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January 2018

Simple Motivation Tips for Language Learning

Stay on track with these easy best practices

We’re all busy people, and, as busy people, we often find it difficult to spare the extra energy for study. This is especially true for people learning a foreign language on the side. After a long day of work, we may not have the willpower to diligently crack open the textbook.

It’s not surprising that the top language learning mobile applications see other online apps as their main competitors, rather than actual foreign language schools. This is because they are all vying for your attention, and they know you only have so much free time to spend in a day. 

So how do we ensure we keep studying every day?

There are, thankfully, simple tips that can keep you motivated and on track with learning your target language. These best practices take no time at all to implement, but they can mean so much over the long term.

Discover your best study period

First, it’s important to determine at what time during the day you study best. Do you find studying more enjoyable or convenient in the morning, or do you prefer studying in the evening after work? 

Perhaps the lunch hour is your best period. Maybe the foray into study can be the perfect meditation between a stressful day in the office or school. Regardless, determining your ideal time for study will make it easier to stick with study itself. Forcing yourself to study, say, at the end of the day when you’re tired does no favors to you. Similarly, self-described non-morning people ought to keep it easy ante meridiem (before midday). 

Time your study sessions 

“Hey, [mobile phone assistant]. Set timer for one hour”. This phrase could become your best friend when it comes to language learning. Whether you’ve got Siri or Alexa or Bixby behind your back, setting a timer for your study sessions is a great way to stay on task. 

With the timer running and the mind dedicated to one task, it’s far easier to not be distracted. Study until the timer rings, then move on to your next daily activity. This is a great productivity tip not only for studying, but for any other task you have as well.

Test yourself regularly

Studying a foreign language can seem like an endless endeavor. Be sure to test yourself every so often to get a glimpse of your progress. Watch a film or listen to a podcast in your target language, then gauge how the experience changes over time. 

Regular testing is important not only to keep track of which areas you need to improve, but also because it reminds us why we’re learning a foreign language in the first place. Seeing some improvement over time also provides the necessary mental impetus to keep us motivated and passionate about learning. 

Manage your feelings

While you study, take note of your feelings. Are you enjoying your study sessions, or are you frustrated? Do you find the language learning process fun, or is it something you subconsciously avoid? If you find yourself mentally pushing away from studying, ask yourself why. Perhaps the method you are using isn’t stimulating enough. Try something new and find what works for you. Studying is hard work, however if language learning isn’t a partially enjoyable process, learning the language will be a painful uphill battle. And it doesn’t have to be.

What are your productivity tips for staying motivated while learning a new language? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on language and culture from around the world!