5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

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Kat C
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註冊時間: 週三 9月 08, 2010 10:31 am

5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kat C »

Dear friends,


It'll be my pleasure to host again—and to be back to the meetings at all. It's been a long stretch, and how I miss my Yoyo gang! ("Gang" here is slang for "a group of friends.")

As in the past, I'll try and mix things up a bit, explore various discussion formats, and even throw in a game or two for good measure. All for the most effective learning while having the most fun. :mrgreen: So join the blast!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Session I
THE POWER OF HABIT

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According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average 66 days for people to form a new habit.

In Pulitzer-winning New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg's book, The Power of Habit, he points out, "The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can't extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it."

As of now, I'm still trying to kick (sorry, "change!") my 30-year-old habit of "sleeping late and little." And now I know why it's been so tough: I go 3 nights on an early bedtime and then lapse the next 3!

It's fascinating—and extremely instructive— what the science has to tell us about our habits. It turns out that habits shape our life more powerfully than we ever realize. Once formed, we cruise through life on auto-pilot—with decisions already made in the form of our everyday routines. We live by our habits.

So maybe by learning more about how habits operate, we get to shape them and then make them shape us in the best way possible.

I love the book and highly recommend it. Here's an excerpt from the opening of the book.


The Habit Cure

She was the scientists’ favorite participant.

Lisa Allen, according to her file, was thirty-four years old, had started smoking and drinking when she was sixteen, and had struggled with obesity for most of her life. At one point, in her mid-twenties, collection agencies were hounding her to recover $10,000 in debts. An old résumé listed her longest job as lasting less than a year.

The woman in front of the researchers today, however, was lean and vibrant, with the toned legs of a runner. She looked a decade younger than the photos in her chart and like she could out-exercise anyone in the room. According to the most recent report in her file, Lisa had no outstanding debts, didn’t drink, and was in her thirty-ninth month at a graphic design firm.

“How long since your last cigarette?” one of the physicians asked, starting down the list of questions Lisa answered every time she came to this laboratory outside Bethesda, Maryland.

“Almost four years,” she said, “and I’ve lost sixty pounds and run a marathon since then.” She’d also started a master’s degree and bought a home. It had been an eventful stretch.

The scientists in the room included neurologists, psychologists, geneticists, and a sociologist. For the past three years, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, they had poked and prodded Lisa and more than two dozen other former smokers, chronic overeaters, problem drinkers, obsessive shoppers, and people with other destructive habits. All of the participants had one thing in common: They had remade their lives in relatively short periods of time. The researchers wanted to understand how. So they measured subjects’ vital signs, installed video cameras inside their homes to watch their daily routines, sequenced portions of their DNA, and, with technologies that allowed them to peer inside people’s skulls in real time, watched as blood and electrical impulses flowed through their brains while they were exposed to temptations such as cigarette smoke and lavish meals. The researchers’ goal was to figure out how habits work on a neurological level—and what it took to make them change.

(Excerpt From: Charles Duhigg. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”)



The Habit Loop

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The Power of Habit: Charles Duhigg at TEDxTeachersCollege


📍More quotes:

“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”

“But every habit, no matter its complexity, is malleable. The most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager.”

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____________________________________________________________________________________________________


Session II
THE IDIOM BLAST!

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What's an idiom anyway, and why is it often the last thing to master when learning a new language?

From "Simple English Wikipedia": "An idiom is a common word or phrase which means something different from its literal meaning but can be understood because of their popular use. ... In order to understand an idiom, one sometimes needs to know the culture the idiom comes from."

It can be a word, a phrasal verb, an expression, and it's often found in natural speech. In contrast, big words don't really work well in everyday life—when we talk, try to be friendly, or simply want to express ourselves without sounding like a robot—or a dead poet.

So we'll "play" with some of the most common and useful idioms that we may not have gotten to use in our speech (here "speech" means everything we say). Some that go beyond the basic. Let's master them and sound native, come across real, and show that we're super comfortable with the language. :wink:


📍A tip:

Idioms are best learned in dialogues. So conversations in movies, TV shows, novels or interviews are some of the best sources. An example:


A: "Congratulations on finishing the marathon!”
B: “Thanks! I can’t believe I pulled it off.”
A: “Did you find it difficult?”
B: “My legs started hurting during the last five miles – but all the people cheering us on definitely helped me pull through the pain and reach the finish line."

