Duolingo and Other Goals

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I’ve had one of those weeks where it feels like everything has fallen off. Ever have that? It was as though I had got to a place where everything was revolving nicely around me, and then suddenly it was gone. There is loads I want and have to do, but as soon as I have time, I feel deeply unmotivated and really tired.

I think it is just falling out of routine, but I’ve decided – hopefully sensibly – not to dwell on why it has happened. Instead, I am going to focus on what it is I want to achieve, professionally and personally. 2014 is the year my life changes!! I’ve narrowed it down to about six things which I think are achievable. Hopefully I’m not hugely over-stretching myself!

– Writing

Obviously! I quit my job to be a writer and editor in January, and happily I have had some work. Unfortunately in all the excitement I have been forgetting my goal of publishing a novel this year. As such, I think I need to separate out this particular type of writing and give it some particular focus. I’m not going for a crazy NaNoWriMo (otherwise known as November failure) timescale, but I am going to aim to write a thousand words a day. At the very least, I will spend 15 minutes a day on novel work. A journey of a thousand miles and all that!

– Exercise

This had been going very well. Alas, I didn’t go at all last week and then I drank everything on Friday, so I am feeling pretty blobby this week. I’ve decided therefore to commit to going three times a week for at least an hour. This morning, when I was lying in bed hating the world, I read the Zen Habits blog from Friday about changing habits. I have clearly completely ignored all the sensible advice about starting new habits one at a time, but one thing that was useful to me re exercise was the idea of a trigger. Unfortunately my gym buddy has cried off gym for a while so I am in desperate need of a trigger, and what I have decided to start doing is not washing my hair in the morning when I intend to go to the gym later. I really like to have clean hair every day – and I don’t care if I’m not supposed to because my hair is always in super condition! – so this will mean that I am prompted to go to the gym later to actually justify the second shower. That’s the theory!

– Music

I’m not a really musical person, but about two years ago now I bought a piano. I used to play when I was younger and I really felt like taking it up again, so I bought it. Most of the time, unfortunately, it just gathers dust. I think I expected to be better than I was and found it demoralising. I do play, but very infrequently and obviously I will not get better if I don’t practice. I would like to practice every day, but that might be unrealistic so for the moment I am aiming for three times a week.

– Languages

Languages is one of those things I regret giving up, like piano. I feel like my life would be so much better now if I could speak another language, mainly because it makes me feel arrogant to assume everyone speaks English. I did French and Spanish at school, and I have been meaning to learn German for a while, mainly so I can read things in the original German. Not all of them about Nazis. Anyway, a friend of mine showed me Duolingo and I thought ah! What larks! Now I shall learn German! Oh, but what a shame to lose the French I know. And the Spanish…

Yes, I’ve started three languages. DON’T JUDGE ME! I’m aiming to do exercises on these every day, and to be honest it is easier to do because they send me nagging emails. Generally it takes about five minutes per exercise, so two exercises on each every day is only half an hour. Fluency, here I come.

– Crafts

Mostly knitting, but I’m keen to learn crochet and I’m pretty fond of cross-stitch too. I have absolutely tons of wool and some really pretty patterns, so I want to use them, plus it makes me feel bad  a) to have so many unfinished projects and b) to be sitting in front of the television with nothing to do. So every time I watch television, I shall bring out my needles.

– Reading

My reading has really fallen off recently, and I have about four books actively on the go, as opposed to the fifty I started and got distracted from and the hundreds I have bought and not started. I have barely dented my Classics Club list! I don’t think it is hard to read every day so I’m going to aim for at least fifteen minutes. Yay me!

Maybe these are really tall orders, but I know that when I feel I am being productive, I feel better about myself. For some reason at the moment I am not feeling that great, so I think productivity is the way to go. If next week’s blog post is just tears rather than jolly success triumphing, we can assume I was wrong.

I’m off to the gym now. And maybe while I’m on the bike, I’ll learn some German. Oh yeah!



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6 Responses »

  1. Wow, yuou and I have very similar goals going on, Writing, language learning, music. However, in the language department I would suggest that you focus on one language at a time, keep French and Spanish as separated as possible, they are too similar and your head might explode. Also, Duolingo is nice, but if you want to reach a solid level on each language you’re going to need more, I would recommend you to get Pimsleur, Assimil and Barron’s Fast and Fun Way for each of the languages you’re learning, those are great books for initial self-learners. Can you put some sneak peeks from your novel? It would be cool to read it :), Anyway, best of luck.



  1. Duolingo and Other Goals – An Update | The World According To Laura

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