new-years-resolution-goal-settingRegistrations at our online Spanish school always jump during the first two weeks of January as people embark on a fresh start learning Spanish; we are overjoyed to welcome all our new students and wish them success as they try to improve their Spanish online. No doubt  for some of them, this commitment to learn Spanish is part of a New Year’s resolution, and with that in mind, a few words of caution – and some words of advice.

In practice, the first few months into the new resolution go along swimmingly: people make progress with their Spanish and feel satisfied, but once they the third and fourth month kicks in, the backsliding sometimes begins, and some students even throw in the towel.  So, how can you be successful at learning Spanish while those around you are failing?

Here are some recommendations to help you be successful, adapted from Psychology Today.

  1. Set realistic, specific goals. “Learning Spanish” is not a realistic goal. On the other hand, a realistic goal might be  shaped as “Completing the basic level program in 3 months
  2. Take small steps. Schedule only as many classes per week as you can reasonably take. Don’t get carried away, since cancelations will eat away at your will power.
  3. Have an “accountability buddy”, someone close to you that you have to report to.
  4. Celebrate your success between milestones. Don’t wait the goal to be finally completed.
  5. Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits.
  6. Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?

Remember that resolutions fail without routine, and this is especially true when it comes to learning a new language, like Spanish. Set aside time for private study and for your one to one classes and work hard to respect the schedule. If you can add in some extras – maybe by listening to podcasts during your commute or listening to some Spanish music around the house – that’s great, but respect your core routine.

Above all, be patient with yourself: if you fall down, get back up. Be assured that your Web Spanish teacher will be there every step of the way you dust you off and encourage you to keep learning – one word at a time.