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Cultivating discipline and understanding what you should study

Discipline is not an inherent trait, but a set of habits and mental tools that help one start projects and stay on-task. 

Not every day will you find it easy to sit at your desk and study. If this is you, you may need to find ways to force yourself to at least begin studying. 

Try promising yourself to simply start with the intention of only doing five minutes. Usually you will find it easier to continue once you have already started. However, avoid tricking your brain by trying to go over the limit of what was promised – five minutes is five minutes, so that the next time you don’t get a negative reaction to your own promises.

What should I study?” is a question that should be answered more than once during your language learning journey

Two fundamental factors weigh on your choice of what to study:

1. Your goals

2. Your weaknesses

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Your goals

You should be regularly attempting your goal to improve at it. The best activities for study either closely simulate or match your goals. 

For example, if you are learning a language for its literature, reading a book is a perfect exercise. 

If your goal is to have conversations, reading can be considered a good simulation for the purposes of learning new forms or vocabulary, but you want to be focusing on listening and speaking activities.

Your weaknesses

A weakness is anything that prevents you successfully completing your goal. Based on your experience engaging with your goals, try to decide what is most holding you back. 

For example, if you can read but struggle to watch TV shows without subtitles, you may need to work on your aural comprehension.

If you’re not sure, it’s a good bet your vocabulary is holding you back at least somewhat. A fluent speaker of English knows over 10,000 words, and you’re probably not there yet.

Once you’ve identified a weakness, choose resources and do activities that let you improve that aspect or skill you are lacking in. 

For instance, you may choose podcasts because you struggle to understand spoken language, or you may pick some written content that interests you to help you learn words.

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