THE STORY OF HOW I TAUGHT MYSELF CHINESE.
Dating interracially can be really hard at times… Even after dating my boyfriend Josh for over 6 years.
I decided to learn Chinese to impress Josh’s parents, who speak primarily Mandarin.
One year later, I am now well on my way to being fluent.
QUICK: What was your immediate reaction to reading this?
“That’s so hard.”
“I could never do that.”
“I’m not smart enough to do that.”
“How do you even have time for that.”
“I’m so bad at languages, it’s just not my thing.”
I don’t let myself think this way.
The way I think is more like:
“If I want to learn Chinese, I will fucking make it happen.”
Bear in mind, I am not particularly good at languages.
And don’t really have a ton of “time.” I have a full time job in Silicon Valley. I workout almost every day. I coach women. I run an Instagram page. I have a social life. I am busy as hell.
But instead of telling myself LIES like, “I don’t have time” or “I’m not smart enough,” instead I said, “I’m gonna find a way to make it happen.”
I decided that it would happen. And I took small actions consistently to make it happen.
I started by signing up for an online course with a bunch of little videos.
And then I MADE the time to watch them.
I used all the “dead” time in my schedule.
I watched the videos while I straightened my hair in the morning.
While I brushed my teeth.
While I did the dishes.
On my morning commute.
When I was pooping.
It SUCKED at first. I felt super lazy and I never wanted to turn my brain on when I could just be scrolling social media instead.
But I forced myself to do it. I set up ways to stay accountable. I used buying new workout clothes as a reward if I had practiced Chinese every day that week.
I fell off the wagon MANY times. I would have a great streak for a few days, then come to a dead stop for a few weeks.
But EVERY TIME I fell off the wagon I got back on, and I picked it back up, even if it was just for 10 minutes a day.
When I felt unmotivated, I thought of my “WHY”: Why did I even start?
I wanted to see the look on their faces when I speak Chinese to them. I want to give a speech in Chinese at our wedding one day.
Every time I felt unmotivated, I visualized our looming Christmas trip to see his family in Memphis, Tennessee where they live. I thought of the look on his parents’ faces when I spoke Chinese to them. When I went to all their Chinese parties and knew what was going on and could speak to all his relatives.
I thought about my wedding and the speech I was going to make at it.
Visualizing this made me HUSTLE my ass off to practice, because honestly, I could not bear to embarrass myself on this Christmas visit to Memphis.
Eventually it got to a point where practicing was a habit. It started to feel WEIRD when I came home and didn’t immediately play a Chinese video.
I did this consistently for nearly a year. And now, one year later, I am highly conversational. Not yet fluent, but getting there.
…..and I think I DEFINITELY impressed Josh’s family when we went to visit them last Christmas. 🙂
You decide your reality. If you tell yourself “I’m not smart enough to do X” or “I will never have nice abs” …. you’re never going to get the abs.
Then once you decide to make it happen, it’s the small actions, every day, done correctly and consistently that will get you results.
You won’t get a six-pack in two weeks.
I won’t get fluent in Chinese in two weeks.
But if you stay consistent, do a little SOMETHING — the right things — every day, and get back on the wagon each time you fall off…
You will get there <3
For those of you wondering, I primarily used the YoYo Chinese online course (which I HIGHLY recommend) and the ChineseSkill vocab app. I also found these YouTube videos of Chinese cartoons and played them on repeat over and over. In addition, I sometimes listened to these Disney songs in Mandarin and tried to learn new vocab by studying the lyrics in there.