Welcome back! I hope you've had a good summer and have been able to relax and take some time off. I've had a lovely month, I spent most of my time in my garden, but I also took some time to reflect on my goals for the new 2023-2024 school year, and I thought I would take the opportunity to remind you that September is the new January, and is a perfect time to set some new goals for yourself. Are you ready? Grab your notebook and a pencil and take 5 minutes out of your busy day to focus on you!
Questions to ask yourself
Whether you're an advanced English speaker or a complete beginner, there is always a new challenge for you to tackle, giving you more satisfaction in your language abilities, and perhaps getting you one step closer to your final objective. Now, before we go setting a bunch of random goals, we need to focus on you. Take a minute to answer these questions before going onto the next part of this post:
Why are you learning/do you want to learn English (or another language)?
for professional purposes?
for leisure (travel, etc.)?
a combination of both/other?
Do you have any set "deadlines"?
do you need to pass an official exam?
do you have an upcoming interview in English?
will you be travelling somewhere where English will be useful?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult is it for you to carry out a simple conversation in English? (1 being very difficult, 10 being very easy)
think about how you feel when you have to speak - are you nervous, or do you just try to communicate as best you can without worrying too much about how you sound?
how easy or difficult is it for you to remember basic grammar structures and vocabulary?
how easy or difficult is it for you to understand someone else speaking in English?
How much time (per week) do you dedicate/want to dedicate to learning English?
as much as possible (you probably have some sort of "learning deadline")
2-3 hours a week
even 5 minutes a day would be great
Setting realistic goals
Now that you've organized your thoughts a bit, you can go on to setting some goals for yourself. Depending on your "learning deadlines" and current English level, your goals will be more or less ambitious. No goal is too small to be considered a goal. In fact, it's often a good idea to set many "micro goals" instead of 1 hugely ambitious goal. Here are some examples, you can use them and fill in your own details, or you can go ahead and make up your own.
I want to dedicate ______ minutes a day to learning English.
I want to dedicate ______ hours a week to learning English.
I want to learn more vocabulary on this subject:
I want to review this grammar tense:
I want to read this book/watch this film in English:
I want to be able to understand this person in English:
I want to be able to speak about this topic in English:
You see? I bet you can easily answer all of these "questions", and I bet you can just as easily start working towards achieving them! You can, of course, set yourself more specific goals, especially if you are preparing for an official exam, but you will find that these micro goals will help you stay motivated and on track while you work towards your final objective. Let me know one of your goals in the comments, and stay tuned for next week's post!
to take time off: to take a rest from work, to go on holiday
to tackle a challenge: idiom - to overcome a personal difficulty
deadlines: every project comes with a deadline - the date when something must be completed
hugely: adjective - huge: very big, large, and in this context, ambitious