There are many reasons to learn a new language: You love learning languages and exploring cultures, you want to pass a specific exam, you want to study or work abroad, you want to be able to communicate with locals at the supermarket or order a coffee on your next vacation, or maybe your partner is from a different country and you want to be able to talk to family members in their native language.
Everyone has their own unique reasons and motivations for learning a new language. What are your motivations for learning German? What specific goals do you want to achieve?
These are important questions to ask yourself if you want to stay on track in your language learning process and not get derailed by temporary difficulties. It is common for learning process to slow down at times or even plateau. This is something most language learners will experience at one point or another. Sometimes, language learning is more like a roller coaster ride than a constant steady predictable path. So what can help motivate you when you hit a learning slump?
Have concrete goals:
Remind yourself why you wanted to learn German in the first place. Think about what specific goals you want to achieve. Concrete goals helps you stay on track and stay motivated. Imagine how great it will feel to be able to converse with your partner's family or locals in a supermarket, or to pass the exam, or study or work in a German speaking country.
Sometimes, you will progress at a faster pace and at other times your learning slows down. Maybe you have a lot of other things in your life right now that need your attention or maybe you came across a particularly complex grammar concept that is not easy to grasp. Learning a new language is fun and exciting, but it can also be frustrating at times. Accept the frustrations and difficulties. Keeping a language journal to reflect on these thoughts can be a good idea.
Keep a language learning journal:
Keeping a language journal can help you reflect on your own learning process. In your journal, document your big and small successes as well as your struggles. What is it you remember from a particular lesson? What is your understanding or non-understanding of a certain topic or aspect? What questions do you still have? What is still unclear? What is particularly important or useful for you personally? Reflect on your learning regularly and record your thoughts in your learning journal.
There are many ways to surround yourself with German: Watch movies, videos and shows with or without subtitles, listen to podcasts, play board games or computer games, read children's books aloud to your children or yourself (this is also a great way to practice pronunciation), narrate your daily activities (name the groceries that you buy at the supermarket, the furniture in your home, or the clothes you put in the morning), make flashcards or put new vocabulary on sticky notes and post them everywhere.
In my blog article from May 2022, you can find 8 language learning tips that you can easily incorporate into daily life.
Everyone has different goals. Every goal, big or small is important. But despite our best efforts it is sometimes hard to stay motivated. Sometimes life gets in the way of your language learning and you have a lot of other things that need your attention. Having concrete, realistic goals that you can work towards will help you to stay focused and not get derailed by temporary difficulties. Stay focused on what it is you want to achieve. Reward yourself for your big and small successes and accept that making mistakes is a part of the learning. Don't get discouraged. Just keep going. Have fun with it and enjoy the process of learning.
Easy German has some tips for you in video episode (79) "4 mistakes to avoid when starting to learn German".