6 top tips on staying motivated when learning a language

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If you’re reading this, you probably decided to learn a language after a sudden burst of inspiration, and now, a few weeks later, you need a push to stay motivated.

Well, don’t worry, this is totally normal!

For some, motivational language quotes might do the job; but for those of you who’re looking for a long-term language motivation strategy, I’m going to share with you some tricks on how I – and other language learners – stay motivated to learn a language.

Get your learning groove back with these 6 tips on staying motivated when learning a language

1. Be disciplined, but flexible

Don’t feel frustrated if you don’t feel like studying one day, or if you’re busy and don’t have the time or energy. This happens.

Try planning your week ahead so that you make sure you factor in your study time.

If you miss a session, don’t beat yourself up: keep yourself motivated by reminding yourself that you can always fit it in another day.

2. Divide and rule

Set yourself some challenging, yet achievable goals.

By doing this, you’ll feel that you’re progressing, which will, in turn, motivate you to continue learning your language of choice. So it’s a win-win situation!

Instead of rushing to complete a whole lesson on German pronunciation when you only have 5 minutes, why not do the first part today and the second part tomorrow?

Here at Busuu, the app that makes learning a language easier for everyone, we know important it is to set yourself achievable goals – which is why we created the Study Plan feature, a nifty way of having your studying time organised for you in manageable, bite-size chunks. Fun fact: our learners who create a Study Plan with us are five times more likely to reach their goals than those who don’t…

3. Develop your own motivations

Now this is something I’m very good at!

Think about something you love doing, and then mix it up with something more challenging.

Let’s say you’d like to do your next Busuu French lesson today, but you don’t feel like it because it’s beautiful and sunny outside.

Well, you could go to a park, grab yourself a coffee and some biscuits and study whilst lying on the grass sunbathing!

Sounds like a good plan, eh?

Being consistent is essential.

It usually takes around a month to form a habit, so don’t give up!

Language learning will eventually become part of your daily life if you organise yourself properly. You don’t need a lot of time: regularity is key.

4. Celebrate success

Rewards are great motivators! Don’t forget to treat yourself when you achieve your goals.

If you have one really productive day of studying, why not take a break the next day as a reward? Or set yourself a goal for the day. If you achieve it, go and treat yourself to that slice of cake you’ve been craving!

5. Mix it up!

Learning should be as fun as possible, and I find that changing the resources you use to learn will make it more interesting.

You could:

  • Use Busuu a few times a week
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Read a book or blogs
  • Watch a movie or listen to the radio in the language you’re learning
  • Have a conversation with a language partner
  • Write down what you did yesterday (that way you can also write a personal diary in a different language)

The list is endless!

6. Remember why you started

Try and bring that first burst of motivation back to life! There are plenty of benefits of learning a foreign language.

Did you start learning to go travelling? Or was it so you could listen to other people’s conversations on the train?

Whatever it was, remembering why you started will give you a little boost of energy and remind you why it’s all worth it!

Looking to improve your language skills? We’re the language-learning app Busuu, and we’d love to help. 

Improve your language skills with Busuu today

Kirsten is the Chief Learning Officer at Busuu, where she runs the team of learning designers who create Busuu’s courses, and the teacher operations team who look after our faculty of over 10,000 language teachers worldwide. Kirsten has spent over 20 years working in the field of digital language learning, creating websites, apps, video games and VR experiences for companies like Pearson, EF and Macmillan. She has an MSc in applied linguistics from the University of Oxford and is passionate about bringing research-informed pedagogy into the digital language learning experience.