So we all know that studying and practicing are important, but how do we stay motivated?
Unfortunately, without regular study, it will be very hard to improve. That means motivation is very important! So here are 10 ways to keep yourself motivated:
1. Make sure it’s fun
Do you enjoy studying or practicing? If not, then why are you doing it? Many people study things because someone else told them to or recommended it, or because their teachers said they had to, or because they think they need to study it. But the best way to study is in a way that’s fun.
Studying something you like is like jogging in a nice, quite park on a cool day: it’s pleasant and is still good for you. You’re more likely to enjoy the experience and want to do it again. Studying something you don’t like is like jogging uphill…when you have a cold… with a 20 kilogram weight on your back. Sure, you’ll still improve, but do you really want to do that everyday?
So make sure it’s fun! Do you like movies? Watch them! Do you like music? Listen to it, and read the lyrics! Do you like talking to people? Find teachers or friends to chat with! Do what you love, and do it often!
2. Keep it short and simple
When we went to school, we often studied hard, and for long hours, especially for a test. We often had lots of material we had to go over: textbooks, notes, videos, etc. But we’re out of school now, so now we get to set our own rules! Who says studying has to be long and painful? Keep it short and simple! Do you only feel like studying for 15 minutes? That’s enough! Only want to read a book today? Then just read that book! Any exposure – listening or reading – to English is good exposure. As long as you’re doing it regularly, you are not only building the skill, you are building a very good habit.
3. Keep it challenging
Didn’t you just say keep it simple? Yes, but that doesn’t mean keep it easy! Sticking to just one material – videos, books, songs, etc. – is fine, but in order to keep it interesting, you still have to challenge yourself! If the material is too easy, you won’t progress. Instead, you’ll get bored quickly.
Be careful though! If it’s too hard, you’ll also lose motivation. You want to keep it so that you’re learning something new every time, but not too much. Make sure you are learning something, that you’ve added something new to your knowledge. Even if you learned only one new thing after your study session, that’s enough! Even if you study only four times a week, that’s over 200 new words or expressions you’ve added to your vocabulary a year!
4. Vary it up
A lot of people lose motivation and quit because they get bored: they study the same way every time. Yawn! No thanks!
To keep things interesting, think of at least three ways you can study that are still fun for you. Do you like movies? Try dictation one day, Ben Franklin listening another, and try reading movie scripts another. You could rotate them regularly, or just do one until you get bored with it, and then try something else. The more ideas you have, the easier it is to stay motivated!
5. Take Breaks
Everybody has bad days and tiring days. Remember, studying should be enjoyable! If the only thing stopping you from studying is laziness, push through it and study! But if you are genuinely tired or having a rough time in your life, take a break! There’s nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself to recharge sometimes.
Also, if you are like me, you will go through phases when you can study everyday, sometimes for an hour or more! And then you will suddenly be unable to concentrate for even 10 minutes. That’s ok too! Not all of us can keep a regular schedule. Just as long as you’re doing as much as you can, you’re doing a good job.
If you have to study for a long time, it’s also very important to take breaks. The mind cannot focus on one thing for very long (usually 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the person), so give it a rest sometimes.
In the next part, I will go on to some deeper, more psychological motivation tips. I hope this part was helpful! If you want to read some more good advice about motivation, please come back in a couple of weeks. Take care, and good luck with your studies!