Whether you want to become a successful freelance writer, CEO of a major tech company, or a language learning guru, there is a lot you can learn from other successful people. Aside from motivation, tenacity, and smart work, successful people adopt certain habits. We’re going to explore 7 top habits that successful language learners master to become the ultimate language gurus.
#1 They’re Proactive
When you were young and in school, your teacher gave you homework. You completed that homework – assuming you were a “good” child, of course – only to repeat that process the next day. You were reactive. If you want to succeed in language learning you need to be proactive. Nothing comes to those who wait. It’s this exact mindset that successful language learners master.
So, take action. I’m not recommending blind action without a plan. Having a plan is important as it’s your foundation for language learning success. But what I do recommend is that you don’t spend too much time thinking – as too much of that – only leads to procrastination. And nothing ever gets done when you procrastinate.
Start taking action by developing a clear understanding of why you want to learn a language. Your “why” will be your motivation when things get tough. Then move on to your language learning goals and create a schedule. Read this post: 8 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Learning a New Language. It will help you build that foundation.
Also if you’ve enlisted a tutor, engage with them. Ask them questions to see what you need to improve. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s the only way you’ll learn.
#2 They Make Language Learning a Daily Habit
Binge learning is something you do when you’re studying for an exam (well that’s at least what I do or have done in the past). But for many, the comfort of a deadline does not exist when they’re learning a language on their own. Unless of course, they create it themselves.
In either case, the more you practice the better you’ll get. Practice daily – even if it’s 15 min a day – and over time those micro-movements add up. I’ve seen the power of these micro-movements in building my own successful freelance writing career. While a different field, the same principles apply.
Before you know it, your vocabulary has increased and you’re stringing together sentences. If you want help on how to form this daily habit, sign-up to Rype’s Language Learning Challenge. With 10 words a day for 100 days you’ll know 85% of your target language in no time.
#3 They Incorporate Language Learning Into Their Lifestyle
If you’re lucky enough to have lots of free time – then it’ll be easy to slot daily language learning into your schedule. But many aren’t so lucky. Perhaps you’re one of those who has a busy lifestyle? Often the last thing you want to do after a long day’s work is learn a new language. Even worse, if you start forcing yourself to learn you may start to resent it.
The solution? Slot it into your everyday schedule e.g. on your commute to work or when you’re waiting for a client meeting. There are many language hackers and successful language learners who share their insights on how to do this. Olly Richards shares 8 Study Hacks You Can Use When You’re Too Busy to Learn a Language and recently on Rype we also shared 12 Productivity Hacks to Learn a Language if You’re Busy.
#4 They Understand How They Learn Best
You learn better when you choose the right learning and content method. Master language learners know this. I had the opportunity to see this in action the other day. My girlfriend is a chef, and our friend was teaching her Spanish by reading and translating Spanish recipes. She retained much of the information she learned because she was learning the language through something that inspires her – cooking. So watch television shows, read books, and listen to audio in the target language about topics that interest you.
Selecting content that matches your interest will give you the needed motivation to continue learning when you don’t feel like it. It’s part of the adherence principle – one of the three pillars of learning any new language – and something Tim Ferriss discusses in detail in his article How to Learn Any New Language in 90 Days.
#5 They Prioritize Language Learning Material
Aside from knowing how they learn best, language gurus make it a habit of selecting only pertinent learning materials. Having too many will only cause overwhelm – so select a few, and work from those. As you develop more confidence, you can always add to those materials.
#6 They Review Regularly
You’re more likely to remember words, ideas, and concepts by making it a habit to review material. A tip here is to review all previous day’s material before you start a new session. Firstly, start by writing down everything that you recall from the previous day. Secondly, practice/study everything you don’t recall. Consider reading things out loud and talking to yourself – it works.
#7 They Immerse Themselves
Successful language learners know that the best way to learn any new language is through immersion. It’s no secret. Immersion allows you to understand subtle nuances of a language that you wouldn’t otherwise understand.
The reality is that you probably won’t be able to fly to the country and immerse yourself in their culture. But, you can find a language partner, connect with native speakers through language apps, or pay for an online tutor through a platform like Rype.
Wrapping it Up
There’s no one-size fits all strategy for language learning.
But – the language hackers, gurus, and successful language learners develop certain habits that allow them to master a language. We’ve highlighted 7 top habits that we hope will help you advance your language learning. Why don’t you diffuse them into your own language learning schedule?
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