6 Ways to Encourage Yourself in Your Own Language Learning Journey

We hear it all the time, that “we’re being too hard on ourselves”. At least, that’s what I hear on the regular when I complain to my friends that my language skills aren’t improving nearly as fast as I’d like them to. Is it possible to be too hard on yourself with language? If so, does this have a positive or negative effect on learning?

Obviously, being too hard on yourself and putting too much pressure on your learning is rarely beneficial. You’ll start to experience anxiety, frustration, impatience, and potentially worse physical or emotional ailments, and you may even stop seeing real results altogether. While it may be tempting to get down on yourself, develop resentment at the slowness of your learning, it’s worthwhile to recognize your hard work sometimes.

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To avoid potentially terrible effects on your language learning process, here are 6 ways you can remember to relax, recognize your progress, and continue to improve.

1. Allow yourself to take a break

Sometimes, just allowing yourself some needed time off can work wonders. Obviously, this shouldn’t become a regular habit, but the occasional evening off could really do well for your language self-esteem.

2. Remove yourself from your normal environment (e.g., take a trip somewhere else) to see how much progress you’ve made

Because we tend to get so wrapped up in how poorly we’re doing, it may be beneficial to take a step back to recognize our own successes. When we do this – say, by taking a trip or retreating ourselves out of our normal environment for a bit – the results could have a huge impact on how we see our progress.

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3. Find ways to practice language that align with your personal interests

Who wants to come home after a long day and read some stuffy textbook? Maybe some enjoy it, but it’s safe to say that’s not common. Instead, find ways to enjoy your language practice without boring yourself to sleep. You’ll feel less discouraged and more engaged with your learning journey.

4. Take a standardized test to review your progress

Sometimes, the very thing we dread, such as taking a standardized test, could be the very thing that we need to tangibly see our own progress. Obviously, this is something that should only be done as a way to measure your progress occasionally. But, maybe your language level at present might actually surprise you. You could even take one of our free placement tests to see how your level measures up! 

5. Ask a friend to be your language accountability partner

One of the best ways to stay on top of your learning journey and feel less guilty when taking needed time off is by having a language accountability partner in your life to motivate you toward success. And, who knows, maybe you can also help someone else with his or her language progress as well.

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6. Recognize when discouraging thoughts are real and when they are false

Ultimately, we all get thoughts of discouragement that pop up sometimes. And sometimes, there’s something that warrants them. Other times, they’re completely from left-field and are demonstrably false. It’s important to recognize when these thoughts are true and beneficial toward our progress, and when they’re coming from another place of negativity. By shutting these thoughts down, progress can become more unhindered.

In what ways to you struggle to recognize your progress while learning another language? Please share your thoughts, and advice, in the comments below!