How to stay motivated to learn a language

La Rochelle, France 2016

Why do so little of us follow through with learning a foreign language?

 

Many people get the idea to learn a language and get really excited and everything’s amazing and they’re making their goal of fluency for the next year and the ball is rolling !!

 

However, as I’m sure we all know someone who has done this, or maybe even ourselves. What happens? Quite obviously, they lose direction and more importantly they lose motivation. 

This is human nature right? We have all faced a lack of motivation for quite literally so many aspects of our lives. 

 

Ok, so, yes, we all know how motivation dies pretty quickly. How can we keep it alive and well when it comes to studying grammar and vocabulary and all those boring rules that inevitably needs to be learnt?

Here’s my tips that I use whenever I skip a few days of reviewing the language or just don’t feel like doing anything that strains my brain:

  1. Take a step back and remind yourself of why you began learning a new language. Come back to what gave you your first kick-start get reconnected to that reason and motive. Sometimes a little reminder of why you started in the first place can rebirth those feelings of excitement you first had.

  2. Have confidence in yourself. This is second on the list because it is so important! Seriously, I think so many people who want to know a second language don’t make it far because of this very reason. Maybe you don’t have the confidence to do video calls with other people and practice speaking because you are embarrassed of what you’ll sound like or afraid you’ll freeze up and not be able to produce anything you’ve been learning so far. I also know people that gave up learning after a couple weeks or months because they didn’t feel like they were learning fast enough. If you start telling yourself you’re not good at learning foreign languages, you won’t be. Fear is such a motivation killer and will take over your progress and tell you quit. So self-encouragement has to be apart of your process when learning a language. So, realize mistakes do not make you stupid, or a slow learner, they only aid in helping you know your target language better. Stay confident in the process, you are making more progress than you realize. 

  3. Entertain yourself! Take a break from books, grammar exercises, and flashcards. One of my favorite things to do and something that I spend admittedly an obnoxious amount of time doing is watching youtube videos in the language you are trying to learn. Youtube is an amazing passive study tool because you can pick the topic you want to watch. I really, really advice everyone to make sure you are having fun during this process. If you are boring yourself to death trying to learn a language strictly through classes and memorization, trust me your motivation will not last long. I personally love to watch vlogs in Brazilian portuguese, beauty videos, tv shows, movies, etc. Basically any media that you find interesting and is in your target language will help you getting in the time to “study” on those days that you feel like doing nothing and watching movies all day. Using this method will also improve your comprehension skills while you sit back and watch countless ted talks and stand up comedy.

  4. Find a friend. The world is so big, but connecting with people all throughout the world is easy. So no excuses here. You can find someone who is at the same level and timeframe as you when it comes to the mutual language being learnt. You could also find an exchange partner, you speak their target language and vise or versa. How about finding someone who is a little more advanced than you are currently and by practicing with them, they can help you improve on your mistakes and also have the understanding and patience you may need because they know exactly what you’re going through. Bottom line, you are learning a language to be able to communicate with more people in the world! So Do That! Share the language with someone, it will make it seem like a less elusive goal. 

  5. Record yourself. Take your phone out and make a private video just for you to monitor your progress. Speak about whatever you want. This does 2 things for you in your language learning: you can gage what your speaking level is when you force yourself to talk about a topic in your targeted language and it will let you watch your improvements. This can serve as a great motivator because you can really see for yourself how that your hard work is paying off. 

These are things I do all the time. Nobody is perfectly motivated 24/7, however these tricks will help you get back with the program! 

 

I hope you find these tips useful and let me know if you have any other that work well for you! 

 

Come see me next week for the next post. 

 

Now get back to learning!