(Espresso English)



So how many of these idioms can you identify and, more important, are you already using?

A: "His story simply didn’t add up. He was trying to pull a fast one."
B: "But I still can't believe you just called him out like that."
A: "I couldn't help it. He's right up there with the worst of them."
B: "I guess I'm just not sure butting heads with him would get you anywhere."
A: "Now that I've laid everything on the table, we'll see how things go down the line."

Idioms just may be the most interesting part of any language. So "go to town on" it! :sun:

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********************************************************************************************************
Agenda:
3:50 ~ 4:00pm Greetings & free talk / Ordering food or drinks / Getting newcomer’s information
4:00 ~ 4:20pm Opening remarks / Newcomer’s self-introduction / Grouping
(Session I)
4:20 ~ 5:20pm Activities (60 mins)
5:20 ~ 5:30pm Regrouping / Instruction / Break
(Session II)
5:30~ 6:20pm Activities (50 mins)
6:20~ 6:30pm Concluding remarks / Announcements (10 mins)
********************************************************************************************************
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最後由 Kat C 於 週一 6月 22, 2020 5:33 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 7 次。
Michael-liu
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註冊時間: 週五 4月 24, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Michael-liu »

I am forced by my family members to go camping this weekend, so it is a pity I can't join this meeting.

1.  This topic is about "why we do what we do". Rock's topic last week was also "why we do what we do". Two different topics use the exact same words. What a coincidence!!! Haha...

2. I agree with the result of famous mashmarrow experiment. Kids who can last for 10 mins not to eat it will become successful in the future, because they have willpower to 延遲享樂. Do you guys agree with this theory?

3. I am surprised to know from the quotes that exercise can make people more patient with their collesgues and family. I wonder why and have doubt. If that is true, I really need excercise. Maybe you guys can discuss this in the meeting.

4. One of my family members has a small bad habit that drives me crazy. Everytime she gets in home, she does not put the door key on the right place and just drops it anywhere by random. So, next time when we need to go out, the key can not be found right away and we have to waste a lot of time to find it. I told her many many times the first thing to do when she comes in home is to put the key on the right spot. She just never change it and it drives me nuts! Maybe I should try to reward her, as the author said, to change her behavior. Or what "cue" should I give her? Any suggestions?

5. I hate to miss out the idiom game. Kat or Kooper, could you write down those idioms you use in the game and put them in here afterwards? Many thanks.
Kooper
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註冊時間: 週三 4月 11, 2007 11:40 pm

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kooper »

Wow, I think I have a lot to learn tomorrow. Among all the idioms that Kat shared or used in session 2, I have only learnt "pull off sth" and "pull through sth" - but not to the point of using them; they are not active vocabulary yet to me. :shock: :D
Kooper
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Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kooper »

Michael-liu 寫:
週四 5月 21, 2020 9:35 pm
4. One of my family members has a small bad habit that drives me crazy. Everytime she gets in home, she does not put the door key on the right place and just drops it anywhere by random. So, next time when we need to go out, the key can not be found right away and we have to waste a lot of time to find it. I told her many many times the first thing to do when she comes in home is to put the key on the right spot. She just never change it and it drives me nuts! Maybe I should try to reward her, as the author said, to change her behavior. Or what "cue" should I give her? Any suggestions?
Changing someone else's behavior is like pulling teeth, particularly when we do not hold a relatively authoritative position toward that person. On the other hand, changing ourselves is more doable and more within reach. Though not a walk in the park, the journey of self-examination could pay off huge.

In the case of not placing keys in position at home, why does it become our pet peeve? Do we get irritated mainly because of the delay, the chaotic scene, something she said to herself or us while searching, or because it wastes our time? If it is because we might be late for a planned event, try to leave 10 minutes earlier every time, saving the time for searching keys in advance.

