How to be a More Successful Language Learner in 10 Steps

Here are 10 ways to be more successful at learning a new language:

1. Face the Fear and Study…

Having a fearful attitude will stop you from achieving your set goals. You need to face that fear head on! Speak up using your target language and don’t be afraid.  Facing up to the fear puts you on the first step to achieving your dreams and goals. Lots of people can be anxious just before Skype tutorials, avoiding certain sentence structures for fear they might get them wrong. Take risks with new vocabulary and push the boundaries the tutors are there to guide you. Stop thinking about the worst-case scenario and start focusing on what could go right.

2. Cut out the Excuses

You will never succeed if you never try. Stop having excuses for why you can’t start learning another language. Successful language learners don’t blame others for their shorting comings, they understand that they are responsible for their own learning. When you make up excuses you are only trying to make yourself feel better by justification. Excuses will only hold you back when trying to learn a new language.

3. Eliminate Perfectionism

Perfectionism is unproductive and can actually stop you from progressing with your set goals. Instead of worrying about mistakes embrace them and use them as tools to enhance language learning.  No one is perfect, and that is what makes us beautiful.

4. Have a Growth Mindset

Having a fixed mindset can make language learning really difficult. Especially if you believe that only certain people who have the ‘right’ DNA can learn languages. This is simply not true. For a start, if you are reading this then you can already speak a language. It is important to embrace new things and change…

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” - Henry Ford.

Remember that our knowledge can be increased. A positive and consistent ‘Can-Do‘ attitude can outweigh a high IQ!

5. Be Part of a Supportive Community

If the people around you are negative and pessimistic, over time this may rub off on you. Join a supportive, goal focused optimistic language learning community… like our Language Learners Journal Facebook Page or daily inspiration from Twitter.  Other fabulous resources are #Clear the List or join a language learning challenge, such as #SULP or #Add1Challenge.  You will find that you become more motivated to work on your language learning goals when you share them with others in a supportive network.

6. Be Mindful and Let Go…

Instead of trying to control everything around you, make an effort to care less about the things you can’t control and focus on the things that you can. Let go of bad habits and embrace new and better ways of doing things. Be kind to yourself and don’t compare yourself with others. Check out this post on how to deal with a negative mindset.

7. Be an Assertive Language Learner

If you want to achieve your goals you need to invest time into completing them. This means you may need to start saying no! When you say yes to everything, people might start to take advantage of you. Saying no more often means you can focus on  ‘me time‘ When you do say yes to something that will then be taken at a greater value. Be brave and say no when you want to; only you can make your set goals and dreams a priority, and it is difficult to do that if you are too busy helping other people to achieve their goals. For more information on how to be assertive check out this Wiki guide.

8. Don’t Run Away From Constructive Criticism

Rather than viewing criticism negatively see it as a gift of growth. You can learn from the criticism and improve your language learning considerably. However, if the comments do seem rather harsh remember people give away a lot about their own character in how they treat others.

9. Be Consistent 

Pick a general time for focused study and try to stick to this time for about 5 days a week. It is also important to take some time out from your studies and just chill.

10. Perseverance and Patience

As the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day“. Successful language learners become successful with regular practice even when faced with difficulties. Success takes time perseverance and patience.


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