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Easy lifestyle adjustments to get a huge boost when things are going slowly

| 76 comments | Category: positive mentality

Now that I’m about a month into my Turkish mission I can say that things are going slower than expected. I’m behind on where I would normally be at this stage in learning a language.

This has nothing to do with any issues with the language itself; Turkish is actually one of the most logical and interesting languages I’ve learned in a while, and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the language at the end of the mission as always.

It also has nothing to do with culture clashes – people have been very friendly and encouraging for my entire time here, and even though I’m far from satisfied with my level, people are constantly complimenting me on what I am saying.

The problem has been lack of energy, sparked off by the sleeping problems I’ve had since I arrived and still not been able to completely recover from, mostly because I generally wake up with sunlight, not alarm clocks, and this apartment gets almost no natural light.

By sleeping in so late (and usually too much), when I get up it’s too hot out to go for a jog, so I haven’t been getting enough exercise while here. (Living in this very central part of the city has meant that nearby gyms and other clubs are quite expensive)

As well as this, I’ve been indulging a bit too much in various desserts (“Turkish delight” ring any bells?) and this unhealthy eating is also sucking up my energy; the most frustrating part is that it has a vicious circle effect of building on itself and making it harder to break the chain the next day.

While I was reflecting about the last eight years and what I’ve learned about life in general, I’ve also had a chance to think about actual missions and projects I’ve had; some successful and some less successful.

With all other things being equal, I can see with great consistency that my successes have been very integrally tied to my lifestyle at the time. I sincerely believe that learning a language (as well as so many other projects) can be very easy if you do it right. This doesn’t mean just picking the right learning materials and practising a lot, but also having a healthy lifestyle in general so that your energy and enthusiasm levels are consistently high.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about things that have been issues I’ve had that have brought me and other people to plateaus that cease progress in projects, which are entirely lifestyle related.

As I ask myself these questions, maybe you should ask yourself too if you are having similar lack-of-energy issues that may be caused by one or several:

  • Are you eating a healthy balanced diet, with as little processed, fatty and sugary foods as possible? Are you making sure you don’t skip any meals?
  • Are you getting enough exercise? Doing something active, like going for a brisk walk every day and doing something more demanding like jogging, dancing or playing sports several times a week?
  • Are you getting a good night’s sleep? “Good” doesn’t mean as much as possible. By having a power nap in the afternoon, I can get by great on just five hours sleep per day as long as I get up early.
  • Are you getting enough water and avoiding drugs that damage your system when consumed too much (or even a little) like alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and less-main-stream ones? (Not a problem I personally have)
  • Are you dealing with stress well, by taking time-outs from work, doing yoga, trying to focus on the positive rather than clouding your mind with bad thoughts and trying to eliminate sources of stress (arguing etc.) whenever possible?
  • Are you getting enough breaks from computer and other screens and spending them with friends and family? Hours in front of the TV, or even wasted doing pointless things online or playing games can leave you feeling like you’ve achieved nothing important at the end of the day. Time with human beings in non-formal and non-stressful ways always enriches our lives more.
  • Are you adding structure to your day to prevent you from wasting time? While in Colombia, for example, I shared some tricks I use to force myself to use my time more efficiently.

The way I see it, if you aren’t enthusiastically jumping out of bed first thing in the morning, and feel like today you have achieved at least one important thing at the end of the day, then you have to re-examine what is going on in your life.

Many people think it’s all down to external factors (and they obviously matter a lot), but I really think that things that you have 100% control over contribute much more in many cases, especially what you put into your body, how you use your free time and if you exercise. I’m answering ‘no’ to several of these questions now, and that’s why I’m low on energy (and even enthusiasm). I remember living similarly at other times when my projects haven’t gone so well.

But during most of my travels, I’m glad to say that I would answer yes to these questions and this is a major reason why I can get a lot of things done that I do. Luck has nothing to do with it. Energy and enthusiasm are the fuel that makes so much of it possible for me and many other people. This energy can be created and maintained by treating your body and mind well.

External factors and sources of stress can get you started into treating your body and mind poorly. In my case it’s a combination of sleep issues and some frustrations from my travel style that are a bit more apparent at times. While people think that not having children and being free to move country regularly mean that I have zero stress, there are other particular issues with this lifestyle that I haven’t discussed yet (which settled people have to deal with much less or never), but that generally don’t pose me problems when I have the energy to shrug them off and work around them.