If it's the chaotic scene or what she is murmuring during search, maybe we could choose to close the door and wait outside; out of sight, out of mind. If it's the time being wasted, try to make better use of gap. Preparing something to read, watch, or memorize for odd moment like this. It could be reading CNN news, playing video games, or memorizing our ever-growing word list.

These are just my two cents. :)
Michael-liu 寫:
週四 5月 21, 2020 9:35 pm
5. I hate to miss out the idiom game. Kat or Kooper, could you write down those idioms you use in the game and put them in here afterwards? Many thanks.
Roger that!
stephen185
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註冊時間: 週三 5月 30, 2007 8:23 pm

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 stephen185 »

Michael-liu 寫:
週四 5月 21, 2020 9:35 pm
4. One of my family members has a small bad habit that drives me crazy. Everytime she gets in home, she does not put the door key on the right place and just drops it anywhere by random. So, next time when we need to go out, the key can not be found right away and we have to waste a lot of time to find it....
I guess butting heads with her probably would not get you anywhere. A key finder should be able to help deal with your pet peeve .
https://24h.pchome.com.tw/prod/DYAFDH-A900ALBBR
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Kat C
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註冊時間: 週三 9月 08, 2010 10:31 am

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kat C »

Hi Michael,

Sorry that we have to miss you, and thanks for the thoughts and questions. I think this book offers some very practical suggestions (based on the available science) for changing our habits. Here're a few notes that may be helpful. And absolutely, I'll put up all the idioms that we go through today here in the thread. 👌

___________________________________________________________

How to: Change a habit
(Summary of "The Power of Habit" / Habitgrowth.com)

Caveat: There is no single formula to change a specific habit.

Every person has different cravings and drivers for the same routines/behaviours.
Some habits are simple to break down, others are complex and require prolonged study.
Some habits can be changed quickly, others are more obstinate.

1. Choose the existing response that you want to change.
e.g., snacking, web browsing, smoking, waking up late, nail-biting, stuttering

2. Experiment with rewards.
Rewards are often obvious in retrospect but hard to uncover.
e.g., snacking mid-afternoon may be more about taking a break than the need for sugar.

Give yourself a few days, a week or even longer.

Don’t put yourself under pressure to change in this period, you’re just collecting data.
Adjust your responses to test different rewards and determine the craving driving your routine.

e.g., eat an apple instead of a cookie, take a break and socialise instead of snacking.
After the response, jot down the first three sensations, emotions or thoughts on your mind.

This creates momentary awareness. and helps with recall later.
Set a timer for 15 minutes.

Give the response and reward time to take effect.
Review your notes and ask yourself if you still feel the same urge.
If no: you have found the reward that satisfies your craving.
If yes: the reward is something else, try again.

3. Isolate the cue.

Like rewards, cues are often obvious in retrospect but hard to uncover.

Each time you feel the craving arise, make a quick note of:
Where you are
What time it is
How you feel
Who else is around
What you’ve just been doing or thinking about
Review your notes for patterns to identify the cues for your craving.
e.g., craving to take a break takes place between 15:00 and 16:00

4a. Either: Eliminate the cue.

Many cues are directly within our control.
The quickest way to stop a response is to simply eliminate the cue.
e.g., block websites, delete apps, disable notifications, end relationships.
Eliminating cues is powerful because it requires no willpower.

4b. Or: Design an alternative response that delivers the same reward (see Create a Habit).
Some cues are not possible or practical to eliminate e.g., times of day, location of work, colleagues

N.b., Periods of major external change and crisis can uproot even old and entrenched habits
These periods give us and others a licence to shake up old habits and act in new ways.

Major external changes include e.g., starting a new school, getting married, moving home, changing job, having a child.
Crises include e.g., health scares, bankruptcy, accidents or near misses, global financial crises.

Fabricating or artificially prolonging a sense of crisis can be useful when promoting change in yourself and others.
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Gloria Lo
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Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Gloria Lo »

Michael-liu 寫:
週四 5月 21, 2020 9:35 pm

4. One of my family members has a small bad habit that drives me crazy. Everytime she gets in home, she does not put the door key on the right place and just drops it anywhere by random. So, next time when we need to go out, the key can not be found right away and we have to waste a lot of time to find it. I told her many many times the first thing to do when she comes in home is to put the key on the right spot. She just never change it and it drives me nuts! Maybe I should try to reward her, as the author said, to change her behavior. Or what "cue" should I give her? Any suggestions?

