Motivate

10 actionable steps that will motivate you to learn another language

Trisha Collins-Dunbar

Trisha Collins-Dunbar

Trisha Collins Dunbar is the founder of Language Learners Journal.Com and the Positively Productive Project. She has a postgraduate background in psychological research with the focus on positive psychology. In her spare time, she loves learning languages, spending time with her family, drinking coffee and traveling around the UK and Europe. She hopes to inspire more people to learn new languages.

Currently Learning Chinese Mandarin and Spanish.

Previous Languages: French, Icelandicand BasicBritish Sign Language (BSL)
Trisha Collins-Dunbar

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Motivation is basically, in a nutshell, the desire you have to get things done! The lower the motivation, the less able you are to do things. Learning a language is in no way an easy task. It takes a huge amount of motivation and even the most motivated of people can feel unmotivated at times – me included! Sometimes we can get so low that even just thinking about getting started again can seem like too much effort. The good news is that research has shown that motivation levels can be consciously controlled. Here are some tried and tested techniques that can get help get you back on track…

1. Develop a more Positive attitude.

If like me you are an independent language learner, then self-motivation is really important. You need to get yourself into a more positive state of mind which can be really difficult to do if you are really not feeling like it. Our emotions can really impact on our motivational levels. Sadness and stress can zap out our energy and make us feel sluggish. It is important to remember that you can’t always control the circumstances that you are in, but what you can control is how you deal with it. So get moving – exercise boosts those feel good chemicals! Or pop on your favorite music to get those levels moving again.

2. Set Goals

It is really important to plan your language learning in advance and set clear goals. To help with this I have created a FREE PDF Planner. The most effective goals are specific, challenging and will be about something you are passionate about.

3. Get Support From Your Language Learning Peers

Connect with other language learners; be it Face-toFace, online or via Jabba Jabba. Regular encounters with positive and motivated people will rub off on you. Share your goals on social for accountability. Read about language learning journeys of others and write about your successes and read the feedback.  Go one step further and do this in the language you are learning. Going out of your comfort zone will move you forward and the confidence it can give you will help to increase your motivational levels.

4. STOP Thinking and Take Action

Our own negative thinking can really impact on our motivational levels. Label your negative thoughts as ‘unproductive’. It’s your choice to “listen and act upon or ignore and non-respond.” Take action by cracking on even if you feel unable to do so.

5 . Record Motivation Levels

Keep a record of when your motivational levels are high or low. After a week review this and see if there are any patterns to this. Once you are aware of the patterns you follow you can actively do something about them. You can record your progress via apps or in a journal.

6. Track your progress

Ensure you track the progress you are making with your language learning. Once again, you can do this via an app or journal.

7. Whys

Before setting out with learning a language ensure you write down the reasons why and put this somewhere you can see it on a regular basis. This is a really good motivator for when you feel like giving up.

8. Give it Five

Pick up a grammar book, start an app game and say to yourself: “I’ll do this for only five minutes.” That little kick start may just be enough to get you going again!

9. Sticky Notes

Write some motivational quotes on some yellow sticky notes and pop them on language learning resources and even the mirror. For some examples check out 10 Motivational Quotes for Language Learners.

10. Self-Compassion

We are not robots. Sometimes a break is required so we do not burn out. I would recommend scheduling in a weekly break from your schedule. Remember also that a 45 minute focused study session is more beneficial than a 2-hour unfocused study session.

If you can put this to the test for about 21 days then you are more likely to build better motivational habits. Around 21 days is key here as research has shown that this is the average time it takes to form a new habit.

What motivates you? You ready to put some of these tips into action for 21 days? Let me know how you get on.

 

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Trisha Collins-Dunbar

Trisha Collins Dunbar is the founder of Language Learners Journal.Com and the Positively Productive Project. She has a postgraduate background in psychological research with the focus on positive psychology. In her spare time, she loves learning languages, spending time with her family, drinking coffee and traveling around the UK and Europe. She hopes to inspire more people to learn new languages. Currently Learning Chinese Mandarin and Spanish. Previous Languages: French, Icelandic and Basic British Sign Language (BSL)

  • Abdel Hernandez

    I think these are great steps in motivating yourself to really learn a language. There have been several times I thought “wouldn’t it be cool to learn xyz language”, now I have some tangible steps to get me there. Thanks for posting!

    • You are welcome Abdel. You can do this! Small Steps one day at a time. Good luck and best wishes.

  • Learning a new language is so much fun. It gives great insight into the culture as well. I need to motivate myself to learn Bahasa Malaysia, and stop thinking so much. Cheers!!

  • Wendy Blumenstein

    Good tips!

  • Behind the Schmile

    Love this! Especially number 4

  • R.M. Lopez

    Love these tips so much but especially keeping a positive attitude!!! Being positive helps any task go so much better 💕💕