But rather than just stay in a lull forever, it’s important to examine it, understand it, think logically and get out of it. And, of course, to do your best to make sure you don’t get back in. For example, my sleeping problems (which has been the catalyst leading to my frustrating recent weeks) persist mainly from the very minor initially overlooked detail of my apartment not getting enough light. Now I know that even a fantastic location and great price should be second to a well-lit apartment in future. I miss my morning sun and look forward to getting it back ;)

Since I generally have mostly good habits, it won’t be so hard to get back into them as long as I try hard. If you haven’t had some particular good habits consistently before and would like to get into them, then the approach I’d most highly recommend is the 30-day per habit forming strategy, as it is by far the most effective long-term one that sticks.

So, hopefully in my next weeks while I eat healthier and get more exercise, I’ll also be making significant strides in my project, and still plan to make a video at the end in the language as always ;)

If you have had similar issues, and found that lifestyle adjustments helped to get over them, make sure to share it with us in the comments below!

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  • Anonymous

     I’m going through this myself right now and it’s just the sort of kick up the backside I needed. The first step is to recognize the problem. The second and most important is to do something about it. I’m on it, muito obrigado Benny!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Best of luck!

  • http://profiles.google.com/jon.shock Jonathan Shock

    I find that every now and then I need a few days getting out of the city I’m in to regroup, to get back into a healthy cycle and to breath in a different environment. It doesn’t matter where I am, but I find that more than about 3 months in one place and I start to feel claustrophobic. A couple of days away is usually all I need to get back to normal.

    I completely understand what you mean about the different stresses for a single traveler as opposed to someone settled with a family. There are good and bad sides to everything, and although the stresses of this lifestyle aren’t necessarily responsibility based, they are still very much there and I certainly go through good and bad periods regularly.

    One thing I wanted to add to your list of life lessons was that I try never to look back at past decisions when times are hard. Every road you take will lead to gains and losses, and spending time wishing you’d made a different decision is time taken from living in the present. Learning from mistakes is of course another matter but once you’ve made a choice, stick it out as much as possible and never think ‘what if?’!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Nice addition! Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

    I’ve also noticed that the less fat I have in my diet, the more energy I have.  When I cut back on desserts and stopped eating fatty beef in exchange for venison, I had marked improvements in concentration and athletic performance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

    I’ve also noticed that the less fat I have in my diet, the more energy I have.  When I cut back on desserts and stopped eating fatty beef in exchange for venison, I had marked improvements in concentration and athletic performance.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    You seem to have misunderstood the point of the post entirely…

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Lori – I don’t think I need coaching in this as I have been in great shape and very healthy before, so I just need to return to that ;) This is only a temporary lull. But thanks for the support!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Nothing can beat the sun slowly rising and gently making the room bright and friendly :) A time programmed LED light would be easy to create or buy, but it’s not the same! I need the sun :-P

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

       or a series of LEDs that blink in time to the music of an alarm, it’d be like waking up every morning in the middle of a Disco, who wouldn’t think that is awesome?!

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

        I’m a reverse vampire. I need the actual sun! No LEDs!!

        • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

          No problem, a series of shutters that intermittently block areas of the sunshine in time to the music, the design would be basically the same.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

          No problem, a series of shutters that intermittently block areas of the sunshine in time to the music, the design would be basically the same.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

          No problem, a series of shutters that intermittently block areas of the sunshine in time to the music, the design would be basically the same.

        • http://twitter.com/byzantinist Marinos

          Hey, Benny, I know it’s not a perfect solution, but perhaps you could consider investing into an alarm clock that imitates sunrise? Here, in Turkey, Tchibo carries a relatively inexpensive model. Alternatively, you can rent my very sunny guest room (how’s that for unabashed advertising, ha-ha). Thanks for a great post and very helpful insights. Best of luck to you with the rest of the Turkish mission! Can’t wait to see that final video. :)

        • http://twitter.com/byzantinist Marinos

          Hey, Benny, I know it’s not a perfect solution, but perhaps you could consider investing into an alarm clock that imitates sunrise? Here, in Turkey, Tchibo carries a relatively inexpensive model. Alternatively, you can rent my very sunny guest room (how’s that for unabashed advertising, ha-ha). Thanks for a great post and very helpful insights. Best of luck to you with the rest of the Turkish mission! Can’t wait to see that final video. :)

