5 Things Crucial To Achieving Your New Year’s Resolution

New Year's Resolution Language Learning

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday period wherever you are in the world. :)

I’m currently back home in Australia for a short break before I head back to the Mid East to continue working on TalkInArabic.com.

Our small team will be heading to a region that I’ve never had the chance to visit before so I’m very excited about what the new year has in store!

Today I wanted to share 5 things that are absolutely crucial in helping you achieve your resolutions for the new year.

Follow these and make 2015 your year of accomplishment.


1. Wake up to the reality that you’re going to die and it could be tomorrow

You’re going to die.

You and the people dearest to you will all die.

That’s pretty heavy when you stop and think about it for a moment. It’s totally unavoidable and a reality that every single person has to face at some point.

And the worst part about it?

It could be at any moment.

You might have 70 years left on the clock or 7 years. Could be 7 hours or 7 minutes.

The last thing I want is to get to the end of my life and think about all the quality time I spent sitting here talking about things that I plan to do but never quite got around to.

Or stuff that I was too afraid to at least try my best.

When you put life into this kind of perspective it creates a powerful sense of urgency. You’ll push yourself to constantly achieve because you know the clock is always ticking and life is so unpredictable.

Whenever a day goes by that’s one less day that you have.


2. If you have a new year’s resolution, start in December before it even begins

December is not the time just to think about what you’re going to get done next year.

Start now.

We think a year is a long time but before we know it it’s October, then November and then Christmas again.

It’s easy to think of the end of the new year as being far off. We trick ourselves into believing that the year ahead is long and that there’s plenty of time to accomplish all that we want to do.

If your new year’s resolution is to travel somewhere, reserve or buy the tickets right now. Close this page now, open up a site like Skyscanner, Hipmunk or Expedia and book the tickets.

It’s done. You’re going. Now you’ve got between now and then to work out the rest.

You can take the same approach to just about anything else you plan to make part of your new year’s resolution.

Start today.


3. Stop saying ‘let me just get over this hurdle…’ – if you’re saying this then it’s never going to happen.

The grass is never greener on the other side.

In terms of age the grass only gets browner every year! :)

I know a few people who have been talking about quitting smoking in the new year. “Oh, I’ll just get over this hurdle at work first.”

They’ve been saying the same thing every single December for the last 8 years.

Whichever analogy you use whether it’s hurdles, mountains or whatever, life is full of them and as soon as you conquer one you’re staring at another five.

Waiting until conditions are just right before trying is foolishness. You’ll be waiting forever.

You’ve got the resolve. Do it now.


4. There are 12 months in a year. Make a resolution for each of those 12 months of the year.

Or make each month a step toward a massive end of year goal.

So for example if quitting smoking is your new year’s resolution and going cold turkey is impossible for you, set a very achievable goal at the end of each month where you cut down or introduce new, healthy habits gradually instead.

If your goal is to learn to speak French, you could set yourself very measurable, achievable goals each month that lead up to an end of year trip to France.

This coming new year for me personally will be a massively hectic year full of travel between 4 continents so I’m managing my own resolutions to get these things done by setting monthly goals the very same way.

The important thing is that you can look at each month of the year and be proud of yourself for moving forward.


5. Separate the ‘will do’s’ from the ‘hope to’s’

When we talk about new year’s resolutions the reality is that not all of it can be achieved.

We’d love to be able to do it all and even though we may be serious about getting it done, it just might not be doable for reasons beyond our control.

So separate the ‘will do’s’ from the ‘hope to’s’ right now.

The ‘will do’s’ are things that you can absolutely accomplish and have no excuse for failing.

The ‘hope to’s’ are things that you can at least work toward but not feel totally bad over if they don’t get done.

Once you have them separated like this, you’ll be even more serious about getting the ‘will do’s’ done because you’re honest with yourself that there isn’t a valid excuse for failure.

Here are my personal new year’s will do’s:

1. Due to the fairly sudden rapid growth of my pet project TalkInArabic.com, I’ve partnered up with an Egyptian friend of mine (see the picture above) to help speed up producing content for all the different dialects on the site.

We’re visiting other parts of the Middle East and North Africa to work with different Arabic speakers and work on video and a new podcast series for learners among other things.

This is my number one ‘will do’ for the year.

