Especially if you’re tackling learning your target language by yourself, keeping the motivation up is a never-ending struggle. When you first start hitting the mid-level plateau, where your progress is less visible than the early stages, motivation tends to seep away, leaving you stranded in language-learning mediocrity. Of course, depending on your learning goals, that might be the outcome you prefer. (You don’t need to be fluent if you only need your target language for travel, for example.)
However, if it is not, here are a few tips on keeping yourself motivated on your way towards fluency.
Think back to how far you’ve come
Once you start feeling that your progress is not as quick as it was, motivation is quick to sap. In order to not let that get to you, it’s important to stop every once in a while and think back to how far you’ve come. Maybe you have a text you struggled with six months ago or you’ve saved a piece of writing that was riddled with errors you would now never make. Seeing how far you’ve progressed is a great way to remember that even when it doesn’t feel like you’re improving every day, fluency is still coming ever nearer. And that will remind you to keep going forward.
Create short-term goals
Another way to keep your motivation up is to keep giving yourself little victories. Create short-term goals that you can fulfil in a day or a week, so that you keep witnessing your progress. The best way to write your language learning goals is to keep to the SMART-system. Keep your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. That way, you’ll a) get a jolt of enjoyment from completing a goal and b) use your time in the most effective way, thus leading to eventual fluency.
Make it social
One of the best ways to ensure you’re going to keep learning is to make your lessons a social experience. Luckily, these days that’s a very easy task. You can find a list of excellent language exchange apps that can help you put your language skills to use with real people. If speaking your target language sounds scary, there is also the option of finding a pen-pal. Really, anything will do that will make you see the communicative benefits of your language skills.
Another great option would be to find someone you can learn with. Start a study group or join an existing language practice event. You can also try convincing a friend that the best thing to do would be to start learning your target language. That way you can not only have a fun time learning but also help teach your friend (who is presumably at a lower level), and there’s no better way to learn yourself than by teaching others.
Get an inspiring teacher
The most foolproof way of ensuring your motivation stays high is to find someone who can teach your target language in a way that is equally enjoyable and instructive. And that is where private teachers come it. Sure, you can get some of the same benefits in a language class (which would also make your learning social), but a private teacher who focuses on your needs and interests is the best way to improve. Through teaching you-specific vocabulary and funnelling the language through your interests, a great teacher can help you not only improve, but will also inspire you.
Conclusion – Make learning social and remember your progress
In order to stick with it when you feel like giving up, it’s important you remember how far you’ve come in your language learning already. Go over some old materials that used to stump you to witness your progress first-hand. Then create short-term learning goals that can give you a sense of victory throughout the process. And if you really want to make sure your motivation stays high, make learning into a social responsibility – find a friend or a language learning group you can practice with, or download a language exchange app. Of course, the best way to ensure both results and motivation, is to sign up for a private teacher who can customise their teaching for you and help keep your spirits high.
You can get started with the latter right here: