Learning a new language is a popular and rewarding New Year’s resolution, not only because of the obvious benefits (being able to communicate with people from other places and vastly improving your travels) but also some lesser known benefits such as developing your ability to multitask, improving your memory and boosting your brain power.
Sadly, they tend to be left behind within the first couple of months of the New Year, so, in order to help you achieve your language goals, here are some tips on how to fulfil this particular New Year’s resolution.
1. Be realistic: You probably won’t become fluent with just one month of English lessons, however that doesn’t mean your progress has to be slow. Pick realistic short-term goals to help you along the way, such as:
- learning 10 new words each week
- learning one useful idiom a week
- being able to tell a simple story in past tense
- learning vocabulary related to events happening around this time (i.e Easter or Valentines’ day vocabulary in February or holidays and hotel related vocabulary around summer time).
2. Don’t become discouraged: Setbacks are part of learning a new language. It doesn’t matter how excited you are about learning Spanish and travelling through the Spanish Riviera, there will be moments, perhaps due to a very busy schedule with work, where learning a new language won’t seem very fun anymore. Here is where persistence is key. You will be able to overcome these bumps on the road; if you give yourself time those adverbs and irregular verbs will be a piece of cake.
3. Use all the tools at your disposal: Long gone are the days in which the only way to learn a language was to simply live at the country where it is spoken. Nowadays a lot of well trained professionals can be found all around the globe! Learning any language in your office is also possible with in-company lessons so – time is no excuse. Not only are quality lessons available for students regardless of where they are, but there are also lots of extension materials found online:
- listen to podcasts, they don’t have to be language related, any topic which you consider interesting will help! Maybe try “Stuff you should know” or “The school of greatness”
- watch TED ed videos, this is a special part of the TED video community which allows you to watch the videos and answer question on them, all free of charge
- chat online with people from other countries
All of these tools are available!
4. Monitor your progress: It is important to advance at your own pace; however, it is important to also be aware of how far you’ve come. Taking part in structured lessons helps you understand better what your strengths and weaknesses are and allows you to improve without wasting any time.
5. Get yourself a good and handy dictionary, whether physical or online, the dictionary must be monolingual. This way we are not only expanding our vocabulary but also practising simpler constructions we already know. Some of the best dictionaries (which are also available online) are: Cambridge Dictionary, Merriam Webster dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary.
6. Make learning something new from your chosen language your everyday habit. Aristotle once said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Good news – this also applies to language learning. You can improve your language skills by forming appropriate habits. Start with something small and stick with it for just 30 days – the time that is said to be sufficient for the habit to get entrenched! We recommend taking our 30-day language challenge, just click here to see what it’s about!
7. Tell the world your goals: There are very few things as powerful as promising to do something in public. This holds you accountable not only to yourself but others. Share your progress on social media to encourage yourself day to day to be better and better.
We wish you a very fruitful year of studying foreign languages!
The Eklektika Team