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5 Deadly Mistakes that All Language Learners Make

5 Deadly Mistakes that All Language Learners Make

Let’s face it.

Learning a new language for the first time is confusing.

We often don’t know how to get started, nor do we have the time to commit to learning! This leads us to waste our energy, money, and most importantly, time.

That stops today. We’re going to show you the 5 most deadly mistakes all language learners make — and how you can avoid them.

1. Not knowing your “why”

Understanding your “why” is where it all has to start. As Simon Sinek explains in his book,
Start with Why that the reason why you’re doing something is far more important than the how or what.

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    This is because whenever we take on a new task or project, there’s always going to be an obstacle or struggle that we’ll need to overcome. Those who give up early on are the ones that haven’t clarified what their “why” is.

    Let’s come back to language learning. Whatever your target language is — Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, etc. — what’s your “why?”

    Here are some questions we recommend you ask, as explained in our free language learning course:

    What you will achieve?

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    Who will you be able to connect with?

    Who will you become as a person?

    The next time you’re facing difficulty or losing motivation, just come back to these reasons, and you’ll get right back on track.

    2. No clear end goal 

    “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

    — Tony Robbins

    It doesn’t matter if we have the fastest car in the world. If we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll just end up wasting precious energy, money, and time going nowhere.

    All of us have a desire that we want to fulfill; we just have to clarify what that is, and make it the driver to our success.

    There are 5 key components to setting goals. Your goal has to be:

    a. Visually specific — Get as visually clear as possible about what your end-result would look like, to the point where you can close your eyes and imagine it.
    b. Slightly out of reach — There is a fine balance to picking a goal that’s way out of reach, to one that is within reach. This mini-goal should be something you can visually imagine, but a goal that you would need to push yourself to accomplish.
    c. Measurable — What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get improved. The easiest way to do this is to put a number on it. This could be number of words memorized, the length of conversation you can have with a native speaker, etc.
    d. Goal oriented Focus on the results, not how much time you spent getting there. For example, instead of measuring how many hours you studied every week, only measure what measurable result you achieved.

    Remember, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put in, unless you don’t get the results from the effort
    e. Deadline specific — As Parkinson’s Law states, the time we spend completing a task will depend on the time we allocate to the task. This means that if we give ourselves 30 days to complete a report that should only take 30 minutes, that’s exactly how long we’ll take to complete it.

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    Whatever goal you set, make sure you have a deadline to accomplish it.

    Let me share 3 examples of goals that are bad, good, and great, so you can get an understanding of how your goal compares.

    Bad goal: I want to become fluent in Spanish so I can travel to Spain by next year.

    Good goal: I want to become conversation fluent in Spanish so I can travel to Spain by next summer.

    Great goal: I will have a 15-minute conversation in Spanish with a native Spanish person over coffee in a cafe in Madrid on July 2016.

    Do you notice the difference?

    Compared to the first two goals, the great goal is written as if it’s already accomplished (I want vs I will), and includes all the components of the goal-setting formula including deadline, measurability, visually specific, and results oriented.

    3. No schedule

    The most successful people and top-performers in their industry focus on the process, not just the deadline. Optimal performance is less important than the daily practice of taking action, no matter how hard it is or how tired you are.

    If you want to write a book, this could mean waking up each morning in order to write 500 words, no matter how bad the first draft is.

    If you want to double your business sales, this could mean spending every week with your team reviewing your sales numbers, and executing a new growth experiment.

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    If you want to lose 10 pounds, this could mean running 30 minutes every morning.

    For many of us, learning a new language is not the #1 priority in our lives. It’s our family time, careers, or other side projects we may be working on.

    This is why scheduling your learning time is even more important than scheduling your work time.

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      Here are some practical steps we recommend to schedule your learning time:

      1. Pick your language learning activity — this could be memorizing 30 of the most common words on your own or working with a private language coach at Rype.
      2. Figure out your free times — when are the vacant times during the day?
        If you’re a morning person, it could be before work. It could be during lunch break, or even in the evening (the most popular time for Rypers).
      3. Add in 15–30 minute buffer time — schedules never go according to plan. This is why we want to make sure we add some buffer times, so if we happened to wake up later than usual, or get held from traffic on the way back from home, we can still use the buffer time to stay on track.
      4. Set reminders — because we probably have a dozen things we need to remember during our days, setting notification reminders goes along way.
        This could be done through any digital calendar software you use (i.e. Google, Outlook, etc), and you can even receive them on your phone.

      4. Being an information sucker

      We’ve all been there. We spend hours attending a conference or reading a book. The excitement overwhelms us and our body is filled with motivation ready to master anything!

      How often do we actually master it?

      Research from NTL Institute has shown that people learn:

      5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
      10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
      20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
      30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
      50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
      75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
      90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.

      The key to learning a language is to learn by doing! This means actually going out there and practicing your skills with other people (preferably native speakers). If you don’t have anyone in your inner circle, then work with a language coach online!

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      5. Doing everything yourself

      Ever heard the saying, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together?”

      According to best-selling author, Seth Godin:

      Five Reasons You Might Fail to Become the Best in the World (In Anything)

      1. You run out of time (and quit)
      2. You run out of money (and quit)
      3. You get scared (and quit)
      4. You’re not serious about it (and quit)
      5. You lose interest (and quit)

      It’s easy to resort to going at it alone, this is how we’ve lived most of our lives.

      But if you observe the best performers and the fastest learners, they have someone who works with them, whether it’s a mentor, advisor, or coach.

      In almost any aspect of our lives, we have a coach that we work with, whether it’s a fitness trainer, financial advisor, business mentor, or sports coach. This is the best kept secret amongst the best performers and the fastest learners in the world.

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        Language learning is no different.

        If you’ve truly discovered your why, and have a clear goal that you’ve set for yourself. It’s time to get outside help, to guide you through each step of the way, keep you accountable, and accelerate your learning speed.

        With so many solutions out there at the tip of your finger —  from craigslist, Rype, conversation exchanges, or even Meetups — there is no excuse.

        Anyone can learn a new language, no matter how old you are, how busy you are, and even if you’ve tried before. It’s finding the right strategy that works for you, and avoiding the most deadly mistakes that language learners make.

        More by this author

        Sean Kim

        Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

        When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 7 Science-Backed Learning Hacks to Help You Learn Anything Faster 7 Best Languages to Learn in Order to Stay Competitive 15 New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Make This Year Your Best Year What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers?

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        Last Updated on January 24, 2021

        How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

        How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

        Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

        For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

        But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

        It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

        And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

        The Importance of Saying No

        When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

        In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

        Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

        Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

        Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

        “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

        When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

        How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

        It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

        From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

        We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

        And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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        At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

        The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

        How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

        Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

        But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

        3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

        1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

        Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

        If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

        2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

        When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

        Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

        3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

        When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

        6 Ways to Start Saying No

        Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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        1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

        One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

        Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

        2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

        Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

        Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

        3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

        Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

        Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

        You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

        4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

        Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

        Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

        5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

        When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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        How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

          Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

          Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

          6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

          If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

          Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

          Final Thoughts

          Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

          Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

          Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

          More Tips on How to Say No

          Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
          [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
          [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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