Hin Michael,
How about leaving several 50-dollar coins at the right place of keys?
Whenever she makes it, she can get a reward. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Michael-liu
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註冊時間: 週五 4月 24, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Michael-liu »

Haha, Gloria, that would be a good idea.

Thanks, Stephen, I will think about it. It's sort of expansive, though. ^·^
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David Jr.
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Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 David Jr. »

Michael-liu 寫:
週四 5月 21, 2020 9:35 pm
4. One of my family members has a small bad habit that drives me crazy. Everytime she gets in home, she does not put the door key on the right place and just drops it anywhere by random. So, next time when we need to go out, the key can not be found right away and we have to waste a lot of time to find it. I told her many many times the first thing to do when she comes in home is to put the key on the right spot. She just never change it and it drives me nuts! Maybe I should try to reward her, as the author said, to change her behavior. Or what "cue" should I give her? Any suggestions?
Hello Micheal, how about duplicating another house key only for yourself?
Remember all what your mom has told you, and do the opposite.
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Kat C
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註冊時間: 週三 9月 08, 2010 10:31 am

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kat C »

Thanks for joining us for the Habit Talk / Idiom Blast! I've promised a master list for all the idioms that had come up in the meeting, so here it is! :D

This is also an open call for anyone to fill in the blanks if I missed any. ("Fill in the blanks" here means putting in the missing pieces or making something more complete.") Just post the idioms in the thread.

___________________________________________________

The Dialogue Game:
(Useful everyday idioms, especially good for work. These are 4 separate conversations; the speakers are not the same group of people, and are not talking about related events.)

A: Okay, let’s get the money issue out of the way first. Any thoughts?
B: I’m not sure cutting the budget is the way to go. We may run short down the road.
C: I agree. We were really in a bind last time. It was touch and go.
D: I’ve leaned my lesson too. Let’s set aside some funds to cover our backs.

A: So are we all set to go? We really need to get a move on.
B: Hold on. I know I missed something, but it just slipped my mind.
C: Hurry! You know the boss has been breathing down our necks.
D: Is it money? Don’t worry. The boss is footing the bill this time.
E: That's a load off my mind. In that case, shall we?

A: Are we all up to speed on the plan? Any more kinks to iron out?
B: I don’t think so. Let’s just take the plunge and kick it off.
C: Do you think the other team will be all up in arms over this?
D: We’ll never know until we cross that bridge. Let’s roll!
E: Yes, let's! I really think we have it made this time.
("Let's" is a way to agree to the "let's" proposal just made)

A: I need everyone to keep this to yourself. Not even a peep.
B: I get the picture. We don’t want the whole plan to go up in smoke.
C: What if the other team catches wind of this from the top?
D: Well, they’ll pull out all the stops and come after us.

___________________________________________________


The Idiom Blast:

to take off (4 usages)
to put down (4 usages) (We didn't mention: "kill" <put the animals down> or "take something as" <put it down as a mistake>)
to back up (4 usages)
last but not least
to ease someone's way into something
to go down the drain
to pull no punches
a nice / good problem to have
最後由 Kat C 於 週日 5月 24, 2020 10:48 am 編輯,總共編輯了 5 次。
Kooper
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註冊時間: 週三 4月 11, 2007 11:40 pm

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kooper »

Many thanks to Kat for holding such a spectacular meeting, making the Dante today a treasure trove of English idioms. Now it’s time for me to do my part: I’ll swing for the fences, internalizing at least some of them in a month, and start using them in Yoyo's discussion. :sun:
JohnH
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Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 JohnH »

The idiom section in today's meeting is really helpful in learning idioms :D :D :D
You just shed new light on how to learn it in a more fun and effective way.
There was a time when I tried to figure out the mechanism by which our brains learn a new word, idiom, and retain it. I think there is also a loop through which we make it to where we can put it into use in conversation.

The first component in the loop based on my experience is the need to describe the event and communicate it to people and the second one which follows is the attempt and practice of depicting it in the words that we have a solid grasp on and the last stage is the acquisition of new idiom from somewhere which conveys the same meaning in a more lively and graphic way.

What we did today in the last section covers all mentioned above. Putting the lines in the right sequence requires our full understanding of the scenario and discussing it with groupmates on the possible underlying meaning takes effort to describe it in English using the words that we've known of(We started from its literal meaning going all the way down to its possible figurative meanings that can fit in the context and I found out that the image of the idiom is pivotal in making sense of it because it assists the brain in converting something abstract into something more concrete) and in the last section your explanation works as a chain which links all of them together. I really learned a ton today :lol: :lol: :lol:
Kooper
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Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kooper »

Attendees(21): Jeff, John, Jason, Kooper, Christine, Iris, Debby, Gloria, Rosie, Laura, David Jr., Leon, Steve, Timothy, Julian, Tashi, Sabrina, Jerry, Ramesh, Carmelo, Kat
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Kat C
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註冊時間: 週三 9月 08, 2010 10:31 am

Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kat C »

Hi Kooper, thanks, as always, for bring so much to the meeting. I like your one-month plan—better yet, why not pull together what the "habit science" has to offer and set up a new cue, routine and reward loop for your new idiom drill?

Another fun way is to target those worn-out verbs you've been using and try out idioms in their place.

e.g., I have to go. / She left. → I have to take off. / She took off.
e.g., We need to cancel the meeting. → We need to call off the meeting.
e.g., The meeting has been delayed. → The meeting has been pushed back.

Pretty soon you'll find many idioms in your conversations to help you sound more natural and engaging! 👍

___________________________________________________


as always
to bring something to the table (/ meeting / group, etc.)
(e.g., She brought tremendous insight to the research.)
better yet
to pull together
(e.g., The police are pulling together all the facts to try to figure out what happened last night.)
to have to offer
to set up
worn-out
to try out
in someone's / something's place

See just how many idioms have shown up in my mere 3 sentences in the beginning? (And I didn't plan it that way. I just said what I wanted to say and then went back to point out the idioms! :mrgreen: )

So have a blast! :D
最後由 Kat C 於 週二 5月 26, 2020 9:55 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
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Kat C
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Re: 5/23 (Sat) The Power of Habit / The Idiom Blast! (Host: Kat)

文章 Kat C »

Hi John, it was such helpful and altogether insightful feedback! It amazes me just how much you've taken in from our "dialogue" exercise and brought about your own learning strategy. It's meta-learning at its most effective. (What I learned → how I learned it → why it worked and what didn't work → how best to learn next time?)

And judging by all the idioms you've put to work perfectly in your message, you've really got a handle on them. 👍 I think the willingness to explore and experiment—even when facing fear or discomfort of getting lost—remains the key to learning new skills (or in this case, idioms.) Some people pick up an "idiom dictionary" as a starting point, leaning from A to Z, often falling back on Chinese as the "interface" to process them; Some would look up the idioms as soon as they come across them and skip the all-important "guessing" phase. I'm afraid neither is productive. Without working out and piecing together the meaning of a new idiom on our own, the comprehension is not earned, full absorbed, or internalized, and as a result not easily retained.

Simply put, no learning should be "fed." We shouldn't be told the definitions or usages of an idiom. Rather, we look at the context the idiom is placed, and we imagine, associate, deduce, and analyze, before reaching a reasonable conclusion. Then we check to confirm or correct. Even when we didn't quite identify the exact meaning, we pick up valuable lessons—the nuances and variations of the idiom. That's crucial when we move on to other idioms, because while many of them share certain meanings, each has its own distinct significance.

You made great use of the idiom "have a (solid) grasp on." A "grasp" is an astute depiction of how we learn. It's a dynamic, self-initiated act. We go at it, we figure things out, we own the knowledge, and we feel invigorated. Then we're motivated to learn more.

You're totally on the right track. So keep up the good work! 👏
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