A New Year's Resolution: Learning a Foreign Language?

Learning a foreign language as an adult is not an easy task. Here are 3 tips for those who have made learning a foreign language one of their goals for 2013.

Browsing through social/language sites we frequently see questions like: "I'd like to learn a foreign language. Which one should I learn?" or "What language should I learn next?" and the comments often reflect the responders own experiences or biases. But as simple and straightforward the question appears, the answer is not.

Learning a new foreign language as an adult is not an easy task. It takes determination and a sustained effort. While we all know that children can pick up a foreign language quite easily, adults really have to work for it. And don't believe marketing slogans such as "Learn a language in 10 days", or "Fluent in 3 months", etc.

Therefore, making a New Year's resolution and setting a goal for learning a foreign language has a number of key ingrendients:

  1. Your motivation - Write down the reasons you want to learn a new foreign language. Maybe you plan to travel to a foreign country, you have a friend, spouse or relatives you want to communicate with, or your education or business interests motivate you.
  2. You really, really have to want it - The above reasons have to be strong enough for you to commit the energy and time needed to make real progress. If you can stay excited about your choice long enough to reap some benfits, e.g. reading an article or a book, watching a foreign movie or video, chatting with a friend, etc., your feeling of succes and accomplishment will then carry you along.
  3. Build anticipation - You may want to start today: Buy that CD course you saw in the mall, enroll in the Adult Ed course your local college promotes, or subscribe to an online course you saw advertised. But hold it! First do some homework: What is your learning style? Are you a visual or an aural person? Where and when can you commit the time? Before work? After hours? At home? In a class setting? At work?, e.g. during a lunch break? What is your budget? Think it through, take some time and make your choice deliberate.


These are just a few of the most important ingredients for setting your language learning goals for the New Year. You can also read more on 8 Zenhabits for 2013 Language Learning. And while we applied the zenhabits.com tips to language learning, they may be useful to your other goals for 2013...

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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