Learning a new language, especially as an adult, isn’t easy. Adults do not absorb the intricacies of a new language as well as children do. Moreover, there is the complication of work and home priorities that get in the way of learning. Between the demands of your job and household chores, it is difficult to find time to learn a new language.
That said, these constraints shouldn’t stop you from being fluent in French, Spanish, Chinese, or any other language that tickled your fancy. Smart goal setting is a great way to manage the difficulty of the task as well as the scheduling limitations you are experiencing.
Goals are important. They are key to reaching new heights and learning a new skill. If you are in the process of learning a new language, below are key reasons why you should set goals.
5 Benefits of Goal Setting
Goals are meant to guide you through your new language journey. They might seem like an additional task on your already long to-do list, however, taking the time to create goals can do wonders for your attempts to learn a new language.
Goals Give You Achievable Timelines
One of the hardest things to surmount about learning a language is the fear that it is too much to take on. Most people are debilitated by the sheer difficulty of language learning. Between memorizing proper nouns and perfecting the accent, it seems like a lot especially if you are only starting out.
Setting goals help make big goals seem achievable. Because you create a timeline of milestones, it doesn’t seem like you are biting more than you can chew. With every goal achieved is a sense of accomplishment. More goals accomplished means more motivation to push through the difficulties.
Goals Keep You Focused
It can be challenging to keep your eye on the prize if you don’t know what the prize is in the first place. If you don’t know what you are working towards, you would never achieve what you set out to do. This is especially true for language learning.
When it comes to learning a new language, there is a lot to tackle. From nouns to conjugation, and adjectives to slang, it is easy to be distracted and jump from one topic to the other. Goals set on a timeline gives you blinders on what you should be focusing on. Staying focused, in turn, means that you achieve more in a shorter amount of time.
Goals Provide a Measure of Improvement
Especially if you are practicing every day, it is unlikely that you notice your own improvement. It is in the same breath as looking at your face every day, of course, as you age, you don’t notice the difference day by day.
Setting goals in language learning gives you an objective look at how far you have come. Having a tangible measurement of your improvement can help bolster you through the tough times. When you experience setbacks, it is easier to look back on what you have accomplished if you have a list of goals from the start of your journey.
Goals Save Time
Similar to maintaining your focus, goals can save you time on focusing on the aspects of language learning that you would benefit from the most. For instance, goals can help you steer away from mundane activities like memorizing words that very rarely would come up in casual conversation.
Moreover, goals provide you the ability to identify the part of language learning is important to you. This would enable you to direct focus on the things that would help you achieve the ultimate reason for your studies.
Goals Break Down Seemingly Unachievable Feats
As discussed earlier, learning a new language can seem like an insurmountable task. There is a lot involved in learning a new language and it is easy to be discouraged if you look at everything that you need to do in order to be fluent.
Goals break down big commitments into smaller achievable tasks. At the end of the day, it is less nervewracking to have “practice conjugation for ten minutes” on your to-do, than to have “memorize all adjectives” on your daily list.
How to Create Language Goals
Goals are vital to language learning. But, most often than not, it isn’t about setting goals that help you achieve what you have set out to do. It is all about setting the right ones. Here is how to create language goals that work for you:
Identify Your Why
The first step that you need to take to create effective goals entails identifying the reason you want to learn the new language. Identifying your way is an important step because it determines your timeline, your strategy, and your focus. These three factors depend on what you are learning the language for.
For instance, if you intend to learn Chinese for a trip next year, you already know that after 365 days you must be conversational in the language. Maybe, your focus would be on everyday conversations and learning Chinese slang.
Write Down Your Language Goals
For most people, writing things down is symbolic. When you write something down, it feels like it is already set in stone. Your language goals feel more concrete and achievable if you do put the pen on paper.
We suggest taking note of three big goals and writing them on a big piece of paper that you can stick onto a surface that you see every day. This way, whenever you get discouraged, you are easily reminded of what you have to accomplish. Aside from the three big goals, it is also a good idea to break them down into smaller chunks. The smaller goals do not have to be written and posted. They are best reserved for your daily journals.
Set a Realistic Schedule
Once have identified your goals, set a timeline. Make sure that the deadlines that you have for yourself are realistic. Otherwise, you risk feeling like a failure from setting unachievable goals that you had a slim chance of reaching. Be specific with your timelines and the corresponding goal.
Keep a Log of Your Improvement
Language learning takes a lot of time and effort. It is easy to be discouraged especially when you feel like you are no longer making progress. It is vital that you take note of your improvement. Doing this would help you get through difficult times.
It is best to have a language learning notebook with you every time you go to a class or when you review on your own. It is easier to see your improvement when all of your notes are compiled in one place. Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy. A simple notebook would suffice.
Challenge Yourself, But Give Yourself a Break
As they say, your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing new ever grows there. When it comes to learning a new language, it is essential to keep pushing yourself to greater heights. You would be surprised at what you are capable of.
That said, pushing too hard can lead to burnout. Know your limits and stick to do them. Failing to give yourself a break can cause you to abandon your goals altogether.
Dealing with a Setback
As with every journey, we are sure you would find your sell taking two steps forward, and a step back. Dealing with failing to meet your goals can be difficult, however, the tips below ensure that you stay on and soldier through:
Don’t Be to Hard on Yourself
Sometimes, regardless of your due diligence, there is a chance that you would fail to reach your language learning goal. After all, life is made interesting by curve balls that nobody expects. Often things just get busy and you no longer can find the time to review and study.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember two things: everybody makes mistakes, and everybody learns at their own pace. Your mistakes do not define you. Giving up does.
Take Time Off
If you are feeling burnt out and you no longer find joy in learning the language you were once interested in, it is high time to take time off. It doesn’t have to involve going on vacation. However, simply forgoing a lesson or two can give you a new lease on excitement over your goals.
Remember Your Why
Identifying the reason you want to learn a new language is an essential step in creating effective ones because it can help you get through set-backs. Remembering what you are learning can give you the energy to power through. Sometimes, a reminder is all we need.
Learning a new language is easier if you set the right goals and have the right partners to lead the way. That said, you don’t have to look any further for the right help. Superprof has a slew of competent tutors that you can choose from. Check out our website to learn more about what we have to offer!