Remember those New Year’s resolutions about knuckling down with your Spanish? You had plans to make this year the year to get structured, get studying and get speaking Spanish?
But now it’s time to actually make that happen, the resolutions have gone out the window, reality has set in and you’ve gone a bit ‘flat’. A lot flat. In fact you just can’t be bothered.
I know, it’s tricky keeping motivated when the sparkle of those ‘easier’ lessons has passed. Now it seems to be all grammar and ‘rules’ to follow… no wonder we feel as flat as a pancake!
But these things need to be mastered.
Without these basics, you’ll never be able to understand (or be understood) and communicate effectively. However appealing it might be to throw in the towel right now, you’ve come so far already. You DO want to communicate in your new language, right? You want to snap out of the learning hibernation, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog, right ?
Well, first of all know you’re not alone. We all go through it at this time of year, when the prolonged Christmas, New Year, 3-Kings etc holidays give us that extended break. We get a well-earned ‘wind down’ and it’s so difficult to snap the brain back into action.
There are a few tricks that I use to tackle motivation hibernation, so take a look at these and see if any of these feel appealing or vaguely doable.
- BE KIND TO YOURSELF
- If your number one motivational tactic is beating yourself up because you’ve not done the studying you’d planned during the time off, maybe stop that.
- Take a step back, understand that the brain and body needs time out to recharge, and it WILL take time to get back in the swing. Stop being so mean to yourself and give yourself time to reacclimatise and fall back in love with your learning.
- DO THE WORST JOBS FIRST
- I’m going to suggest two completely different tactics now – you can make the choice depending on what feels more appealing at the time. Start by doing the worst job first.
- Often the reason we can’t get back into study mode is because we think of the trickier parts of the learning which puts a damper on our enthusiasm. The SER/ESTAR verbs, past tenses, masculine/feminine, irregular verbs all feel like a black cloud. Tackle them first with some gentle revision of your notes, familiarise yourself with the plot. Once you’ve done it, you’ll feel AMAZING and it’s a huge block out of the way!
- DO THE NICEST JOB FIRST
- If you really can’t face the tricky bits, pick a part of your learning that you really enjoyed and feel comfortable with. Simply spending a little time doing what you loved can reinvigorate us, remind us why we are learning the language.
- PICK A STICKY NOTE
- A method I love to break the learning block and kick-start your motivation is the pick a sticky note method.
- Get a pad of sticky notes and write a topic to revise on each one. Stick them somewhere on view, then pick one. Don’t look, close your eyes and just pick one at random. That way there is no risk of over-thinking whether you’ll enjoy the challenge.
- Just do it today, and pick another one tomorrow… and keep going till they’re all done.
- GO FOR A WALK AND LISTEN TO A DOWNLOAD
- There are always the days when we feel we just can’t be bothered to study, but then maybe the guilt creeps in.
- Be creative, pull on your trainers, grab your phone and some headphones and go for a walk. Listen to a YouTube download or podcast in Spanish, or maybe some Spanish music (you’ll be amazed how many of the words you’ll recognise!)
- BOOK ONTO A WORKSHOP IN THE TRAINING ROOM
- These are always such good fun and help to boost confidence. Being around other like-minded students is THE best way to re-light that learnng ‘fire’
You are in the minority group of people who have taken the plunge and made the commitment to learn and communicate in Spanish. So you are already awesome. Let’s make 2020 the year for you to shine even brighter!
If you’d like more tips or help on getting back into your studying routine or making a structured plan, click here to email me!