If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’ve succeeded in making your commitment to daily language learning. You’ve worked out the benefits, mustered up the courage and made the plunge. Good for you, but you’ve probably also realised it might not be as easy as it seems to settle into a constructive routine. On a related note, maybe you’re reading this because you’ve considered daily studies but you haven’t committed yet, because you can’t wrap your mind around how to execute a viable study plan.
Wherever you’re at on the topic of incorporating language learning into your daily routine— in the thick of it, on the fence, way over yonder— this article has something for you.
Below are some tips on how to go about getting into daily studies as painlessly as possible.
1. Establish a plan.
This first tip seems simple enough, but it is still often forgotten. The organic flow of life doesn’t always lend itself to allow us to accomplish our goals so it is important to work with intention. Apart from ensuring that you have time to do what you set out to do, you sometimes also have to make time. That could mean shaving off 10 or 15 minutes of a lunch break or setting aside half an hour before bed.
Plan ahead and keep your plan sacred. Make the habit and stay consistent. It might take some sacrifice but you can encourage yourself by thinking of all that you will have gained because you pushed through.
2. Pick a realistic time of day that works for you.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you prefer natural light or artificial light? Are you more focused when it’s warmer or cooler? When do you actually have free time?
These are all questions to consider when building your study plan. It doesn’t make sense to block out an hour for studying in the early morning when you find it torturous to wake up before 11 AM. It’s not practical to plan to study at midday at the park when it’s hot as balls and you know your friends are gonna wanna hang out.
It’s crazy how fast your studying determination can dwindle under unfavourable circumstances so you have to plan realistically. Some people do their best studying in the quiet of nighttime before bed; others hate to work in silence and find it easier to play their favourite lo-fi hip hop playlist while they work during the day. You know yourself and your situation best, so set yourself up for success by creating the conditions that allow you to be consistent.
3. Do only what you know can manage.
It’s never fun to feel overwhelmed, even when it’s while doing something you love. It’s important to have balance everywhere in life, especially when you are taking yourself outside of your comfort zone. And I get it, you might get studying fever as you plan your schedule and feel tempted to block out 6 hours a day to study 3 languages while also living the rest of your life, but you have to know when to reign yourself in.
If you find it difficult to focus past half an hour, that’s okay. If you find it hard to absorb more than 30 words a week, that’s fine. If you can’t study more than one language in a given timeframe, it’s no big deal!
You can tailor your learning process to your strengths and weaknesses to get the best result for your time. It is better to form healthy habits and be consistent than to overdo it and risk having to take time off of studying completely to rest an overworked brain.
4. Reverse engineer it!
Outside of the structure of sitting down to study, you can also integrate studying in your day to day activities. After all, life is one big lesson and if you’re on the journey to language acquisition it’s a good idea to pay attention to how a language can be lived as opposed to how it can be learned.
Take a look around at your surroundings from time to time. Can you name every object you can see in your target language? Think about the interactions you have with the people around you. Can you express your idea or carry on a conversation in your target language? Take a note of your language limitations, not to make yourself feel bad or to stress yourself out, but to file away where you can do better in your mind.
You may want to make a small list of constructions and vocabulary you want to work on for the next time you interact with a given space. Working ‘from life to lessons’ along with working ‘from lessons to life’ can really help you identify crucial weak points and round out your learning experience.
5. Don’t underestimate accountability partners.
It can be a downer to do activities on your own. For example, it is way more fun to suffer through a grueling hike with a friend to laugh off the pain with than to trek the journey alone! You can take the same approach with your daily studies by surrounding yourself with a community that shares the same or similar goals.
By creating connections with other learners, you can encourage each other, have someone other than yourself to answer to, and maybe even study together sometimes. After all, we don’t learn a language to just talk to ourselves. We learn languages to talk and fellowship with others and interact with people from the past and present. Whatever we are doing, we don’t have to go it alone.
If you’re interested in joining a vibrant language community geared towards helping each other accomplish their goals step by step, and with the support of experienced and proficient language learners and coaches, consider becoming a Glady Global member! Gladly Global hosts weekly accountability sessions attended by other learners, just like you, so consider getting connected!
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