My students have taught me that when you learn Spanish, or any other language, there are certain habits that you can adopt to become fluent in a short time. Becoming a fluent Spanish speaker is not an easy task, but there are ways to make it less of a hassard.
Personally, I admire anyone who speaks two or more languages. Learning just one language takes a lot of time and can cause several headaches! Moreover, there are so many people who can not even speak well in their own language.
If you are one of the brave people who dares to study a new language, be proud of yourself. To optimize your study time, here are 3 highly effective habits to adopt if you learn Spanish.
Stop asking “how long” to learn Spanish, ask “how often”
Studying a language is like going to the gym, except that the workout is for the brain. You can only see good results when you are consistent and train regularly. Consistency is key for learning Spanish.
This is the number one mistake you should not make when you learn Spanish: expect to become a fluent speaker just by talking to your teacher once a week. Your progress will only be exceptional if you practice consistently every day, even if you focus on improving just one skill a day.
Therefore, the first highly effective habit to adopt if you learn Spanish is to be an action taker. Take small steps consistently in order to improve your language skills gradually.
Be an action taker!
Learning a new language is quite a challenge, especially if you are trying to learn fast. Take small steps consistently in order to improve your language skills gradually, without overwhelming yourself.
First, start by breaking large tasks into small tasks. For example, if you are studying how to introduce yourself in Spanish and you have 45 minutes, break this large task into three small tasks of 15 minutes.
The first small task could be to study five useful words and phrases to introduce yourself. Second, study the verbs ser and llamarse. Lastly, write down a self-introduction and practice saying it out loud.
How to learn Spanish on your own without losing motivation
The second highly effective habit to adopt if you learn Spanish is to track your personal goals. You can create a goal-tracker for your own personal goals daily, weekly, and monthly.
To track your goals you just need a calendar. Write down what you want to achieve at the end of the day, week or month in a calendar. Make sure you take a look at those goals every day. Keeping track of the language learning progress helps solo learners stay motivated.
Download a habit-tracking app
If you are a techy person, there are several habit-tracking apps you can download to keep track of your goals. Check the app at the end of every month to see what you have achieved during your study time.
Another strategy to track your progress is to write down a paragraph about a specific topic at the beginning of the week or month without the help of a dictionary. After studying that specific topic in depth, at the end of that week or month, rewrite the paragraph and compare. It is very likely that you will outperform yourself.
For example, if at the beginning of this week you are learning to describe the food you like in Spanish, your paragraph may look like this:
- Me gusta mucho comer. Mi comida favorita es la hamburguesa con queso, lechuga y tomate. Me gustan mucho las hamburguesas porque son deliciosas.
At the end of the week, after studying the topic in depth and practicing how to describe food in Spanish, your paragraph may look like this:
- Me encanta comer y mi comida favorita es la hamburguesa. Prefiero la hamburguesa con carne de res un poco jugosa, queso cheddar, lechuga fresca y dos rodajas de tomate. A veces preparo hamburguesas caseras para mis amigos y familia. ¡Siempre quedan deliciosas!
A simple comparison of two paragraphs shows how much progress you achieved in a short period of time. Exercises like this can help you stay motivated and constantly looking to outperform yourself.
Make time to study Spanish
The third highly effective habit to adopt if you learn Spanish is to make time to study. Studying a new language requires time, effort, and dedication.
Most students feel like their schedule is too tight for studying. However, remember that if you are truly willing to learn, you will find that time.
Take a look at your schedule and decide what’s the best time to sit down and learn. Are you an early bird or a night owl? When do you have the most energy to study? What’s the best hour of the day to study without distractions?
Once you have selected the ideal time for you to learn Spanish, use the pomodoro technique.
The pomodoro technique
The pomodoro technique consists of optimizing study time by breaking big tasks into small tasks.
This technique was invented by an Italian student who struggled to concentrate on his studies. This student used a timer, shaped like a tomato or “pomodoro” in Italian, to study for short intervals of 25 minutes and resting for 5 minutes.
Try studying for short intervals without distractions using the pomodoro technique. You do not necessarily need a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, you can set an alarm on your phone or play one of the many pomodoro videos on Youtube.
Set the timer and study for an interrupted amount of time. It can be anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, whatever is best for you. Know what you will work on before studying in order to be prepared when the timer starts running.
Turn off distractions
Social media, emails, and notifications can be a huge distraction. I recommend that you turn off all your electronic devices when you learn Spanish. If you use your computer to study, make sure to close all tabs that are not related to your language class.
Do not interrupt your studies to read work emails or check your social media! If social media is a temptation for you, I recommend that you start following Spanish teachers. This way, you will be reminded to get back to studying.
As a conclusion, these are the three highly effective habits to adopt if you learn Spanish:
- Be an action taker: Take small steps consistently to improve your language skills gradually.
- Track your goals: Create a goal-tracker to stay motivated and see how you can outperform yourself.
- Make time to study: Use the pomodoro technique to study for short uninterrupted intervals.
Do you know any other highly effective habits? Share in a comment below.
Want to learn more about this topic?
Check out Easy Argentine Spanish ‘s tips for speaking Spanish.
Grammar activities to do in 25 minutes
Use the pomodoro technique to practice grammar with these resources.