There are so many people who genuinely want to learn a new language, and yet never follow through. It seems that intention doesn’t always translate into action, regardless of how much you wish it would! Procrastination can be the death of learning anything, whether you dream of acquiring the skills to be a strong swimmer, or are hoping to be able to converse in German. Because foreign languages often appear so intimidating (and difficult) to tackle, procrastination is a common stumbling block for language learning hopefuls. ‘I’ll start tomorrow’, ‘I’m waiting to find the right language tutor’ and any other number of excuses may be keeping you from beginning your language learning journey once and for all. Ready to get over that procrastination and really start learning? Read on for some tips to STOP procrastinating and START learning a new tongue!
Stumbling Block #1: Setting yourself up to fail.
Most people don’t procrastinate because they have better things to do, it’s usually fear of failure that puts a pause to tackling any new challenge. When you go into something expecting to fail, you’re much less likely to feel motivated to follow through. Setting oneself up for failure is why people struggle to stick with a new diet, or are afraid to apply for a promotion, and, in this case, terrified of even attempting to learn a new language.
How To Beat It
If you approach language learning with the idea in mind that you need to become fluent after ‘X’ amount of time or you will have failed, it will be incredibly difficult to push yourself to tackle it in the first place. Instead, break your language learning goals into digestible chunks. This can be anything from challenging yourself to learn 5 new words a week, to working up the courage to ask someone for directions in your chosen language. With each small goal you achieve, your confidence will increase, and so will your desire to put off on your language learning!
Stumbling Block #2: Boring yourself to death.
The surest way to make sure you are successful at language learning is to be passionate about what you’re doing. But even if you are really excited at the idea of learning Chinese, it’s not always going to be a thrilling experience. Sitting down to study grammar will be a pain some days, and you may find yourself dozing off while conjugating verbs or memorising new grammar structures. And there will be other days where the idea of even thinking in a foreign tongue sounds like a complete drag.
How To Beat It
Take a moment to jot down what’s in it for you. Why are you learning this language? How will it benefit you? When you start to get bored with the language learning process, it’s always a good idea to remind yourself of what your overall goal is. Maybe you want to be able to have a conversation with your Hindi-speaking in-laws, or you’d like to take a solo trip to a country where the language you’re learning is spoken. Don’t let yourself forget why you’re doing this! Another great way to stave of language boredom is to find creative ways to incorporate it into your daily life. Instead of spending hour after boring hour pouring over a textbook, sing along to music, or watch dubbed versions of your favourite movies and TV shows. Make it so that the fun aspects far outweigh the boring, and you’ll be motivated to keep on learning!
Stumbling Block #3: Not energising yourself enough.
Learning a new language is a long drawn-out procedure where you won’t see instant results. I mean, why start a task at all if you don’t think you’ll get anywhere in the first place? One huge factor that leads to procrastination is the realisation that it will take months, even years, to see any tangible outcomes. In our modern culture of instant gratification, this can be one of the bitterest pills to swallow.
How To Beat It
The answer to this conundrum is actually pretty simple: reward yourself! Decide on something you want, and gift it to yourself every time you accomplish something in your language learning. If you’ve studied every day for a week, how about rewarding yourself with a new book? Have a slice of cake every time you learn and use 50 new vocabulary words. Don’t be afraid to make a habit of rewarding yourself! One of the big motivators that keeps me going back to a local language exchange group again and again is the fact that we all go out for a pint afterwards. Having a reward system in place will keep you on track, and make learning a new language a lot more fun too!
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Are you procrastinating on learning a new language? Why? Which of these tips motivates you to get started?