Sometimes I fear that my writings and suggestions make me seem like a super man, or seem like I do everything right. Other language blogs I read are often written by extremely motivated and accomplished Chinese learners. Sometimes, that can be an inspiration, but other times it might be a bit discouraging, too.
But don’t despair. I’m not a perfect language student, or a perfect person. This past week is a good example.
Last week wasn’t a successful week. Getting sick took away a few days, leaving me busier than usual. I also planned to do too much, a recipe for possible failure. I’m often overly-optimistic when it comes to planning, and so this week, I’m eating a bit of crow.
I didn’t plan to get sick at the beginning of the week, but that’s happened. When I have the flu, my mind doesn’t work. I just lay in bed, drink fluids and rest. My recovery found me busily working on my website for learning to study hanzi and read Chinese. It should be finished in a week or so.
I only studied once this week. But this week is over now. I won’t carry my regrets to next week. One bad week happens once in a while. The key is to prevent one bad week from becoming two and then three bad weeks in succession.
How to prevent bad weeks from happening
AJATT has good advice on this: create your environment and plan your environment for learning your language. To avoid the temptation of watching US TV or reading too much news, I’m going to remove the English related apps reading and video apps from my iPad. That will leave me with the Chinese apps and lots of good Chinese content.
Realistically, next week will be tough. Being Chinese New Year (aka. Spring Festival or 春季 Chūnjié), I don’t know how much free time I’ll have to study. So, I’ll do most of my studying in the morning after waking up.
After waking up, the first thing I’ll do is crack open my iPad and do some reading. If you’re a morning person I suggest you try the same. If you’re an evening person make studying Chinese the last
thing you do before you go to bed at night.
Actions you can take:
- Create your environment: remove the things that prevent you from studying Chinese from your life and add the things that help you study it.
- Study first thing in the morning or right before bed.
- Study things that are fun.
- Only try to focus on one or two things at a time.
What I did last week
- Read 3 articles on 财信
- I failed to add any words to my flashcard sets. I’ll try again to do so this week.
- Look for a language partner: another failure. Unfortunately, this will have to wait till after the holiday.
- Watch the news. Simple, yet I didn’t do it. Part of the problem here might be I find the news more boring than watching paint dry.
- Watch a movie/video with my wife: We watched an old Stephen Chow 贺岁片儿(hèsuì piànr: a movie released around the Lunar new year) called 家有囍事 (jiā yǒu xǐshì: All’s Well, Ends Well). It was funny and wacky in the way HK movies used to be in the 90′s. Like most HK movies in China, it was dubbed in Mandarin. Stephen Chow apparently always uses the same Mandarin voice actor for all of his movies.
If you’re keeping score, that’s 2/5 this week.
The plan for next week
- Flashcards. I’ve just about finished the beta SRS Flashcard functionality for 3000 Hanzi, so I’ll begin using it to study. It ties seamlessly into the articles that I’m reading, which makes it much more convenient than other options.
- Watch more TV: since next week is the Chinese New Year, this should be an easy task to do.
- Read more articles on caixin. Next week, I’ll make Caixin my only source for news. The goal is to read some everyday.
Don’t get discouraged if you have a bad week. Make the next week better by changing your environment so that it works for you.