        • http://twitter.com/byzantinist Marinos

          Hey, Benny, I know it’s not a perfect solution, but perhaps you could consider investing into an alarm clock that imitates sunrise? Here, in Turkey, Tchibo carries a relatively inexpensive model. Alternatively, you can rent my very sunny guest room (how’s that for unabashed advertising, ha-ha). Thanks for a great post and very helpful insights. Best of luck to you with the rest of the Turkish mission! Can’t wait to see that final video. :)

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

        I’m a reverse vampire. I need the actual sun! No LEDs!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

       or a series of LEDs that blink in time to the music of an alarm, it’d be like waking up every morning in the middle of a Disco, who wouldn’t think that is awesome?!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

       or a series of LEDs that blink in time to the music of an alarm, it’d be like waking up every morning in the middle of a Disco, who wouldn’t think that is awesome?!

    • http://languagehopper.blogspot.com Rick

      From the time I’ve spent reading your blog, I see you don’t normally travel to extreme north or extreme south for their respective winters. But what did you do in Ireland during winter? I grew up in northern Minnesota (a bit further south than Ireland) and there really was no way around using something other than the sun to wake up if we wanted to have a full day – the sun didn’t come up until 8:30 am or so and set around 4 pm.

      The sun’s nice to wake up to, sure, but it’s just not always possible. You just have to find a way to deal with it as best you can. Now that I’m typing this, I’m thinking it might be interesting to see you spend three months in deep winter months somewhere to see how you would cope. You could blog about the effect it has not just on your learning, but your overall travel experience.

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

        “I’m thinking it might be interesting to see you spend three months in deep winter months somewhere to see how you would cope” – that’s a little mean – surely I should go somewhere because I want to – not to entertain my readers to see me enduring and coping…
        I grew up in Ireland and am well aware of what winter is like ;) I like the sun and use my location independence to follow it now that I can.
        The sun coming up at 8:30AM is still not too bad – that would at least wake me up at that time. (Note that it’s only around winter solstice that it’s *that* late). Here I was sleeping in until past midday. So presuming I’m not in the Arctic circle, I’d have no major issues in this respect.

        • http://languagehopper.blogspot.com Rick

          ” that’s a little mean – surely I should go somewhere because I want to –
          not to entertain my readers to see me enduring and coping…¨

          No meanness intended. It was a thought, nothing more. I will offer up that if you’re sleeping in until noon the sun really has nothing to do with it, though.

          • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

            And I will offer up that I know what wakes me up and you don’t.

          • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

            And I will offer up that I know what wakes me up and you don’t.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Right – can’t wait to have morning sunshine again! It is getting added to my list of things to never take for granted every again ;)
    Unless it gives you actual light from the sun, it ain’t no sunshine alarm clock to me :P

    • http://twitter.com/byzantinist Marinos

      Ah, didn’t see this one. Come on, don’t be so conservative. :D

    • http://twitter.com/byzantinist Marinos

      Ah, didn’t see this one. Come on, don’t be so conservative. :D

    • http://twitter.com/byzantinist Marinos

      Ah, didn’t see this one. Come on, don’t be so conservative. :D

    • http://twitter.com/byzantinist Marinos

      Ah, didn’t see this one. Come on, don’t be so conservative. :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Aw, thanks Mindy!! Glad people appreciate the fact that I’m trying to paint the whole picture! :) Hopefully by showing people that I’m human too, they can relate and see that that means they can also do what I can do on my good days ;)

    Yes, the 30 day habit seems inefficient at first glance because we all want to change so many things, but it really has been the most effective one for so many people! Longer term things will stick that way – most of us WILL lose habits after a short time when trying to dramatically change our lives.

    Forming habits when changing to such dramatically different environments as I’m doing while travelling is more of a challenge, but certainly not impossible ;)

    Pomodoro software really helps me focus – otherwise I would get sidetracked so easily when I’m online – so many distractions!! When I see a cool link I just add it to my cool links to check out file and actually specify a Pomodoro just to go through those ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Aw, thanks Mindy!! Glad people appreciate the fact that I’m trying to paint the whole picture! :) Hopefully by showing people that I’m human too, they can relate and see that that means they can also do what I can do on my good days ;)

    Yes, the 30 day habit seems inefficient at first glance because we all want to change so many things, but it really has been the most effective one for so many people! Longer term things will stick that way – most of us WILL lose habits after a short time when trying to dramatically change our lives.

