Motivational Calendar – March 2017

motivational calendar march

The Daring Librarian Flickr via Compfight cc” target=”_blank”>Photo Credit

Hello everybody!

We are starting a new month -can you believe it?- and it’s time for another edition of the Motivational Calendar.

Each month in this post I will make a review of my last month’s goals and I will set new goals for the next month. So here we go…

Goals Review

My first goal was to watch “Familjer på äventyr” each weekday during the month. And I achieve it! Yuhu! As planned I wrote down the sentences -not just isolated words- that I almost understood. Why? This way I learn vocabulary within a context and also it’s just a bit above my current level. I almost understood the sentence. That means I only didn’t understand probably a word or two. This method is great for the following reasons:

1) It is just difficult enough to keep me motivated. It’s not super difficult so I decide to quit the minute I don’t understand a word.

2) As I said before, I learn vocabulary within a context. Because I’m watching telly in Swedish is even better, cause I can see the character’s facial expressions and understand the body language that goes with each word or sentence. That is what I call real contextualized learning!

My second goal was to find a language partner and start a language exchange. I started not only one but two different exchanges. Bravo! Why a learning exchange is great?

1) Is usually free. FREE!

2) It helps you to overcome fear. You have to talk, there is no other way that the conversation keeps going.

3) You can put in practice what you learn in your self-study time or at your tutoring sessions AKA seeing results of your efforts. Studying a language either with a tutor or by yourself is great, but you need to practice what you learn otherwise all that you are learning will fade. A natural conversation forces you to use the vocabulary you know so the more you talk the better you will get at it. Simple

Goal setting

I obviously want to continue watching Swedish television everyday and continue with my language exchange, but I also want to set new goals for this month.

My first goal for this month is to be able to maintain a conversation for about 15 minutes in Swedish. Don’t get me wrong, there’s gonna be awkward silence, me trying to say something and not getting anywhere and probably asking “how do you say … in Swedish?” in Swedish.But you know what? It’s fine. I’m a beginner. I’m a proud beginner. As long as I try it’s OK. I’m not going to have a perfect 15 minutes conversation the first time I try it. But I’m gonna try. That’s the main point.

My second goal will be to implement Swedish in other hobbies I have. For example I really enjoy reading and listening about positive psychology so it’s a great option to put the two of them together. It’s not super-easy and I won’t understand everything. But just recognizing small sentences and ideas it’s fine for my level. And what’s even better, this goal will proof me something: I can use Swedish in my everyday life. How amazing is that? Inner satisfaction level going up up up!

What are your goals for this month? Which goals did you achieve last month? Let me know in the comments.

Here is your Motivational Calendar

Happy language learning!



Let me be honest here. If there’s one thing that really annoys me in the polyglot community is to listen to everybody say: “Make language learning your priority” No offense, it’s a great advice. In fact, makes lot of sense: if you want to get better in your target language simply put it on the top of your list and problem solved, after some time you will start seeing the results. Right. Nothing new here. But what if you just simply can’t make language learning your priority?

This question came to me when I was coaching one of my clients. She was really stressed, almost to the point of crying. The thing is that she really wants to learn, she tries her best and yet she fails to study everyday so you could say that learning a language is not her priority?

What about you? Do you feel identified with this situation? Do you try to learn a language but find difficult to apart some time for it? Let me tell you first that sometimes all that you need is a bit of scheduling. But what if like my client you just can’t make it a priority? Maybe you have a really demanding job, or your family needs you take care of them, or you just don’t want to make language learning your priority because you have other priorities like your job, family, spirituality, Pilates or whatever you fancy doing with your time. And that’s fine! I am not going to judge you here. So again, what can you do?

  • Step number one: Acceptance. Accept that you are doing all you can do, and although maybe you would like to do more you are trying your best. Accepting you are doing your best will help you to take off all the pressure from the whole language-learning experience

  • Step number two: Stay positive. This sound like a cliché, but it helps. Concentrate on what you’re doing. You can write down a list of the things you are already doing to improve your target language. My motivational calendar can help you out with this.

