Language challenge 1

This challenge will help you to set and achieve goals for the new year that are reasonable and relevant to what you want to achieve.


People talk about their New Year’s resolutions, but these are really plans, or goals for the coming year.

By the end of January, these plans can have failed for a number of reasons:

1. They were unrealistic:
I’m going to read all of the Game of Thrones books by the end of March.
I do actually have a student who has read them all, in English, and it definitely helped with her reading and vocabulary, but she didn’t give herself only 3 months to do it.

2. Too vague – I want to improve my English
Well, every language learner wants to improve their language skills, but if you aren’t specific, you won’t know whether you’ve succeeded.

3. The goal is a copy of what someone else is doing
It can be really good to work on something with other people. The idea of running partners work, because both partners can encourage one another and give accountability on days when one person really doesn’t feel like doing anything.
However, if you’re planning your goals, make sure that the goal is as relevant to you as it is to the other person – otherwise you’ll lose motivation really quickly.

So my challenge to you today is to think about 3 things that you would like to change this year in terms of your English. It could be three new skills, or three things that you would like to improve. Think about any areas in which you struggle and try to make at least one of the three goals something to do with that. Examples are
• To feel more confident about speaking English in social situations
• To read a book in English
• To improve your vocabulary in a specific area
• To be able to listen to and understand an English film or documentary without subtitles
• To feel more comfortable about speaking English on the telephone
• To produce English emails faster (for people who agonise over one email for an hour because they are worried about mistakes)
• To find new English friends with whom you can practice your language skills and to have regular conversations with them
• To identify English events to attend and to use these events to work on your language skills
• To participate more in meetings that are held in English (for people working in English-speaking companies)

It can be anything – the main thing is that it needs to be relevant to you. Once you’ve identified the three things that you want to achieve, you can also decide how you will measure your success and how long you want to give yourself for each one. Maybe there is something that you can do in a month, but maybe other things will need several months. It doesn’t matter if you choose quick wins or longer-term goals – the main thing is that you review them regularly.

So try to come up with three things that you want to do this year, and write them down so that you can come back to them later.

After 3rd February 2016, the whole challenge will be available as a PDF. Sign up here for your copy:

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Kirsty working with students

Author: Kirsty Wolf

I am an English teacher and a language enthusiast who also speaks German and Romanian. I help motivated professionals to improve their English so that they can communicate confidently and authentically.

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