Matthew’s Tips: How To Learn A Language All By Yourself

Matthew Youlden shares his best tips on how to successfully learn a language on your own.

People often ask me, “How do you learn so many languages on your own?” The answer is pretty simple: revolutionize your leisure time.

Spending 40 hours a week in an office means we have to be smart when planning our free time so that we can be active, play sports, remain fit, and even pick up new skills like learning a language. If you are thinking of learning a new language in your free time, then here are my top 7 tips for how to best use your time, tech, and tenacity efficiently to achieve success.

Tip 1: Make a plan

Set aside time to learn every day — even if it’s only ten minutes in the morning or ten minutes before bed. You’ll save yourself loads of time if you plan your process and create milestones and potential rewards for yourself on the road ahead.

Tip 2: Organize your time

We don’t realize just how much free time we actually have. Even the busiest schedules have pockets of wasted time that can be spent immersing yourself in the language you are learning. Make things flexible, be aware of the time you actually have and organize it according to your language journey.

Tip 3: Regular learning

Not only will regular learning ensure that you make progress every single day and enjoy the feeling of achievement that comes with this, daily practice will also enable you to better retain what you learn. If you learn ten new words on Monday, review them on Tuesday for a few minutes, then learn ten more, and review those on Wednesday.

Tip 4: Make it fun

Variety is the spice of life. Dive into the diverse world of the language you want to learn: watch your favorite sports team with the commentary in your target language; listen to podcasts, audiobooks and music sung in the language; watch foreign films with subtitles; change your phone’s language setting… anything you do in English can be done in another language too.

Tip 5: Try it out, make it stick

There’s no point in learning a language if you’re not going to use it. Find a way to put this language into practice because, if you don’t use it, you are defeating your own objective to learn. Even if you are just speaking to yourself, it’s better than not speaking at all! Go ahead, make mistakes — it doesn’t matter because the name of the game is to practice what you’re learning.

Tip 6: Stay Focused

Keep referring back to your initial plan and the objectives you set for yourself. Why are you learning a language again? Ah yes, of course, because you’re an interesting person! But you still have to train for it like anything else, be it sports, music, a hobby or a new career path. If you put in the time, you will be able to do it. The more you believe in yourself, the more you remain focused. And it’s brilliant: once you reach your goal you’ll be able to speak another language! Everything will fall into place. It won’t always be easy, but there’s a bigger picture, so just go for it.

Tip 7: Reward Yourself

You deserve it! When you stick to your plans and work towards that ultimate goal, there’s nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back. It takes hard work and commitment, so in order to stay focused pair your short-term goals with rewards that are linked to the language. You’ve earned these language skills, so why not enjoy them?

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