how to be consistent when learning a language

How to be consistent when learning a language

January is almost over.

This is the time when most people start to forget about those wonderful New Year resolutions that they promised to honour at the beginning of the year.

If you’ve landed here, it is very likely that one of your New Year’s resolution was to learn a language…but now you’ve fallen behind!

Fear not, my friend!

In this article, I’m going to give you some easy and actionable strategies to help you stay consistent in your language learning,  especially if you just started out with it.

So, let’s get this done!

Strategy 1 – Start small (and keep it small!)

Do you know Headspace?

It’s a great app if you want to learn meditation and stick to it every day.

Headspace has taught me my strategy n.1 to stay consistent.

Start it small (and keep it small, if you want to).

When you create a Headspace account, it asks you how many minutes you’d like to meditate every day.

During the first days, you can meditate between 3 and 10 minutes.

I started with three minutes.

Reason: “I can definitely find 3 minutes in the morning, right?” Everyone can.

In fact, as it was a very small task I manage to stick to it.

While I was sticking to it, I started to build a habit.

And once something it becomes a habit, it’s difficult to shake it off.

After day five days of 3 minutes meditation in a row, I felt confident enough to take the leap and do 10 minutes (and skipped the 5 minutes threshold!).

5 days became a week. A week became 10 days. 10 days became two weeks…

And now meditation is part of my morning routine.

Start with a very small amount of time to dedicate to your language learning.

Also, you don’t have to increase the amount of time you spend on your language learning. Do it only if and when you feel ready.

5 minutes every day spent learning few new words in context or talking to yourself in the language you’re learning  is perfectly fine too.

If you mange to do more, that’s a bonus that you can reward yourself for.

The bottom line is: Quality is more important than quantity.

Strategy 2 – Make yourself happy

Meditation is rewarding in itself. After everytime I do it, I feel very calm and content.

What makes me keep at it is the feeling of calm and happines I receive during and after a session.

A language learning session can make you happy too.

Ask yourself: how can I make my language learning more enjoyable and entertaining?

One way could be reward yourself. Or choose specific activities you enjoy most doing to be done at the end or the beginning of your learning session.

Language Learning should never be a pain. It should  make you happy. Only in this way, you’ll want to keep it up.

Strategy 3 – Keep in mind your “why”

I have talked about this too in my article “Six tips to make Your Learning Routine Stick”, but I want to reiterate it here because it’s super important.

Your reason for learning a language needs to be clear and compelling. Very compelling!

It’s not cheesy. It’s just the truth.

When someone starts my Personal Learning Programme, I go through a specific process to help them to capture their motivation to learn a language.

Once they found it, they write it down. They remind themselves of their vision and what they want to achieve before starting  every learning sessions.

This helps them stay motivated and reach their language learning goals more quickly.

You can do the same.

Start by asking yourself: “what will I be able to accomplish once I become fluent in [ insert here the language of choice]?”

Write it down and keep it near your study area. It will work magic!

 

Strategy 4 – Make it loud and proud

Don’t underestimate the power of accountability.

If other people know about your goal, your reputation is involved. This will strenghthen your commitment.

If you’ve started learning a language, make sure you tell everyone.

Be specific: what level do you want to reach? In how much time?

Want a major kick in the bum? Put some money is your best friends’ bank account.

You can get it back only once you’ve reached your language leaning goal.

And if you don’t reach it, you can always give your money to charity.

It’s a win win. 😉

Strategy 5 – Schedule it!

Planning when your learning session is happening is crucial to stick to it.

Do you want to get carried away with all the other stuff you have to do throughout your day and then forget that you actually have to learn a little bit too?

So, take out your diary and make sure you schedule your learning time in advance .

And if you have a flexible schedule that changes  every day, don’t make any excuse! You can plan your  day the night before and squeeze in some learning time too.

As Marie Forleo would says, ,”If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real!”. Wise woman.

But …What if you screw it up? What if you miss a day, a week or even a month?

Here’s what most people think and do: “Oh I screwed it up! I can’t stick to this thing. There’s no point. I’ll just give up!”

Here’s what clever people think and do: “Ops! I missed a day. It’s ok, tomorrow I can get back on track!”

Here’s the thing, my friend: on the path to language learning, you’re going to encounter Laziness and Procrastination. They are always ready to creep out behind you. And if they manage to get you… well, it’s ok!

You may hang out a little bit with them. Get a bit sidetracked. Have a little fun with them. But remember: you can either wander with them forever, or just politely excuse yourself and say: “Thanks for the company, guys. Now, it’s time to get back on my path to Fluency land!”

The truth is everyone gets sidetracked once in a while.

And sometimes it’s ok to press pause, if life gets in the way.

However, if you really want to do something, you can always go back to where you left and start again.

If you make a mistake or miss a learning session, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed completely.

You’ve just stumbled on your learning path.

Now, get back on your feet and march on.

And if you feel guilty about having wasted your time…it’s a good thing !

Now you are more aware of how this language learning thing is actually important to you!

So, my friend: stop feeling guilty, crack on and keep going!

You got this!

As usual, now I’d love to hear your take on this topic: what has helped you to be consistent? Is there any specific strategy that helped you keep your language learning up? Share it in the comments below.

And if you liked this article or have a specific person in mind that you think may benefit from it, use the social button below to share it.

Enjoy your language learning,

Ermy***

 

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