When trying to learn a new skill it’s important to do everything you can to give yourself the best chance of success – learning a new language is no different. Whether your foreign language training is learning Cantonese or trying to learn business English
By preparing yourself and setting a clear list of goals you’re essentially giving yourself a road map for success in learning your foreign language. Follow some of the tips below and get motoring towards fluency in your foreign language!
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What do you want?
The first step in creating a roadmap is to choose your destination. Whether it’s fluency in your chosen language, or whether you just want to be able to order a meal on holiday – that is your final destination. Once you’ve set your final destination, place plenty of smaller goals along the way so that you’ve always got something to work towards. Having clear goals is a great first step towards achieving those goals.
Make sure you’ve set yourself a quantifiable goal – “Get better at Italian” is an admirable goal, but “be able to order a meal in Italian” is easier to measure and ensures you’re learning about the things that really matter to you – which brings us to the next point.
Work Out What Really Matters
Your roadmap is personal to you, so why not prioritise the things that are more important? It’s important to motivate yourself to follow your roadmap, and the best way to do that is to work out your “Why”. Why do you want to learn a foreign language? Take the list of goals from the last point, and work out why each of these is important to you.
Working out why you want to reach these goals should help you feel passionate about reaching them, and when you feel passionate you’ll be a lot more keen to achieve them, helping you avoid procrastination and stay focussed.
Take a look at your goals. Do they look unreachable? Scary? Don’t worry about it. The most important part to holding your roadmap together is confidence. No matter what happens on the way, no matter what mistakes you might make and no matter how scary your goals might look.
To bring it down to the most basic level: Your main enemy here is fear. Your main ally is confidence. No matter what happens you need to make sure that you remain confident. You’re working towards bettering yourself – why shouldn’t you be confident about it? Learn from your mistakes, but then shrug them off.
Learning a language is tough. You’re going to need to put in plenty of work to reach your goals, but luckily you should be brimming with confidence after the last step – now it’s just a case of putting in the time to learn the language. Make sure you set aside some time every day to get closer to your goals, whether it’s five minutes or five hours.
During your work time, minimise distractions. This means closing your email, your facebook and even switching your smartphone to silent. As you study you should focus on meeting your goal, and soon the language should start making sense in your head and you should start to see real progress.
There are a few smaller details you should take care of while preparing your road map to success – remember to reward yourself for meeting your targets so you stay motivated – If you’re goal is to revise for 2 hours a day before a test, celebrate on the day after the test with a shorter session!
Your goals can be as conservative or as brave as you want, but don’t be afraid to push yourself!