Habits become easy

The other day, I had some language reading I needed to get done, and the day busily slipped away, leaving no time for study.

Evening arrived, and I was lying in bed, deeply tired. In the last ten minutes before I tried to fall asleep, I read a paragraph of Greek, half a page of Latin, and a page of French. (I’m pretty sure those were the languages I had planned to read that day.)

It probably took ten or fifteen minutes to complete it, and the next day I picked up my reading and continued in my languages schedule for that day.

It was a bit dreary to do that reading when all I wanted to do was close my eyes. And it was especially annoying when the last word in the Greek paragraph couldn’t seem to make sense no matter how I looked at it.

But it wasn’t overwhelming. It wasn’t paralyzing. It wasn’t brutal. It was just an annoying point on my checklist for the day that I needed to get done.

What makes that so marvellous to me is the knowledge that if I keep on doing those bits of reading every day, then it won’t take long (years, maybe, but not decades) to be reading comfortably in those languages.

These habits were hard in the beginning. It was particularly difficult when I hadn’t yet settled on resources that would work well for me. It took a lot of fruitless searching and experimentation before I found the system I now have in place.

But once the hard work of establishing a good habit is done, it’s not so hard. It’s just a daily little annoyance that will someday yield dividends.

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