As many other things, motivation is very important in learning foreign languages. It’s okay to count it as the most important factor.
Excuses for not learning a foreign language
No talent for learning languages
Yes, some have a little more ability to learn languages, some have a little less, but in general, the idea of “a lack of talent means you can’t learn a language” is completely wrong.
Most likely, you just don’t want to or haven’t tried to find time for language learning. Plan an exact date and time in advance and don’t schedule any other things to do for that period of time you’re about to study the language.
Tried to learn it and it didn’t work
It seems that the way you chose just didn’t work for you. If you’re motivated, you’ll find the time, the right way, and even the skill at acquiring a new language.
Of course, motivation is not the only necessary factor for learning a foreign language. If you are motivated enough to learn a new language, but you do nothing, nothing will happen. You need to be proactive.
Furthermore, the fact is that there are fewer and fewer excuses other than a lack of motivation. There are so many resources available these days that it becomes difficult not just to find the appropriate resource to learn, but also to choose the right one for yourself.
The excuse of lack of time or ability is a myth. As we found out earlier, this is not a problem these days. It can be more difficult with motivation, especially if you originally did not want to learn a foreign language on your own, but someone told you that it is necessary.
You should understand that motivation is an important first step, but not the only one in the process of learning a new language.
Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language with flashcards? If not, you should try it, because flashcards are suitable for the vast majority of students. The Langavia Personal Dictionary app is designed specifically for learning foreign languages. A unique algorithm can speed up the process of memorization of foreign words by many times. A faster result will naturally increase your motivation, which will also be very useful.
So how to force yourself to learn a language – The ways to motivate yourself
Many people – for example, at school – learn a foreign language and take it with a grain of salt, just because “I have to”, because “my mother said” and so on. Any language in this case is very difficult to learn, this “must” hangs over you and doesn’t bring joy to the learning process.
If you answer the question “Why do I need it at all?” and find a reason for learning the language, it will go much easier. The answer “I have to” is not acceptable. At the very least, try to understand why you need it. It’s not about your mother, your school, your job, or the world community.
Sometimes, even when you find some good reasons for learning a foreign language, it’s not enough for everyday motivation.
Overall you already know that you need the language. It may be quite interesting to you, but you’re too lazy to do your homework or open a language learning app. You think you are tired. Or you have too much to do. Or something else?
It’s fine, it happens, this is normal. However, if such lazy days are longer than days when you want to study a foreign language, you need to change something.
Here is what you shouldn’t do. You should not blame yourself. Otherwise, you will have feelings of guilt and negative emotions associated with the language. You may agree that with these feelings, a new language is unlikely to be learned.
If you start to associate a foreign language with a feeling of guilt, you are going to reschedule lessons more and more often, feeling more and more guilty – until you abandon learning the language permanently. That doesn’t sound very optimistic, does it? Try to avoid it.
So what to do when your inner motivation, desire and call to learn a foreign language isn’t enough? Can external motivation help you and make you finally start learning?
In this case, by external motivation we’re talking about different inner urges that aren’t strongly related to your need to learn the language or to the language itself.
The following list includes some of the most common urges that you could find for the extra motivation.
Financial incentive as motivation to study a new language
There is one interesting website for people who want to lose weight. Here how it works: you set some intermediate goals of desirable weight and put some money on your website account. If you achieve one goal, you get your money back. If you didn’t – you lose money (it goes to charity organizations).
The idea is that some people may be quite well motivated by finances.
If it relates to you then you should try something like that. As an example, you can put some money aside or give it to a trustworthy person. If you manage to reach your goal, then keep this money. If you fail, you can either give that money to charity, or spend it on something nice for your family or friend.
Another option you could do is find a tutor you’ll pay for. Some people are much less likely to skip classes, if they have paid for them. If you feel like this is you, or you’ve tried free classes or resources and it didn’t go well, then out of different ways and techniques of learning a language you should think about paying for it.
Encouragement and Rewarding can keep you motivated for language learning
A difficult process of learning can be “sweetened”.
This incentive is quite simple. Reward yourself for your success. Buy something you like as your favorite food or thing you’d like to have, but had doubts about.
Just go easy on it. Don’t eat a whole cake and definitely don’t buy a fur coat, just after you finished a homework or watched a video tutorial.
But the same cake can be eaten after successfully completing one level, a fur coat to buy – after a couple of levels, and adventure trip – after passing the exam for a certificate of proficiency in the language.
In this situation it all depends on what can motivate you and on your financial capabilities. The main thing is to set a goal in advance, so you know where you’re going.
Those “rewards” you’re going to get are the most valuable. Not because you were able to have them but because you deserved them.
Entertain yourself to stay motivated for learning a new language
Who says you have to forget about entertainment when learning languages?
TV/ video hosting/ YouTube/ TikTok are great resources for learning foreign languages.
There are different things you can do. You can make it a rule: to start watching videos only after you’ve completed your scheduled foreign language exercises for today. This technique works with other types of entertainment like video games.
Another thing is that you can watch videos in a foreign language (not necessarily educational). If you learn a fairly common language (English, Spanish, French, Chinese, etc.), there are plenty of humorous, entertaining or informative channels with quality content. This also applies to movies and TV shows. Why not watch the next episode without translation?
A new habit can increase your motivation in language learning
Keep track of how often you practice a foreign language.
It’s simple. Set a goal for yourself, let’s say, to practice a foreign language three times a week. Draw a calendar for tracking habits and mark the exercise days in it.
Also, there are many websites and apps that allow you to keep track of your habits – such as how many times a week you exercise or how much water you drink per day.
Just like that, but it works. When you can visually see how often you study, how often you skip, when you last studied – it’s motivating.
It’s probably not a universal motivator either. The individual human psyche is unpredictable. Still, a habit tracker is a useful one.