Part of the #Add1Challenge is completing mini-challenges on top of your main minimum time commitment goals. I completed Mini-Challenge #1 awhile back, but here is a recap:
Mini-Challenge #1: Speak with 3 different & new language tutors or exchange partners, for at least 30 minutes each, within the span of a few weeks.
I used italki back in early 2015 for a few lessons thanks to Benny’s Fluent in 3 Months blog, so I wasn’t new to the idea. But when my computer died a slow, painful death, and my life got busy, I hadn’t picked it back up… Even after the Add1Challenge started. So, I was excited to get back to it.
There really is something very motivating about speaking – even very, very broken sentences, for a very, very short amount of time – to a native Italian. My end goal feels a little bit closer. So, I took 6 hours of lessons in February alone, broken out into 9 separate Skype calls. That was added to my weekly study group Google hangouts.
I spoke with 5 different tutors this month. There was only one I didn’t click with at all, so I consider it a success. I have ongoing lessons with 3 main teachers, and thanks to the suggestion of study group partner Gary, I have found a very affordable informal tutor to help me practice what I have learned in my formal lessons on occasion.
The goal of the mini-challenge is to get you out of your comfort zone and actually start speaking. Without those sessions, my Day 30 video would not have been as smooth.
Here’s a short breakdown of what I learned with the mini-challenge and getting back into Skype-based lessons through italki:
- Getting out of my head is always the most difficult thing to do, but once I do that I get so much farther than I think I can. When studying by myself, I can’t think about my 90 day goal. When speaking to others, I can’t think about how I knew this phrase 10 minutes ago! It’s like riding a horse – I need to learn to go by feel, not by thinking.
- I know more than I think I do. As stated by multiple tutors to me, over multiple lessons, and by multiple other people doing the challenge with me. (Again, there’s the whole “getting out of my head” thing.)
- Being understood is SO rewarding, especially so early into my challenge, that it makes me forget about trying to be perfect.
- Motivation levels change, but getting in real practice and setting smaller mini-goals helps.
- Trip planning is the most motivational thing I could ever do… Which might be a bit unsustainable long term but it works for now!
- Taking break days is important for my brain to rest and not get overwhelmed. The more tired I am, the more I stay in my own head.
- Other people are more patient with me than I am with myself. As long as I’m trying, the conversation keeps going.