In the fast-paced world we live in, most of us find it difficult to achieve our personal goals. The demands of our professional lives often leave us with little time to pursue activities outside of the workplace.
If you’re like most of us, you’ve had the experience of joining a gym, only to give up your membership after failing to attend for six months due to a hectic work schedule. Or you’ve tried to take up a musical instrument, then given up on your lessons when your job responsibilities didn’t allow you enough time to practice. Or you’ve attempted to quit smoking and resumed the habit because the stresses of work have simply made it too difficult.
If these experiences sound familiar to you, then it’s important that you do some self-examination before deciding to study a new language . . . because learning a language won’t be any different. Like all things worth working for, attaining language fluency will present many challenges and will require a high degree of discipline.
There's no easy journey to language fluency, but we can offer a few tips to lighten your load.
STEP ONE: Turn your “Dream” into a “Goal.”
It’s great to have dreams. Some of us dream of being a surfer; some of us dream of owning a yacht; and some of us dream of speaking a foreign language. But a “GOAL” is different from a “dream” . . . because A GOAL HAS A DEADLINE!
Deadlines are essential because they force us to make “concrete plans” and take “real action” in order to reach our objectives. Successful language learners usually set small achievable goals. Then, each time they reach a goal, they set a new, higher goal to reach for. Setting learning goals for yourself is extremely motivating, as each goal achieved serves as a “marker” of success – an indicator that you’re successfully progressing toward your ultimate goal – complete language fluency.
STEP TWO: Be Consistent and Committed
To be successful in any endeavor, CONSISTENCY AND COMMITMENT are the keys. If you find yourself coming up with excuses for your failure to make progress in your language learning – if you’re blaming “work” or “other people” for your failure and not viewing yourselves as the root cause of the problem - then you’re likely NOT making language learning a top priority - you’re probably NOT fully committed to your goals and you’re probably NOT being consistent in your plan. Your desire to learn a new language is likely still just a “dream,” not a genuine “goal” which you’re truly committed to.
STEP THREE : Always Remember your original motivation for learning the language
Like most of us seeking to develop ourselves through language, your initial motivation to undertake the task can sometimes fade in the face of other social engagements or activities that seem more attractive or enticing. But it’s in these moments that you must take some time to remember the goals you initially set for yourself and the reasons you chose to learn the language in the first place.
Was it that promotion at work that would grant your family more security? Was it a desire to open yourselves up to new ways of thinking which are inclusive of other cultures - to find commonality through language? Whatever first inspired you to take up the language should be what you turn to when you find you’re making little headway toward your goal, and you must re-align yourself with that trajectory.
STEP FOUR: Gauge your Successes rather than your Failures
The best way to avoid discouragement on your language journey is to gauge your successes rather than your failures. Look at what you’ve so far accomplished in proximity to your ultimate goal. Rather than looking at what you’ve failed to achieve, turn your eyes instead to what you’ve completed. This small change in your perspective is an exercise in positive reinforcement.
All any of us want to know is that we’re advancing ourselves, that we’re growing as individuals, that we’re moving toward becoming a better version of ourselves.
The hard truth is, we’re each our own worst enemy. We can dress it up however we want but it is our own procrastination, our own inclination toward distraction, and our own lack of willpower that stands between us and the linguistic aims we strive for.
No one said that learning a language is easy. It takes discipline, consistency and commitment, and strong motivation. It’s a lot of hard work to be sure . . .
BUT, IN THE END, LET US ASSURE YOU, THE REWARDS WILL MAKE IT ALL WORTHWHILE!
Selamat belajar, happy studying.