Today I'm going to be addressing a question that I get a lot.
Somebody on Tumblr wrote to me and they said "How do you stay motivated? I have terrible anxiety, and I'm always riddled with self hate–oh–self-hatred and self-doubt."
"It keeps me from doing what I love, and I feel like it's held me back and I can't do anything except to watch others move on with their lives."
First of all, to the person who said that: I really want you to understand how much you are valued. Think about how many people around you love you, and how you've changed the lives of others.
You really do make a difference in people's lives and you shouldn't have self-doubt.
I understand that you're going through a difficult time.
So I'd like to give you some practical tips on motivation on how to think about yourself more positively in light of language learning.
So, first of all, here's some general things to remember when you're feeling a little down and feeling like you aren't progressing in language learning.
First of all, and very importantly: don't force yourself.
You are a human being and you need breaks.
You want to tell yourself study 500 words a day and finish this textbook and stuff and then you end up disappointing yourself, because you're not able to reach those goals.
One little tiny step at a time.
It's better to do a tiny bit each day than it is to try and pile on everything and not be able to achieve your goal.
Remember the power of positive speaking.
Try to tell yourself, "I Speak ABC language." instead of "I'm learning Japanese." or "I'm trying to learn Korean, but it's hard."
Talk to yourself positively!
Tell yourself, "I'm doing a great job! Look how far I've gotten. I'm speaking Korean."
Number two: everybody says this, but remember the reason you started.
What was that flame that triggered your passion for the language in the beginning?
Also, try and envision yourself where you want to be and envision what it's like to be completely fluent in that language.
But, don't compare yourself to others.
I repeat do NOT compare yourself to other language learners online.
Rather, try and build a community with them, become friends with them.
If you're feeling envious or jealous towards someone who seems to be progressing faster, remember: another person's success is not your failure.
Just because someone else is more fluent or has more prettier Studyblr pictures than you, doesn't mean that you're a bad person, or you're a failure.
Only, only, only, compare yourself to your past self, don't think "oh my goodness, James has progressed and he's done five text books this month, and I've only like done one chapter."
Don't do that, tell yourself: "Wow! look at me! I've done one entire chapter. And last month I just learned two words."
Tell yourself how much you are progressing.
You can also start finding new ways to enjoy language.
Rather than traditional study methods, like taking a course, reading a textbook, maybe you like inspirational posters and stuff.
Why don't you print out quotes in your target language?
Stick them up around your room, so that when you wake up in the morning you see this quote in Vietnamese or something on your wall.
You can even write your shopping list in that language.
Make sure to make the language part of your life and make it exciting again for you.
Okay! Enough wishy-washy blah blah, let us move on to those practical tips for us . . . practical people.
Number one, this is something I am guilty of, I always buy new notebooks and new textbooks to like feel really excited about the language again.
There's nothing like opening a fresh new notebook and being like "Yes! this is it! This is gonna be the one that I fill until the end."
So, get yourself splurge, spoil yourself.
Get a new textbook and a new notebook, just so you feel like it's a fresh new start.
Number two: figure out what your ideal language learning style is.
Are you an auditory learner?
Do you remember song lyrics like the moment you've heard them?
That's your learning style–incorporated into your life.
If you're more visual, put up posters, make flashcards, use highlighters.
Number three: start a YouTube channel or a studygram or a blog or journal to track your progress.
It's really important to check your progress, because it can show you how far you've come.
You can say "Wow, actually I don't feel it, but I can see in my progress, that in two months, I've improved my accent so much!",
And, it'll be a great source of motivation, because, you'll want to update it.
And the next one, which is quite interesting, be cautious, but open to language learning challenges.
Online you'll see things like "100 days of productivity" or "Joy of learning languages", "31-day language Diary challenge" thing–those are fun!
Those are really cool, but be wary of them because if you suffer from depression or anxiety, it can put you into a space where you get overly competitive, and you'll feel very bad about yourself if you miss a day.
Don't make it something you "have" to do–only do it if it's fun for yourself and if you're capable of it.
And finally, if you really, really don't feel like learning, fall back on immersion!
Change your phone to the language, change your Facebook page language settings to the language you're learning.
Even if you're not actively studying, because it can be mentally draining–trust me, I know–make sure language just surrounds you.
Listen to it, Talk to your friends in it.
You don't have to sit in front of a book and study.
Don't do that if you don't feel like it.
So, to summarize: Only do things if it makes you happy, don't compare yourself to others, only uhh . . . compare yourself to yourself and pat yourself on the back for all your successes!
I believe in you guys, you can do it. You are the best! Go learn that language!