Three or four times a year, I get really motivated to get in shape. I buy a running magazine. I listen to the RunRunLive podcast. I make goals for the quantity and duration of runs, create a running log to keep track of it all and generally start out gangbusters. I awake early to slip into my shoes and out the door. I religiously do my regimine of situps and pushups and I begin to get into shape - until it happens. I don’t know how it happens, but it always does. The motivation runs dry. Sometimes my exercising lasts up to a month. But it has never lasted. But if motivation alone is not enough, what am I to do? Resign myself to a life of fits and starts? Give up? Acccept the fact that I am by nature a lazy oaf?

This year I decided to try something new. I call it the Seinfeld plan to a fitter me. It was his idea after all. I printed a calendar - all the months of the year on a single sheet of paper - hung it on my bathroom wall and set the goal to do some form of exercise everyday. If I do, I put a blue dot on the day. Then I begin to make a chain of blue dots. Then I don’t break the chain. Eight days and counting so far. Somedays I run. Somedays I walk forty minutes up and down the steep hills near my son’s school after I drop him off in the morning. Tonight I stepped out of the house, walked down to the end of the local park and returned home thirteen minutes later. Hardly a quality workout and probably did little to get me in shape. But this year I had a revelation. My goals in the past had been the wrong goals for me. This year there is only one goal - begin a new habbit. After the habbit is formed, then I will worry about the quality of the workouts. For now, my only goal is to make chains of blue dots on the calendar.

If you are a beginning language learner, maybe the first thing you need to do is work on forming a habbit. Do something everyday. Anything.

Just don’t break the chain.


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