One of the greatest barriers to achieving fluency in a language is motivation. â€œBe confidentâ€ and â€œbe consistentâ€ are two of the most frequent pieces of advice given to would-be polyglots, but in selling how much fun language learning is, teachers often omit the harsh truth: you will stumble, you will get bored, and you will feel dejected.
This is a natural part of any learning process, not just language learning. If you are aware of it, you can both prepare for it and get beyond it quickly. If you are under the illusion that language learning should be fun and easy all the time, you'll start to think there's something wrong with you when you get tired, bored, or feel you're not progressing. If you anticipate this dip in morale, however, you can recognize it for what it is: an integral part of the learning process.
There are three main reasons we struggle with motivation in learning:
- Boredom - Consistency is challenging. It's important to remember that consistency does not necessarily mean doing the same thing every day. It's a bit like working out: the same routine every day gets old, so change it up. You're still exercising, but it doesn't feel the same.
- Some things take time - Some parts of language learning take time before we can see the results. Most programs out there are about marketing quick results. It's always fun to â€œget talking right away,â€ but when you scratch the surface and dig deeper, it's clear this kind of success is superficial and short-lived. Greater fluency in a language depends on laying a strong foundation, and this can take some time without you getting to see any immediate results. Keep at it and trust in the process â€” it will come together!
- We discount where we are - It's very easy to discount gains already made. When we become comfortable with a part of the language, we can easily write it off in our minds and dismiss it. We then focus only on what we don't know or what is challenging us. While there is a healthy aspect to this in that it continually drives us on to improve, it's not realistic or healthy to ignore how far you've come. Doing so will just make you dejected and make you feel like you've been working for ages but without any progress.
Learning a language to a high level of competence requires time, dedication, and consistency. We aim to streamline that process as much as possible by providing you with the tools and resources to prioritise your language learning and focus on material of the highest value; but at the end of the day, you've got to pick yourself up and do it.
These are some useful motivation tips, but sometimes you've just got to man up and get it done.