英語汁 / Eigo-jiru

【Talk to yourself in English?】Making a habit of “self-talk” and what you will get from it. 《Eigo-jiru vol.7》

Hello! It’s konkaz (@konkazuk) here. 

What is mentioned in this article are…

What will happen in our head by making a daily habit of “self-talk”?

…and secondary,

What should we do for making a habit of speaking in English so that we won’t fall by the wayside?

Therefore, if you are interested in the great method of learning to speak “self-talk”, please continue reading. 

By the way, the concept of “self-talking practice” is written in the previous article, so if you haven’t checked it out, you can go there from the link below.

👉 The reason why you should start “self-talk” right now! 《Eigo-jiru vol.6》


The system that starts functioning once “self-talk” has become a habit of yours.

image by Austrian-national-library

First of all…

Once you have made a habit of “self-talk”, I can say that bringing your English-speaking level up to the stage where you can comfortably deal with daily affairs is not a mission impossible at all.

The reason for this is because… you will probably start with simple daily phrases you already know (as well as adding some new vocabularies as the situations you will come across require), but as you go on repeating the same phrases, they begin to stick in your mind, and your brain will start recognising their patterns. 

And eventually you will get to the point where English phrases automatically come out of your mouth andthe system of

“Thinking in English”

will be established and start functioning.

You say “it’s not a mission impossible at all” …

Well, it does seem like it, though…

If you think that way before actually setting your hand to it, then it will be impossible.

I’m saying this on the premise that you have made a habit of “self-talk” in English, so if you can’t, then you better let it go and try some other ways.

But let’s halt here and think a bit further…

It is said that the main reason why people cannot speak English is simply because they are not spending enough time speaking in English.

I totally agree with this comment.

For instance, if you are taking online English speaking course, how much do you think you are actually speaking within a limited time frame?

If you think there is not much chance of speaking in English, then you need to create it by yourself.

When you try to speak in English while you do not have a habit of it, what you want to say will come up in Japanese at first, then you translate them into English in your head, and finally you let them go out of your mouth…

This is the process you are go through at the moment.

On the other hand, if you are speaking in English regularly, what you would like to say will naturally come up in English and then construct the sentences in your head.

If you start speaking in English regularly with a certain amount of time a day, the process of “translating Japanese into English” will disappear gradually.  

Once you get to this stage, you can measure your progress by the feeling of how the system of “thinking in English” is working smoothly.

image by eko paramon

And finally, if the state of “think in English” becomes “thinking in English” or “responding automatically in English to someone’s remark”, I can say that you are entering the stage of enjoying communication in English.

Some people will be able to reach this stage within half a year, but unfortunately, once you neglect to maintain the habit of “outputting”, i.e. using your voice, the system you have created will get rusty.

Just dropping the habit of outputting will put you in such a situation, therefore it is natural to think that those who don’t have a habit of outputting at all will not be able to speak no matter how much vocabularies they input, because it is the same thing as not running a motor.

The things you can do to maintain new habit  ①

image by Drew Beamer

So, what should you do to keep your new habit unfading? 

In my case, whenever I aim to form a new habit, I often try doing following two things so that it won’t disappear easily.

  1. To make yourself understand the fact logically like… if you don’t start doing it right away, it will put yourself in an unfavourable position, and you will horribly regret later on.
  2. Use something visually appealing. 

As for number 1, it won’t last if you are vaguely thinking like “ I want to be able to speak English!”  

With this sort of attitude, you will probably be like… stop making progress at the point of having conquered the shape of F chord, when it comes to playing the guitar…

We never take things seriously until we are in great necessity.

image by meineresterampe

So, it’s important to find out the reason why you still need to learn to speak English while you live in Japan.

I check Twitter regularly and often get impressed to find lots of young people posting useful information for sharing, and the information is exchanged between different generations as well.

This is simply amazing, because the scene like this has only been developed over the last 15 years or so…

Comparing what is currently going on with how things were in my teens or twenties, I feel that time is really flying.