2. I will spend more time at home visiting family and enjoying my own country which I miss terribly.

Believe it or not, spending whole years at a time gallivanting around the globe takes its toll in many ways. This year I’ll spend more of my time visiting home.

3. Master Koine Greek.

This is an important personal goal of mine and something I’ll mention a bit more soon (I’ll share some tips and advice with you on how to learn dead/ancient/written languages effectively).

4. Visit the USA.

It’s one of the few parts of the world I’ve never visited but I’ll be finally heading there (west coast) sometime in the summer. If any of you live around the San Fran area I’ll shout you a coffee. :)

And here are my ‘hope to’s':

1. Improve my existing languages.

I hope to spend time in the new year actively improving Irish, Korean and Russian.

2. Start a new language in the second half of the year.

I usually like to get stuck into a new language at the beginning of each year but since the coming year is so hectic for me I have to break tradition this time and start later (I hope to).

Although I will be spending time learning other Arabic dialects so that kinda counts. 😉

3. More post-grad study at uni.

I hope to get back into the books for a while but we’ll see.

So you see that by separating these things I’m being honest with myself about what I’m dead-set on accomplishing in the new year and the things that are less prioritised for now.

What are your own ‘will do’s’?

Achieve them in the new year by applying the advice above.

In summary:

1. Create a sense of urgency. Life isn’t getting any longer.

2. Start immediately. Not tomorrow.

3. Stop waiting for ideal conditions before you get started. The grass is never greener.

4. Make every month count. Set micro goals to help you achieve a big goal.

5. Be honest with yourself and separate the ‘hope to’s’ from the ‘will do’s’.

Happy New Year! :)


This was written by .

Did you find this interesting, useful or encouraging? A quick share on Facebook or Twitter will make my day! Thanks. :)

Comments: If you’ve got something you’d like to add to this or some constructive criticism you can do that at the bottom of this page. Just please be respectful. Any abusive or nonsensical comments will be deleted.

Merry Christmas! Here Are Some Last Minute Gift Ideas + 40% Discount On TalkInArabic.com

Qatar Souq Waqif

G’day from sunny Qatar!

I’m spending a week here in Doha at the moment for the first time ever and it’s been a really great opportunity to meet lots of Arabic speakers from loads of different countries.

I’ve had the chance to speak Arabic with Qataris, Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians and Tunisians over the last few days. :)

It’s really surprising to me considering so many people have said that Qatar is a terrible place to learn Arabic because there are few opportunities to practice.

My experience has been the complete opposite!

There’s a huge population of Arab workers here from other countries so it’s actually a very good place to meet people if you make the effort.

For those of you in the Gulf region who are putting off learning the language because you can’t find opportunities to talk to people, I say get off your butt and open your eyes! :)

Shortly I’ll be heading back to Cairo for a few weeks and then heading home to Australia for a much needed Christmas break with family and some relaxing beach time before another big year in the Mid East and elsewhere.

I’ll be putting in loads of time and work to improve my pet project TalkInArabic.com throughout the year and aiming for some new language goals as well which I can’t wait to share.

So as I like to do every year at this time, I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas (some of us still believe in it! :)) and happy holiday season, and to share a few last minute Christmas gift ideas with you if you’re shopping for anyone who’s into languages or wants to learn a language.

Here are just a few of the many many recommendations I would make for Christmas shopping this year:


Experience is the best gift for a language learner

As I said last year, just about the best thing you could give a language learner for Christmas is not something that might end up on the bookshelf gathering dust.

The reality is that a lot of people do want to learn a language but even if they’re given a great book or program, they might not know how to use it effectively.

A great gift ends up not being used.

So I say instead of giving them a thing, give them an experience.

Give them prepaid lessons with a teacher who they can get guidance from and practice the language with.

The good thing is you can easily buy gift cards from italki and have them emailed to your friends and family so that they can use them to purchase sessions with native teachers of their choice.

Or you could even schedule the sessions yourself for them. :)

I know that I personally would much prefer someone give me a voucher for 10 or so lessons with a native speaker than another book or program!

Click here to purchase an italki gift card and have it sent straight away.


40% discount on TalkInArabic.com membership

When I first announced that we were starting TalkInArabic.com to mailing list subscribers a short while ago, we set the price at only $9 a month for full access to all current and future content.

