Lesson Transcript

When you decide to learn a language, it's exciting! But there are lots of different ways to approach your studies. What can you do to make sure you start things off in the best way for yourself?
In this video, we'll cover 6 things for you to consider to get you started on the right foot.
First: What is your reason for learning?
Thinking about your “why” for studying a language can be so important.
If you know why you're doing something, it becomes easier to create goals. There are lots of reasons to learn a language: travel, family, friends, love, and even the experience of living in a new country. Clarifying your reason for learning helps you define your mission and gives you motivation right from the start.
Some reasons for learning may be stronger than others. If you live in a country that speaks the language you need to learn, you're probably highly motivated to study because your progress will directly affect your daily life and relationships. If, however, your reason for learning is something like, "I want to be able to watch TV shows in that language," your motivation might not be as high as the person in the first example, but that's okay.
Everyone has a different, unique reason for wanting to learn a language. Take some time to understand what you want to get out of your studies. This is a helpful first step.
Second: Set the Right Goals
Once you’ve clarified your reason for learning, it’s time to set your goals.
Don't make goals like, “I wanna be fluent one day." This type of goal is problematic because there's no deadline for the goal, no clues about how you'll achieve your goal, and no way of knowing when you've reached "fluency." Your goals need to be small, measurable, realistic, and have a deadline.
Try making monthly goals instead of yearly goals. Saying "I wanna be fluent one day" isn't helpful. Instead, make a goal like "be able to speak for 1 minute by the end of the month." A goal like this gives you a target, a skill to develop, and a deadline. You have one month to practice your speaking skills enough to be able to talk for 1 minute. You can set a timer and track how long you're able to speak. This is also a realistic goal; learning enough to speak for 1 minute in 1 month is reasonable. You can even think of how you might reward yourself for achieving the goal!
Third: Reward Yourself for Achieving Your Goals
You can determine your rewards when you determine your goals.
Rewards are powerful motivators. You should be working consistently towards your goals, but there will undoubtedly be times when the work isn't fun and you need something to push you through. When you come home after a long day of work or school on a rainy day, maybe the last thing you want to do is open a book and start studying. It’s so much easier to turn on Netflix or scroll social media. But if you have a reward, you can use it as a motivator.
As mentioned before, it's important to remember why you're learning a language and what your goals are. For many people, thinking about the rewards they'll get along the way boost their motivation. If you give yourself something to look forward to, it can help you get through the times you may not feel like putting in the work.
Fourth: Match Your Routine to the Study Medium
The word "routine" here refers to your everyday routine. You need to understand your personal schedule and your personality to make a study schedule that's right for you. It may come as a surprise that this is a step where many people fail. They think they can do a lot more than they actually can, get overwhelmed, and quit.
In the end, the people who give up after just a few weeks of hard study are only able to do a fraction of what they planned to be able to do. It can be tough to understand your own limitations. We all like to think we're capable of doing anything we put our minds to (at any time, on any day), but the reality is, there will be times when we're tired, bored, or just don't feel like studying. We need to be able to plan for times like these. To do that, we need to understand our own limitations.
Try this: Write out your weekly schedule. Where do you have some existing time that you can spend on studies? For example, maybe you have some time on your commute every day, or some time during a lunch break.
If you're super busy, like most people, look for places in your day that naturally make sense, instead of trying to create a whole new block of time to devote to your studies. Maybe it's when you visit a cafe, or when you're on the bus or a train. See if there's a place where you can match the medium - the learning method - to your existing routine.
For example, on your commute in the morning, you can listen to an audio lesson twice a week or listen once a week after dinner at home while you do chores. Break out some vocabulary flashcards during lunch time. Maybe you can even find a weekend class, which brings us to our fifth point.
Fifth: Anchor Points
These are the connections you make to a language that boost your motivation and keep you attached or anchored to your goal.
For example, maybe you have friends or relatives that speak the language. And if you’re around them, and you’re exposed to the language, you’re more likely to learn. If you don't know anyone who speaks the language, consider making a monetary investment, like a textbook or a learning program. By paying for something, you make a commitment to yourself to use it!
Sixth: Assessment
It’s good to know where you are in your studies and determine if you’re making progress. If you're not moving forward, maybe the methods you're using aren't quite right for you, or maybe you need to find new ways to add studying into your routine to give you more opportunities to learn.
But don't do assessments so often that you don't actually have a chance to learn. For example, if you take a test once and get a score you're not happy with, don't immediately take the test again. Give yourself time to study and develop your skills more. Then you can come back and try again. Assessment is a great way to keep yourself on track, but don't let tests take over your studies.
In this video, we talked about six things to consider when you start learning a language. Figure out your reason for learning, set good goals, and choose rewards. Have anchor points, and make sure to match your routine with a medium of study. And finally, make sure you have the proper approach to assessment of your progress.
And for more ways to get started learning on the right foot, check out our complete language learning program. Sign up for your free lifetime account by clicking on the link in the description. Get tons of resources to have you speaking in your target language. And if you enjoyed these tips, hit the "like" button, share the video with anyone who's trying to learn a new language, and subscribe to our channel. We release new videos every week! I'll see you next time. Bye!