The weekend is a great time to spend an hour looking to the week ahead by mapping out goals and intentions.
Many people plan ahead for business goals, upcoming deadlines, events, meetings at work, fitness or meals. But did you know that making a language learning plan can actually help you learn a language faster?
Step 1: Set Path Goals
To start your plan, focus on what’s right in front of you and answer the question “What should I do next?”. Look for Path Goals: specific, achievable, relevant actions that will help you learn a language right now.
With Path Goals, smaller is better. It’s better to meet all your “not so difficult” goals than to aim high and miss the target.
For example, in a week my Path Goals might include
Completing 2 pages in my grammar book
Watching an episode of a TV show in my new language
Writing 10 texts or sentences in my target language
Don’t overload the week. Keep it simple and focus on your system. If you want to go deeper with goal setting, use the Language Goals and Vision Goals worksheets from the Language Habit Toolkit.
Step 2: Check Your Schedule
After you have set your initial goals, it’s helpful to look ahead at what’s on your schedule every day. Have you been realistic? Will you be able to fit in all the sessions you are hoping to complete?
Sometimes, you may find that your list of goals and tasks feels like it might give you a heart attack. Remember that it is okay to aim for what you know you can do, and move some goals to the “not this week” zone.
When I’m thinking about running, it can be hard to motivate myself because doing less than 5k feels lazy. But then I remember this motivating line:
Even when you run 10 steps, you are still faster than everyone on the couch.
It is ABSOLUTELY OKAY to aim for the minimum, because everything you do builds on each other. In the next step, you’ll learn how to make progress even when you don’t have a massive goal in mind.
Step 3: Ensure Daily Contact with Your Target Language
In the Language Habit method, it is not critical to count how many minutes or hours you spend with your language learning materials each day. The first aim should be contact with your target language on a daily basis.
The Golden Rules of Daily Language Learning:
You should have contact with your target language on a daily basis
You have to find a convenient way of finding contact – the easier, the better.
You should prioritise fun and find something you enjoy in your target language
For example, here are a few easy ways that I incorporate Welsh language into my daily routine:
• Following Welsh language accounts on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, so all I need to do is scroll through my feed
• Watching a new TV series, so I always have a next episode queued up
• Downloading different language learning apps, so I can follow my mood and spend a few minutes doing Duolingo, Clozemaster, Memrise, HelloTalk etc
• Leaving a magazine or book open on my breakfast table or set the Welsh news website as my browser homepage
None of these activities are designed to take many hours of study, but they all do their part and keep my brain engaged with what Welsh looks and sounds like.