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Goal Setting Or Less Fretting?

With the new year approaching, there’s lots of talk about goal setting and language targets on #langtwt. So what are mine?

Well, let’s start with what were mine? In 2021, for one thing or another (mainly the fact that it was a mad busy year), I didn’t manage to stick rigidly to all my concrete language learning plans. Things like weekend podcast listening and daily reading sometimes slipped though the gaps between uni assignments and work commitments.

Goal Setting – Quick ‘n’ Easy?

Now, I usually talk a lot about quick ‘n’ easy tactics for daily learning – the kind of things that you can do in five or ten minutes every day. The idea is that they take little effort, but have great cumulative effect.

The thing is, sometimes quick ‘n’ easy is too much if you’re already overloaded. It’s so easy to promise to slip in a podcast on a train or while you’re relaxing after work. But it’s equally easy to forget that brains need occasional rest. Sometimes, I was just too tired to do anything but chill to music, rather than podcasts or read novels. And that is absolutely OK.

Quicker ‘n’ Easier : Weave Goals Into the Everyday

That said, where I wove language learning into my daily, often online routine, I had much more consistency. Idling on social media threw lots of target language my way. iTalki lessons were often chances to catch up with teachers I consider friends, so I’d gladly find time for an hour here and there.

And it worked.

For instance, I’m proud of how my Greek has come on over the last twelve months, largely thanks to that simmer on a low heat approach. Somehow, those low stakes, minimum outlay tactics just clicked. I’m already planning how to carry those successes over to my other language projects.

Goal Setting or Less Fretting?

This much more organic approach worked brilliantly for me at a time when time was in short supply. That’s why my 2022 goal setting will be more about everyday immersion strategies like this, rather than concrete levels or progress markers.

All the old favourites will still be there, of course. I’ll be working mainly on Gaelic, Greek, Icelandic, Norwegian and Polish, as well as maintaining my German and Spanish. I’m sure I’ll find time for some dabbling, too, as well as revisiting some of those languages in limbo where I have gone beyond just dabbling, but not quite taken off in (French, Hebrew, Irish, Swahili).

The fact is that I don’t even know where I’d begin if I were calendarising all of those. Better to go with the flow and just enjoy them!

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