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!