Time to Set Your 2018 Language Learning Goals!

Are you planning on including learning a new language among your 2018 New Year’s resolutions? If so, this is one of the best decisions you can make in the new year, and you’ll definitely be in great company! There will be many people who, at 12:01am on January 1st, make the decision to learn a foreign tongue. It’s vital to set realistic goals for yourself if you truly want to accomplish your resolution, so let’s get started creating those language goals and setting you on the path to success!

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Ask yourself why

Sitting down and seriously asking yourself why you want to learn a new language is incredibly important in the overall scheme of actually doing it. This is the foundation that will keep you going when the going gets tough! If you discover that you’re only learning a language because you think it’ll make you look cool, or because someone else is doing it, you may struggle to stick with it and accomplish your goals. Like with anything, you need to be passionate about the language you’re learning if you really want to gain some ability to use it. Make sure you’re learning for the right reasons, and that these reasons are strong enough to keep you on track. Maybe you love how French sounds, are a huge fan of Bollywood cinema, or have a partner whose parents only speak Russian. As long as you have the passion for the language, you should be fine!

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Write them down

Writing down your language goals so you can go back and look at them again and again is a much better approach than just trying to keep them straight in your head. Being able to see them makes them more concrete and also easier to remember. But you want to avoid jotting down a must-do list that rivals the length of your arm! If you put down too many goals, you’ll just end up getting overwhelmed on not knowing where to begin. Start out with 5, you can always adjust or add to them as you progress in your language learning—after all, New Year’s resolutions aren’t set in stone!

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Focus on a task

Remember that when it comes to language learning, quality is always better than quantity. This means that just because you force yourself to sit down and study for an hour a day, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a lot out of your study time. Instead of watching the clock and shooting out of your chair the moment those 60 minutes are up, how about focusing on a single tangible task and studying it for as long as it feels necessary? For example, your goal for the day might be to learn a vocabulary list related to ordering food in a restaurant. If after 15 minutes you find your attention wandering, give yourself the freedom to take a break and come back to it later, but stick with it for as long as it takes to learn your daily task.

Find the outcome

If you’ve figured out why you’re learning a language, then you’ve probably got a pretty firm idea of what you want the outcome to be. Make sure you stay focused on the desired outcome throughout your language learning. You may be planning a trip to China next year and you’re desired outcome is to speak enough Mandarin to be able to order food in a restaurant. Or perhaps you are doing a lot of business in Dubai and want to learn the basics of business Arabic. You’re less likely to spend time learning aspects of the language that don’t directly benefit your overall outcome. So, instead of learning vocabulary related to farming, you might choose to focus on food.

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Go easy on yourself

I know it sounds counteractive, but if you go into language learning with really strict goals and constantly beat yourself up when you don’t achieve them, you will truly struggle to effectively learn your target tongue. Set achievable goals and go easy on yourself even when you don’t quite reach them. Learning a language is a journey and you have to be your own biggest cheerleader if you want to stick with this New Year’s resolution all the way through 2018.

Is learning a new language part of your 2018 New Year’s resolutions? What goals are you setting for yourself in order to accomplish this?