Lack of motivation (or loss of it) causes most language learners to quit. It doesn’t matter if you’re clever, have a good memory, or amazing materials: you won’t be successful in becoming fluent if you quit.
That’s why I stress about the importance of keeping track of your progress. You may do it through a language journal or something else. It’s essential, though, to have a clear vision of why are you learning a language and what are you doing to achieve this goal.
Speaking of goals, learning a language is a pretty big one, isn’t it?
It may be intimidating to look at it. It is also a pretty vague goal. Most polyglots suggest that it is better to break it down into achievable mini-goals. I agree with them and today I’m going to explain you why.
“I’d like to learn Spanish one day”.
How many times have you heard this phrase? How many times have you said this phrase?
When that so-called “one day” will be?
If your goal is to speak a language fluently “one day”, you may never achieve it, because it is too vague and hardly measurable.
Rather than saying “I’d like to” or “I hope to”, start saying something like this:
- “I’m going to study basic Spanish greetings and vocabulary every Saturday for 30 minutes until I feel ready to have a simple conversation with a native speaker.”
- “I will be able to talk about myself and my hobbies by the end of the month.”
- “I will learn the present subjunctive to write a proper text message to my pen pal next week.”
These are just three examples of “S.M.A.R.T.” goals. You’ve probably heard of them.
A SMART goal is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
Why is it so important to redefine your goals into smaller and manageable chunks?
- They will give you a sense of achievement that will keep you motivated in the long run. Like I said earlier, if you don’t lose motivation, you win. Simple.
- They will also give you a sense of commitment, which is extremely important. When you’re committed to something, you gotta do it no matter what. No excuses, no complains, no fuss.
- Last but not least, mini-goals will add up over time and will lead you to your end-goal of obtaining fluency.