We’ve officially made it out of the hardest month of the year but what does that mean for your 2016 goals? Over the Christmas break we all enjoy overindulging and setting ourselves almost impossible targets we want to smash for the following year but how do we make those aims achievable and part of our busy lifestyles?

You may remember back in September, I began my walk down the long road of learning the Japanese language. Initially, the most challenging part was trying to find the most suitable tools for the job. Should I buy books and study? Should I find a tutor? Which apps are best to help learn the basics? I found Dr Moku a fantastic tool to learn the basics of Hiragana & Katakana with Memrise quickly becoming a fun and interactive way to study. I allocated myself 30mins per day which worked out well, for a while.

Sometimes learning a new language or trying to find the time to dedicate to studying can itself seem quite a task which can lead to disinterest and potentially stopping you dead in your tracks. Since then I continue to watch anime with subtitles, so I pick up a few words here and there but still recognise words and phrases I learnt back in September. It’s not ideal and we can all make excuses or reason with ourselves to have that “there’s always next week!” mentality. I’m still very keen to learn the Japanese language and can appreciate it won’t happen overnight, so I’ve turned to language pro ‘Lindsay Does Languages’ to help kickstart my learning again and make the process an enjoyable one.


Lindsay’s Language Tips!

Lindsay runs a number of webinars and is super passionate, not only about language but inspiring others to teach themselves a new language. Check out a few of Lindsay’s learning tips below:

  • Memrise for vocabulary. Memrise is such a great tool for learning vocabulary. I use it pretty much every day and absolutely love it! It uses something rather fancy and technical called SRS (aka Spaced Repetition Software) which means that compared to your standard paper flashcards, you’re not starting with the same words every. Single. Time. Hooray!
  • italki for speaking. Italki is one of the easiest ways to find an online native speaking tutor or language partner. You can learn as much as you like from reading textbooks and practising vocabulary but it’s not until you start speaking the language live that you’ll really start to feel confident with your skills.
  • Be specific with your goals and set yourself “onion goals” and go deeper by questioning each layer. For example, “I want to learn more vocabulary” becomes “I want to learn 40 new words a week” then ask yourself ‘how?’. Then you ask yourself ‘how?’ again. And again. And again. Before you know it, you’ve got yourself a pretty clear road map to how you’re going to achieve your goal. (See image & blog here)
  • Set aside some regular time to learn a language. If you dive in head first with a jam-packed schedule to learn that new language with 3 hours a day, it won’t be long before one day comes along when that learning doesn’t happen. Boo! We don’t want that. Be honest with yourself: how much time can you really dedicate to it? Start small, perhaps by watching a YouTube video in your target language when brushing your teeth or listening to your audio course when washing up. These things will happen anyway, so making this small change and adding some language exposure here won’t feel too extreme. And it won’t be long before it becomes habit. Woop!
  • Enjoy it! It may sound simple but if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing to help you learn a language, then why would you carry on? Do you know the saying ‘if you’re bored then you’re boring?’ Well, in this case, if you’re bored, then what you’re using to learn is boring.’ Make it fun, mix things up, enjoy it. Go get learning!

I’m definitely feeling more positive about learning and not trying to cram in as much as possible in a short space of time. A huge thank you to Lindsay for sharing her studying  tips and don’t forget to check out her website for info on upcoming webinars, private tuition and more!

Which tools have made your language learning process more enjoyable? Share your thoughts in the comments below!