Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When you Lose Motivation

In the end , we only REGRET the changes we didn't take.
Taken from Pinterest


As I stated several weeks ago, I extended my Irish challenge for three more weeks. And I hated it.

Don't get me wrong, there were points where I enjoyed practicing and learning new words and phrases, but my motivation to learn it was kaput. It's missing.

This is one reason why I like to keep my challenges short--I lose motivation fairly quickly. The more I tried to keep going and pursuing the language, the more uninterested I became in practicing it for the day. I indeed made it to January 12th, which was my second deadline, and decided that this isn't what I want to do.

I know a lot of people probably see that I made a LOT of goals for many languages in my 2014 accomplishment list, and yet I didn't succeed in all of them. This is because motivation changes, and so do interests. No longer am I interested in ASL, or German; maybe I will be in the future, but this was not the time to conquer them.

What I want to get across in this post is that if you really want something, you will obtain it. You'll get past the loss of motivation and find another reason why you want to learn the language. I don't regret trying those languages; instead, I'm glad I gave them a shot. Those languages still taught me about their culture and I've gained a lot, aside from learning the language, that I can still use, even though I don't use the language. I've become more aware of the difficulties deaf citizens face with non-signing people, and how to get to know them. Some languages, like ASL, really did touch a part of my life, and I am so glad that I at least put my all into them, even though it wasn't quite enough.

BUT (dun un un!) I have regained my motivation back recently! A coworker of mine was born and raised in Ukraine until she was twelve, and she often talks about how she loves speaking Russian to our Russian-speaking customers. Her passion inspired me to look into the language, and I honestly cannot tell what is going to come up in the next few weeks. I was going to start Romanian, but my computer is still being fixed, which was my core object for learning it. So, while that's going on, I'm wasting no time. I'm learning Russian.

I know I've made a lot of challenges for myself, but this is something I really want to accomplish. And I'm gonna use this motivation to kick start my journey! When the motivation runs out, I'll just try the tips below (which I have used on several occasions for languages that have already become a part of my life).

I know most of you probably think I'm nuts, but join me! Learn another language, and go through the journey with me! I'll be sure to post more as I go on. :)

Enough with the chitchat! Here are some tips I have for you to find your motivation:
  1. Take a breather: although this doesn't sound like it'll help, it will. If you keep pushing and pushing and pushing yourself to practice, you'll hit what I did with Irish. This disinterest could really damage your success with that language, which is why it's better to take a break than to completely quit the language out of frustration and dead ends.
  2. Find inspiration: like workout junkies, language learners need daily reminders as to why they are doing what they're doing. I remind myself how important languages have been to me my whole life, and what I've been able to accomplish these past couple years. My friends and my family see me as an inspiration; after watching me put so much time and effort into learning and retaining, my mother started to learn Spanish--a woman who told me she would never be able to learn another language because she didn't have the talent to. Now, I see my mom working hard on this goal she has (which she has been doing for about half a year now!) and she now motivates me because of how she practices everyday, and has made Spanish a staple to her daily life.
  3. Tell people! When you tell someone about your goals, it makes it harder for you to give up. Why? Because people (who are most likely close to you) now know what you want to accomplish, and they could also back you up! Keeping goals to yourself just... makes them easier to throw away.
One that I can't stress enough is that you have to get up and just do it--the hardest part about learning a language is doing it. A lot of us (me included!) suffer from laziness from time to time--we'd rather stare at TV screens than actually accomplish our goals. Well, I ask you to PLEASE take time out of your day and start. your. journey! It'll be something you won't regret doing :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Looking Back on 2014: What I Accomplished

I honestly had no idea we had views like this where I live--but look at what you can find if you just try a different route! :)
2014 was an insanely awesome year. Seriously.

I've been suffering with a lack of motivation since around Christmas time, and with us already into a full week of 2015, I decided I have to get a move on things (especially Irish, which I said I would be practicing daily (which I have been! ;) )).

My lack of motivation made me look back on 2014 and think, Wow, I sucked. But, once I got out of my moodiness, I realized just how much I was able to accomplish regarding my languages in one full year. I'm going to create a pretty little "timeline" for you below. :)

January '14--barely 1 month into my Spanish challenge

March '14--Spanish challenge successfully completed

I was able to communicate with my coworkers in Spanish and I now have a blast listening to people's conversations (oh, come on--you know you do it, too!)

around May '14--begin to learn Romanian

Romanian is the one thing I have a set resolution to learn this new year, because of how passionate I had practiced it for months. It's been my favorite language since I began listening to Romanian music back in 2012 and I am ready to set a challenge for it, though I'm still collecting materials beforehand.

