Study English, become a professional in your field, and have access to international business opportunities. These are the reasons why many people study English. But do you know how to motivate yourself when studying? This article will give you 10 practical ways to motivate yourself.
Motivation is the key to success. If you want to learn English, here are 10 practical ways to keep your motivation high and your progress on track.
Do you want to improve your English? Are you looking for some practical ways to motivate yourself to study English? If yes, here are 10 ways that will help you achieve your goal.
Studying English is not as difficult as it seems. Here are 10 practical ways to motivate yourself and make studying English more enjoyable.
1. Be Encouraged – Your English Is Probably Better Than You Think It Is!
Unfortunately, a lot of English learners have a very negative view of their English skills. Do you ever find yourself saying or thinking things like…
- “My English is probably full of mistakes.”
- “I’m afraid to speak, because other people might not understand me.”
- “I’ve been studying for years, but my English is still bad.”
I can tell you honestly – your English is probably better than you imagine. As the teacher here at Espresso English, I’ve interacted with thousands of students. I correct hundreds of homework assignments from students in my courses. So I can say with confidence that most of you are doing great in English!
2. Never Compare Your English Skills To Others’
One reason that many English learners have a low opinion of their skills is that they’re comparing themselves to native English speakers or other learners who have reached fluency. If you observe that your English is not as good as other peoples’, you start to bad about yourself – imperfect, inferior, etc.
3. Don’t Take Mistakes So Seriously/Personally
MISTAKES – they have the power to make you afraid to use your English… they can also make you feel humiliated when someone corrects you… they represent your failure to know the rules of English… right?
Mistakes only have all that power if you allow them to have such power.
The goal of learning English is to communicate, and the fact is that many mistakes actually don’t damage communication. For example:
- If you say “It depends of the weather” instead of the correct version “It depends on the weather,” everyone will still understand you (and many won’t even notice the small error).
- If you say “I live here for 3 years” instead of the correct version “I’ve lived here for 3 years” or “I’ve been living here for three years,” people will still know what you’re saying.
- If you say “I have a swimming pull in my backyard” instead of “swimming pool” (a pronunciation error), everyone will understand what you meant because of the context of the sentence.
4. Visualize The End Goal, And Know That Every Bit Of Time You Invest Is Bringing You Closer!
Do you know WHY you want to learn English?
Is it so you can work in a multinational company? Live in an English-speaking country? Travel and make friends more easily? Pass an exam? Be able to read books and watch movies in English?
5. Keep A Record Of Your Progress (Success Journal)
Speaking of progress, it’s very motivating to keep a record of what you’ve accomplished. Get a notebook, and after every study session write down the date and a summary of “what I learned today.” This results in three things:
- the act of writing it down helps reinforce it in your memory;
- seeing the notebook fill up with knowledge encourages you that you are learning a lot and making progress;
- having the notebook makes it easy to go back and review things you’ve studied previously.
6. When You Feel Lazy, Just Take A Baby Step
A “baby step” is a very small action.
Learning English is a BIG project that can take many years, and sometimes you just feel discouraged and lazy – you simply don’t want to study that day. Instead of thinking, “oh man, I have to do an hour of English study, and I really don’t feel like it / don’t have time” – tell yourself you’ll just do one TINY thing.
- I’ll read in English for just 5 minutes
- I’ll watch one Espresso English video on YouTube
- I’ll listen to just one song in English and look up any words I don’t know
- I’ll learn only 5 vocabulary words or idioms
When you take a “baby step” to study English, one of two things will happen:
- after a few minutes, you’ll finish and feel like you accomplished something, even though you don’t have any more time or motivation; or
- after a few minutes, you’ll “get into it” and feel motivated to continue and study a little longer.
The hardest part is often starting! However, if you take a “baby step,” you’ll definitely learn something – and you might regain your motivation in the process.
7. Plan For Breaks, But Also Plan To Come Back
Some English learners are too hard on themselves – in other words, they have VERY high expectations for themselves and they never take a break. They feel like they must study every day, and if they miss a day, then they feel like a failure.
Of course I recommend studying English as often as possible – it’s especially good if you can make it part of your daily routine and habits. But we all need breaks!
8. Make Learning Enjoyable
You don’t have to study the exact same way every time! Try to have some variation, to keep things interesting.
9. Find A Partner Or Join A Community
Scientists have discovered that one of the most effective motivators is “peer pressure” – that’s encouragement or expectation from people who are similar to you.
For example, if you want to get into the habit of exercising, it’s hard to get off the couch and decide to exercise alone. But if you have a friend who you agreed to meet at the gym at 4:00, you’re much more likely to go.
10. Challenge Yourself, Then Reward Yourself When You Reach Goals
Sometimes when you’re studying English by yourself, it can be discouraging because there’s nobody to say “Nice work!” or celebrate your successes. But if you give yourself challenges and rewards, it can give you the motivation to keep going and not quit.
Of course, your main goal is to be fluent in English, but you can set smaller goals in the process. For example:
- Read an entire book in English
- Learn 10 new words every day for one month
- Be able to talk for 5 minutes straight in English (try talking for 1 minute, then 2 minutes, and work your way up to 5)
- Start a blog in English and write one post every week for a year
I hope these tips have been helpful. Don’t just read about them – put them into practice!