  • Step number three: Take the pressure off your shoulders. Learning a new language it’s fun. Specially if you are just interested in your target language and don’t need to pass an exam or impress someone at the office with a 20 minutes presentation. Just breath in and out for a couple of times.

  • Step number four: Schedule. Even if you can only commit to 30 minutes a week to learn a language. Write it down in your calendar and don’t procrastinate when the time comes.

  • Step number five: Have very small goals. Having “fluency” as a goal is not going to help you. It’s only going to make you feel you’re not progressing enough because after some months you still struggle to introduce yourself or ask for directions in your target language. Instead you can break down your goals. Some examples are: find a native speaker to talk to, study two times a week, learn 5 new words this week, listen to music in my target language, get a coach to stay motivated (I can help with that…)

I hope this was useful and you feel you really can learn a language regardless of your schedule or priorities. Happy language learning!

Motivational Calendar February 2017


Hello everyone!

As every month – except for January, my apologies to everyone- here you are a new edition of the Motivational Calendar.

What are your goals for this month? After a 2 months break with Swedish I am ready to resume my studies of the language. As you all know, I believe learning a language should be fun, so I want to do something that is energizing and instructive and the same time. I love Swedish documentaries and TV-series so I have decided to watch the third season of “Familjer på äventyr” a Swedish reality show that follows the lives of adventurous Swedish families around the globe. I aim to watch at least  30 minutes every day. But it is not just passive learning, I will have a notebook with me in which I will write all the sentences I almost understood except for a word or two. This way I will be able to improve my vocabulary and concentrate on the things I can do or almost can. Remember: don’t set very difficult goals, just difficult enough to keep you going.

My second goal is to find a Swedish-Spanish language partner so we can exchange languages. I tried that 3 months ago without much success but here I go again! This method will help me to use the vocabulary I am learning on my own watching Swedish TV. So, here is how you can help: if you yourself are Swedish or you know anyone that speaks Swedish and it’s up for an exchange please leave me a comment!

And now enjoy your calendar here


Japanese diaries weeks 4-7

So what have I been up to in these last couple of weeks? Well, I’ve been studying a lot of Japanese and here is what I’ve done.

I’ve been concentrating in using as much of the vocabulary I’m learning in the last couple of weeks. And that’s a key point. I (and I actually believe that everyone does) need to review the same things over and over again and after a while from time to time. What I find challenging is that by only doing writing exercises I get bored easily. My mind is very challenging and it never stops asking, questioning or wondering so I’ve been thinking in strategies for my language learning approach. For example one of the ideas I’ve came across is recording myself talking in Japanese, as I was talking to another person, and watching not only my vocabulary but also my tone, body language, etc.

In the next couple of weeks I would like to start having 1 on 1 conversations with another native speaker so that I am talking with a native at least 2 hours a week.

I have almost finished the Pimsleur Learn Japanese I series and hope to start series II after that. I’ve been also wondering about getting a text book and have been recommended Genki. And here is where I need your help. This text book is really expensive and I want to make sure it’s worth the money. So, have you ever used Genki text books? Would you recommend it? Any specific advice? Let me know in the comments.

Hope you’re keeping up with your language learning!


Japanese diaries Week 1-3


Bienvenido/a a esta nueva sección donde pretendo compartir mi progreso aprendiendo japonés.

Estas dos primeras semanas me he centrado en dos cosas:

  1. Aprender Hiragana
  2. Completar 8 lecciones de Pimsleur Japanese

Según lo que he investigado todo el mundo recomienda empezar a leer Hiragana desde el principio, así que eso he echo. Además creo que Pimsleur ofrece una buena base para poder manejarte de manera muy básica en el idioma que estés aprendiendo. Incluso asienta las bases de la gramática del idioma casi sin que te des cuenta.

