Rekindling the flame for your language learning journey can feel like a daunting task. However, if there’s a little voice whispering to you, “Get back to learning Spanish…” (or whichever language you gave up on), then it might be time to dust yourself off and try again. 

Whether you’ve taken a break from learning or faced setbacks, reigniting your passion and dedication is entirely possible. 

Today’s article will guide you through 5 essential steps to bounce back strong and make your language learning experience more fulfilling than ever. 

By following these strategies, you can develop a robust language learning plan that will help you feel the need, the need to succeed (and proceed) with your path towards fluency. 

1. Recreate Your Vision

One of the first steps in rediscovering your target language journey is to recreate your vision. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to speak that language?” Understanding your motivation is crucial because it serves as the foundation for your learning process. 

Reflect on what initially inspired you to learn this language. Was it a love for the culture, the desire to travel, or perhaps professional aspirations? Reconnecting with your original motivation can reignite your passion and provide a clear direction for your language learning plan.

For our students at the SMART Language Learning Academy, this is one of the first steps they take in order to overcome the intermediate plateau.  

It’s also important to throw away any “old baggage” and get rid of your past. What exactly do I mean by that? 

Past failures and setbacks do not define your future. If you previously struggled with learning a language, it doesn’t mean you’re destined to fail again. Each day is a new opportunity to start fresh, armed with new strategies and a positive mindset. Embrace the lessons learned from past experiences and use them to fuel your progress moving forward.

For example, I gave up on learning Romanian and Japanese for different reasons.  With Romanian, I simply lacked an emotional connection to the country, its culture and to the language.  Today, I would have to visit Romania and establish those key touchpoints before confirming my why and recreating my vision.

When it comes to Japanese, I started off on the wrong foot by relying on my (usually trustworthy) ASSIMIL textbook.  Unfortunately, I invested so much time into the wrong resources that I burned myself out and gave up on the language altogether.  If I had to do it all over again, I would make sure that I have the proper resources and a clear reason for restarting Japanese, knowing when and how I would use it on a near daily basis.  

2. Start Small and Keep It Simple

When reigniting your language journey, it’s essential to start small and rely on one resource. Trying to juggle multiple resources can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Instead, choose a single resource that falls within your Goldilocks zone*—meaning a resource that is both entertaining and challenging, but not too challenging.

*The Goldilocks Zone is also a principle that is the foundation of my Overcoming the Intermediate Plateau course, getting people from roughly a B1 level over the “language learning hump” and safely into B2/C1 territory. 

The best way to relearn a language is to engage with materials that you genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s a podcast, a book, a TV show, or an online course, make sure it aligns with your interests and learning style. For instance, there’s nothing wrong with getting yourself kickstarted with a Duolingo streak. 

Although I rarely rely on apps, I do know that the longest Duolingo streaks have inspired countless learners to stay committed to their studies. Find what works best for you and stick with it consistently.

By focusing on one resource, you can build a solid foundation and avoid the confusion that comes with switching between different methods. As you gain confidence and progress, you can gradually incorporate additional resources to complement your learning.

3. Go Public 

One powerful way to stay motivated and accountable in your language learning journey is to make a public commitment. Let someone know about your plans to relearn a language. This could be a friend, family member, or even a language learning community online.

In fact, for all of our courses at the SMART Language Learning Academy, we use Circle to interact with and motivate one another.  This is also the space where we keep each other accountable towards our 90-day language challenges.  For anyone who joins the BDT, OIP or Speak Easy courses, they’re automatically enrolled in Circle and the 90-day challenges. 

Publicly sharing your goals creates a sense of accountability that can keep you on track. When others are aware of your commitment, you’re more likely to stick to your language learning plan and push through challenges. Additionally, having a support system can provide encouragement and celebrate your progress along the way.

Consider joining language learning groups on social media or forums where you can share your journey and connect with fellow learners. This not only holds you accountable but also provides a platform to exchange tips, resources, and experiences with others who share your passion for the target language.

4. 15-45 Minutes Per Day for 30 Days!

You’ve probably heard this one before, but consistency is key when it comes to language learning. To build momentum, make it a 30-day streak of learning for 15-30 minutes a day. Setting a manageable daily language goal ensures that you don’t overburden yourself or commit to overpromising, which can lead to burnout.

Starting with a short, focused study session each day helps you establish a routine. As you become more comfortable with your daily practice, you can gradually increase your study time. This can be easily done by reading something in your target language via LingQ or watching your favorite show via Lingopie (affiliate).  The idea is to create a habit that integrates seamlessly into your daily life.

You don’t have to be perfect, but try to keep an active streak alive of learning for a certain amount per day. As James Clear likes to say, you can skip a day, but never skip two in a row. If you’re serious about bouncing back, and in spectacular fashion, you have to find a way to remain committed and that means doing things your way, all the way! 

5. Don’t Focus on the Results

One of the biggest pitfalls in language learning is becoming too focused on the end goal. Don’t focus on results; instead, enjoy the journey! Every day that you’re not “at your goal” can serve as a psychological reminder that you’re not good enough.  This will only hinder your progress and lead to another eventual fallout with your lovely target language. 

Shift your focus from the end result to the process itself. Embrace the daily practice of studying your target language for 15 to 30+ minutes. Chain the activity of learning to another habit that you’ve already established.  Then, celebrate the small victories and milestones along the way, whether it’s mastering a new set of vocabulary, understanding a grammar rule, or having a simple conversation (affiliate).

Creating sustainable systems and healthy habits, rather than fixating on goals, is a more sustainable approach to language learning. Establish a routine that you look forward to each day, and let the learning process be its own reward. Over time, you’ll find that you’re making steady progress without the pressure of reaching a specific milestone by a certain date.

Your Comeback Story Begins Today!

Rediscovering your target language journey is about reigniting your passion, creating a solid plan, and enjoying the process. By recreating your vision, starting small, making a public commitment, maintaining a consistent streak, and focusing on the journey rather than the results, you can build a sustainable and fulfilling language learning experience.

Remember, the best way to relearn a language is to stay motivated and committed to your language learning plan. Embrace the process, celebrate your progress, and let each day of practice bring you closer to fluency. As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

Take that step today, and watch your language skills flourish.

Written by Luca Lampariello

You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!