    Forming habits when changing to such dramatically different environments as I’m doing while travelling is more of a challenge, but certainly not impossible ;)

    Pomodoro software really helps me focus – otherwise I would get sidetracked so easily when I’m online – so many distractions!! When I see a cool link I just add it to my cool links to check out file and actually specify a Pomodoro just to go through those ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Aw, thanks Mindy!! Glad people appreciate the fact that I’m trying to paint the whole picture! :) Hopefully by showing people that I’m human too, they can relate and see that that means they can also do what I can do on my good days ;)

    Yes, the 30 day habit seems inefficient at first glance because we all want to change so many things, but it really has been the most effective one for so many people! Longer term things will stick that way – most of us WILL lose habits after a short time when trying to dramatically change our lives.

    Forming habits when changing to such dramatically different environments as I’m doing while travelling is more of a challenge, but certainly not impossible ;)

    Pomodoro software really helps me focus – otherwise I would get sidetracked so easily when I’m online – so many distractions!! When I see a cool link I just add it to my cool links to check out file and actually specify a Pomodoro just to go through those ;)

  • http://jaeminyi.com Jaemin Yi

    This post is gold!  I’ve recently come to similar realization during my travels in NYC: my natural energy levels are EVERYTHING to me.

    When I’m healthy, feel great, and energetic (no caffeine boosts) – I’m more social, I’m more productive, I’m happier, I’m more willing to say “yes”, I’m more optimistic, I’m more hopeful…  Man, the list could go on and on.

    I used to think that being healthy was just something I should do to get a “beach body” or cause it was the morally right thing to do.  But now I know that being healthy is a force multiplier that helps make  everything in my life more awesome!  Not a bad reason to stay fit, eh?

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Absolutely – the beach body reason is superficial and not worth it at all. But for the good of your own longevity and for living every day to the fullest, it’s definitely worth it :)

  • http://jaeminyi.com Jaemin Yi

    This post is gold!  I’ve recently come to similar realization during my travels in NYC: my natural energy levels are EVERYTHING to me.

    When I’m healthy, feel great, and energetic (no caffeine boosts) – I’m more social, I’m more productive, I’m happier, I’m more willing to say “yes”, I’m more optimistic, I’m more hopeful…  Man, the list could go on and on.

    I used to think that being healthy was just something I should do to get a “beach body” or cause it was the morally right thing to do.  But now I know that being healthy is a force multiplier that helps make  everything in my life more awesome!  Not a bad reason to stay fit, eh?

  • http://jaeminyi.com Jaemin Yi

    This post is gold!  I’ve recently come to similar realization during my travels in NYC: my natural energy levels are EVERYTHING to me.

    When I’m healthy, feel great, and energetic (no caffeine boosts) – I’m more social, I’m more productive, I’m happier, I’m more willing to say “yes”, I’m more optimistic, I’m more hopeful…  Man, the list could go on and on.

    I used to think that being healthy was just something I should do to get a “beach body” or cause it was the morally right thing to do.  But now I know that being healthy is a force multiplier that helps make  everything in my life more awesome!  Not a bad reason to stay fit, eh?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Benny, thanks for the post. As we all know it’s completley normal to feel shitty from time to time.When I feel in a slump I try my hardest to escape the unnatural concrete ground of downtown Medellín and head to the mountains. Whenever I feel stressed the only thing that relaxes me is the thought that in a few hours/days/weeks I am going to spend a few days in nature climbing mountains and swimming in cold rivers in remote territory to reconnect with nature and clear my mind from a city’s contamination; for me, it’s the only cure for stress, poor dietary habits, jet lag or any other irregular sleep patterns. In nature, sleeping under the stars and feeling the earth with one’s barefeet realigns one’s biological clock and tunes it in with nature’s clock. Nothing feels better than waking up when the sun does and sleeping shortly after it sets, listening to nothing but the rhythm of your heart beat, your respiration, the wind and the sound of your footsteps (pure meditation). 

    I may sound like a hippy but spend a few hours in the mountains, a forest, plains or a secluded beach barefoot; it will do wonders. It turns out that the earth has a frequency of about 7.83 hertz. Guess what frequency our brains use to thrive and survive…yep, 7.83 hertz. Therefore, we vibrate at the same frequency as the earth. Coincidence? Nah, I don’t think so ;) Biologically we need to feel the natural ground from time to time. 

