Learning a new language is fun and exciting, yet many people fail to stick with a positive learning attitude and are bogged down with a flawed mentality. This leads to discouragements along the line and, ultimately, they end up jettisoning the language mid-way. Today we would look at ten reasons why people fail to stick to a positive learning habit.
Too Young to Die, but Too Old to Learn
Some people have this wrong notion that children are better at learning new things or skills than adults. Age does not limit learning abilities, and it does not mean that the older you become the harder it is for you to absorb new information. The common saying that goes "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" definitely carries a negative connotation that influences how society treats individuals of the older age group.
On the flip side, one research study suggests that age is not a limiting factor when it comes to learning. Both young and old are capable of learning new things, and definitely, this includes learning new languages. Age is not a number but the state of mind of a person. He who stops learning starts aging no matter how young he is. We all know that learning refreshes the mind and a young mind results in a younger body.
Not Dedicating Time To Studying Regularly
Learning a new language is like learning math. If you leave it for a day, it would leave you for five days. Since you made up your mind to learn the language, give it all it takes. Dedicate time to studying the language daily, and when at the bus stop, groceries store or during the course of the day, recite and repeat what you have learned to yourself. That way, whatever you have learned stays with you. From my earlier post, I mentioned the fact that you must have a goal or a time-table — how many minutes daily do you want to be studying the language and at what times.
New Language must be studied Full-Time
This statement is definitely a misconception. You do not have to sign up for a full language course or dedicate hours and hours of studying the new language in a day. That is certainly not the right way to learn because you are putting pressure on yourself and your mental abilities to absorb new information. No wonder people fail to learn new things because they are bombarded with overwhelming information all at the same time.
You may spend an hour or two in class but you only need to commit a small fraction of your time daily to study the new language. Simply commit 15 to 30 minutes daily, and that's all you probably need. Before you know it, you will find yourself speaking fluently in the language that you are learning.
To learn anything new, we must find the best way suitable for us to do it. Otherwise, it becomes very boring and uninteresting. If you are like my father who likes the feel of a hard-covered book on his hands, kindly seek out books. If you love apps, by all means, deploy them. If you love games, look for an app that offers you that opportunity while you learn. In a nutshell, understand who you are and seek out methods that can give you maximum pleasure while you are learning the new language.
Law of diminishing returns is real. Therefore, you cannot fix your new language study time at periods when you are mentally drained and physically exhausted. On the other hand, you must not wait until you lay your hands on the best materials before you dive right in. This can cause procrastination, which can lead to non-action, and it can hinder you from attaining your goals.
If you wait for the best time to start living your life, it would never come. A Chinese proverb says that the best time to plant a tree was yesterday, the next best time is now. The best time to learn that language you have been putting forward is now.
Not Deploying New Language Skills Immediately
When learning a new language, do not feel shy to start speaking and using it immediately. Repetition and constant rehearsals are one of the few keys to successful mastery. Just like a child learning a new language, you must repeat the words, phrases, and practice the right pronunciations to yourself in the course of the day. You have to do this until you become good at it.
Lack of Motivation
If you lose motivation, you lose all your efforts trying to learn the new language. This includes all the time you spent in class, on your self-studies, and all the investments you have put in for digesting the materials and workbooks, and so on. In order to keep the momentum going, you must always refer back to your "WHY". Ask yourself WHY you decided to study the language. Look back at those recorded milestones you have achieved so far. Also, you may want to start using fun study resources to keep yourself engaged in the process of learning.
Not Learning the Fundamentals
How can you skip the usually boring yet very useful "introduction to the alphabets, pronunciation, and spelling" and expect to excel in the new language? They are the bedrocks of the language and I usually advise that new learners go through them slowly and repeat the pronunciation after the tutor. There is no shortcut in this learning journey, and learning things faster has more to do with the right strategies and mindset.
Not Having A Native Speaker Whom You Can Talk To
The best way to learn a new language and get it stored in your long term memory is to find someone whom you can communicate with, in the language you are learning. The best time to do this is now. Make as many mistakes as possible, and also learn to laugh at yourself when you make those mistakes. Remember to stay consistent and positive at all times!
Negative learning habits do not die hard as long as you start taking massive action in changing your old and ineffective ways of learning. If you can change your learning attitude and your negative mindsets, you will find success and euphoria in learning whatever you desire, which includes learning a new language.