10 Ways To Cut The Crap And Learn a Language Successfully

So you want to learn a new language, but you have tried time and time again only to fail miserably? The good news is…according to Einstein “You only fail if you give up trying” and after reading this article you are going to give this language learning malarky another go!  OR do you feel there is too much (pardon my English) crap in the way to try again?.

It is time to cut the crap and crack on with your language learning goals. Did you know that you can control the focus of your attention? Stop thinking like a fly that LOVES crap and start thinking like a polyglot with a thirst for learning new languages…

1 Remove Yourself From Negative Environments


First and foremost if people tell you-you can’t learn a language it’s impossible over a long period of time you may start to believe this. This belief will be ingrained in your own thoughts not just the thoughts of others. Guess what over time you start to make this ‘can’t do it‘ attitude a reality!

It really does become impossible…right?

WRONG the reason you ‘can’t‘ is that you listened and decided to focus on the crap that has resulted in blocking you from even trying! Don’t get swept up in negativity. Join a language learning community one that is full of positive energy.

Make the decision to stay away from negative environments that don’t serve you justice. Check out our Twitter or Facebook Page for some positive language learning environments.

2 STOP checking Emails and Facebook 5 Times an Hour

Seriously stop that right now! It isn’t productive. Schedule in a period of time to check emails or Facebook. Put some boundaries in place like only checking at 7 am in the morning and 7 pm in the evening. The longer you stick to doing this the more likely it is to become a habit. So after a month or so you would have got used to only checking social media a couple of times a day!

3 Limit Distractions

Create a learning space that is free from distractions. If it helps turn off all your email and social media notifications (don’t forget those phone apps too)!

4 Bullet Journaling

To increase productivity invest in a journal. A PAPER Journal! It will get you away from the many distractions of modern technology and allow you to really think about your goals and the progress you are making. For more information check out 10 Ways to use a Bullet Journal to Improve Language Learning.


If you are anything like me…a night owl this will be super hard for you! However, studies by clever folk have shown that we cannot function at our best if we do not get an adequate night’s rest. For more information check out How to Optimise your Brain for Language Learning.

You may think studying whilst the family are asleep will make you more productive, but actually, your quality of focus will not be at it’s best especially if you have had a hard day. Try to go to bed by 11ish and aim for an absolute minimum of 6 hours a night sleep.

It is a lot easier to wake early in the summer months than the winter, but getting up early potentially before the family can help you be more productive. Aim straight for 40-45 minutes of focused study time or use some of this time for some gentle meditation or exercises. I find meditating first thing in the morning really helps to energize me for the rest of the day!

7 De-clutter your Study Environment

My mother always used to say that a “tidy home is a happy home“. Personally, I am a messy person which is properly why my mother used to say this to me. Anyway, as much as I hate to admit it when I declutter my desk I do feel more motivated and get greater enjoyment from my study session.


How are we ever going find time to learn a language if we say yes to EVERYTHING! By saying no a lot adds more value to when you do decide to say YES. True Story. It is obvious that saying yes often will have a detrimental effect on your productivity. Eventually, you will just burn out. Make learning a new language your priority!

9 Diet and Exercise

Have you ever thought about the crap you put into your bodies? or How motivated you feel after some exercise? To be more productive ensure you exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes, eat a healthy balanced diet and drinking enough water (6-8 glasses per day). It is also important to reduce caffeine, animal fats, and sugar intake For more information on a healthy lifestyle check out Positive, Health and Wellness.

“Eat to live, not live to eat. Food is fuel”

Your health is really important and the better you feel the more motivated and productive you will be.

10 Make it a Conscious Choice 

Make it a conscious choice that you are going cut the crap and be a successful language learner. Make a note of it and stick it where you will see it on a daily basis.

What do you plan to cut out of your life to make yourself a more productive language learner? or What do you need to do more of to be successful at learning languages?

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Want to be more productive in your language learning? Check out my new online course… ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Mindful Learning

Positively Productive: How to Banish Procrastination in 8 Simple Steps

Let me guess you intend to bookmark this post to read tomorrow?


Let that urge to start a new task pass you by and pass it will.

Read this  right NOW…

This post will take only a couple of minutes of your time to read, but will help reduce the time you spend being unproductive. The technique is very simple, but does require practice in order for it to work efficiently.

Reasons for Not Studying Languages (other than checking out cat videos on YouTube)


Let’s do this…

1 Identify the most important task that you have planned today. Write it down. Is it 40-20 minutes of focused language learning?

2 Break this task down in to smaller more manageable chunks. I mean you wouldn’t eat a whole chicken in one mouthful would you? It would get stuck in your mouth! If your task is too big it will feel stuck and maybe even a little overwhelmed. Decide to do just the first 5 minutes of your chosen task. Getting started is the only thing in the world that matters to you right now. That cat video can wait it will still be there after your study session has ended.

3 Get rid of any distractions. Turn off all devices that you don’t require. Close down all tabs you might have open if working from a computer. Lock yourself in a cupboard if you have to! There should only be you, and your chosen task.

4 Now sit there (or stand), take a deep breath or give out a sigh and focus on getting started. Not doing the whole task, just getting started. Remember ‘chunking it‘. Think of ‘chunking it’ as zooming in on Google maps in order to see something clearer. Don’t attempt to zoom out and focus on whole task as this might overwhelm you.

5 Pay attention to your mind, as it starts to have urges to switch to another task. You may have urges to check your social media accounts, emails, cat photographs or even another website. You might even start to think about doing another task. Notice these urges, but do not give in to them.

6 Sit still (or stand), take another deep breath, hold for 2 (not 2 minutes, but for a count of 2) and let it go (the breath that is not a fart!) Now let any thoughts pass without judgement or acting upon them. Urges build up in intensity and then reach a peak before passing. Let them pass and retrain your brain not to react. The more peaks you can pass the less likely your brain will respond to them in the future.

7 Do you notice your mind trying to justify not doing the task? Also let these self-rationalizing thoughts pass. Do not act upon them. Any negative thoughts creeping in? Check out how to manage these in this separate post.

8 Finally take one small action to get started. As tiny a step as possible. It could be just to pick up a pen and grab a journal. Once you have started the task and got over the first five minutes the rest should just flow beautifully (and maybe with some practice).

Bonus: Now watch that cat video to reward yourself after the study session. Seriously it does not have to be a cat video, but something you value as a treat. Once the brain learns it is rewarded after a study session it will rewire itself more productively.

You are in control of your productivity if things are not working as well as you hope retrain your brain.

Do you have any tips for productivity? What works best for you? Comment below or on social media. #PositivelyProductive / #PosPro


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