Day 03 – “I have to wake up.” (28 Day Spanish Challenge #1)

Day 03 Phrase – “I have to wake up.”

Today I didn’t choose a single item in my habitat, per se, but rather I chose my morning routine.  During my morning routine I’m pretty much doing the same things every day.  I suppose that’s why they call it a routine 🙂  And since I’m doing the same things over and over again daily, this is a perfect example of habitat language. But first, let’s review what we did yesterday.

Recall: Voy a prender las luces.

Last time (Day 02) I chose the word “lights” as my habitat language and created the sentence, “I’m going to turn on the lights.”  Then I replaced lights with other things I could turn on. Here’s a refresher:

Voy a prenderlas luces(lights)
el radio(radio)
el portátil(laptop)
el microondas(microwave)
la tele(TV)
la rasuradora(razor)
el abanico(fan)
la cámara(camera)
Voy a abrirel grifo *(faucet)
Voy a abrirla ducha *(shower)

Prender vs Abrir *

Last time I was wrong about using my phrase with 2 of the items. In Spanish, a different word is used when turning on/off appliances and turning on/off water or plumbing.

To turn on appliances/electronics: Prender – “turn on”

To turn on water/plumbing: Abrir – “open”

So, for el grifo (faucet) and la rasuradora (shower), we should use the verb “abrir.”


Voy a abrir el grifo.                             I’m going to turn on (open) the faucet .

Voy a abrir la rasuradora.              I’m going to turn on (open) the shower.


If you think about it, that actually makes a lot of sense. Technically when you turn on a faucet you are just opening a valve that lets the water out.

But don’t translate it as “open” in English because that’s not how we say it


Making Mistakes

This brings me to talking about making mistakes. When I start a language, I try not to be a perfectionist (which is really hard for me because I am that way naturally). This is because the fear of making mistakes paralyzes so many people to the point they never get started.

We have a tendency as prideful human beings to want the world to be impressed with everything we say and do. And many times we have this irrational expectation of ourselves that we should be perfect right from the get-go. Then, when we are not, we are so hard on ourselves as if somehow we have failed.

Listen – ALL beginners are terrible!

There are only 3 exceptions to that rule:

  1. An act of God that miraculously gives someone a sudden power to do something
  2. God himself
  3. Neo from The Matrix

If you don’t fall into one of those 3 categories that just means you’re one of us normal folks who will be terrible at the beginning. And that’s okay! 

When you are learning a foreign language, you will make mistakes. Somewhere along the way you will learn something the wrong way, just like I did last time, and think it is right. And later you will discover you are wrong.

But that’s good! Because that is exactly how you will learn. We learn through our mistakes, not by avoiding them.

The temptation, however, is to spend hours scouring your language materials in hopes to find the most accurate translation possible from the very start, not wanting to ever risk accidentally learning something wrong.

When you discover you have been saying something wrong, don’t get discouraged and don’t beat yourself up. Just say, “Ah, okay,” correct it and move on. Now you know the proper way to say it.

While a little study and preparation is necessary, too much of it is a waste of time and energy and can quickly lead to feeling burnt out. So don’t try too hard to be perfect at the start.  Just get in there and get messy!  After getting your hands dirty, you’ll eventually get a feel for how things are supposed to work.  If you don’t, you’ll forever be paralyzed by your fear.



In the same vein, don’t be perfectionist with pronunciation. Don’t be that person who doesn’t take a chance at butchering the language! No matter how much you study beforehand, you won’t have perfect pronunciation when you start learning a foreign language.

Guess what? The language is foreign to you. Ha! Your mouth and your tongue are not used to making the shapes to produce those kinds of sounds. It’s a motor skill that must be practiced and fine-tuned. All motor skills require training.  

Just like your fingers need to play scales in order to train them to move freely across the piano, your tongue needs to say stuff in the foreign language in order to train it to move freely in conversation. And just like you were terrible when you started playing scales, you are going to be terrible when you start speaking a foreign language.  

I know there are different schools of thought on this. But my opinion is to just get in there and go at it, no matter how bad. Start smashing around and molding the playdough into rough shapes at first. Then after you spend time practicing and honing your skills, you’ll gain more and more ability to sculpt beautiful masterpieces! 

Since I do have some familiarity with Spanish pronunciation (although nowhere near perfect), in this video I have purposely pronounced certain words as a complete beginner might.


Day 03 Phrase – “I have to wake up.”

As I said at the beginning I chose to focus on my morning routine.  So in the morning when I’m getting ready for work there are certain things I have to do.  So the sentence I created to go along with my morning routine is:

ENGLISH:  “I have to wake up.” 

SPANISH:  “Tengo que despertarme.”


    I have to          wake up
          |                     |
Tengo que  

And then I replace “wake up” with other things that I have to do in the morning to create my practice sentences:

Tengo quedespertarme(wake up)
lavarme los dientes(brush my teeth)
darme un regaderazo(take a shower)
ponerme la ropa(put on clothes)
peinarme(comb my hair)
desayunar(eat breakfast)
beber agua(drink water)
encontrar las llaves(find my keys)
ir al baño(go to the bathroom)

Printable Phrase Table

In my free Guidebook there is a page with phrase tables that you can print and fill out to help you build and keep track of all your habitat language phrases. Below is a picture of the phrase table I printed and filled out for Day 03.


You can get the free Guidebook here:

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