    Some people claim that they aren’t “outdoor people” but one cannot deny where we come from (hundreds of thousands of years being connected with nature). Get away from the city for a few days and let us know how it goes :)iyi şanslar arkadaşım!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Benny, thanks for the post. As we all know it’s completley normal to feel shitty from time to time.When I feel in a slump I try my hardest to escape the unnatural concrete ground of downtown Medellín and head to the mountains. Whenever I feel stressed the only thing that relaxes me is the thought that in a few hours/days/weeks I am going to spend a few days in nature climbing mountains and swimming in cold rivers in remote territory to reconnect with nature and clear my mind from a city’s contamination; for me, it’s the only cure for stress, poor dietary habits, jet lag or any other irregular sleep patterns. In nature, sleeping under the stars and feeling the earth with one’s barefeet realigns one’s biological clock and tunes it in with nature’s clock. Nothing feels better than waking up when the sun does and sleeping shortly after it sets, listening to nothing but the rhythm of your heart beat, your respiration, the wind and the sound of your footsteps (pure meditation). 

    I may sound like a hippy but spend a few hours in the mountains, a forest, plains or a secluded beach barefoot; it will do wonders. It turns out that the earth has a frequency of about 7.83 hertz. Guess what frequency our brains use to thrive and survive…yep, 7.83 hertz. Therefore, we vibrate at the same frequency as the earth. Coincidence? Nah, I don’t think so ;) Biologically we need to feel the natural ground from time to time. 

    Some people claim that they aren’t “outdoor people” but one cannot deny where we come from (hundreds of thousands of years being connected with nature). Get away from the city for a few days and let us know how it goes :)iyi şanslar arkadaşım!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot
  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot
  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot
  • Anonymous

    Hi Benny,
    If you get up a bit late some days, don’t worry about missing your jog.
    I sometimes just substitute the run with  some intense calesthenics(press ups,sit ups,burpees.etc)
    3 minutes on 1 minute off for 20-30 minutes…believe me that’ll get a sweat on and work some different muscles.
    I don’t know how big your flat is but you just need a little floor space and a towel!
    Cheers..and enjoy those pretty Turkish girls…seen any belly dancing?!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Benny,
    If you get up a bit late some days, don’t worry about missing your jog.
    I sometimes just substitute the run with  some intense calesthenics(press ups,sit ups,burpees.etc)
    3 minutes on 1 minute off for 20-30 minutes…believe me that’ll get a sweat on and work some different muscles.
    I don’t know how big your flat is but you just need a little floor space and a towel!
    Cheers..and enjoy those pretty Turkish girls…seen any belly dancing?!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    No salsa here, hopefully I’ll get back into it later this year.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Cody! I hope your lifestyle improvements help things get better!! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508893098 Huey Ly

    But but, living a healthy lifestyle is HAAARD!  And there are all these awesome TV shows that provides so much joy and entertainment, we can’t give those up!  Have you seen HBO’s new show Game of Thrones!???  So goood!   I wouldn’t want to have miss those quality TV times!

    Haha, kidding … kinda.  Thanks for another well written and helpful article  :). 

  • Daniel Hershcovich

    Surely the horrible heat doesn’t help – here in Israel, I really don’t feel like going out in the middle of the day these days.  I image it’s similar in Turkey.

    As for the healthy lifestyle – I agree it’s very important for a better feeling.  I try to maintain a healthy diet, but I don’t exercise enough.  When I do, though, it gives me a boost of energy that I really like!  It means I should do it more!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      The heat is indeed frustrating. I have air conditioning at home and this is unfortunately encouraging me to spend even more time indoors, which has had negative results on my normally active social life.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      The heat is indeed frustrating. I have air conditioning at home and this is unfortunately encouraging me to spend even more time indoors, which has had negative results on my normally active social life.

  • http://twitter.com/MilesLord Miles Lord

    Why Benny, this post makes me think that you are actually…human. lol

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Haha yes, I definitely am ;) Despite the superman pose and actually gliding through air hundreds of feet off the ground in the main photo :P

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Haha yes, I definitely am ;) Despite the superman pose and actually gliding through air hundreds of feet off the ground in the main photo :P

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Haha yes, I definitely am ;) Despite the superman pose and actually gliding through air hundreds of feet off the ground in the main photo :P

  • http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/ Jeremy Branham

    Benny, I really appreciate this post.  Of course, I come here to read about the language stuff and now I leave feeling motivated/challenged about life.  Waking up with energy is not something I do and I love your idea how success comes from lifestyle.  I admit I don’t do enough to take care of myself.  I’ve been thinking over the past few days how to get more focused and efficient and this is an extremely good example at how looking at the big picture in life breeds success in so many areas.  Thanks for sharing this!

    You’re not only interesting, funny, and a great guy to talk to, seems you are a motivational speaker as well! :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Haha, I’m hearing the motivational speaker comment more and more :-P Glad you liked this post!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Haha, I’m hearing the motivational speaker comment more and more :-P Glad you liked this post!

  • http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/ Jeremy Branham

    Benny, I really appreciate this post.  Of course, I come here to read about the language stuff and now I leave feeling motivated/challenged about life.  Waking up with energy is not something I do and I love your idea how success comes from lifestyle.  I admit I don’t do enough to take care of myself.  I’ve been thinking over the past few days how to get more focused and efficient and this is an extremely good example at how looking at the big picture in life breeds success in so many areas.  Thanks for sharing this!

    You’re not only interesting, funny, and a great guy to talk to, seems you are a motivational speaker as well! :)

  • http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/ Jeremy Branham

    Benny, I really appreciate this post.  Of course, I come here to read about the language stuff and now I leave feeling motivated/challenged about life.  Waking up with energy is not something I do and I love your idea how success comes from lifestyle.  I admit I don’t do enough to take care of myself.  I’ve been thinking over the past few days how to get more focused and efficient and this is an extremely good example at how looking at the big picture in life breeds success in so many areas.  Thanks for sharing this!

    You’re not only interesting, funny, and a great guy to talk to, seems you are a motivational speaker as well! :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks for the suggestion Jen! checked out the site and it’s a quite pleasing to the male eye to be honest :-P haha, whatever works to make me watch and apply it :P

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks for the suggestion Jen! checked out the site and it’s a quite pleasing to the male eye to be honest :-P haha, whatever works to make me watch and apply it :P

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Saying that natives can speak their language even though they are unhealthy, therefore it works the same for learners is pretty ridiculous. We need brain power and focus to learn non-native languages. I don’t know who told you it was “easy” – it definitely wasn’t me. I say particular aspects are easy, or particular languages are easier than people think, but the process is not; learning languages takes commitment. If you have that commitment THEN it can become second nature.

    I don’t know if studies have been done for language learners and health, all I know is that as adult learning a foreign language if I’m living unhealthy I *will* learn it worse. Disputing this makes no sense to me. The fact that you get up before six is going to make dramatic improvements to your learning abilities and time invested and that will somewhat balance out unhealthy drug intakes.

    My 4 weeks locked up in a room in Thailand was unavoidable. I was approaching my credit card limit again and that was my only source of money. Going beyond the limit would have been disastrous. This is not something you can shrug off as an excuse and something that I could have avoided.

    Strategies that work when you are jaded are much worse than simply getting unjaded by whatever means necessary.

    • Keleis

      Some people do advocate living without credit (and blog about it) I think they would suggest that  was an excuse, and that you should change your lifestyle. I think you also raved about one of these guys once.
       
      There is just something about the whole tone of this post that bothers me and contradicts other things. You have claimed in the past that people can’t make excuses about having a poor memory of being old etc. etc. yet people are different and also irrational, delusional etc. yet you pounce on any examples of this normal behaviour. decry people that are SHY etc. then come up with some justification to yourself based on natural sunlight in the morning yet plenty of people manage with alarms. 

      There ARE light receptors in the eye that react to light but don’t contribute to vision, some blind people can even exhibit physiological changes based on these without seeing anything. Some people DO rely more on these sensors being activated to release chemicals that help them become fully concious, some people don’t need this, reasons for the difference are adaption to places with low early light levels or because in early hunter gather societies it made selective sense to have a mixture of “night owls” and early risers. 
      So it MAY be much HARDER for you to wake up in the apartment you are in than for me lets say. However there are studies that prove that artificial light that has the correct frequencies works just as well (whether you prefer natural sunlight or not). So you could DO something about it.

