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January 2020

Guide to Maintaining Your Language Learning Resolutions

Tips for Learning a New Language this Year

The coming of the new year brings about many desires for improvement for people around the world. It’s a time not only of rebirth but also of resurrecting forgotten goals. Learning a new language is a popular New Year’s resolution for many people, but sticking with this goal is often where people fall short.

In reality, a big resolution like learning a new language should be broken down into a series of micro-resolutions, which can otherwise be thought of as a behavior. Managing these behaviors is far easier than resolving to achieve a lofty goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, it’s far more manageable to resolve to “exercise for thirty minutes a day” rather than to resolve simply to “lose weight”, which is somewhat vague.

Today we’ll take a look at small resolutions you can make to achieve your language learning resolutions.

Resolve to a specific language learning milestone

Rather than aiming to simply “learn a new language”, opt instead to a particular milestone such as “fluency in conversation”. This is a goal that can be defined and measured, especially since we all have a different definition of what it means to “learn” something.

Resolve to daily study for a specified amount of time

Language learning isn’t a process that can be undertaken several times a month; study is a practice that should be done every day. No one knows your schedule like you do. Choose an appropriate amount of study time that you can do per day without burning out and resolve to meet this goal every day.

Resolve to not overstudy

While there should be a minimum amount of time in which you study daily, there should also be a maximum. We are often most excited to study a new language when we begin, but, as things get harder, we often find that we lose some steam. Avoid this by managing your study periods so that they are sustainable over a long period of time. For example, you could resolve to study an hour per day. At the end of the hour, stop yourself and move on. Keep yourself excited to continue studying the following day.

Resolve to test your progress periodically

Choose a few days in the year to test your progress. This could involve visiting a restaurant where your target language is spoken and using the language, or perhaps you could visit countries where your target language is used.

Be sure to choose tests appropriately so that you do not place yourself in a situation in which you may become demoralised if you do not do well. For example, if you’re a beginner student, speaking with native speakers in their home country may not be the most ideal first test, as it would take some time to converse well with them.

Resolve to think positively and not critically

Learning a new language should be a positive experience, even if it’s hard. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, take a break and remind yourself why you’re learning the language in the first place. Remind yourself that the act of learning is itself a great feat, and reward yourself for the progress you’ve made. Avoid criticising yourself too much.

Resolve to have fun

Try and make language learning as enjoyable as possible. Vary the study methods and opt to watch a film in your target language instead of traditional study every now and again. As long as you’re exposed to your target language, you’re learning.

It may help to write down your list of micro-resolutions to help you achieve your ultimate resolution of learning a new language. How you do it will be up to you and your study style. The important thing is that you keep studying.

What are your language learning resolutions for 2020? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on language learning advice!