This week, Dr. Heidi talks about how to use your motivation for language learning to set goals and habits to achieve those goals!
Watch this week’s video on YouTube below.
Read the text of this week’s video to check your understanding and practice your new words!
The last four weeks I talked about reading, listening, speaking and writing. It’s important to focus on these specific skills, but when it comes to improving your English there’s one more thing I want you to think about, because it will help you in your progress: motivation.
When we talk about motivation, or what motivates you, we are talking about the reason that you want to do in something. For example, most people work because they are motivated to earn money to support themselves and maybe their family. If someone is chasing you, you are motivated to run fast to get away from them!
Linguists who study language learning know that students’ motivation is an important factor in their success. In other words, the more motivated you are, the more successful you will be!
So I want you to think about what motivates you to study English. Why do you want to speak English? Is it to get a better job? Travel to English-speaking places? Make friends with English speakers?
Learning a language is very hard, and it takes a long time and a lot of work. When you start to lose energy or enthusiasm, it’s important to hold your motivation in your mind because it will keep you inspired.
One way to use that motivation is through visualization. This means that you make a picture in your mind. For example, maybe visualize yourself using English in a new job, or visualize yourself traveling.
It may be that there is a big distance between where you are now, and where you want to be - where you see yourself in that visualization. It may seem that there is so much to learn you will never succeed! Well, there’s an expression in English, A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That means, that no matter how far you need to go, you will get there one step at a time. And with a challenge as big as learning a new language, it can be helpful to break the big task into smaller steps that don’t seem so overwhelming. One thing you can do that’s very helpful is to make small goals for yourself. For example, I will watch five English YouTube videos this week, or I will learn 20 new words this week.
Here are some inspirational quotes about goals: Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. - Tony Robbins
Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life. - Les Brown
Goals give us purpose, which, in turn, motivates us to make ourselves the best version in all aspects of your life. - Hannah Bronfman
Writing your goals down is a good idea. It’s like a promise to yourself to do something.
Once you know what your goals are, the best way to achieve your goals is to build habits. A habit is something that is a regular part of your life. Here are a few tips for building successful habits:
Do something the same time every day. For example, watch an English YouTube video while you eat lunch. By associating something you do every day, like eat lunch, with something you want to do every day, like watch an English video, you will have a framework achieving your goal. Do you play games on your phone while you ride the bus to work or school? Play Vocab Victor instead! Use that time to improve your vocabulary!
Do one small thing to get started. For example, people who want to run every day will often start by putting on their running shoes. It’s a small thing, putting on your shoes, but as soon as your shoes are on, well, you might as well go for a run! So, get out your language notebook and open it up. A small thing. And now you are ready to study!
Remember your motivation. If you think, oh, I don’t feel like doing it today, go back to your main motivation and visualization. Remind yourself why you want to learn English.
Jerry Seinfeld has a famous calendar system that has become very popular. He has a goal to write every day, and after he writes, he puts a check on the calendar. His system is, “don’t break the chain.” So every day that you practice English, put a check on your calendar and soon you won’t want to see any days that don’t have a check mark on them!
Building habits is the best way to achieve your goals, and achieving goals - and seeing your progress improve - will help you stay motivated.
And here’s one final thing to think about: Building good habits and achieving your goals in one aspect of your life, like language learning, will give you confidence and motivation in other areas of your life, like exercise and doing well at work. Why? Because once you know that you can build successful habits to achieve your goals, you can use those same skills to accomplish other things.
Here are the 20 words for week 18. You may know some of these words already. However, it’s very important with vocabulary that you practice the words that you already know in addition to learning new words. This is all good practice and will help your language skills. All these definitions are from the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, which is highly recommended for English language learners.
|distance||the amount of space between two places or things|
|motivation||a force or influence that causes someone to do something|
|task||a piece of work that has been given to someone; a job for someone to do|
|goal||something that you are trying to do or achieve|
|success||the correct or desired result of an attempt|
|habit||a usual way of behaving; something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way|
|quote||to repeat (something written or said by another person) exactly|
|support||to provide the money that is needed by or for (someone or something)|
|motivate||to give (someone) a reason for doing something|
|guide||something that helps to direct a person’s actions, thoughts, etc.|
|specific||special or particular|
|visible||able to be seen|
|energy||natural enthusiasm and effort|
|place||a specific area or region of the world; a particular city, country, etc.|
|purpose||the reason why something is done or used; the aim or intention of something|
|promise||a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future|
|thousand||the number 1,000|
|example||someone or something that is mentioned to help explain what you are saying or to show that a general statement is true|
|journey||an act of traveling from one place to another; trip|
|chase||the act of following and trying to catch a person, animal, etc.|
What are your goals for studying English? Post them in the comments section of the video!
Finally, download our app Vocab Victor which is available for Apple and Android phones. This vocabulary learning software will help you build and strengthen your vocabulary. What does that mean? Build and strengthen. Build vocabulary means it will teach you new words. Strengthen means it will improve the knowledge of the words you already know. Play Vocab Victor for a few minutes every day to help improve your English! Read more about Vocab Victor at our page for students, Vocab Victor - Students.