Julian Northbrook sends daily email tips for speaking better English – Click the button on the right, sign up, and you'll get a new email every day packed with ideas and tips for speaking better English.

Filed UnderHabits, Learning English

How to Learn English Daily (without effort or frustration)

January 11, 2021 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

Here’s a question: do you ever feel like you don’t get enough done? Know you should learn English daily… but end up wasting time on Facebook instead?

A Doing English daily email subscriber said:

“Nobody is going to help you if you can’t help yourself. ” this kicked my ass, maybe I’m not that much of a person waiting for answers instead or looking for them… but I’ve been a little bit like that. My question for you is: Have you ever experience difficulties to have your actual discipline?
– José

The truth is I’m not very disciplined.

Not at all.

In fact, let me tell you a secret: I’m a really, really lazy person.

It’s true.

This said, Here’s an idea of how productive I am: why I originally wrote this blog post (I’m re-editing and reposting it) I used to teach full time at a secondary school in Japan while also doing a PhD, teaching private lessons in the evening, running a successful business business on the side, and still managed to spend lots of time with my three kids every day, learn Japanese, read, and go running or cycling (often both) every day.

These days my life has changed a lot, but I’m still super productive running now a full-time business (that’s this; Doing English) with full time employees and freelancers who I work with. Still doing academic research, writing and publish articles. Still reading, running every day.

And… look, you get it.

How can a lazy, non-disciplined person do all this?


I understand the power of habits.

I don’t need to “discipline” myself to write this blog post. Or any of my books. Or the daily Doing English emails. Because I do it automatically. At the same time every day, I sit down at my laptop in the same place… and just write.

I don’t need to say, “I have to write today’s email!” – I just do it.

On autopilot.

I’m also habitually collecting ideas in my head. I don’t think about it. It happens automatically. So when I do sit down to write… I already know what I’m going to write.

It’s the same for everything else.

Including learning English every day. If you want to learn English daily, without having to discipline yourself, or force yourself to do it? Without saying, “I’ve really got to study…” or “I’ll do it later…”

Well… the answer is frighteningly simple: make it a habit.

People don’t have much willpower. Psychology experiments have proven this again and again. So just trying to force yourself to improve your English… work harder… or sit down to learn won’t work.

It just won’t.

Even if it works for a few days… you’ll quickly fail.

But habits run on autopilot. You don’t have to use willpower… in fact, they’re REALLY hard to stop, even if you want to. Meaning, once you make learning English a daily habit, you’ll find it hard NOT to practise your English.

Make sense?

But of course, the question is this:

How can you make English a habit?

Well, that’s a topic for another day, because this post is getting bloody long. But you can (and should) start by signing up for my free daily emails (which are designed to become a part of your daily English habit).

Dr Julian Northbrook

Subscribe to Dr Julian Northbrook's Daily Emails for Speaking Better English & get FREE access to the Doing English App, packed with free lessons:

view pixel

More Shizzle on the Blog: