How I Achieved my Spanish Study Goals in the Fourth Quarter of 2019
We’ve known for a long time that our most successful customers have personalities that are naturally highly conscientious. These are the people who buy planners and then use them every day. They never miss appointments and are never late to work. Our most successful customers are in the top ten percentile of conscientiousness and they can simply buy our program, use it, and then achieve excellent results.
Unfortunately — I Am NOT Naturally Conscientious
So what should the other 90% of us, who are not naturally highly conscientious do to stay motivated? I definitely am not naturally highly conscientious, so in the past, I have found it very difficult to maintain a consistent language study schedule.
One of my consistent 90 day stretches of language study, came from making a very public declaration on this site that I wasn’t going to miss a day and I didn’t. Another time of consistent study and language learning progress was when I used the fear of losing money to keep myself motivated.
So How Did I Stay Motivated in the Fourth Quarter of 2019?
First let me say, what I didn’t do. I didn’t make a public declaration on this site or anywhere else that I was going to stick to my Spanish study, and I didn’t use my fear of losing money to keep me motivated. Both of those things have worked well for me in the past, but I didn’t use them this time.
Here’s what I did differently this time. First I decided that learning Spanish to a level of mastery, was very important to my customers and also very important to me and that mastery of Spanish was very unlikely to be cheap in terms of either time or money, so I decided to spend both the time and the money required to learn it well.
After all, why should I think that I could master Spanish and develop a big vocabulary without putting in the time and effort to read Spanish books and learn to speak and write as I did in English.
I Hired a Spanish Teacher for an Hour a Day
Having a personal teacher who you talk to at least weekly is very motivating. I talk to my teacher in Spanish five days per week. This woman has the wonderful natural personality of wanting to help you learn and it’s been a huge help to me.
What We Talk About in Spanish
So every day we have a very simple, but very motivating agenda for my lesson. We talk about what I did yesterday and today, and what I am going to do tomorrow. In short, every day, we talk about what I am interested in, and that’s all we talk about!
My Teacher Makes Custom Lessons For Me
Every time I have a study session with my teacher, there will be a few things that I simply didn’t know how to say. When this happens, I have her write down the new phase as something that I need for my next custom lesson, and then after we stop talking, she takes the time to both translate and record the phrases into a new lesson.
Custom lessons that are made for you today, to help you try to say what you want to say today, are 100 times more interesting than lessons that are made for you in advance because they might be useful some day.
I Have Been Very Consistent With My Study
I’m writing this on December 29, 2019 and since September 1, 2019 I can honestly say that I have only missed three days of language study in the last 90 days and those were only because I was traveling. My two most recent travel days, I wasn’t able to talk to my teacher, but I simultaneously listened to and read a Spanish book on the train.
How Much Have I Learned?
On September 1, 2019, I really couldn’t read Spanish and now I can read it although I sometimes still need to look up a lot of words depending on what I am reading.
I can now have fairly easy conversations with my brother in Spanish. That is very satisfying. My teacher says that I have learned a lot and it feels like I have learned a lot.
Motivation From Heaven!
It was about 100 times easier to study the lessons that she made for me every day then to study any pre-made lessons I have ever studied.
Every day I was learning the things that I was trying to talk about today!
How Much Am I Studying?
If you remember how long it took you to learn to read, write and be the educated person that you are today in English, it’s very unlikely that you will be able to become fluent and educated in your new language by only studying for a few minutes per day.
I personally am studying for about 2 hours per day. Thirty minutes to an hour of this is with a teacher online. If I only do 30 minutes with my teacher, I will usually study for 30 minutes with my custom lessons on Language101.com.
I also am simultaneously reading and listening to audiobooks in Spanish. I’m just now starting to write with her in Spanish and have my writing corrected.
Probably my total Spanish study, plus reading, plus listening time per day is about 2 hours.
What I do When I Can’t Actively Study
When I can’t actively study, or read, or when I am too tired to read or study, I listen to Spanish songs and I probably know about 50 of the over 100 Spanish song lessons we have on Language101.com.
I also am listening to Spanish language books that I am interested in that I buy from Amazon and then listen to on the Audible app. If you want to try this, use Amazon, and find a Spanish language book that you like that has both a Kindle version and an unabridged audio book. It is surprisingly difficult to find audio and electronic versions of books you like that exactly match each other.
Audiobooks and E-books from Amazon
I’m currently reading e-books on a Kindle reader while listening to the matching audiobook using the Audible app on my Android phone.
In theory it should be possible to both read and listen at the same time using only an iPhone, and Android phone, or a Kindle Fire reader. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any Spanish language books that I was interested in that supported this feature. Apparently, not every audiobook with a matching e-book supports this.
If you want to try to find books that support audiobooks with simultaneous reading, you probably should buy a Kindle Fire reader and then shop for the books you want to read from that device.
We Can Make Custom Lessons For You
We are now ready to help our customers who would like to learn their languages with by using tutoring plus our custom lessons, so if you would like to learn exactly what you need to learn, instead of general pre-made lessons, just click on the contact us form and will get it touch to let you know how it works.
The cost is about the same per session as a typical tutoring session but when you drill the new phrases you want to learn into your memory with our spaced repetition software, they are much easier to remember.