If you missed it, you can click here for Part 1.
You’ve set your plan in motion. You’ve started studying again. You’re working towards your goals. Then, as the weekend gets closer and Friday night rolls around, you figure it’ll be okay if you take just one day off. You’ll get back to it on Monday.
We all experience it. Either we’re tired after a long week or we’re too excited to start the weekend. Even if your week doesn’t follow the typical pattern, there’s always a day where you find yourself lacking the desire to study when you know you should.
There’s nothing wrong with having a day to yourself. We all need time off to process and rest. Sometimes, life just has a way of screwing up all our careful planning. It’s fine.
It only becomes a problem when it happens more than once or twice. You make a plan, only to ignore it later on. You fall behind a bit and don’t reach the goals you’ve set. Worse, you might accidentally take another long break altogether.
So, how do you keep going when your brain just isn’t up to the task?
As always, reevaluate your current plan and see if you’ve forgotten to take time out for yourself. If that’s still not enough, which it sometimes isn’t, then it’s time to jump start your motivation.
There are two things I’ve found to be absolutely necessary to keep yourself on track:
- Stop waiting to feel motivated.
- Make your task enjoyable.
The first point is something I’ve learned while trying to write a novel. It’s the most difficult part because it forces you to step away from your easiest option.
You already know it’s harder to get up and find your notebook than it is to sit down and watch TV. It requires so much more effort to review vocab than it does to take a nap. The only thing to do in this situation is suck it up and start anyway.
The longer you wait for motivation to show up, the longer you’ll sit around doing nothing. This is why having a scheduled time to study or a specific activity to prompt you will help. Eventually, you’ll associate something else that you always do with learning a language. It makes it easier to go from one to the other.
But how does that help when you don’t want to?
That’s where the second part comes in. It’s all about making things easy again.
How do I make learning a language fun?
Frankly, if you don’t enjoy something, you’re not going to want to do it. No matter how much discipline or drive you have, it’s not easy. So, your brain says no thanks.
This is especially true for any new habit or task. If you want to continue to do something you’ve started, you need to have a desire to do it because it’s fun or interesting.
Even if you really love certain aspects of learning a language, there will always be something you’d rather not do. So, if you stumble on one of those days where you’d prefer to watch Netflix and eat popcorn, take advantage of some of these more entertaining ways to learn.
- Read a book
This only works if it’s something you’re interested in. If you aren’t having too much trouble understanding the material and you can’t wait to find out what happens next, you might not be able to put it down. The key here is sticking with something in your current language level. It won’t be fun if you have to look up every single word.
- Watch a movie
Make sure you can understand a good portion of the movie. Though, films tend to be much easier since you have a lot of other clues to figure out what’s going on. You also might have subtitles. You can even try to watch one of your favorite movies and put the subtitles in your target language.
- Make a friend
Use the internet (or your social network) to your advantage and chat about nonsense! You can improve your conversation skills and gossip, vent, or share stories all at once. There are tons of apps and websites available to find other learners or native speakers. As long as the conversation isn’t stressful, it won’t really feel like work.
- Sing a song
Search for songs or artists who sing in your target language. You might be surprised by what you find. Music is one of the few things that you don’t have to understand in order to love. Once you find some songs you can’t get out of your head, you’ll want to be able to sing along. It’s a great way to work towards an immediate goal.
- Follow something you love
Don’t just stick with the same old, boring material. If you’re tired of studying verb tenses or figuring out grammar rules, find something you already care about. Subscribe to a blog for cooking or find a Youtube channel about video games in your target language. Remember that your interests aren’t limited to English speakers, so just make a list of things you love and try to find some of them.
You can always find other ways to make your language learning a bit more exciting. So, keep your goals in mind and realize that there isn’t really a correct way to study. You probably know yourself much better than some generic language course. So, cater to your own needs.
Most importantly, don’t forget to reward yourself once you’ve completed your task to reinforce the behavior. To be fair, if you’re enough of a trooper to do something even when you’re exhausted, you probably deserve whatever reward you can come up with.
So, go for it and have fun!
Have any of these methods worked for you? Do you have any others you’d like to share? Leave a comment!
3 thoughts on “How to Get Your Language Learning Back on Track After a Long Break (Part Two)”
Feels like a long road back. It’s slipped way down my list of priorities. 😦
That’s exactly how I felt at the beginning of the month. It takes some work, but it’s great once you find a way to work it back into your routine.