August '14--1 month Brazilian Portuguese challenge begins and is successful

This was my favorite challenge because of how hard I buckled down and learned the language. I jogged everything in a notebook, studied around an hour a day, and by the end of August, I was talking to a few of my new found friends who live in Sao Paolo. I will definitely write about this challenge in the near future so that you can (hopefully) try it yourself! Agora eu posso falar em portugues e eu amo a idioma!
I created a booklet during the beginning of August, which you can find here

August thru October '14--American Sign Language

I love this language. so. much. I really had fun and was really dedicated towards learning it. My lack of friends who could sign discouraged me a bit, although I was able to make sentences and (hopefully) get my point across. I'm starting this again this month as well to refresh what I learned and get some new vocab!

September '14--try German

German has never been a strong language for me (although I should learn it, since I AM mostly German), but I dove into the learning process for a good month or two, before I lost interest. :'(

November '14--begin Irish and Swedish challenge

You can see my beginning post of the challenge here
... and when I added Swedish to the mix here

So, what did 2014 add to my life?

2014 brought 4 languages into my daily life. That means that before 2014 began, I only knew 3 languages (English, Italian, French). That's a big jump--and I acknowledge that there are more than 4 languages listed above, but I only included the ones I still use today on a regular basis. 2015 will be the year where I learn Romanian and hopefully have another go at German.

What languages were you able to learn in 2014? What goals do you have for yourself in 2015?

I will be updating my Irish in the near future, and until then, I wish you all the very best on your language journeys from here on! Keep with it!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Failing & Succeeding at the Same Time (Say What?!)

When in Rome!
Hey all,

We're at the end of the challenge! YAAAAAYY!

Good news and bad news. First of all, Swedish has been successfully chugging along. Irish not so much. I had a bump in the road about a week ago when my 17 year-old Cockatiel, Holly, passed away, which stripped my motivation to learn for a couple of days. But, now, I am full speed ahead and haven't felt better!

My Swedish, I believe, has really improved, although listening can still be challenging. Creating sentences on the top of my head is fairly easy, and so is speaking and reading. I'll just have to practice listening for the next couple of weeks and see how that improves ;)

There's a lot I have to say about Irish, but most of it are excuses. I really do enjoy Irish, and this journey has been extremely difficult--but I love challenges. So, what's the problem here?

I've had finals, a couple days of mourning, and those are pretty much all the roadblocks I hit. So, why did Swedish continue to improve while Irish had stagnated success?

I'm guessing it was all about the timing. So, to try and redeem my Irish, I'm going to extend it until January 14th. I'll be on break that whole time, so there's no excuses regarding schoolwork.

Here are my goals for the next three weeks of intensive Irish:

1) Study Irish around 30 mins to an hour everyday. If it is MWF (which are currently my Portuguese, Italian, and Irish days), I'll focus on writing and listening more. This way, I have a strong foundation where I have to partly immerse myself in the language everyday for three weeks. Now that sounds fun to me!

2) Try speaking Irish during everyday activities; this'll make it easier for me (over time) to think off the top of my head when speaking in Irish.

3) Find a friend? ;)

4) Write sentences in Irish and put them on Lang-8 for correction. Also continue using Memrise for vocabulary.

This is going to be a fun next 3 weeks!

So, what about Swedish? What's next?
Well, I'm currently looking for Swedish buddies to talk to. This way I can continue to improve it while I continue to learn new vocabulary. I'll still be practicing MWF and working on it!

I know that it sounds like these challenges will make you fluent towards the end. That's not how it really works out. I use challenges for motivation to learn more and more. And boy, do I learn a lot during that time period! I usually learn the most during that period in the shortest amount of time, because I focus mainly on that language (or those languages). I'm still going to focus on building off the strong foundation I have built for Swedish, but my focus will be shifted more towards Irish from now on.

I'm hoping to start Romanian (again) during January, but I really want my Irish to get flying first, so it'll most likely start around mid January. Who knows, though? It might start earlier ;)

Happy holidays!