Your New Year’s Resolution Action Plan
As the New Year approaches, you’ve already made some resolutions about what to improve in the coming year. You know how much learning a global language such as English can change your life, and 2018 is going to be the year you get fluent.
But what’s that going to look like in practice? How are you going to make sure your dream of a bilingual future doesn’t go the way of forgotten gym subscriptions and abandoned musical instruments? You need a plan.
Step 1: Break it down
“I’ll be fluent by the end of the year” sounds great, and probably gives you a pleasant feeling of excitement when you think about it. But doesn’t it also feel a little vague and unreal? The end of 2018 is too far off to focus on: if you don’t map out the time between then and now, it’ll be easy for life to get in the way and your resolution to remain a daydream. Where are you going to be in three months? One month? By the end of the first day?
Start by establishing the level of proficiency you’re at now. What if you planned to go up at least one level by the end of March? To make that goal tangible you could commit to taking a language exam like the IELTS, Cambridge English exam or TOEFL®. And if you kept up that rate of progress, even a total beginner could expect to reach an advanced level by the end of the year! Set measurable goals for each quarter and mark them on a year planner, which should hang somewhere you can see it.
Hand-picked related content: 8 TONGUE TWISTERS TO IMPROVE ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION
Step 2: Building language habits
So how are you going to fill those three-month blocks? If you’re going to meet your goals, English needs to become part of your daily life. Our blog archives are full of useful tips for memorizing new vocabulary and practicing grammar – but here are some of our favorites:
- Carry a pocket dictionary.
- Keep a diary in English. Even a few lines each day will reinforce your vocabulary and help you to think in that language.
- Read at least one page of a book or a short article in English.
- Pick some aspect of your daily life and make it your vocabulary theme for the week – “office” or “clothing” for instance – and learn all the working vocabulary around that topic. Test yourself on last week’s topic to make sure you haven’t forgotten.
- Watch a movie in English. Set a date to rewatch without the subtitles!
- Hold a conversation in English. Of course, this will be easiest if you’re among native speakers, but even in your own country, you can find people to talk to, and it’s not only native speakers who can help – try Meetup.com or Facebook to find language-learning buddies, practice events and book clubs (or if you can’t find one – start one!)
- Check in to see how you’re progressing towards your goals, and always celebrate your successes!
Step 3: Create a 24/7 learning environment
Even at home you can find ways to surround yourself with English. Set all your social media channels to English, put in your headphones and listen to English songs while you work, and find a radio station in English you can listen to it at home while you’re cleaning or cooking.
But if you possibly can, plan a trip to a country where the language is spoken. Nothing can beat immersion for rapid progress – and it won’t be just your language skills that improve: you’ll gain confidence in yourself, insight into a new culture and some amazing memories to last a lifetime.
Have you thought about improving your English language skills in an amazing destination abroad in the coming year? Get in touch with us for more information.