Without a game plan, your list of accomplishments will likely be paltry and unfocused, making it difficult for you to appreciate the extent to which you have improved. On the other hand, establishing milestones for yourself is an easy way to: (1) take accountability for your objectives; (2) create a positive feedback loop which will motivate you to stay on track as you complete each objective; and (3) measure the extent to which you have advanced to each level of understanding over a period of time.
1. Clearly define your objectives
Create clearly-defined objectives which reflect where you are in your language-learning journey and are challenging but not impossible to achieve and you’ll find it much easier to commit to studying consistently. Goals give you the momentum you need to keep pushing on when you feel like giving up. However, your goals need to be formed in a way that will enable you to succeed and that means creating actionable steps that will enable you to hit each reasonably achievable milestone.
Start by outlining your principal objective.
Going forward, write a specific daily objective beneath your principal objective, with a measurable outcome. This should be done prior to each day of study so that you are prepared to jump right in to studying at the time allocated to it.
2. Establish how you’re going to achieve your goals
Know that there is a process you can follow to hit your objective and that means formulating actionable goals so that you can get there. Describe the tactics you will employ to achieve it.
For example, you could listen to a video from a Youtube channel like Russian Pod101, which brought to life a 25-word list of Russian adjectives, or work your way through a list such as that created by OpenRussian.org, where you’ll find that each word is accompanied by audio. Use one of the many memorisation techniques found on the Magnetic Memory site for optimal efficiency.
3. Challenge yourself, but be reasonable
Ensure that the goal is relevant to your current level of expertise. Your present level is an excellent guide as to how ambitious your goal ought to be. Make the goal too lofty and you may fall flat on your face because it requires too much of you with respect to where you are on your language learning journey. Too much time will be required before you feel a sense of pride or elation, so you will struggle to maintain your motivation.
4. Have an inbuilt ‘anti-procrastination mechanism’ 🤓
Every goal should be subject to a time constraint in order to create a sense of urgency that will spur you on. Without this, you’re unlikely to commit to completing your objectives, putting them off until you ‘feel like’ studying (psst, guess what – you never will).
I always remember this quote by Arthur Ashe: ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ You don’t need to wait until some magical day in the future to begin taking serious steps towards reaching your objective. If you go for what you want today, you’ll be a step closer to reaching your goal than the person paralysed by fear, lack of confidence or laziness, who decided to wait. The bottom line is that you will be successful if you commit to being consistent and put in the work to study; there is no other way around it.
6. Think about what you want to achieve on a regular basis
In addition to this, evaluate your goals on a daily basis as this will imprint the objective in your mind and train you to prioritise the tactics required to help you reach the final destination: completion of your daily objectives. You’ll feel guilty if you aren’t working on your objectives and that’s a good thing.
7. Resources can help you to remain on the path to success
Use a study planner or task list to keep yourself organised. Personally, I love to use task lists because I get a lot of satisfaction out of crossing things out in my list or indicating completion with a tick.
8. Begin your day with study
Procrastination and distractions destroy productivity, so if you know that you struggle to focus, begin your day 30 minutes to 1 hour earlier and dedicate that time to hitting the objectives you have set for yourself each day. Once the haze of sleepiness disappears in the morning, you’ll have much more energy and the pressure of knowing that your working day is soon to begin will give you the impulse you need to succeed. Make a point of not replying to anyone during the time that you have carved out for study because trust me, more likely than not, those phone notifications can wait.
9. Review information to make the most out of the time you have dedicated to study
Incorporate review into your daily objectives. Setting aside some time for review is one of the most important elements of a study plan, because without review, you will struggle to remember all of the information.
10. Reward yourself for your productivity and successes
Above all, don’t forget to reward yourself for incorporating daily study into your routine. You can check out the list of rewards here for some great ideas.