7 ways to stay motivated when learning a language


If you’re reading this, you probably decided to learn a language as one of your New Year’s resolutions or 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!

I’m going to share with you my personal approach to motivation and give you some tricks that have worked for me and other language learners.

Let’s bring our motivation back!

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: 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. So it’s a win-win situation!

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

 how to stay motivated when learning a language

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.

5. 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!

6. 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.

how to stay motivated when learning a language

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!

7. 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!

Improve your language skills with busuu today

Kirsten is the Head of Education at Busuu. She is from the Scottish highlands, where she grew up. She studied philosophy at university in Edinburgh and then got a TEFL certificate and went to China to teach English. She has been learning languages online and creating digital learning courses around the world for 17 years and is about to start studying for an MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching at Oxford University. Outside of work, she is a yoga enthusiast and a keen gardener. She also loves spending time with her two border terriers!


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