The power of a strong why
When it comes to language learning (and anything else in life for that matter), there are two types of motivation in play. Depending on what kind of motivation you have (on ‘your why’) you will either be successful or fail in your learning.
As you know, learning a language is not exactly easy. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon. It takes time, effort, and determination.
Your reasons for learning can be generally twofold:
- Extrinsic – this means your reasons are coming from the outside. This can mean situations such as your boss at work pressing on you to improve your English, or you need to learn it to pass an exam to get to the university of your choice. Either way, somebody else wants this from you and your heart is not really in it. This is why you will find it really hard to be motivated enough to do something about it on regular basis and actually improve.
- Intrinsic – your inner reasons. These are normally the reasons you are quite passionate about and that will help you last in the long run of language learning. They can be things such as that YOU love travelling and want to be able to meet new people, have interesting conversations with them, learn about their culture, and have no issues with communication when travelling. Or that YOU want a promotion or a job abroad. You want it really bad but the only way to get it is that you become a confident English speaker. You being so driven to get promoted and doing anything it takes to get it, including learning a language, is very different to your boss pressing on you to learn the language because it is a new policy in the company that everyone in your position should speak it. The first (intrinsic reason) will drive you far. The second (extrinsic reason) will stress you out and you will not be really motivated to actually improve your language skills.
To sum up, you want to have intrinsic motivation – one that comes from a huge desire for achieving something from the inside of you.
Right… now you have to actually define your reasons, put them clearly into words. Saying ‘I want to improve my English because I didn’t get much done last year’ is not really a reason and it is not gonna get you anywhere. At least not anywhere where you want to be if you really mean it with your language learning.
How to define your 'why'
To truly succeed in your language learning, define 3 genuine reasons why you want to learn.
E.g. I want to improve my English because:
1) I need it for work
2) I love to travel and want to communicate on my travels without any problems
3) I am a big fan of Harry Potter and want to read the books in original
Now, let’s write in a detail 3 explanations behind each of these reasons. It could look a bit like this:
When you know exactly what you are aiming at and have strong reasons to achieve it, everything suddenly falls into place and you are much more motivated to start or to go the extra mile, even if you feel tired or you ‘don’t have the time’…
So, what would your own reasoning grid look like? Try it here:
How did you do? Did find some good, truly motivating arguments for yourself?
If you did, just like that, your brain now has 12 good reasons that are charged with feelings and expectations! They will give you tangible incentive to put in whatever work it takes because the results that you want are so exciting and rewarding.
Visualise your end goal and know that every bit of time you invest into your language learning takes you closer to that goal!
Wishing you happy learning for all the best reasons! 😉