I have received a few inquiries about Giorno dopo giorno, lately and I’d love to share some of my answers with you.
I have decided to do it because, while answering emails requiring more information about the service, I have realized that some of the tips I gave can be applied to language learning in general, and I thought they might be useful for all students.
If you don’t know what I am referring to, let me just tell you that Giorno dopo giorno is a program I have created for people looking for inspiration and motivation to practice Italian daily. Giorno dopo giorno has been designed as a way to incorporate the Italian practice in your daily routine but it can also be seen as a collection of language learning materials that can be used whenever you feel like to.
Some of the questions I got were from people who wanted to sign up but were scared of being overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done or by the fact that they might not find the time to study or do the exercises. Some other people wondered what happened if they skipped some exercises and chose to work on the material they specifically needed only.
I have received a variety of questions and while answering with practical details, I have also given some general advice to make the most of Giorno dopo giorno, which I would like to share with you today because, as I said, it can be applied to your Italian practice in general.
So, here are some very simple yet useful recommendations.
1. Don’t be a perfectionist
I have studied languages all my life and I know that feeling very well: you want to do every single exercise, you get frustrated if you don’t understand a certain grammar rule, you buy all the language books you can find because you want to know everything.
The same happens with Giorno dopo giorno: you have purchased the program and want to do every single exercise, follow all the prompts, do what the daily email recommends that very same day. You don’t want to miss a single thing because you think that you might miss something super important for your learning process.
Take a breath and relax. I am pretty sure you don’t have to take an exam but you are studying Italian for very personal reasons that have nothing to do with getting a good grade or a certain result. You want to be able to communicate and use the language to enjoy your time in Italy interacting with the locals.
So, stop asking too much of yourself, nothing happens if you let some things go, trust me. If you have purchased Giorno dopo giorno but you can’t do all the exercises, nothing happens because all exercises and prompts are self-standing and can be enjoyed separately. And in general, when you learn a language, wanting to study everything, to do all the exercises, to learn all the words just result in frustration and stress, which are not good for your language acquisition.
Just accept that you won’t know everything but focus on the areas that you feel are most useful for you or where you feel weaker – and do the same with the prompts inside Giorno dopo giorno.
2. Save things for later
When you purchase Giorno dopo giorno, you get an email every other day for one year. Some emails are exercises, some others contain fun ideas for your Italian practice, some of them just want to be an inspiration. Also, there is a variety of reading, listening, speaking, and writing material included.
In one year of the program, you definitely get a lot of language material and there is one thing you can do if you can’t work on everything promptly: save things for later. You can create a Giorno dopo giorno folder in your inbox and also some subfolders where you can archive emails depending on their topic: reading, writing, listening, speaking, or miscellaneous stuff.
In this way, you’ll never lose track of your materials and will always be able to go back to them when you feel like practicing a bit. You can do the same with your language learning material in general: I am a fan of paper, so I use a binder with various dividers to store all the English material I collect over time and I get back to it when I feel like studying or reviewing some topics.
3. Find the right time
Giorno dopo giorno emails get to your inbox every day at the same time. That time depends on when you subscribed and when I set up the program for you. It can be the morning, the afternoon, or the evening. In some cases, that won’t be the right time for you.
In order to make the most of the program, choose a moment in your day when you want to work on Giorno dopo giorno. Find the perfect moment, when you are relaxed and nothing is bothering you, go back to your saved material and start working. You don’t have to do a lot, it is better to do just a little every day rather than a big session once a week.
In general, I also think it is important to find the right time for your Italian practice. You simply have to look at your day and think about the perfect moment for your language studies. Don’t just wait to do something when you have the time but set aside some time as you would do for your yoga class or your daily run.
Identify the time of the day when it is best for you to practice Italian. It doesn’t have to be a lot, even 15 minutes are perfect if you are focused and motivated. But it has to be the right moment. For example, I love reading but I have always left that activity for the night when I am in bed. But I tend to be exhausted at night and I never read more than one page: that’s why I have decided to wake up 30 minutes earlier to read a bit every morning.
4. Make it fun
One of my best friends, the other night, was telling me how she used to go to the gym almost daily for a few months, a while ago, without getting any results. She just felt incredibly tired and considered the gym as a sort of chore she had to do but she realized that it wasn’t doing any good to her mind and her body.
Then she began doing yoga, alone, using some online videos, and felt as if her body flourished. Now, she is happy and feels stronger and healthier than ever – and looks amazing too! This is a perfect example of how forcing ourselves to do something that is not good for us doesn’t bring us any good results.
This confirms something that I will never get tired of saying: don’t force yourselves to study when you don’t feel like to. Be gentle with yourself, give yourself time, set accessible goals, and try to make the Italian practice a nice part of the day like the morning coffee or the glass of wine you drink before dinner. If you do this, your language acquisition will flourish, believe me.