Everyone’s heard the expression, “A job worth doing, is worth doing well.” Here at ASLdeafined, we also believe that “Your dedication to completing that job is your guarantee that you will achieve tremendous results.”
When committing yourself to a task, make that commitment using realistic goals. Many people will declare their intent to lose 10 pounds a week for the next ten weeks, but after losing just 3 pounds the first month, they give up in failure. Their expectations were too lofty, too high-in-the-clouds, and just plain too unrealistic. When learning American Sign Language (ASL), the same example can be used. Some people are so excited and anxious to learn this new language that they’ll set goals-of-completion so high that they find it impossible to maintain that level of learning. Within a month or two, their learning will grind to a halt. I have met so many people who will come up to me and say, “I learned some sign language once, years ago.” I’ll ask, “Great. What signs do you know?” They’ll explain with a twinge of embarrassment that, “Oh, I forgot most of it.”
“The world is filled with good intentions,” is another wonderful expression that doesn’t require any kind of explanation. However, as it applies to learning ASL, people have had all the good intentions of learning the language, but for one reason or another, just never got around to it. Many parents of deaf children have pledged themselves to learn ASL, but life just sort of got in the way. The weeks melted into months; months into years; and, years into far too long of a time to wait. “It’s never to late to learn,” is another great expression that is appropriate to use here. Since we can’t re-visit the past and recoup that lost time, there’s no better time than the present, to rededicate ourselves to the task of learning ASL.
When you do make that decision to start learning, set realistic levels of expectation. You may decide to learn only 10 signs per week, or 40 per month; 520 per year. Most people could maintain a fairly decent conversation in sign language using those 520 words. The KEY is to DO IT. Don’t just say you’re going to learn the language, but DO IT. Log your 10 words per week. Practice them. Maintain this list, and keep it growing to 20, 30, and 40. You’re on your way.
Learn that it’s natural to want to make an excuse not to learn this week’s lessons. Don’t allow that attitude to derail your learning. Keep that list of words with you and practice. There are so many times during an average day when you can find the time to practice that list of words, such as sitting in traffic, during TV commercials, or while at rest. It only takes a few minutes, if that is all the time you have to allocate towards learning. The bottom line is: Don’t get discouraged because your goals are too high. If you don’t have the time to learn 100 words a week, then don’t make that your goal. You can always review your progress, and adjust accordingly, too. Right?
Good luck. Dedicate yourself to achieving now, and remember, “a job worth doing, is worth doing well.”