6 ways to stay motivated when learning a new language
Published on August 11, 2020 / Updated on January 8, 2024
You’re planning to learn a new language, you’re motivated and you’re buzzing with excitement. You’ve taken the first step by signing up for a language course like Lingoda. With expert teachers and comprehensive lessons on your side, you know it won’t be long before you’re bilingual!
Then, something happens . . .
No matter how much you’re looking forward to fluency, the commitment and work start to feel like a bit much.
You wonder, “What have I got yourself into?” and your enthusiasm starts to nosedive.
The good news is that it’s totally possible to regain your motivation – so you can get back on track and meet your language goals!
Decide on language goals so you have a plan to follow. If you skip this step, you’ll have no direction and you’ll lose focus.
On top of your ultimate goal (“Be able to get a customer service job in Barcelona”), you should set smaller ones to hit along the way (“Have a five-minute phone conversation in Spanish”). As you can see, these goals are quite specific. Having these precise milestones will help you stay on track – they’re like road signs. With every sign you pass, you’re one step closer to your destination.
One more thing: a great trick to help you stay motivated is to visualise – or imagine – your success. Picture yourself meeting your goals! This technique is used by elite athletes and is considered important mental training. It’s proven to help you stay motivated.
Who doesn’t like a treat once in a while? To keep yourself on the road to success, make a reward schedule. This is tied closely to your goals: reach a goal, get a reward!
The rewards you give yourself could be anything – a favourite dessert, a Netflix break, dinner with friends, a pair of shoes or even a weekend getaway.
The size of your treat should be related to your accomplishment. Completing a daily listening exercise, for example, will bring a smaller reward than passing a level test.
Make sure you know when and how often to reward yourself. If you indulge too often, you won’t see your treats as special, and they’ll no longer motivate you
Everyone has preferences. Luckily, when it comes to language learning, you have a lot of choice – there’s no reason you should have to practice using a method you dislike. From watching movies to chatting online with native speakers to reading news articles or comic books, there’s a wide range of options.
As much as possible, pick practice materials and formats that get you excited and hold your interest. You’re much more likely to keep coming back and sticking to it if you’re doing something you genuinely enjoy.
Okay, we’ve just told you that you should practice by using your favourite formats whenever you can. However, you also shouldn’t be resistant to trying new things. After all, variety is the spice of life (and language learning)!
You’re going to get bored – fast – if you do the same thing over and over again. To avoid that boredom in your self-study time, be sure to vary the skills and topics you review, as well as the materials you use. On top of that, try switching up your schedule. If you usually start your review with a bit of grammar, you might find it interesting to begin with listening or speaking practice once in a while. Don’t fall into a rut!
If you lose motivation (which is normal), you might be picking the wrong exercises or formats. When you start to feel your excitement drop, take some time to evaluate your activities.
If you identify anything that you want to avoid doing, see if you can replace it with a different activity. Not only will this allow you to remove exercises that are no longer working for you, but adding new and different exercises will also keep things fresh and interesting!
No one said learning an entirely new language was going to be easy! Still, a top-rated English course like Lingoda combined with the right motivational tools will help you enjoy the challenge at every stage.
Start your free 7-day trial with Lingoda today! Or, if you’re feeling really motivated, sign up for the Lingoda Sprint and have the chance to earn up to 100% cashback!