Many people start to learn a language, but soon get bored, frustrated and eventually quit.

From my experience learning Japanese there were three key things that worked for me and I am sure they will work for you too.

Key 1: Define an Immediate Need

When I had kids there was an immediate need to create an environment in which they could be brought up bilingually.  I had a good deal of experience with the language before, but having children and deciding to raise them speaking Japanese in the US was a big step.  Later my immediate need shifted to being able to use my language abilities in my work.  Both put pressure on me to keep learning and to keep developing.  Focusing on the immediate need shifting the learning to the now and away from the “someday.”

Key 2: Let go and “Just do it”

I have a strong perfectionist streak.  But being a perfectionist does not mean I do everything right.  Being a perfectionist means having very high expectations …and if a future activity cannot be done perfectly then a perfectionist might not try at all.  My breakthrough moment came when I just started babbling the best I could.  I was already the best in my class at Japanese (highest grades on tests, fastest with a Kanji dictionary etc), but I had this terrible reluctance to put myself out there and just start speaking.  I remember the day I decided to just do it.  That was the day everything started to fall into place.

Key 3: Make a Fun Connection

Similar to defining an immediate need, making a connection is all about having a fun or motivating way to connect with your target language.  For me I enjoyed reading the Japanese comics and it was a wonderful way to learn new words and have another lens through which to explore the culture.  Other fun ways to connect are through sports,  art, travel…the opportunities are endless.

With some or all of these keys, your language journey will be faster and a LOT more rewarding.