New Year, new you – and a new chance to work on your language skills! In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, here’s a list of tips if you want to learn a new language this coming year.
Number 1: Be consistent and persistent
The main way people don’t succeed in achieving their goals? They give up too soon. Time + effort = success, so make sure that you put consistent effort into learning on a daily or weekly basis, and don’t stop until you reach your goal.
Number 2: Stay motivated
It’s easier to put time and effort into learning if you’re motivated, so remind yourself why you are learning this language. Visualize all of the great things that will happen once you improve your skills. Will speaking this language help you advance your career? Will you be able to meet new people and participate in a new culture? To communicate more easily on holiday? Whatever it is, keeping the future benefits in mind will help you stay motivated.
Number 3: Find creative new ways of learning
It’s normal to feel bored sometimes. Not everything you learn will be exciting. On the other hand, enjoying yourself will help you maintain a high level of motivation. So if you’re tired of those grammar exercises or bored by that app you’re using, give yourself a break. Pick up a fun book, watch a movie or youtube video, and sing along to a catchy song in your new language.
Number 4: Don’t compare yourself to other people
Have you noticed that a friend of yours seems to learn vocabulary more quickly than you do? Is one of your classmates great at fluency?
Sometimes it’s easy to compare ourselves to other people, but there are a few good reasons not to. It can be discouraging if someone in the same class (with the same teacher, doing the same homework) seems to be progressing faster than you are.
What you might not know is that your classmate happens to have an amazing memory, or that they’ve already learned another language, or that they have more time to spend on homework than you do. They might even be taking this class again for the second time.
In addition to that, everyone has different talents, and your classmate might be jealous of your stellar pronunciation or your business writing skills. We all have different strong and weak points, so don’t worry so much about how other people are progressing. Ask them if they have any tips for you, then move on and do your personal best.
Number 5: Communicate with real people
When you’re learning a new language, it’s easy to focus on grammar exercises and vocabulary lists. But one of the best parts of learning a new language is communicating with real people. Many learners forget that this is a skill in and of itself, so make sure to get enough practice, whether that means giving speeches, writing instagram comments, or going on a coffee date with a cute native speaker.
Welcome to 2017 everyone. I wish you lots of luck on all of your resolutions for the coming year!