3 tips for staying motivated when learning English

Tips for staying motivated when learning English

In many ways it’s easier to stay motivated when you’re an independent English learner because you are in charge of your learning, and you are deciding what you’re going to learn, and when, and how.

But even when we love doing something our levels of motivation naturally go up and down.

Some days, nothing can stop us from doing what we need to do: we feel positive and energetic, and on top of the world, and nothing is impossible!

But other days we feel like we’ve forgotten why we’re doing it and we’re not making any progress: it all seems like too much effort, and we think we would be happier doing just about anything else.

Of course the more motivated you are to learn, the more progress you’ll make, and so it’s good to know some tips for getting and staying motivated when learning English.

Focus on your spoken English

Making fast progress with your spoken English is probably the best way to build your confidence and keep you motivated, so find an enthusiastic person to speak English with. That could be an online language buddy, or a teacher who will have a conversation with you about a specific topic for 20 minutes, or a friend or colleague who is also learning English – you can help each other.

Keep your goals in focus and map your progress

Have clear goals: know why you want to learn and what you want to achieve. Your long term goals might be to be fluent; to go to university; or to get a promotion at work – and it’s important to keep your long-term goal in mind, but you also need to have short-term goals to get you there that are easily achieved so you can really see your progress and celebrate it.

One of the main reasons you might start to lose motivation is if you think you’re not making progress or achieving anything. Keep a journal or diary and write down what you’ve learnt – you’ll soon see how much better your English is. Reward yourself when you reach a goal.

If you’ve mastered gerunds and infinitives one week, or added ten new words to your vocabulary – celebrate it! 🙂

Make it easy and make it fun

Remember that learning a language can be fun. Here’s Joey from Friends learning English – of course his goal is to impress a beautiful woman!

You can have fun improving your English while watching some comedy films or your favourite films in English.

Make it as easy as you can to learn by being organized with your materials and resources. If practising your English is difficult because you can’t quickly and easily find the books or websites you need, you won’t feel at all motivated to learn.

Even something as simple as making your learning space cheerful and welcoming will help.

Pin posters or postcards of English-speaking countries or cities you’d love to visit on your wall (email me with your address and I’ll send you a hand-written postcard from the UK 🙂 ).

Or print out and pin up the lyrics of your favourite songs in English, or a poem in English, or a short extract from an English literature book you love. 

You could even add colourful notepads and pens; a houseplant; flowers; music; family photos – anything at all that makes it your personalized space where you’re surrounded by things that inspire and motivate you, and things that help you remember why you’re learning English.

Buy a useful ebook or book about English, – there’s nothing quite like a shiny new book for encouraging a burst of motivation 🙂 And I think spending money on something can sometimes make us more motivated and committed to using it than if it’s another free download.

How do you stay motivated? Not just with language learning, with any area of your life where you need to get things done. Do you have any tips to share?

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Angela Boothroyd

Angela Boothroyd

English language teacher at Botanical Linguist
Hi, I'm Angela, the Botanical Linguist, and I show learners of English how to become successful and self-directed or independent language learners. If you want to improve your English accuracy and fluency and learn everyday strategies and activities that will help you learn English without spending a lot of money on lessons, subscribe to my free newsletter here.
Angela Boothroyd
Angela Boothroyd
Angela Boothroyd

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