Master the 30/30 Challenge!

When you leave your home for work or school, make sure you take your MP3 player, your iPod, or your iTouch, with you. If you drive a car, load your CD or MP3 player with an audio book and play it as background while you're driving. Again, you do not have to concentrate on what you hear – simply switch on the CD or MP3 and concentrate on the traffic. Or if you are within range of an English-language radio station, by all means use that. Your subconscious mind will do the work for you. Trust in your ability to absorb the sounds of new words and phrases while you are focusing your attention on something else. Relax. At the beginning, you may find it a bit surprising to hear an English voice while you are driving, and you may be tempted to turn it off. That's fine; you don't have to force yourself to do anything. But then switch it back on, and let it play for a few more minutes. Then you can switch it off again and listen to your local radio station or music for a while. After you have taken a short break, switch the English back on, and let it play for another few minutes. Continue to repeat this procedure, but try to increase the amount of time you spend listening to the English and decrease your break time.

Let's say your trip to work lasts about 30 minutes. In that time, you can listen to English for at least 10 minutes this way. By 'listen', I just mean you should have the CD or MP3 playing in the background while you concentrate on the traffic or on your tasks for the day. Don't make the mistake of trying to understand every single word of what you hear. The primary purpose of the 30/30 Challenge is not so much to learn new vocabulary as to acquire the habit of surrounding yourself daily with your target language. Once this becomes habitual, your ears will become attuned to the sounds and intonations of the English language, and your brain will start recognizing more and more words and phrases.

Now you arrive at work or school where you will spend the next few hours. Maybe you won't get an opportunity to listen to your audio book while you are working; but then again, you might. In any case, you should carry your MP3 player with you, and if you have a free minute or two, just put on your headphones and hit the 'play' button. Who knows - your boss or coworkers might become interested in what you are listening to, and you can tell them that you are learning English.

I think you can understand now how the 30/30 Challenge works, and what you should do every day for 30 days at lunch time, on your way back home, and in the evening instead of spending so much time watching local TV or playing video games. The 30/30 Challenge will help you soon reach the point where your mind is comfortable with native speakers and natural language. Your assignment is to follow these simple instructions for at least 30 days, and when you have completed this first task, you will experience a tremendous feeling of success.