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How to achieve your language goals



That's a big title. A big promise, if you will. I watched a great video the other day, and the idea for this post was born. Since September, we've looked at setting goals for your learning, and we've tackled how to overcome your language blocks. We've identified your language speaking dream. We've addressed making mistakes, and not feeling ready to start. Now I want to break down how to actually achieve that dream that you imagined a few weeks ago. The phrase "achieve your goals" sounds great to us, but how many of us actually believe that they can be achieved? Then I saw this video, and my coaching brain wheels started turning. Can we apply this technique to learning languages? I think we can. Here's how.

 

How to achieve your most ambitious (language learning) goals


So I know you're probably hoping for some kind of magical formula, and while I haven't discovered this yet (I'll let you know when I do😉), I can tell you that it really ISN'T as difficult as it sounds. I wrote about setting micro and macro goals in this post, and the idea of today's post is similar, but not exactly the same.


In this video, the speaker talks about how he had a very difficult time as a student because of his ADHD (attention deficit disorder), and that after struggling through school for his whole life, he finally decided to change his method to work for him, instead of forcing himself to follow "traditional study methods". This is the first step. You are an adult. You know yourself best. What works for you and what doesn't? Are you forcing yourself to study or learn a language in a way that just doesn't stick for you? There are so many ways to learn a language now, so if you feel like your current method isn't working for you, change it!


The second step for the speaker in starting to achieve his goals was so ridiculously simple (in theory), yet so lifechanging for him. He decided to do some really wacky stuff, I won't give much away, you can watch the video for that, but the idea is this. If he decided he wanted to run a marathon, he didn't start out by setting up the perfect training plan, buying all the right clothes or hiring a running coach. He said the the first step to achieving this goal was, simply, putting on his shoes. Then he left his house. Then he got in the car and drove to the park. Then he took the first step. Then the second. Then the third. He didn't think about the full run itself. He broke it up into tiny, bite sized pieces, and after achieving the first tiny step, he focused on the second. And the third. Etc. Etc. To apply this to your language learning, instead of signing up for a 60 hour course (that you may not even have time to follow), or buying a bunch of books or subscriptions that will just collect dust, perhaps all you need to do to get started is watch a video on YouTube or listen to a song in English. Then perhaps you choose a Netflix series or a book to read. Then...you decide!


As you may well know, they say that it takes 30 days to create a habit. So if you can do something, even something tiny like putting on your shoes and running for 1 minute, then the next day 2 minutes, then the next day 3 minutes, by the end of the 30 days, you will be able to run for 30 minutes. Same for learning a language? I think so. If you can listen or watch something in English for 1 minute, then 2 minutes, then 3 minutes, by the end of the 30 days you will be able to watch a full episode on Netflix, sign up for a 30 minute conversation session, listen to a podcast episode or even have a coffee with someone from a language exchange program!


So, perhaps I'm crazy. But maybe I'm not. You can't call me crazy until you try it out. So go, do something for 1 minute in English. Tomorrow for 2. Come back and tell me in 30 days if you managed or not. I'm super curious to find out what you discovered!



 

Glossary

  • to break [something] down: to divide a concept into smaller concepts or ideas

  • to tackle [something]: an informal verb used to say, "to affront, to manage" something

  • wacky: synonym for crazy

  • bite sized: very small pieces of something

  • collect dust: an expression used to say that something doesn't get used or paid attention to

  • tiny: very very small

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