Considering how fast things are changing within such a short period (10 years, 20 years will be gone with lightning speed, seriously!), and the fact that due to the globalization of communication industry, there is practically no online borders between the countries as long as you are able to deal with things in English,

it looks quite obvious that…

the time we should individually regard ourselves as an “Earth person” (or simply mankind) before we regard ourselves as “Japanese” has come!

image by Bobby Johnson

And since “English” has been recognised and used as a “global language”, if you don’t speak “Earth language” as an “Earth person” you will end up missing out lots of opportunities with your life.

At the end of the day, whether you speak English or not will have a great effect on individual’s life, therefore, considering the future economic situation in Japan, we better learn to speak in English with urgency.

Learning to speak in English with online courses could be one of the effective ways, but I personally think that it’s important to have a sense of “living with English language” rather than “spending some time for learning to speak”.

What I meant here is…

to spare some percentage of your day to live as an “Earth person” and speak “Earth language”, instead of living whole day as a Japanese and speaking in Japanese.

So, essentially this is the core part of what I recommend people to carry out with the method of “self-talk”, however incorporating this attitude as a habit into your daily life can be tricky for some people, I believe…

As for this issue, a tactic of “appealing to the visual sense”, which I mentioned earlier, will work effectively, so I will explain it with some examples in the next chapter.

The things you can do to maintain new habit  ②

image by Melinda

With regards to incorporating a new habit into your everyday life, no matter how carefully you plan your time and set about working on it determinedly, there are always “other priorities” coming up to interrupt your schedule.

If it’s happening just for one day, you can easily go back to your routine. However, this “other priorities” occasionally come in with a few days in a row or sometimes as a bunch within a mouth with no mercy.

You eventually get less motivated, the passion you initially had fades away, and it’s quite common to find that the habit which was just about to be established have been buried under the successive events of “other priorities” before you know it.

In order to prevent such a thing from happening, the method of appealing to the visual sense, such as writing things down on the paper or even on hands are often applied, and when I used this method with some arrangements for my “self-talking” practice, it worked pretty effectively, therefore I would like to share this with readers.

aimage by Saeed Karimi

To put it simply, what I did was sticking some notes on the spots where you would never fail to take daily action, such as…

“opening the door of the fridge”,

“taking tableware or a bottle of seasoning from the cupboard”,

“setting the alarm clock”

and so on.

It’s impossible to miss these spots unless you deliberately try to look away!

And the content of the notes is basically a couple of questions written in English.

For example, the ones I put on the door of the fridge were…

What are you taking out from the fridge?   (fridge = refrigerator)

And what do you use it for?

Each time you reach the point to open the door you need to answer these questions “aloud”.

And if the answer was… let’s say… orange juice, I had to say…

I’m taking orange juice out.

I’m just going to drink some because I’m thirsty.

Or if it was eggs…

I’m taking some eggs out.

I use them for cooking my dinner.I’m going to cook a Spanish omelette tonight. 

…something like these. 

So, you basically write down some questions in English on a piece of paper and put it on some unmissable spots and answer them aloud each time you take action.

And it will be even more effective if you read questions aloud, too.,

image by Alena Jarrett

With alarm clock, the questions can be…

① What time do you need to wake up tomorrow?

And why?

And the answers for these could be…

① I need to wake up at 5:30am.

It’s because the Tube is not working tomorrow, so I need to take buses.  (Tube = Underground)

By asking the same questions and answering them aloud repeatedly, they will become like templates.

Take A from B.

What do you (use, need, etc.) it for?

Starting with It’s because…” for answering the questions that begin with Why…, etc.

And the answer to the questions cannot be the same all the time, so this exercise involves a bit of “thinking in English” (though you will probably have to go through the process of thinking in Japanese and then translate it into English in the beginning), and keeping this method going will train you pretty well.

image by Rob Schreckhise

And once the pattern has settled in, you can change the questions to something different.

By visualising the task of English-speaking exercise, which is directly related to your daily actions, it is unlikely that you will fail to maintain your new habit.

The act of outputting you make on each spot might be small, but when it accumulates…

the effect of it will be eruptive!!!

image by Gerd Altmann

Anyway, this is it.

Many thanks for reading this blog post till the end, and keep the good work going!!!


*You can read this blog post in Japanese from the link below.

👉 「独り言英語」その絶大な効果と習慣化させるためのアイデア《英語汁 第7号》