Language Learning: How To Keep Your New Year resolution
At the start of each year, many of us make resolutions and a significant number of us subsequently fail to keep them. While people make different resolutions depending on their own circumstances, one of the most popular and most rewarding goals is to learn a new language. So how can you make sure you stick to your resolution this year?
Below, we take a closer look at some of the most common reasons people fail, or the excuses they give, and provide solutions to help keep you motivated and on course to learn the language you wish to acquire.
1. “I Don’t Have the Time!”
We lead busy lives and it can sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do the things we want. Many people believe that learning a language requires a level of free time that they simply don’t have, but the truth is, it is perfectly possible to find enough time, even if you do have a hectic lifestyle.
Learning a language doesn’t require huge sacrifices, it just requires you to organise your time better. You’ll be surprised by how much progress can be made in a single one hour class and if you can juggle your week around to fit in a few more, you will start to pick up the language quickly, without having to give up other things you enjoy.
2. “I Can’t Afford It!”
Money is a legitimate concern when it comes to learning a new language, especially in the current financial climate, and traditional classroom-based courses can be expensive. At Lingoda, we realise this and have adopted a pricing strategy which is affordable and flexible, with prices starting from as little as 6.30€ per class.
You will not be required to purchase any extra learning materials, as all materials are provided during classes. All of our courses also come complete with a 7-day money back guarantee and we provide a trial option, which allows you to try out a one hour private class for just 99 cents.
3. “I’m Too Old to Learn a Language!”
Many of us have read studies explaining that children perform better when it comes to language acquisition, which explains why kids raised in a bilingual environment can often speak both languages equally well. However, if you think you are past the point of being able to learn a new language, you should really think again.
In fact, a study devised by the University of Haifa, Israel, found that adults are actually better at learning new language rules than children and adults far out-perform children when it comes to picking up pronunciation. As an adult, you also have the benefit of knowing which learning strategies suit you best.
4. “I Feel Like I’m Not Progressing Fast Enough!”
Another common problem people have when trying to learn a language as their New Year’s Resolution is that they expect too much too soon. Early on, when people don’t make the progress they expect, they often start to lose interest or give up completely, but the key here is to set realistic goals to begin with.
Acquiring a new language won’t happen overnight. Furthermore, throughout the learning process, there are sure to be parts you struggle with and you are bound to experience frustration. This is normal and requires a certain level of perseverance. At the same time, you should not lose sight of the progress you do make.
5. “I Didn’t Get Good Grades At School!”
For those who struggled academically, throwing themselves back into a learning experience voluntarily can be understandably daunting. Nevertheless, the grades you got during your school or college years will have little bearing on your ability to pick up a second language.
At school, you studied multiple subjects with the intention of passing exams at the end. When learning a language, you have the ability to dedicate more time and focus to it and the end goal is personal development. Besides, your entire approach will be different, because you are choosing to learn a language, whereas you had to attend school.
6. “I’m Unable to Visit the Country!”
This is a common excuse, but one which doesn’t have a whole lot of relevance. While you may not have the time or money to travel to a country where your chosen language is spoken, and while it certainly helps to be around native speakers, it is perfectly possible to learn a language while staying in your own country.
With the benefit of online courses like Lingoda, you will be able to communicate with native speakers on a regular basis regardless. If you want to increase your exposure beyond that, you could also try to watch television programmes or listen to music made in that language.
7. “I’ve Heard This Language Is Too Hard!”
If you try to learn any language, you will undoubtedly come across someone who will tell you it is the hardest language to try and learn. In reality, all languages have aspects which are easy to pick up and some which are harder, and those aspects may vary depending on which language(s) you can already speak.
Research shows that approaching a New Year’s Resolution with the attitude that something is “hard” makes you many times more likely to fail. Instead of seeking out reasons why you can’t do it, focus on your motivation for learning, accept that there will be challenges along the way, but rest assured that no language is too difficult to learn.
8. “Everyone Speaks English Anyway!”
Not only is this a poor excuse for not trying, it is also factually inaccurate. The truth is that English is not nearly as prevalent as some people would have you believe, and both the Spanish and Mandarin languages actually have a greater number of native speakers spread across the globe.
In this day and age it is certainly possible to visit many countries around the world and never need to speak a language other than English. However, if you want to get away from the main tourist centres and get a more authentic feel for a country, learning the language will improve your trip immeasurably.
9. “I Don’t Know Anyone Else Who Speaks the Language!”
Speaking to other people who know a language can be extremely helpful for development, but not knowing other people who speak your desired language does not need to be an obstacle. With online tools like Lingoda, it is easy to communicate with people from all over the world, who share a desire to learn and improve.
Meanwhile, in terms of your employment prospects, the fact that you don’t know anyone else who speaks the language could be a huge positive. We live in a globalised world and businesses are constantly seeking ways to enter into new markets. Having knowledge of a language those around you don’t have could be a great way to get ahead.
10. “I’ve Tried and Failed Before!”
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Failing to keep a New Year’s Resolution in the past is by no means a guarantee that you will fail again. Lots of people who have successfully acquired a second language made multiple attempts before they found the right approach for them.
Examine why you failed last time and try to learn some lessons from it. It may be that your approach was wrong, that your lifestyle balance was off, or that the method of learning wasn’t up to scratch. This is where Lingoda comes in, as we provide flexible online lessons, with qualified native speaking teachers.