By this point in January, you've probably vacuumed all but the last few crumbs of New Year's Eve confetti out of the rug. Have you kicked your vocabulary-learning resolutions to the curb as well?
It doesn't have to be that way. In a recent issue of her Brilliant Report newsletter, science-of-learning journalist Annie Murphy Paul outlines three "stealthy" interventions to "outsmart our tendency to get too busy, too tired, too intent on catching the latest episode of Downton Abbey" to stick to our goals. We note here that Vocabulary.com was designed with the need for these kinds of interventions in mind. Read on to see how:
"Bring people with you." Paul suggests that when you are accountable to friends, you are more like to show up. We know Vocabulary.com users are paying attention to the built in opportunities to see how others in the Vocabulary.com community are doing. And did you know you can play the Challenge with people you know on Facebook as well? Watch this short video to see how.
"Redesign your choice architecture," Paul writes, borrowing a term from Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's 2008 Nudge, in which they suggest you should harness the "power of inertia," by making learning the "default." "Work with a music teacher who charges you for a missed class," Paul suggests.
Or turn to Charles Dughill's The Power of Habit, and use a method of habit formation backed by scientific research to achieve the same end. Just a few days of consciously giving your attention to built in cues, such as the Question of the Week email, and built-in rewards, such as points and achievements, will lock a habit into place so firmly you'll have to struggle to stop. (Read more about this here.)
"Use data to motivate yourself." With a nod to the quantified self movement, "the oddly-addictive practice of tracking every calorie consumed or burned, every minute spent online or asleep," Paul suggests that a lack of data leads to our abandoning our goals. "Often we get discouraged...because we can't see the progress we're making." On Vocabulary.com, you see information about your progress at the end of every round you play. Want more? Follow the My Progress link at top of every page on the site for even more information about your play, the words you're learning, and points and achievements you've earned. We've even added information about your progress on word learning to our Dictionary.
Really, we make it easy. Whether you're studying for the SAT, trying to sound more professional at work, studying English, or simply hoping to get more out of what you read, developing a vocabulary habit with Vocabulary.com is one resolution you're going to be able to keep.