March 19, 2020

​Successful language learners do the kind of things the unsuccessful ones don't AND avoid the ones that unsuccessful ones do! Achieving the skills you want to in the language you are learning is more to do with what you do and don't do and less to do with your talent or gifts than you think!

​​This article about 10 language learning habits of ​learners avoid says much the same thing about success in general. I have taken out the bones of it and repurposed it for your benefit here. ​ Check it out. There are some gems here!

1. Always being distracted

​Being distracted by noises, people walking past, your own thoughts, your phone etc will take you away from being present. Presence is of fundamental importance in learning. Without that, you cannot notice the things that ​can help you to improve. 

Study can't make up for a lack of presence, nothing can. 

2. Only talking the talk

​There is little point in making intentions, talking about what you are going to do IF you do not follow through. ACTION is what will produce results, not just words or thoughts. You need to walk the talk. If you are only talking the talk, maybe it is to do with one of the other habits mentioned below!

3. Spending time with the wrong people

​There are two kinds of people we are referring to when we are talkking about learning a languge. The first is the kind that tells you it can't be done or that you are a poor learner, etc. 

The second are the people who don't talk the language you are learning! 🙂
This of course relates more to those of you who are learning the language of the country you are living in, not the language of another country.

Without getting a lot and varied use of the language you are learning, it is hard to ​achieve real fluency and confidence.

4. Always focusing on the negative

​Striking obstacles or issues in learning a language may cause you to get down on yourself and say things like the following to yourself:  "Oh, I'm so silly", "I have no talent", :"What was I thinking deciding to learn XYZ..a waste of time".

All this will do, is put you on a trajectory for giving up.

There are choices you have to learn from the paths you are on and try something different.

5. Procrastinating

​Putting things off, putting off talking to someone in the target language, putting off listening to .... etc will not get you to the "promised land".

Putting things off is a sign that what you are doing is not inspiring you, not making you go the extra mile. Again, it might be a sign that you need to do something differently so you will not want to put "it" off!

6. Not listening to others

Becoming a good listener is of utmost importance if you want to be able to speak well. Listening to others, to yourself, to movies is something you need to get better and better at. I am not just talking about listening to understand, but also listening for the myriad of other things that makes up a language. 

7. Giving in to laziness

​We can all get lazy if we are doing things that are not inspiring us. Who gets lazy when they are courting a partner? 🙂 Who gets lazy with things they love doing? 

Laziness is a sign that something has to change. Forcing yourself to persist will only last for so long, before it gives way to more laziness or procrastination.

8. Not being curious

​Not being curious shows a lack of real interest or possibly a lack of care. Curiosity ​is something any good learner​ will feel. Curiosity is what makes you seek out how to do it better, get the nuances, etc. If you are not curious, you need to cultivate it. More interest! More care about being clear, making it easy for others, being successful, etc.

9. Not being nice

​Not being nice will make you very few friends. Who will then talk to you? Inevitably you will then not be happy with yourself as everyone is ignoring you. 🙁 Not conducive to learning a language!

10. Giving up

“The most certain way to succeed,” Thomas Edison once said, “is always to try just one more time.” Success, however you define it, never came from not trying. And often, it comes after first failing time and time again.

If you are doing any of this, my suggestion is to look more carefully and see if you can move away from these practices....Once you do, you will be heading in a better direction. 🙂

About the author 

Andrew Weiler

Andrew is passionate about doing what is necessary to enable language learners to not only improve BUT to keep improving.

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mistakes to avoid in learning languages

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