So, you’d think that booking a few lessons and buying a bunch of books would be enough, right? Well, not quite.
I mean don’t get me wrong, it is a great start but you still might find yourself cancelling one too many lessons. You might also find it too difficult to practice outside the lessons and forgetting what you’ve just learned.
I’ve been there, I get it.
So how do we do it? These five steps might help.
1. Visualise your end goal.
Okay, this one might sound a bit too woo-woo for some of you but please, bear with me here for a second.
You know how you need a map to go from point A to point B? And to do that, you need to know what is point B, right? Well, this is kind of the idea here. You need to know where you’re going to actually figure out how to get there.
That’s where visualisation comes into play. Picturing yourself speaking the language you want to learn at the level you want to speak it is key in achieving your goal and staying motivated.
2. Give yourself a deadline.
And please, try to make it a realistic one.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious – after all you probably wouldn’t want to learn a new language (or anything new) if you weren’t an ambitious person. However, keep in mind that learning a language is a work in progress.
You never really stop learning and improving so this is what I mean by being realistic. You probably have a full-time job or a family (or maybe even both) so do not put unnecessary (not to say unhealthy) pression on your shoulders.
You want to set yourself up for success and the best way to do it is to get clear on your schedule and your day-to-day obligations. Then figure out where learning a new skill comes into place in the grand scheme of your life.
And keep in mind your visualisation work from step 1. What exactly do you want to achieve? Do you want to be completely fluent or do you just want to know enough to get by during your next holiday?
3. Schedule a time and put it in writing.
You know what they say: if it’s not written down, it is not real.
It’s pretty much like any good resolutions. If you want to see it happen, you actually have to make it happen. Carve out some time in your weekly schedule and block it for your practice.
Unfortunately, this might imply turning down invitations, Netflix, Instagram, and all other temptations for the time of your lesson.
And keep in mind that starting small is still better than not starting at all.
4. Get yourself out there.
As in practice, practice, and then practice some more.
One of the hardest thing for most language learners is to actually put their skills to the test. We often find it intimidating or simply too hard to catch up on the pace of a native (or more skilled) speaker.
But this is actually the best way to make progress fast. Putting your skills to test is how you build up confidence and how you figure out what needs improvement.
5. Keep going (and tracking, too).
Slow down if needed, but keep going.
Remember why you wanted to do it in the first place and keep visualising your end result. Find a community of like-minded people. Join a meet-up group or go to events related to your new skill.
Another tip could be to try incorporating a new habit related to the language you’re learning. I’ve had students switching their phones settings to French. Others started re-watching their favorite shows and movies with French audio or/and French subtitles. Translating your favorite songs from or into the language you’re learning could help, too.
Finally, keeping track of your progress can be a key motivating factor in your learning journey. Acknowledging your small wins and identifying what still needs a bit of work will give you some clarity and help you focus your energy.
And if you have no idea how to keep track of your work, then I have created a journey tracker based on my own learning journey. It’s absolutely free and it’s ready for you to download * just here.
All the best of luck in your learning journey, and until next time, take care ya’ll.
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