Ever since the price was raised to its current $15 a month price, I’ve received a number of emails from people saying something to the tune of, “Hey! What happened to the $9 a month price?”

So… just because it’s Christmas, for the rest of this month we’re going to cut 40% off the price of membership.

If you’re learning Arabic or know anybody who is then take advantage of this opportunity while you can.

It’s the only website of its kind for Arabic dialects and it’s continuing to grow and improve each week.

Click here to check it out.


The perfect Bon Voyage gift ideas

Do you know someone who’s heading off overseas soon?

Perhaps they’re not a serious, dedicated, long-term language learner but you want something that’ll help them get started and to be able to travel around a bit easier.

Here are a few ideas that will only set you back a few bucks and always make great Christmas gift ideas.

First of all, as always I highly recommend Earworms Musicial Brain Trainer.

Think of it as a better alternative to a language phrasebook. It exploits the same part of the brain where music gets ‘stuck’ when we can’t get a song out of our heads, and it’s amazingly effective at helping you remember language.

It’s the kind of thing that a person could enjoyably listen to on a long-haul flight or journey somewhere (speaking from experience).

I’m also a big fan of Berlitz phrasebooks which are as cheap as chips, very comprehensive and small enough to fit in your pocket.

The Confident series are excellent as they’re quite comprehensive but really simple and easy to follow.

For a bit of a gag bon voyage gift you could also consider the Dirty or Making Out (definitely not recommended for Arabic though!) series of phrasebooks which are only a couple of dollars too.


Game of Thrones fan?

Dothraki Language

I mentioned this recently on Facebook but in case you missed it here it is again. :)

I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan myself so I was delighted to hear that Living Language recently created a Dothraki book and CD set to teach fans the language of the nomadic horsemen from the series.

Granted it’s a constructed language and completely useless in the real world like Tolkien‘s Elvish or Star Trek Klingon, but for fans and enthusiasts of constructed languages it’s a good bit of craic. :)

And for less than $15 it’d be a great gift for a hardcore Game of Thrones fan I’m sure.


Gifts for more serious learners

My friend Mike from Glossika has done an absolutely phenomenal job this year in putting together a tonne of of language products that are sure to be helpful to many people.

I personally sampled, used and loved the Russian version they put together.

Have a look at all the languages available here.

For those of you learning Egyptian Arabic specifically and not at a complete beginner level, I want to recommend two books which I’ve sampled recently:

Umm al-Dunya Kalaam Gamiil

Umm al-Dunya and Kalaam Gamiil (both volumes) from AUC Press here in Egypt.

I’ve been meaning to put a video review together for both of these but I’ve just been so busy with TalkInArabic.com and travel lately that I haven’t had a chance to do any video work.

Definitely get these books.

If you know somebody who’s learning Spanish, tell them about my friend Jared’s website SpeakingLatino.com.

It’s a treasure trove of useful stuff, especially for people who are interested in Latin American Spanish. There are lots of really inexpensive Spanish products on there that would great as gifts.

For learners of Korean and Russian, I recently checked out Korean Made Simple by Billy Go and The Everything Essential Russian Book by Julie Stakhnevich which are both affordable and excellent resources for both languages. I ordered a copy of both of them myself.

For Irish, I still have to say that nothing beats the Gaeilge Gan Stró series. I reviewed it a while back here and have recently decided to use it to reactive my very rusty Irish.

You could also get the Irish translation of The Hobbit (An Hobad) to coincide with the upcoming release of the last film in the trilogy.

I reviewed that here.

Finally, you might also remember that I reviewed Rocket Languages not too long ago.

Well since I wrote that review, there have been lots of changes and improvements in the works for the Rocket series (which address the concerns I raised in my honest review).

They cover a lot of different languages and as I said in the review, the audio content is outstanding and well worth the investment.

Check that out here.


Since I can’t cover every language and every awesome resource here, what would you recommend as a great, last minute Christmas gift idea for somebody learning your language?


This was written by .

Did you find this interesting, useful or encouraging? A quick share on Facebook or Twitter will make my day! Thanks. :)

Comments: If you’ve got something you’d like to add to this or some constructive criticism you can do that at the bottom of this page. Just please be respectful. Any abusive or nonsensical comments will be deleted.

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