• Cecilia Viana

Have you figured it out yet?

“I’m really bad at English”, “I’ve tried to learn many times, but failed”, “English is too difficult for me”, “I’ll never be able to speak English the way I would like to”. Do any of these sound familiar? Probably. But let me tell you something: you are not alone. Many people feel frustrated when it comes to learning English.

Here is what I think: there isn’t a perfect way of learning a language. What you need to do is experiment, see what works for you, and come up with your own methods.

For example, I like working out. When one thinks about doing exercise, the first thing that comes to mind -at least to mine - is the gym, fitness clothes, sweating, loud music maybe, or a loud teacher telling you what to do or encouraging you, cardio, exhaustion, a schedule, etc. I’ve tried those, but they don’t work for me. Because I don’t really enjoy them, It’s hard for me to be consistent. But I can’t say I don’t like exercising. No, no, no, I love it! By experimenting, by listening to myself and my body, I discovered that when I create the conditions I need, I work out, I enjoy it and I even look forward to it. What works for me is to be by myself, at home, wearing light-coloured clothes, after having taken a shower, on my pale pink mat, with my fairy lights on, an aromatic cup of tea and my relaxing music on, maybe even meditation music. My body fills with energy and asks me to move it. I can make my muscles work, and they hurt, shake and burn. It’s not a “lie on the mat and chill” exercise, it is intense for my muscles. And even though it hurts, I want to do it, my body asks me for it.

Now, I wouldn’t have consistency if I hadn’t experimented until I found what works for me. I could have just said: “Exercise is not for me”, or “I can’t go to the gym”, and always come up with excuses - because when we don’t want to do something, excuses gush out non-stop as if they were lava coming out of a volcano, it’s amazing how creative we can get.

The same can happen when learning a language. So my advice for you is: Try, experiment, do research to see what is out there, what other people are doing, ask yourself questions: Do you like learning by yourself? Do you like going to classes at a language school? Or do you prefer to study online? If so, would you like to have classmates, or would you like to have a teacher all to yourself? Would you like to practise every day, or just a couple of times a week? There must be something that works for you. Discover it, adopt it as a habit and start achieving your language goals.

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