1. Start With the End Goal in Mind
If you don’t know where you want to end up, you’re not going to know where to go. Especially when things get tough.
This is why innovative entrepreneurs, inventors, and influencers require a massive vision that they can rely on during the worst times.
Make sure you have a meaningful purpose of why you want to learn a language. Is it to develop a deeper connection with your family, life partner, friends? Or maybe it’s because you want to advance your career by opening up new opportunities that would normally not be available today.
Another important skill to learn is how to set goals that clarify your end goal. Here’s an example:
Bad goal: I want to learn a language so I can travel to Europe by next year.
Good goal: I want to learn how to speak Spanish so I can travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina by next summer.
Great goal: I will have a 15-minute conversation in Spanish with a native Argentinian person over coffee in a cafe in Buenos Aires on July 2017.
Notice how specific, visual, and deadline oriented the great goal is compared to the bad goal.
2. Pick the Right Language
Picking the right language is not about the dream language you want to learn (although there is nothing wrong with that). In this case, we’re specifically talking about learning speed.
If you already know how to speak English, learning Spanish, French, Portuguese, or any language from the latin family would be easier than trying to learn Mandarin.
By being aware of the language you already know, you can choose transferrable languages to help you accelerate your learning.
3. Follow a Proven Strategy
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you’re learning something new. For nearly any skill, there’s someone who has already achieved expert status.
“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”-Tony Robbins
When it comes to languages, there is an abundance of resources you can find from the comforts of your home, including:
You can follow the strategies and tactics from any of these influencers who will help you shorten your learning curve.
4. Allocate Time Everyday to Learn (15-30 minutes)
Nothing can be learned without the time commitment. Most of us have dozens of things that we are juggling throughout the day, from our work, social life, health, etc.
But all of us have 15 to 30 minutes to learn something if we make it a priority in our lives.
Track your schedule: Start by tracking everything you’re doing during the day on your calendar. Even include leisure activities like hanging out with friends and eating. You’ll be surprised how much free time you have to spend on learning something new.
Prioritization: Now that you have a better idea of how you’re spending the day. It’s about prioritizing what’s truly important to you. Start by ranking which of these you should be focusing on, and even start delegating/eliminating the ones you don’t need.
Optimization: Last is optimizing. There are three ways to optimize your schedule:
Shorten your work tasks
Cut out your least important free time
Bundle your free times together
5. Take Advantage of Complimentary Tools and Resources
When it comes to language learning, there are hundreds of free to cheap tools and resources that you can use. These include:
6. Have Someone Teach You and Keep You Accountable
If your goal is to learn faster, you’re going to need help.
This could be a personal friend, colleague, or a professional teacher that can keep you motivated and accountable throughout your journey.
There are plenty of conversation exchanges you can check out to find a fellow language learning partner, or language tutoring platforms where you can connect with professional language teachers from the comforts of your home.
While you may feel that going alone may be the best option when starting out, it’s rarely the sustainable option in the long-run. As every language learner will tell you, learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint.
7. Just Keep Going
Nearly every struggle or problem you have is temporary. With a little bit of sweat and persistence, you can overcome just about anything.
Whenever you feel like quitting or giving up, remember that thousands of others have come before you, and have felt the exact same way. But the reason why they’ve gotten to the other side is because they overcame the pain, doubt, and fear despite what their brain was telling them. You can do the same.