Touch it everyday
Touch it. I want to touch it every day. This is my new winning strategy to skill acquisition. In previous posts I’ve been examining how I’ve been using the “Mini Habits Mastery” course in combination with the Chains.cc app to keep track of the new habits I want to make.
However, what I want to focus here is a little digital tool that can make a big difference–the streak. If you are going to win, you’ve got to make daily contact with your skill. Maintain a streak of “touching” your skill every day and make a big difference.
Feed the slow steady fire
If you can’t study a lot, at least maintain your streak of making contact with the skill. Duolingo, the language learning app boldly reminds you, “Learning a language requires practice every day.” Michael Palmisano, my guitar teacher at Udemy says in his video courses that it is better to do a little bit every day than to try to tackle it all and not build the muscle memory that daily practice takes.
If you can’t do five minutes a day go for a streak
If you can’t make a daily time commitment to your skill go for a streak of “touching” your skill every day. I use several language learning apps. All of them allow you to set daily goals. But sometimes with everything I have to do even that is too much.
For example, IKnow is one of my language learning apps. It’s best for newspaper and business Japanese though it also offers English and Chinese. I’ve been with them for a long time and have a lot of material that I’ve studied with them. With graduate school over the past two years, I let it slip and a lot of material has been up for review for a long time.
I’ve set the weekly goal of thirty minutes which is the lowest the system allows. With all my other apps and responsibilities I don’t reach that goal. However the app, like many apps, rewards you or at least notifies you about your streak. I get a “reward” for touching the skill even for a small amount every day.
Streaks work on several levels:
- You build powerful habits without a big time commitment
- You get the powerful juice of a win every day
- Your memory or your body gets a boost and keeps the fire burning so you don’t lose the skill, strength etc
- You sometimes get over your resistance to trying and do even more than you planned
Don’t beat yourself up, just touch your skills every day. Upset that you aren’t keeping up with your reading? Just read one paragraph and skim. Keep the streak. Keep the ember burning.