Study without getting tired

A man does pull-ups on the beach.

Head coach Firas Zahabi recently shared a fresh take on how to meet your goals. He talked about physical exercise—see the picture above, but his advice is useful to meet study goals as well. Here's what he said.

Let’s say the maximum amount of pull-ups you can do is 10... Should I make you do 10 pull-ups on our workout? No! I’m gonna make you do 5. Why? Because I’m setting you up to work the next day.

Did you catch that? The goal is not about today. The goal is about tomorrow and the next day.

Zahabi continues:

If you do 10 pull-ups on Monday, you’re gonna be sore until Thursday... so from Monday to Thursday, you’ve only done 10 pull-ups. Me, I’ve been doing 5 pull-ups every day, so I’m at 20 pull-ups already. I have more volume than you. If you add up at the end of the year who trained more, I’ve trained way more than you!

He is now talking about success for the year. If you stop before you feel tired and come back for more the next day, you can maintain your motivation over the long term. 

For many people, studying is the same. They study until they are tired. This not only hurts in the long term, it’s demotivating in the short term. If you study until you are tired, then you will obviously be tired for that part of the day. But if you study for short time, you tend to feel good, feel energized, and feel motivated.

This is partly why lessons at The English Farm are only 25 minutes long. The goal is to study the amount of time that gives you energy and motivates you. Then you can come back to it and study more the next day, while the information is fresh.

Honestly, this style is hard to do. I want to study until I'm tired. It feels very strange to stop studying while I want to continue studying.

But I’ve found that when I do close my books quickly, the study is more impactful. I continue thinking about what I studied. My mind is fresh rather than fatigued, and I remember far more. 

Try it now—use your phone to set a timer for 5 minutes and take a look at your previous lesson notes. Then set a daily calendar event to study for 5 minutes twice a day. If you do that, you'll find that by the end of the week, you've studied for a lot of quality time.

If you keep this up, imagine how much better your English will be by the end of the year!