Are you taking the right approach in order to get the English skills you need? Bennie, the Irish Polyglot, who goes around the world and learns a new language every 3 months, argues that learning a new language means that you must be impatient! I think that Bennie has a great point. You must set small deadlines for your language learning and stick to them. If you hold on to the mentality that you have "all the time in the world" to learn English, I am sure that you will never do it! However, while it might be better to have a sense of urgency with the time that you have to learn, you do need to be patient with yourself in the learning process. In today's post, we will talk about how you can use both patience and a sense of urgency to create a balance in your English learning that will help you reach your goals.
Be Impatient, Set a Deadline and Get Moving:
- During the goal setting process: Every good English learner knows the importance of setting goals but a lot of learners forget about how important it is to choose a deadline when you set a goal. To make reaching your deadline a possibility, instead of setting a general goal of becoming fluent, set smaller goals and hold yourself accountable by specifying a date by which you will reach that goal. If you are a beginner, you could start by learning 6 ways to greet someone in English by (insert your deadline).
- When you are focusing too much on the future and not on the present: Bennie made a great point in his article that many students envision themselves as proficient English speakers "someday" while ignoring the precise actions that they can take in the present moment to move toward that goal and actually make it happen. If you hear yourself saying, "Someday I will be able to speak with native speakers", you are being too patient with yourself. Your goal is too vague. Where's the sense of urgency? Instead, ask yourself which vocabulary words or phrasal verbs you will learn this month to get closer to your ultimate goal.
- When you are "all talk": In English, we say that people are "all talk" when they say that they want to do something but aren't willing to put in the work to make that goal happen. As a private English teacher, this makes me angry. If you find yourself constantly saying that you want to be a better English speaker, but never actually taking the time to make that happen, you should give some serious thought to how you can make your goal more action oriented and gain confidence from reaching many small goals on your way to the larger goal.
Slow Down and Have Patience with Yourself:
- When you are making the mistakes necessary for learning: While deadlines are important, learning a language requires compassion for oneself. First, you must redefine success to mean that you are out speaking, practicing and making mistakes. With your new definition of success, you can and should have all the patience in the world for yourself when you make mistakes. The problem happens when you take a perfectionistic attitude and you don't even try to speak because you are afraid of making mistakes.
- When you fail to reach your goal because it was unrealistic: Sometimes we have such a desire to improve that we set goals that are unrealistic for the amount of time that we are able to put into them. If this happens to you and you don't achieve your goal by the deadline that you set, instead of blaming yourself and giving up, think about setting a smaller goal, more achievable goal.
- When you are tempted to compare yourself to others: Most people have the tendency to measure their success in relation to what other people have done. Don't do this with your English learning! You have a unique learning style, a different way of communicating and different goals. So pay attention to your own learning path, not the learning paths of others.
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