¿Y vosotros? ¿Estáis aprendiendo japonés? ¿Qué idioma aprendéis? ¿Qué consejos podéis darme?

Goals Review for November 2016


Yes, this one will be in English. Get over it 😉

Well, where I can start… let’s say that I’m having a Swedish crisis. And no, Sweden, the Kingdom of Sweden, it’s OK. I mean I have a Swedish crisis. Why?

1- I don’t feel that motivated to learn Swedish anymore

2- I have discovered a new language that is fascinating with me

3- It’s really hard to keep up with both languages

4- It’s really hard to find someone to practice Swedish with that has the same schedule as me

So… yep. I am on the edge of quitting learning Swedish. But why? Well I’ve just said that so please read it again. Get over it.

The thing is that I am starting to learn Japanese too as I have a friend that teaches me, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to take advantage of. It doesn’t happen every day that you have a Japanese friend who is  willing to teach you just for the fun of it. And that’s it, I’m learning Japanese now. But what happens with my Swedish? My initial idea was to keep up with the two languages… mmm yeah like you have the time Jairo.

Yes, I actually do have the time but here is the problem. Learning both languages at a time means that my learning speed will decrease tremendously in both languages. I know myself very well (I think) and I know how demanding I am and how most likely I would feel I’m not progressing very much on either Swedish or Japanese.

That’s why I am choosing. And I am choosing Japanese. I have been actively studying Swedish for more than six months now.  I feel I’ve done a great progress. I feel it’s time to move on, specially as it very hard to find  a language partner when I have someone “knocking on my door” for that. “Knocking” with a different language, but still “knocking”

What do you think? I am taking the right decision?  Why? Why not?

Revisión de metas para el mes de Octubre


Ya empezamos un nuevo mes. Y eso significa que debo revisar mis metas lingüísticas y compartirlas con vosotros.

Este mes debo ser sincero: ¡no he logrado todas mis metas! ¿Qué ha ocurrido? Repasemos primero mis metas.

Meta 1: estudiar con el libro Teach Yourself Swedish tres veces en semana

Resultado: No conseguida

Razón: Aunque sí conseguí estudiar casi todas las semana he estado de vacaciones y claro, durante esos días no estudié sueco.

Meta 2: aprender 50 palabras nuevas

Resultado: No conseguida. Sólo he memorizado 36 palabras este mes.

Razón: De nuevo, las vacaciones de última hora rompieron toda mi rutina, y al volver de las vacaciones me tomó un par de días volver a la rutina y horarios para aprender sueco

¿Qué ha fallado?

Creo que el error ha sido que he fijado objetivos demasiado altos. Por ejemplo, en Septiembre conseguí memorizar 25 palabras, así que pensé que memorizar 50 no supondría un problema. Error. Fue un incremento demasiado grande. También, el irme de vacaciones espontáneas de una semana para otra no ayudó

¿Significa que he fracasado? ¡Ni mucho menos! Este mes he aprendido que debo ser más realista con mis objetivos. También me he dado cuenta de que puedo ser constante en mi rutina y de que me satisface mucho cuando veo que semana tras semana soy capaz de levantarme a las 6.30 de la mañana para estudiar, a pesar de que algunos piensen que soy un friki 🙂

Moraleja: Si alguna vez no consigues tus objetivos… está todo perdido… ¡NO! Aprende  de esa situación, analízala, ve en qué has fallado y utilízala para mejorar. A seguir adelante

Calendario de motivación para Octubre


Te traigo una nueva edición del calendario de motivación.

Puedes descargarlo aquí:

Calendario de motivación pdf 

Calendario de motivación word

Calendario de motivación usando google docs


Espero que te sea de gran ayuda.

¿Quieres saber como utilizarlo? No te pierdas mi entrada: Cómo utilizar el calendario de motivación

¿Te gusta el calendario? Dímelo en los comentarios y sobre todo compártelo con tus amigos, familiares y contactos, así muchas más personas podrán beneficiarse.

¡Que tengas un fantástico día!