When you get to a certain level of English (especially intermediate level) it can be hard to see real progress, and you don’t really feel motivated to keep studying.
You might think “I can communicate well and people understand me. Why should I keep studying when I can’t see concrete results?”
This seems logical. But I want to encourage you to keep going – and to stay motivated. It’s really worth your time, because you’ll start to minimise mistakes, and your English conversations will become much “richer” as a result.
I’d even go further and say that your working relationships will improve. You’ll understand more, you’ll get more out of the conversations, and you’ll deepen your relationships with other people.
So, what can you do to stay motivated when you don’t see “progress” every day? Here are four things that help.
Set aside regular blocks of time
When English study becomes a regular habit, it’s easier to keep going. You DO need to find a time that suits you. Before everyone in your house gets up? 15 minutes after dinner? It doesn’t matter when, but it does matter that you do something every day.
I’m a great believer in short blocks of time, as well. 15 or 20 minutes is a fantastic amount of time to achieve a result.
Aim for small, achievable goals
If you’ve got 15 or 20 minutes every day, set yourself a little target that you know you can reach. That might be to read two pages of a book that you enjoy. (Two pages is quite a lot – especially if you need to look up words.) Or one news article every day. Or five example sentences of new vocabulary. Or five minutes watching a TED talk (and 10 minutes analysing the script)…
Small, simple goals are great because they give you a sense of achievement – making you feel more motivated.
Keep a journal
This is one of those things that work better over the long-term. Record what you learn in your daily study sessions (maybe a new word or collocation, or better mastery of a grammar rule) and then look back at it after a month, or two months. You’ll be AMAZED at how far you’ve come.
Go on – give yourself a “pat on the back” or a little chocolate, or even put a gold star in your journal. You’re doing this for you, remember, so you need to see and reward your milestones.
Conversely, don’t “beat yourself up” if you don’t manage the 15 minutes every day. I want this to be fun and rewarding for you – not a punishment! Just try to create strong habits before you start breaking them.
Now go and eat that chocolate!