You need a plan for most things, learning a language is no different. Incorporate your learning plan into daily life.
At this point, you have a clear idea of why you want to learn a language, which one you should learn and what kind of learner you are.
Now, let us transition to talk about your plan. So, what makes a good, effective learning plan?
Imagine your studies are taking you on a road trip. A road trip must have a destination.
Where do you want to go in life? Once you know, then you can begin to create the map that will help you get there. I find this exercise helpful when calculating the number of hours you need: sleep 7 hours, exercise 1 hour, eat 2 hours (throughout the day), work 9 hours, fun/family time 2 hours and study 3 hours. Balance them out so you have a healthy week.
I generally start by writing my normal schedule without any study activities. I add study activities to fill in the gaps. This allows simultaneous action, for example: taking a shower while listening to Japanese music.
Here are a few quick tips when crafting your language plan:
1. Do not be overambitious.
Though it is great you feel like running a marathon, I suggest you start by running 1,000 meters first. You need to build up stamina and resistance. The same thing with your studies, do not overdo it—increase your study volume gradually.
2. Use suitable learning materials.
Every learner has a different learning style. Some are linguistic and musical; others are kinesthetic and logical. There is no right or wrong way to learn. You just find what works best for you.
3. Do it with a friend.
Why should you study alone? You could study with a friend who knows you well or share it with a friend who is also designing his/her personal plan.
Now to make sure the delivery is solid, here are a few thoughts:
1. Be consistent.
It is better to study 30 minutes a day than two hours every Sunday afternoon, after a heavy hangover… Okay, I made that one up, but you get my point.
2. Do not worry if you mess up.
If the plan is not the right fit, readjust it the following week—do not let this keep you down. Keep trying.
3. Live with the times and integrate technology.
There are so many language learning apps out there that it would be silly not to use them. You can now find a teacher or exchange partner online—it is that easy.
One of your best learning tools is designing a suitable language plan.
Remember: study anywhere, get somewhere!
Anthony Permaye, or the Language Chameleon, is a certified neuro-language coach, who offers a unique learning foundation that teaches individuals how to learn any language anywhere.