Written by: Valentina Rampazzo
Realistic goals are key to reaching your (language-learning) resolutions this year
Published on: Jan 11th, 2024
Either you love it or you dread it. The beginning of a new year marks that time when you feel it is the right moment to change (some of) your habits. And with a new calendar comes a blank slate, too. Will you be able to make it past January, though?
We asked 2,000 adults in the United States what their resolutions are for 2024 but also what the biggest blockers are when trying to stick to them.
Among the most common ones, weight loss seems to be the highest priority for participants who wish to exercise more and improve their diet. But adding a new language to their skill set made the cut, too, and respondents were eager to take up this fascinating learning journey.
Dreams and wishes are the engines for change. The big question, however, remains: will two well-known villains - Ms. Procrastination and Mr. Lack O’Motivation - blow out the sparkle of your intentions?
Key survey insights
|Among the most common New Year’s resolutions, such as exercising more and improving one’s diet, 45% of our respondents wish to learn a new language.
|60% shared that the biggest blocker to fulfilling their resolution is a lack of motivation and 54% struggle due to setting unrealistic goals.
|External factors such as work or family commitments also influence the outcome of a resolution, as disclosed by 57%.
|51% of respondents feel confident that with realistic and specific goals, they could stick to their resolutions.
Weight loss, lifestyle and language learning: The podium of 2024’s resolutions
In line with New Year’s themes, Lingoda could not but dive into our readers’ hopes for 2024. Asking them what kind of changes they would be willing to make, three main areas emerged:
Most respondents wish to focus on their physical well-being by exercising more (62%) and changing their diet (60%).
While a healthier body image seems to be the dream of participants mainly between 35 and 44 years of age, 52%, leaning towards a younger generation (between 18 and 24), put their focus on an improved work-life balance.
Finally, the goal of learning a new language and embarking on a journey towards a different culture is agreed across different ages.
How hard is it to stick to resolutions?
Even when trying to give 150% to what we committed to, life gets in the way and can disrupt our plans. Without a consistent routine, it becomes easier for negative thoughts and old habits to derail us from our goals.
Once again, we brought the subject to our surveyees, and the people spoke: a whopping 60% admitted that motivation usually fades away, and the adrenaline of the first weeks of the new year ultimately dries up. The hardest part of it all is to keep the momentum going.
What contributes to that, you might ask? Most of our respondents break it down into setting up unrealistic goals (60%), needing more consistent and efficient planning (54%) as well as a lack of accountability (46%).
Admittedly, all genders agree that disruptions originate externally of their will, too: work-related tasks, family commitments, and peer influence could steer 57% away from their intentions.
The good news is that there are ways for you to stick to your 2024 plans, and they are simpler than you imagined.
Keeping the momentum going
Being aware of what might go wrong with our plans will also help us anticipate a solution, as our poll shows.
With participants being conscious of what prevents them from achieving their goals, most (51%) agreed that setting specific and realistic goals would propel them towards tangible results and boost their confidence.
Such goals shouldn’t be set in stone, though; the flexibility of reassessing and adjusting them when needed is also paramount to 46% of them.
And speaking of external factors, 44% of respondents also reported that major life events such as moving to a new country would definitely help them be more consistent with their commitment.
Finally, a feeling of belonging to a community and the support of friends and family also play a role for 39% and 43% of those polled, respectively.
Specify, plan, share: 3 tips to turn your resolutions into reality
What if the real resolution for this year was to find a way to stick to your resolutions? As our poll shows, the answers are already within reach, and they don’t need that much of a struggle either. Here are three tips to help you check all your boxes and turn 2024 into a year you will look back at with satisfaction.
1. Be specific
Break down your goal into smaller, attainable steps. This means starting by adding one new vegetable each week to your dish instead of expecting to go from carnivore to plant-based within a month. If learning a new language is on your bucket list, focus on a detailed topic during each class or group a few on the same grammar particle or vocabulary. Repetition and reiteration will help cement your understanding, too.
Breaking down your goal into bite-sized actions won’t feel as daunting, and you will have the chance to experiment more and gradually get into the new habit.
Also, do not overwhelm yourself with too many intentions. Start with two or three that really resonate with you and work towards attaining those.
2. Rely on discipline, not motivation
Motivation is volatile and fades, whereas discipline is a conscious effort. We often blame it on the former and how fast it packed its bags and left us hanging. Instead, create a routine and set some time daily or weekly to focus only on one specific task.
For instance, consistency is key if you wish to learn a language. Learning twice a day for a week and then intermittently taking lessons might give you the impression of advancing in your journey, but are you really? Make time each or every other day (to let new information settle) and dedicate your undivided attention to the subject at hand for a full hour. Learning a new language requires time, consistent effort, and patience. It's essential to set realistic goals, celebrate small victories, and understand that progress may not always be linear.
3. Find your tribe and celebrate your successes
Not many can do it alone. Belonging to a community of like-minded people also deeply affects your efforts and outcomes. By sharing your challenges, you become relatable and might inspire others to start or continue their resolutions. Your community is also a space to find support in dire days, a stage to celebrate your achievements and reinforce your intentions. It can be a language classroom, a linguistic forum to exchange ideas or ask questions on a topic you are learning or a language tandem to showcase your skills.
Leverage your New Year’s resolutions to embrace change
Be it eating more greens, getting that promotion at work or reaching a higher level in a new language, resolutions make us hopeful and longing for change instead of avoiding it. Maintaining that feeling is the hardest part of it all, but you can hack your way into staying committed and eventually reaching your goals. Take baby steps towards the destination you want to reach, fill your tank with support and victories and grow new habits into a daily practice and an improved new “you”.
OnePoll collected quantitative data for this study on behalf of Lingoda. Between 14 - 18 December 2023, 2,000 US adults aged 18 and older answered questions regarding their resolutions for the new year, what they foresee being blockers to fulfilling those, and what would make sticking to their promises easier.