Motivation by Language Machine


7:30am February 2005. A thick, white sheet of snow had covered the heath overnight. Despite wearing skiing gloves, I could still feel the cold numbing my fingers. Had anyone looked from above, they would have seen a black dot going round the field, then entering the adjacent park and coming out again seemingly going nowhere.

With only a few weeks to go before running my first marathon I was completing the 13 miles scheduled for that snowy winter’s day. No icy roads or minus temperatures were going to stop me. My friends thought I was mad. I thought I was mad.

In some ways, learning a language is not much different to training for a marathon. Both are full of ups and downs, happy times hanging out with other people and solitary times spent by yourself. The two require great doses of persistence, determination, patience and effort. Above all, you need a constant supply of motivation, i.e. the wish to continue doing what you are doing. No matter how good your teacher is or how inspiring your books are, ultimately, you are the only one with the power to motivate yourself.

Typically, when learning languages students will unavoidably hit plateaus every so often.  The trick is to persist and keep going against our instincts to quit. Once you come out the other side, you will have made progress and achieved a new goal. Learning another language is undoubtedly challenging and cannot be achieved without making any effort. When students are motivated, the effort needed to make progress will be most welcome as a way to become better. As you do with running, when you think you cannot run any longer, run a bit more.

In the following list we have gathered some helpful advice to keep you motivated throughout your language learning. Pick and choose the points that are useful to you at this moment in your learning. Whenever you feel like giving up try to remember what make you start learning in the first place. Focus on the outcome and keep learning. There is no other feeling like getting to the finish line.

Having a clear idea and being very specific of what you want to achieve is vital. So, whether is going from one level to the next one, or reading a particular book in its original language, or speak about a certain subject, you need to specify it and focus on it.

You must be realistic when setting your goals but do not settle for second best. Raise the bar as high as you can at all times. Do not drift or coast.  Make every single thing you do count. Unconsciously, we tend to increase our efforts when our goals are more difficult.

Focus on the successful outcome realistically. This means that you must understand that in order to achieve success, you must make an effort. Success is not just something that happens to you, you must make it happen.

In order to achieve a successful outcome, whatever your goal might be, you must have some very clear cut plans, predict what obstacles you are going to find on the way and how you are going to overcome them. Having a schedule and sticking to it is a great way to succeed at your learning.

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