The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step

Do you want to start improving your English, but feel overwhelmed by the idea?

You are not alone.

Language learning is something that many people aspire to do but often find it difficult to get started. It can be daunting to think about all the time and effort that goes into learning a new language.

However, getting started is the hardest part, and it is not as difficult as it may seem. Let’s look at the reasons why getting started in language learning is the hardest part, and I will also provide some tips and tricks to help you overcome this obstacle and start your language-learning journey.

Why is getting started in language learning the hardest part?

There are several reasons why getting started in language learning can be so challenging. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Fear of failure

One of the biggest reasons why people struggle to get started with language learning is the fear of failure. Many people worry that they will not be able to learn the language, or that they will make mistakes and embarrass themselves in front of others. This fear can be paralyzing and can prevent people from even trying to learn a new language.

Lack of motivation

Another common reason why people struggle to get started with language learning is the lack of motivation. Learning a new language can be a long and difficult process, and it can be hard to stay motivated when progress is slow. Many people start off with a lot of enthusiasm, but quickly lose interest when they realize how much work is involved.

Lack of time

Many people lead busy lives and feel like they simply do not have the time to commit to learning a new language. It can be difficult to find the time to practice every day, and this can make it hard to make progress.

Lack of resources

Another obstacle to getting started with language learning is the lack of resources. Many people do not know where to start or what resources to use. There are so many different books, apps, and websites out there that it can be overwhelming to figure out what will work best for you.

Now, here comes the important bit….

How to get started with language learning (break it down into smaller steps – you don’t need to try to do everything at once)

Set realistic goals

The first step to getting started with language learning is to set realistic goals. It is important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and to break down your goals into smaller, achievable steps. For example, you might start by setting a goal to learn 10 new words a day, or to practice for 15 minutes a day. By setting realistic goals, you can build momentum and make steady progress.

Embrace mistakes

Learning a new language involves making a lot of mistakes. It is important to remember that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process, and that it is okay to get things wrong. In fact, making mistakes can be a valuable learning opportunity. So, embrace your mistakes, learn from them, and keep moving forward.

Find motivation

Finding motivation is key to sticking with language learning over the long term. There are many ways to find motivation, but one of the most effective is to find something that you are passionate about in the language you are learning. Whether it is music, film, literature, or culture, finding something that you love about the language can help keep you motivated and engaged.

Make time

Making time for language learning is essential if you want to make progress. Even if you are busy, there are always ways to make time for language learning. For example, you might listen to podcasts or audiobooks while you commute, or practice speaking with a language exchange partner during your lunch break. I strongly encourage everyone to make a schedule. “On Tuesdays between 5.00pm and 5.15 pm I will listen to BBC 6-minute English” (for example). Because if you don’t do it at that time, you are more likely to reschedule than if you say “sometime on Tuesday I will get around to it”. Before you know it, Tuesday has gone and you haven’t done it.

Get support

Doing anything challenging alone is tough. Did you learn to walk alone? Did you learn to read alone? Did you learn your native language alone? Most likely, mum was by your side (or someone else in some instances) for those steps. It’s the same with learning language. You CAN do it alone – but if you get some support, it can transform the journey. Is there someone in your family who can practise with you? A friend? Is there a local group you can join?

Remember the famous quote from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu who said;

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”

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