Ten Tips To Keep You Motivated When Learning Spanish
After the initial burst of enthusiasm that often accompanies starting to learn a new language, people often find that they lose momentum with their learning.
If this is you, or you are seeing a drop in motivation in your son or daughter, don’t worry! This is totally normal.
In this post I will share with you some tried and tested methods to help you reach your language goals.
1. Be Clear on Why You Want to Learn
Do you want to travel to Spain or Latin America? Do you have Spanish-speaking family or friends with whom you would like communicate? Maybe getting a good grade in your Spanish exams will open doors to a job or higher education? Perhaps you just want to explore what learning a new language is like?
Whatever your reason for learning Spanish, keeping this in mind can be a powerful tool to maintain your motivation.
2. Identify and Address Negative Thoughts
I often find that my students express negative beliefs about their abilities to learn another language.
They may say “I am no good at learning languages”, “I have a terrible memory for new vocabulary”, “I am not clever enough to learn grammar”.
It may seem counter-intuitive to look at your negative thoughts when you are hoping to become more motivated, but it is important to identify what you are saying to yourself and how that might be affecting your willingness to put time into learning.
Once you have identified any negative thinking patterns that are causing you to feel demotivated, you can look to develop thoughts that might be helpful to counter them.
Why not try these thoughts on for size: “My brain knows how to learn a language because I already speak my native language ”, “I am proud of what I have already learned”, “As long as I keep practising I can learn new vocabulary”, “I enjoy a challenge”.
3. Visualise Yourself Succeeding
Visualisation is a technique used by many successful athletes and business-people.
It involves imagining yourself achieving a goal that you have set yourself. Perhaps you can imagine yourself travelling to Spain and speaking to an acquaintance in Spanish.
This helps you to build the self-confidence and belief that you can reach the target you have set yourself.
It is another way of counteracting negative thinking. Whilst you are imagining how amazing your Spanish will be, you will not have any bandwidth left to imagine the opposite!
4. Create Achievable Mini-Goals
Sometimes the idea of becoming fluent in a language can feel like an impossible and far away dream.
Breaking your target down into smaller steps can really help to make it seem achievable.
For instance, you could create a mini-goal of being able to order your food in a Spanish restaurant. What do you need to do to achieve this? How much time will you realistically need to spend? When is a realistic deadline? Perhaps you can even book a table at a local Spanish restaurant to test yourself at the end of this period!
5. Share Your Goals with Someone Else
Once you have created your mini-goals why not share them with someone else? A Spanish tutor or teacher can be a great support. If you are part of a Spanish class, then the support of your peers can really help.
You can also tell friends and family about what you are doing. They may be able to help by asking you how things are going, encouraging you and celebrating your successes.
6. Plan Ahead
A key difficulty for many students is time. Learning Spanish is likely not to be your top priority, and, even if it is, you will have other responsibilities and other demands on you.
How can you continue to pursue your language goals when time is limited?
Planning ahead and trying to allocate a set time in your routine for language learning can help.
For example, you could plan to regularly listen to a Spanish podcast over breakfast.
Another example is booking yourself into a regular Spanish class.
Having a set time in the week that is dedicated to Spanish will help to keep you working on it regularly. By doing this you are not leaving the decision to study to a time when you are feeling tired and it would be easy to decide not to do it.
7. Identify and Reduce Procrastination
When you have your dedicated time for learning Spanish, remove all distractions. What activities do you notice yourself doing that drain your time and take your attention away from studying? For me it is social media, having the TV on and answering messages and emails. Identify what these things are for you and see if you can eliminate them from your time for learning Spanish.
8. Use A Variety of Resources
Everybody learns differently. What works for one person may leave someone else feeling lost. There are a whole host of different resources out there. These include text books, apps, Spanish classes, Spanish films, podcasts and online games.
Try to mix up your Spanish learning so it doesn’t become monotonous for you. A Spanish tutor may be able to help you to identify which resources will most suit your learning style.
9. Keep It Fun
Learning languages can and should be fun.
If you are bored of studying at your desk, why not change up your location. Take a walk and make a game of naming all the things you see in Spanish.
Why not look for a Spanish conversation partner. You could meet someone new and learn at the same time.
Try to link the Spanish you learn with things you already enjoy. Why not watch the sport you enjoy in Spanish. Love romantic comedy films? Why not try a Spanish one? Now with the internet at our finger tips the options for learning Spanish really are endless!
10. Celebrate Successes
Make sure you pat yourself on the back whenever you achieve something new in your journey to learn Spanish. If you have learned some new vocabulary, or a grammar concept, then make sure you celebrate!
Allow yourself to enjoy the little wins along the way. The great feeling you will generate will act as a perfect motivation to keep learning more.
I hope these tips help you to get you motivation to learn Spanish back. If you’d like to learn more about achieving fluency in Spanish check out my blog post here.
In these times of COVID-19 it may be particularly easy to feel demotivated. Take a look at this post which details all the ways that you can still learn Spanish without having to travel or even leave your home!
Hi, I am Karen. I am an online Spanish tutor and blogger. I offer online tuition for students across the UK. I live in Tonbridge, in Kent, with my husband and my son. For me learning Spanish has meant fun, adventure, friendship and fulfilling work. I love sharing all that I have learnt with my students and via my blog. You can sign up for a free trial meeting here.