There is no shortcut to learning a new language. Anyone telling you they can teach you a language to fluency in a month is lying. That’s why setting achievable goals for learning a new language is crucial and it will help you to stay motivated while you learn.
A goal is anything you set your mind to attain. However, there is a lot that goes into putting an achievable goal. We consulted experts from Lingomee.com for tips on setting attainable goals for your language learning journey. Here they are:
How to set achievable goals while learning a new language
Determine your purpose for learning the language.
Understanding why you want to learn a new language can help you set realistic goals. If you wish to retain it for travel, business, or personal reasons, identifying your purpose can help you focus on what you need to know.
It is also helpful to list situations you hope to use the language. For example, if you plan to visit France, you must know how to buy tickets, ask for directions or order food in a restaurant. Think about the words you need to accomplish this to help make specific communicative goals.
Start with the basics.
The other way to set achievable goals is to know your level of language knowledge. Learning a new language can be overwhelming, especially if you have not gained prior knowledge. Begin with basic vocabulary, grammar rules, and sentence structures. Start with simple phrases and work your way up to more complex sentences.
We recommend you research to find out the similarities between words in the language you know and those in the new language you want to venture into. For example, some French-English cognates include ‘Elephant’ and ‘nonchalant.’ These words are spelled the same and have the same meaning in French and English.
Familiarity is remarkably powerful in motivating you to learn a new language because, at the back of your mind, you’re already settled that the new language isn’t that hard.
Break your goals into smaller steps.
Breaking your goals into bite-size goals is the secret to reaching your ultimate goal. Did you know you can break language into 4 domains: writing, reading, speaking, and listening? You can further break speaking into presentations and conversations.
Instead of setting a significant goal such as “I want to be fluent in six months,” break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, set a goal to learn 10 new words daily, practice speaking for 15 minutes, or complete a specific lesson or module in your language learning app.
Use the SMART framework.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Set goals that are relevant to your purpose and time-bound. For example, instead of developing a plan to “improve my speaking skills,” set a SMART goal: “I want to speak confidently about my hobbies and interests in Spanish by the end of the month.”
One example of a not-so-SMART goal is if I only have thirty minutes a day to study but push for a B2 CEFRL (Common European Framework for the References of Languages) scale assessment in three months. This kind of goal is over the top.
Celebrate your progress
Learning a new language takes time, effort, and patience. Set small goals for yourself over the next 3 months or six months. Also, set weekly goals to celebrate your progress by rewarding yourself after achieving each goal. A simple treat to your favorite meal, watching a movie in the language you’re learning, or buying a new language learning resource can do.
Always reflect on your goals to ensure you are on course and update and adjust them as needed.
Remember, setting achievable goals is essential to your language learning journey. By breaking your goals into smaller steps and celebrating your progress, you’ll feel motivated to continue learning and achieving your language goals. Setting achievable goals and celebrating your progress is a key component of a successful language learning journey. With dedication and perseverance, you can reach your language learning goals and gain the confidence and ability to communicate in a new language.