You have finally decided to learn a language, have looked at the options and decided how you are going to achieve this specific goal. It will be a long, but thorougly rewarding journey that will have many great milestones but conversely the odd setback. In this article, we asked one of our support staff to guide us through how language students should stay the course.
It is time to stop procrastinating (leaving it to another day) and to actually make good on that promise to yourself. Studies show that people are more likely to stick to a plan if it is made after a major benchmark (your birthday, New Year's Day). If that is a long way off, Monday is the most popular day to start reaching for a new goal.
Plan your learning strategy
A paper from Behavioral Science and Policy tells us that the more we want to achieve our goals, the less likely that we are to actually achieve them. This is because we think that good intentions are enough. Having an actual plan, and especially writing it down in the present or future tense, will help you to speak your second language.
Keep to Plan A
Having a Plan B or Plan C might seem attractive, but analysis shows that it makes failure more palatable as language students think that they have other options if they fail at their original objective.
Put money on it
There is an app that some of our teachers use when they go to the gym. As long as they attend three times per week, they do not lose any money. If they attend for fewer times, then they pay the people who are going to the gym more frequently. Make a bet with a friend that you will pay them money if you don't learn 500 words of Spanish within three months.
Take small steps
"I am going to learn German by the end of this year" is a great goal to have, but it does seem arbitrary and more complicated than it could be. Instead, focus initially on smaller goals such as being able to speak about the weather or getting the conditional tense correct.
We only have so much focus that we can give to tasks, so be careful about how you use this. Sometimes, you will have to give in to temptation in order to focus on long-term goals.
You can learn a foreign language or English as a Second Language with Unique Language Training. Unique has been providing tailor-made language courses to businesses and individual learners since 2000. For more information, e-mail us here, telephone 020 3566 0145 or fill in the form on this screen.
by Paul Clarke
Assistant to Language Trainers
One-to-One Language Courses
Articles on language teaching