Finding and Sustaining Motivation for Language Learning

Finding and Sustaining Motivation for Language Learning

We all know how hard it is to find the motivation to do, well, anything, not to mention learning a language. Motivation is crucial to learning a language successfully, as it helps you to stay on track and enjoy the learning process. If you want to learn a language but have no motivation, or if you have started learning a language and find it hard to keep going, this article is for you.

Identify Your Motivation

The first step to finding motivation is to identify where your motivation comes from. By identifying the source of your motivation, you can better decide how to learn effectively.

There are two types of motivation: Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from genuinely enjoying language learning and being interested in a language and its culture. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation comes from external factors, such as family expectations, entry requirements, or promotions.

To put it another way, intrinsic motivation comes from within yourself, and extrinsic motivation comes from sources other than yourself.

People with intrinsic motivation will have an easier time finding and sustaining motivation, while people with extrinsic motivation might be prone to losing motivation if no external factors or rewards are there to encourage them. If you are extrinsically motivated, you could benefit from having a goal and using a reward system (like getting rewards when you finish a task).

However, this is not to say that extrinsically motivated learners are doomed, and intrinsically motivated learners are guaranteed to learn languages successfully. Both could be demotivated due to various reasons, and both kinds of learners will generally benefit from having a reason.

Find Things You Like About the Language

If you need reasons to start learning a language, this is a great place to start. Maybe you find the sound and melody of the language beautiful, or perhaps you like the countries that speak this language. Write down everything you like about it and use that list to motivate you.

Finding things you like about the language you want to learn will help you with associating language learning with things you like. By liking the language, you make the learning process more enjoyable because you are working hard for something you are interested in.

List Things You Can Do with the Ability to Speak the Language

If you need more reasons and motivation to start learning a language, think about what you can do when you can speak an additional language. You might be able to get a promotion, travel around the countries that speak this language, have access to more information online, or find self-fulfillment!

Write down everything you come up with and keep these lists to get you to start learning. When you are feeling uninspired, take out these lists to remind yourself why you started.

Sustaining Motivation

Now that you have started learning a language, the real challenge begins. You might often find it difficult to start doing listening exercises, and the idea of looking up words makes you groan. If that sounds like you, here are some tips to stay motivated.

Use Things You Enjoy as Learning Tools

A great way to learn without losing motivation is to learn while doing the things you love. If you enjoy reading, then get a book in that language and read! If you love series, then find series to watch in the language you are learning! By doing this, you make the learning process enjoyable, so you are less likely to lose motivation. Plus, you are being entertained at the same time, and who can say no to that?

A suggestion for this learning method is to start easy. Know your level and use materials that are at or slightly higher than your level. True, you might improve faster from reading or watching something more difficult. However, you could also experience a lot of frustration if your level is not there yet, and that does not help with sustaining motivation. For example, instead of reading the original version of War and Peace, you can pick up a graded reader of it in your level and read that. As for films or series, it is a good idea to start with animated ones because the language they use is generally easier.

By choosing materials according to your level, you can learn without getting too frustrated with understanding the meaning and looking up words and phrases.

Set Realistic Goals

We all like to make progress, especially lots of progress in a short amount of time. Most of the time, however, that is not feasible or realistic. It is important to give yourself a realistic timeline for learning because learning, like most things in life, takes time.

Saying that you will be able to have a conversation in German in two weeks is counterproductive. It puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders, and it requires a lot of work, which will most likely lead to procrastination. Setting realistic goals will help you in the long term because you will have enough time to learn and consolidate knowledge in each stage, and it will prevent you from feeling daunted by the massive workload.

Take Note of Your Progress

We are all inclined to notice what we did not do well. Maybe you did not learn as many new words this week, or perhaps you did not finish your reading. However, instead of focusing on the negatives, take note of how much progress you have made!

By looking on the bright side, the positive sense of achievement helps keep you going. Rather than feeling bad about not reaching the goal of learning 15 new words this week, note down how many you have learned. It could be nine, seven, or just two. It does not matter because progress is progress. As long as you are making progress, then you are doing great!

Reward Yourself and Cut Yourself Some Slack

Knowing when to reward yourself and rest is important because it keeps you going without burning you out. If it is only Wednesday and you have already reached your goal this week, it might be tempting to take on more. You can totally do that, but this is a great opportunity to relax or have a night out that week.

By resting and rewarding yourself, you can recharge and prevent language learning from becoming a boring daily chore. If you still want to do something, you can go for light and fun tasks, such as word puzzles or short videos. Still, knowing when to cut yourself some slack is helpful in the long term. This way, you are well-rested and ready to learn more the following week.

Rome was not built in a day, so no matter what language learning apps and online tutor agencies say, it is impossible to master a language in a few weeks. Like everything else in life, language learning takes time and effort. With dedication, patience, and of course, motivation, you are well on your way to mastering a foreign language.