The most important skill you need to succeed at language learning

Today, during my daily jogging routine, I started thinking about the skills I’ve acquired thanks to language learning. Languages have changed my life in ways I never expected they would.

I tried to narrow the skills down to the ones that have helped me the most in my language journey.

After a couple of minutes of heavy thinking and running, I realized I could narrow them down to just one. One skill to rule them all.  

If you want to learn languages effectively, this is the number one skill you must possess:

SELF-DISCIPLINE

Or, as I call it, The Power of Doing Something Every Day

I can’t tell you how much this has helped me, not only with languages but in every aspect of my life. The small task of doing something every day and sticking to it, can do wonders and move mountains.

So much I’ve since applied it to anything I want to get better at, be it health, fitness, music, reading books, learning new things, researching, anything. It always works!

How it works

  • Decide what part of the day you will dedicate to studying your target language. My favorite time of the day for languages is while I’m walking or waiting for public transport.
  • Decide how much time you’ll dedicate to the task at hand. I almost never spend more than 30 minutes a day.
  • Don’t break the chain! There are no days off. Not even at the weekend. If that sounds too hard for you, lower the time to 20 minutes. But it HAS to be done every day. No excuses.

– But, but! How do I actually start studying? 

Here’s a small trick you can use to convince yourself to start doing a task. Tell yourself this powerful sentence:

I’ll only do this for 5 minutes. Then I’ll stop

5 minutes is next to nothing, so it shouldn’t be that hard to get started. You’re highly likely to actually spend more than 5 minutes studying the language, but the hardest part is always getting started, and this trick facilitates it for you.

–  But, but! I don’t have time to do that! I’m too busy!

Does that mean you don’t have 30 minutes in 24 whole hours? Are you sure? What about the time you spend monitoring your social media, watching TV or mindlessly surfing the internet?  What about the time you spend waiting for something? Would waking up 30 minutes earlier, or going to bed 30 minutes later make much of a difference? If you don’t have time, make time.

– But, but! Do I really learn anything in just 30 minutes?

Don’t expect the first day to work wonders for you. The key is repetition. Try doing this for a week. After that, how about a month? You’ll be surprised at the results. That I guarantee.

If you want to achieve your goals, you have to do something about them every day.

No matter how insignificant one day’s study session might seem to you, it’s very important in the long run, and it’s the simplest, most effective way to bring yourself closer to what you want to achieve.

Do you want to learn a language? Yes? Then what can you do about it today?

Maria Spantidi

Maria loves learning how the world works. She speaks several languages, composes music, plays 9 musical instruments, is a mechanical engineer, loves math, history and animals, is ambidextrous, and enjoys long-distance running.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: