Want Something Really Bad? Don’t Make The Same Mistake I Did!

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I don’t speak spanish.

And I’m quite annoyed at myself because of this fact. I spent a few weeks in the Dominican Republic several years ago, camping and climbing on the beach. And as the only foreigner around, it started to feel really lonely really fast. While a lot of my friends here speak pretty good English, the communication barrier was huge. I felt it especially when sitting around the campfire at night, everyone laughing and telling jokes, and me working my ass off to try to understand even a small fraction of what they were saying. What was a pretty amazing experience could have been ten times so if I’d been able to communicate with everyone.

I vowed not to come back til I spoke the language.

But here I sit again, in the airport waiting for my flight home, after another pretty amazing week in the Dominican that could have been more amazing had I been able to communicate. Or at least order my own food. Or ask which bus stop to get off at. Or tell the creepy man on the bus to please stop talking to me.

I’m kinda pissed at myself because I had TWO whole years to learn, and I didn’t. You know how much 2 whole years of Spanish lessons can learn you? A LOT. And it wouldn’t have been that hard. One class a week, a few skype conversations with my friends to practice. I could be fluent by now. But I’m not, because I didn’t make it a priority.

And it IS a priority for me. I love to travel, and god knows how much time I’ve spent in Spanish speaking countries. It’d be nice to have a small idea what the hell is going on around me when I’m there. Not to mention it feels irresponsible and slightly embarrassing to not speak the language when I travel somewhere.

So now it’s a priority. And this time, I’m not letting myself slack.

Know how I know I won’t let myself slack? I’ve set a deadline…. wait for it….




I’m moving to the Dominican Republic in 3 weeks.


Not a joke. I keep saying I want to learn, so I figured why not take the bull by the horns and put myself in a situation where I have no choice.

We do this a lot don’t we? We say we want a change but we put it off and put it off, or we start and don’t stick with it. But with small, consistent action, we’d see huge results. But sometimes the goal feels SO big that we don’t even let ourselves try.

Whether it’s going to the gym more, or reaching a goal in a sport (like climbing, or running, or knitting), or learning a new language, the formula for success is the EXACT same:


Do the work, do it consistently, and don’t stop doing it, and you will see results.


So that’s what I’m going to do. Move to Santo Domingo. Go to Spanish school. Make it my mission to learn to speak fluently(ish).  So that when I take people climbing, camping, and hiking next year in the Dominican for the Adventure Retreat, I won’t feel like such a dork again.

Oops- I guess I just revealed the top secret location of the Adventure Retreat next year! I hope you’ll join me, it’s going to be a seriously amazing trip.

So the moral of the story is this:

That thing you keep saying you want to do. Start it now. Don’t let years go by  without taking action and making progress on it. You’ll get there sooner than you think, but you MUST start.

In the comments below, tell us what you have been putting off that it’s time to re-commit to.

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Read 18 Comments & Leave Yours

  1. I have two different cd packages to learn Italian… sitting there and collecting dust.  Telling myself I’ll do it when I have the time and somehow choosing to do other stuff (mindlessly watch TV, for example).
    Am I waiting for them to pop themselves into the cd player by magic?  Seriously…

  2. otitiovuewhorie

    dalerog I have Italian CDs too! I thought it was just me, LOL. And I’ve had them for YEARS. Christ, it’s so embarrassing.

  3. otitiovuewhorie

    It’s time to recommit to my yoga, damn it. I started and then stopped for absolutely no reason. To the mat!

  4. otitiovuewhorie dalerog So… let’s get our asses into gear and get ’em in the bloody machines and learn already!  Then we should try to communicate with each other!

  5. dalerog ha! i have had the rosetta stone package on my computer on the “buy now” screen for 3 days. eep!

  6. dalerog otitiovuewhorie I love this – you guys can be language buddies! Make it happen! When you’re accountable to each other it becomes SO much easier (and more fun ;)

  7. otitiovuewhorie  dammit! to the mat indeed! Yoga is one of the things that is easy to slack on, and part of the practice actually continuing to go to the mat EVEN when it’s the last thing you want to do.

  8. dalerog

    Rebecca Tracey dalerog  Ha!  I’m looking at my “Living Language” box as we “speak”!  You have the right idea – going to Dominican Republic to learn your Spanish…. I dream of going to Tuscany (I always tell my family that I’m going to go visit and not come back like Diane Lane…. )

  9. AnnaLong

    Spanish was my big “to-do” for years!! I’m still working diligently at learning by listening to Spanish music alot (cause I love it anyhow), taking weekly private classes (which is essentially a coffee gossip session with my friend), and making annual trips to Spanish-speaking countries. 
    My instructor now tells me that I speak pretty good Spanish and my experience has been that I can more than get by when I travel. It has been a slow process, but all the little fun things I do (that don’t even feel like work) are the things that have paid off the most!
    Now moving to a Spanish-speaking country…that’s next on my list as this has been put off for about 8 years :)

  10. otitiovuewhorie

    dalerog Oh my God, YES! Viva Italia! :D

  11. otitiovuewhorie

    Rebecca Tracey Tell me about it. I’m going to commit to it every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes at a time. That’s got to be better than missing days and days of movement.

  12. Coatl

    I have been putting off my cello lessons. I saved money for two years to buy it. I bought it last year (about four months ago) and now I just can´t organize my time for taking the lessons. Oh! my.

  13. AnnaLong awesome anna! once I catch up, we’ll start having our phone calls in spanish :)

  14. Coatl get on it! don’t let that beautiful purchase to go waste :)

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  17. O serie foarte interesanta , mi-au placut mult descriere primelor doua volume!Povestea lui Jessie este foarte cutremuratoare, si-a pierdut mama si toata viata sa s-a schimbat!Sper ca relatia dintre Jessie si Pietr sa fie la fel de puternica cum a fost mereu!

  18. Thanks Ian. It seemed bigger than the Legs Ride. No matter how you count it … it was WELL attended and for the most part riders behaved. I agree that going over the bridge was awesome. “Cool” as you stated. Thanks to the birds and police who managed to keep us going in the right direction and following the rules. LOVE BIKE PARTY! Each time I get more into it. See you next month! BTW, who selects the themes?