample English activities that you can convert into daily habits, please send me an e-mail.) In Dan Robey's book "The Power of Positive Habits" he encourages his readers to take small steps to improve their lives by adding simple habits to their daily routine that will promote good health, better relationships and self-development. Mr Robey stresses the magic number of 21 days to form a habit. If you want something to become an automatic habit, you need to do it every day for 21 days. To help you stay consistent, Mr Robey suggests "triggers" (disparadores) for each habit. A trigger is something that will remind you of the habit you are trying to develop. For example, if you have decided to read aloud for 2-3 minutes per day before bed in order to improve pronunciation, you may want to put a Post It with the words "Read Aloud" on your night table, so you will remember to do this activity every night. So which English habit will you add to your daily routine this year? You may want to add more than one. The Daily Vitamin could be a daily habit, but you need something for weekends and holidays. Remember; if you would like suggested activities please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail. And if you have any questions or comments about today's Daily Vitamin, you may also contact me. Have a great day!