The weekend is a great time to spend an hour looking to the week ahead by mapping out goals and intentions. When you plan, set goals, and know what’s coming up, it’s like winding up a little engine so you can hit “GO” and learn in the most effective, productive way. Here are some steps to help you get the ball rolling.
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
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. 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.
Step 4: Choose a Reward
Great rewards can be small and low-cost like borrowing a new book from the library, enjoying a drink with friends, or going to a concert. It’s your call whether you want to make these related to your target language. Just make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy, and that you know you earned it with a great week of study.
Step 5: Raise the Bar with Bigger Sessions
Every day, you have the opportunity to grow your language learning routine through bigger study sessions. These are focused, dedicated times when your focus shifts to improving your language skills. Take speaking sessions for example: These are usually around an hour long and challenge you to be 100% engaged, think on your feet, speak the language, understand native speakers, and get over the mistakes you’re making. A session like that is an intense learning experience, doing wonders for your level. Sometimes you may not have a chance to practice speaking, but your big sessions might involve working through a textbook chapter or listening and summarising a piece of audio.