唐人社区-北美华人论坛-外国人在中国版-Stay 100% Motivated|
As many regulars here will know, I'm a big proponent of Don't Break the Chain, a study technique that helps motivate you to achieve your goals by getting you to work towards those goals on a daily basis. By keeping the chain of days you have done something 'unbroken', you'll slowly but surely be getting closer to some objective. The longer your chain gets, the less likely you are to want to let it get broken, which kicks off a virtuous cycle of working towards your goal and feeling more motivated the more you work towards it.
It's a great system, not just when applied to learning Chinese but also for developing other skills and/or good habits.
Having said that, over the years I've found it to have a flaw, namely that if for whatever reason you end up breaking the chain (perhaps for reasons outside of your control), its length is reset to zero and you have to start building it up from scratch. This can be incredibly demotivating, especially for big chains, and in my experience the longer the chain the more demotivating it feels.
Once things are reset to zero, there's also tendency to think, "well it's zero today, and it will still be zero tomorrow so missing one day won't hurt", and then one day turns to two days, which turns to a week and before you know it a month has passed and you're no longer working towards your goals.
After thinking about this for a bit to see if there was a way to prevent it from happening, I figured out a solution I was happy with and decided to make it in to an app - 100% (currently iOS only but will consider an Android version if there is demand).
Instead of using 'days in row' as a motivator, it calculates a 'dedication percentage' based on the number of days out of the last 30 (the time period is adjustable) that you have performed some task. Your goal is to keep the percentage for each task at, or as close as possible to 100%.
If however you miss a day, then instead of the crash you get with breaking the chain, all you get a small drop in percentage and a message telling you how many days you need to keep at your goal in order to get your percentage back up to 100%.
It's a completely different feeling from breaking the chain, and you can miss the occasional day and still feel motivated to keep going.
The app itself is pretty simple (screen shots on its iTunes page here). It's just a list of tasks split in to those you have completed today and those you haven't. Clicking on a task moves it from one section to the other. You can also view and modify the entire task history, and configure things like reminder notifications if the task hasn't been marked 'complete' by a certain time, but that's pretty much all there is too it.
Even though it's simple, it's actually really effective, and I hope you find it useful.