When it comes to New Years Resolutions, I’m a pretty big naysayer.
I’m not saying you can’t make them, but from a standpoint of painful self-awareness, I know I just won’t keep them.
Example A: I made an agreement with a friend to do a big open water swim this past summer, but even as we verbally affirmed our intent to train for the 2.2 mile swim in the ocean, I knew that if I didn’t buy our registration tags right then and there, it probably wouldn’t happen.
As it turns out, intentions and action are two different things. For me, intention has never been, and will probably never be enough to guarantee action. Unless I am putting on my shoes and walking out the door right now, there’s a good chance I’m staying on the couch – no matter how good my new “plan” sounds.
So, I’ve been working on turning my intentions into immediately actionable items, and choosing to act on opportunities when they first present themselves.
Example B: I’ve been reading about the Cholera outbreak in Haiti for years now, but I never really took action to seek justice for the victims, or in some other way help that cause.
When one of our learners forwarded an e-mail from IJDH looking for translators, I knew that I had a unique opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way. Surely, I could commit to translating a letter or two…
But as I made plans to get in touch with the organizers that weekend, I realized it would probably never happen. Something more “immediate” would come up, and the translation would get pushed to the back burner, a place where my intentions slowly turn lukewarm before fizzling out completely.
So I opened my web browser right away to sign up as a volunteer.
A few days later I received two handwritten letters to be translated.
Reading the stories of those two writers and helping to pass them along is something I’m certainly going to remember from this past year.
Resolutions work so much better when they’re applied to the present, instead of to a hypothetical future. Turns out, tomorrow is really as busy as today…
Moreover, resolutions applied to the present keep you tied to the here-and-now, as a reminder that life is lived one day at a time and if you want to make a change, it should start today.
That goes for language learning too. For a long time, I’d plan out ways to improve my Creole, but they’d always be habits that I was going to start tomorrow.
For me, it was a turning point when I realized that language learning happens one word at a time – and with the foundations of the language already laid down all I need to do is add one new phrase, one word at a time, to improve my language skills.
Beginning in August, I started writing down any new Creole word I came across on a sticky note in my planner – No more “Oh, I’ve got to remember that”, and promising to store it away where I felt sure I’d remember it later…
No, I wrote it down where I’d see it every day for the rest of the week.
In this way, my Creole vocabulary has entered into a state of constant growth – it’s awesome! Let me share just a few of the words I’ve written down with you:
Kisa ki gen de nouvo? – What’s new?
Se nan pwent bouch ou – On the tip of your tongue
Salisan (adj.) – Something that picks up dirt easily, like white shoes.
Mwen sou bò ou – I’m on your side.
Sispann zongle m! – Don’t pinch me! (Trying to remember how this made the list…but I guess it could come in handy!)
Vin chache mwen! – Come get me! (Come pick me up)
Rete lwen gazon an – Stay off the grass (oops.)
Ou chire – You are in BIG trouble.
Mete w byen banda – Dress to impress!
Bay payèt – To strut your stuff
Woulib – A free ride
Ex) Eske m ka jwenn woulib avè w? – Can I bum a ride with you?
For me, getting started is what ultimately translates into progress. So if you’re looking to do something differently in 2016 (learning Creole for example???*) don’t wait until tomorrow, prove to yourself that what you want to do is in fact a priority by making time for it today.
But what do you think? How do you approach New Year’s Resolutions? Will you be making any New Year’s Resolutions? Would you mind sharing them? An kreyòl si w kapab 😉
Bòn ane zanmi m! Happy New Year! E Bòn Fèt Lendepandans Ayiti! Happy Independence Day Haiti!
Written by Erin Nguyen on December 31, 2015
* Did you know you can get started with HaitiHub for free? By creating an account with HaitiHub, you’ll have complete access to the first 3 modules – no payment info required, just skip over it and fill it in later if you want to unlock even more language learning!
That covers basic pronunciation, word order, sentence structure, and more than 35 high impact vocabulary words in Haitian Creole!
If learning Creole’s on your to-do list, make it happen! Ou kapab, zanmi m! Sign-up here.