So, you`ve decided to learn a new language. Such an exciting idea! You are dreaming about going to a country where it is spoken, communicating freely with people, reading books in their original language and having more work opportunities. All of these ambitions are worth dreaming about. Unfortunately, we often start with a lot of enthusiasm, but we loose interest quickly. Sometimes, it is the wrong motivation or wrong approach or wrong expectations to blame.
These are a few tips that could help you stick with learning a language and achieve your desired results.
1.Set your targets and milestones
It is important to understand why you are learning a language. If you don’t have a good reason it is hard to stay motivated. Learning a language for fun can be exciting until that day when what was supposed to be fun turns into a straggle. If you choose to learn another language to advance your career it can be a strong motivator – you just need to decide on what steps to take. For example – your first step may be to finish Duolingo in 4 months and to achieve that you would have to study for 30 minutes every day. Duolingo is a nice app, it makes you learn a language as a child would – starting with pictures and words and finishing with complicated sentences. It does not explicitly explain the grammar to you, however, if you are interested you can look it up. Another goal could be to reach an Intermediate level in 12 months – for that you should study for 3 hours everyday on weekdays. Your goal may be to simply learn 500 words by a curtain date which would require studying word cards for 15 minutes a day. Although, I believe that learning words is more effective in context.
2. Accept that you won’t ever stop learnin
Regardless of your level there is no end point and you will keep learning throughout your entire life. Even if you are fluent you will pick up new words from time to time or even some new grammar rules. Don’t stress about learning too fast, you have a lot of time ahead of you. Enjoy your fast improvement in the beginning – the higher your level the more effort you need to put in.
3. Study 15 minutes everyday instead of several hours once or twice a week
Consistency is the key. If you study twice a week, you forget many things before the next lesson and you progress more slowly. Also, it is much easier to convince yourself to study for only 15 minutes and who knows, when you start you may even want to continue beyond the 15 allotted minutes.
4. Embrace the fact that sometimes it is painful
Accept that suffering is part of the process. It is the price you pay for all the advantages that come with speaking a foreign language. There will be days when you will feel that you make jack shit progress and you can’t express yourself at all. There will be days when you won’t even be able to order a coffee in the correct language. Turn learning into a game. As much as you will make mistakes, pushing yourself to speak will help the learning process. When you make a mistake you learn and you improve tremendously. If you repeat the same mistake, even better, after the 3rd time you won’t ever forget the correct usage.
5. Be ready to leave your perfectionism at the door
I believe that letting go of being a perfectionist is one of the greatest things that you can do for yourself. When you accept that you are not perfect the whole world opens up in front of you. You are not scared to make mistakes anymore which is why you try more things, you practice and in the end you succeed. Learning a language, and even a few, is extremely helpful in overcoming perfectionism. I started not making a big deal of my mistakes when I started learning the 3rd language and I wish i had understood it earlier. Nobody cares if you make a mistake, people understand you and there is something very cool about speaking a foreign language. How many people actually speak 2 or 3 languages?
6.Find a way to enjoy the process
Take cooking classes, watch movies in their original version, read articles, sing, search for information in google in the language that you are studying, become passionate about the culture, join a conversation club, change the language on your phone and make friends with some native speakers. Immerse yourself in the language and your passion will help you to learn fast.
7.Keep in mind these benefits of learning a new language
- You will make friends with amazing people! It would have been impossible without speaking their language.
- You will understand the lyrics of the songs that before you were only listening for their melody.
- It will be much more easier and more fun to travel.
- You will have access to a vast amount of online resources in your new language.
- New job or business opportunities! I know many people who found great jobs thanks to speaking additional languages. Sometimes even their education was not as important as their language skills.
- You will discover a new world – a new culture, new people, new places, …
- You can secretly listen in on other people´s conversations without them noticing 😉