      Something so simple as getting up, yet shyness can be related to complicated factors to do with brain chemicals, thresholds of excitation and much more and you DISMISS is as neither excuse or reason. Simply replacing your eyes with mine and all else being equal you may have experienced much more early morning Turkish by now, 

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

        Keleis, please get your head out of the clouds. Telling someone who is so deep in debt that their entire financial future is in serious jeopardy, that getting out is easy and that they can prioritise certain tasks, is stupid.

        I learned my lesson and NOW I live in a way that advocates not using credit, but when in the situation of being one month away from declaring personal bankruptcy and having my travels likely put on halt forever, I had to prioritise and don’t regret it one bit. There was nothing I could have done differently in that situation (other than “not spend more before”, and retrospect is useless to someone in a bad situation right now).

        Learning Thai was very low priority compared to making sure I could have access to money further than one month in the future.

        Please don’t be so arrogant as to suggest you have the foggiest idea what it’s like. I write very confidently about getting over shyness because I DID IT. Unless you were in a debt as drastic as I was (and mine was credit card debt, which has many other implications) then you cannot possibly understand.

        I never suggested I couldn’t do something about my sleep issues, please read the post!!! Your idiotic eye receptor explanation shows that you don’t have a clue what the real issue is. I tell people to get over things that I have gotten over and understand. You’re telling me to get over things you DON’T understand.

        I’d ask that you give me a break, I’m human and have been having health issues this month, due to several combining factors, some of which I’ve mentioned in this post. This is something I’m trying to get over, which is more than I can say for people with the excuses I discuss on the site, which I have personally gotten over and share the way I did it. There is no contradiction if I’m sharing a problem I’m trying to get over, so please keep arrogant comments to yourself in future unless you have personal experience.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Depois ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I don’t doubt that other people have life experiences. If you can truly relate, then you shouldn’t any difficulties I’m going through as trivial. ;)

  • Gosxka

    30-day per habit forming strategy really works! without knowing the strategy, I started some exercises for some muscles as I had strong motivation of making them look good;) and after some time of making me do it, I feel no more it is something demanding for me and I do them very often and without effort. I would say it was during 30 days when it turned my habit! I’m proud.
     
    besides, thank you for the link to the zen habits, I browsed the page, I’m just finishing my work, get home and I’m full of energy and motivation to learn my language :)

  • http://www.soaringtosochi.com Jonathan Vellner

    I noticed the same thing while I tried out the slow carb diet.  While I was eating really well, and sleeping better, I also felt 10x more productive and motivated in the day.  The following month I went back to just eating whatever I felt like, slept worse as a result, and quickly slipped into a motivational rut.  (When I figured out the link, I switched back to better eating habits).
    This might be one of your best posts Benny – way to many people overlook this.  Personally, it was only recently I started paying attention to how healthy living habits affect my mood and performance, and I can’t believe the difference it makes (well, actually if you take a moment to think about it, it’s not all that surprising. but still awesome).  Unfortunately, even when you know what you should and shouldn’t be doing, you can still get caught in those downward death-spirals occasionally, especially where junkfood and partying are involved… (as a non-drinking vegetarian, those two probably don’t get you very often, but when I hit a slump it’s usually a safe bet that one or the other is involved).
    Thanks as usual for a great post Benny, now go have a salad, hit the gym, take a nap and learn some dang Turkish.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Thanks

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Thanks

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    I don’t doubt she could kick my butt, even when I’d be in tip-top shape, she’s hard to beat :)

  • http://culturemutt.com/ Bjorn Karlman

    Oh wow, I TOTALLY relate on the light-in-the-apartment issue… SUCH a vital thing.  When I was studying Spanish in Argentina, the apartment building myself and two college buddies were living in had a major fire and we had to relocate.  We settled in Recoleta which is a great neighborhood but we did not realize the fact that our apartment (while nice and well-furnished) was so dark and demotivating that you could get almost nothing done there.  I ended up doing almost all my studying and other work in cafes.

    I am interested in some of the other stresses of living on the trail that you alluded to…  Are you going to tackle them in a post soon?  Thanks for the honesty…

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Luckily I have air conditioning here, so that helps a LOT :P I turn it off at night and now it’s the heat that wakes me up in the morning…
    I like being close to the action, but would have had an interesting different experience if I chose to live on the Asian side for sure!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Thanks and best of luck Smitha!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Thanks and best of luck Smitha!

  • Anonymous

    excellent additions  thanks

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