Think about the moment you decided that you were going to start learning a new language. You were probably excited thinking about the places you wold go and the people you would meet! Maybe you downloaded an app that teaches you little by little. Then, the realization sets in. Even though it feels like you’ve learned a lot, it seems like there’s so much more. It can feel impossible. That’s why you need to set realistic goals. If you break up language learning into little manageable pieces, it’ll feel a lot less overwhelming.
What do realistic goals look like?
A good rule is that your goals should be observable and measurable. For example, if your goal is “I want to be able to communicate with my coworkers”, it isn’t something you can necessarily observe or measure. What are you communicating about? What vocabulary do you need to do that? What does “able to” look like? Therefore, it makes sense it you set smaller goals. It’ll keep you from feeling frustrated.
For example, in the same scenario, you could say, “I want to be able to communicate with my coworkers. First, I can learn greetings. Then, I can ask where things are. Next, I can…” By breaking up “communicate with my coworkers” into its smaller pieces, you can feel proud of yourself for accomplishing that small goal, and feel energized to move on to the next one.
What if I get overwhelmed?
As soon as you start to feel overwhelmed, take a moment and breathe. First, you want to build your confidence, because if you feel like you aren’t capable, you aren’t going to be trying your best. Everything will start to feel impossible. Write down things you know how to do in this language already, or moments where you communicated with someone that you’re proud of. Once you’ve reminded yourself of your accomplishments, it’ll feel easier to set goals.
Then, instead of mentally keeping track of what you want to be able to do, write them down! If they seem like they’re too broad or not realistic, you can tweak them. Do you have any strategies that you like to use when you feel frustrated? Let us know in the comments!