If you often struggle with finding the motivation to continue your language learning journey, you’re not alone. It happens to the best of polyglots out there and it happens to me all the time. There are a couple things that I do to rekindle my motivation and get back into the language at full force. Let me show you how.
Recognize why you are learning it
Before anything, you need to recognize why you are even learning the language. And don’t just say, “I just want to.” Dig a little deeper than that. Is it because you want to travel or live in the country where it is spoken? Is it because your girlfriend/boyfriend/etc, speaks it? Is it because you want to pick up women (or men) from that country? Whatever the reason may be, you need to recognize it as to why you are learning it in the first place. By doing this you will always have a clear goal and the motivation to complete it.
If you can’t really think as to why you are learning it, then maybe that is why you are lacking motivation. Find a language that actually interests you and gives you a reason to learn it. Maybe then you will.
In my case, I learn languages simply because I love communicating and connecting with natives and their cultures. I want to visit many countries and be able to speak their language, instead of relying on phrasebooks and English speakers. I learn them because they interest me and it gives me a buzz when I can talk to a native in their own language. Whether or not I am interested in their culture. Whenever I recall why I am learning languages, it gets me going again.
Find interesting music and movies
When I was studying Japanese, I always used to listen to awesome Japanese music. I always wanted to understand what they were saying so it pushed me every time I listened to a good song. Do a little research and see if you can find some music from the language that you like. Look up whatever genre you are interested in as they will help more. For instance Esperanto, the constructed language made in the 19 century, has rap, house, and electronic music in the language (and it’s good too).
As for movies, there are many interesting movies out there that have never been translated into English. If you are a big movie buff, then maybe you’ll be motivated so you can understand the movie.
Find a language partner
If you can find someone who you know, online or offline, that wants to learn with you (doesn’t have to be the same language), it will help tremendously with motivation. You will have someone constantly cheering you on, holding you accountable, and working towards the same goal as you.
There are many sites that can help you find language partners online. Here are some of them.
Find natives to talk with
Similar to the one above. Simply go out in your town or on Skype and find native speakers you can practice with. You wouldn’t believe how motivational it is to talk to natives in their own language. Seeing the look on their faces when you speak to them is so funny and awesome. It gives you the motivation to continue learning so that you can speak more with them and have more intelligent conversations. To find natives speakers, just use the same list as above.
To find native speakers nearby, just search on Google for “[name of your town & state] + [language/country of language] + [restaurant, store, etc]. I searched in my town and found three Mexican restaurants nearby me, and my town is somewhat small. Just tell them when you go in that you would like to practice with them, or just order something cheap and try to strike up a conversation. You can break the ice by asking questions like, “How long has this place been open?” and then transition into something like “So where are you from?” and go from there.
Watch polyglots on YouTube
There are a couple of polyglots that I like to watch on YouTube. They always keep me motivated whenever they post a new video. One of my favorite YouTube polyglots is Laoshu505000. His “level up” videos in specific are the ones that really get me pumped up. Basically, leveling up means to go around town and talk with native speakers of different languages. It’s always awesome to see people’s reactions when he starts talking to them in their language. He puts out these level up videos at the beginning of each month, so it’s always a constant motivation
Other YouTubers include, poliglotta80, ProfASAr, loki2504 and stujaystujay. If you really want some serious motivation, make sure you subscribe to them all. There is bound to be someone posting a video that day.
Put motivational posters wherever you learn
Something I like to do in other aspects of my life, but also works great for language learning, is to put up motivational quotes, posters, etc on your walls. Surrounding yourself with positive quotes that tell you to keep going will help when you might not be feeling up to it. There’s plenty of places to get free posters to print out, just search for them on Google or check out this site with free printable quotes.
Research places to travel to where the language is spoken
Do you like to travel? I do, and anytime I am feeling a little unmotivated, I simply look up some of the places I can go where the language is spoken. For instance, I was starting to slack on my Spanish about two weeks ago and to get me going again, I simply researched some places I could go. I found some really interesting places in Chile, Argentina, Peru and Spain. Just like that, I was pumped again. Just find some places where you would really like to go where the language is spoken and look up some videos of it. Works every time. You could even put the place you want to go as your desktop or phone wallpaper to constantly remind you. Reading travel books is also great too.
If you don’t really care to travel to the place, then see if there is any interesting parts of your town where people speak it. For example, China town in New York. There’s many communities of foreigners in every city, state, or country you live in. You just have to find where they are.
These are the ways you can regain your lost motivation. Try them all out and you will be ready to go again.
What do you do to motivate yourself? Leave a comment below and share your technique with everyone!