I want to start with a short storytime for you, but if you want, you can skip straight to the ‘Tips and Tricks to stay consistent’ section.
During lockdown, I decided that I wanted to adopt a new hobby. And after a few days of self-debate, I decided that I was going to learn French and try to reach the language level of C1 within 6 months – which essentially means I would be fluent in the language.
I downloaded language exchange apps like Tandem and in the first few weeks, I was incredibly enthusiastic because by talking with native French speakers I was able to learn new words and phrases. However, that enthusiasm slowly dwindled because the crazy thing about learning a new language is that the more you learn, the more you realise you don’t know. And it was that fact that demotivated me.
Despite progressing from a beginner to a low-intermediate within a few months, I realised that it would take a few years before I would reach level C1. And to be honest there were times where I felt like quitting. However, one of my French friends reminded me that although the journey might be challenging, it doesn’t mean I should give up. And she told me to take it day by day and eventually, everything will work out.
I was reluctant at first but I took her advice and decided to live and breathe the ‘Consistency is Key’ lifestyle. Each day I would dedicate an hour to a certain topic and do a test at the end of the week. At first, it did not seem like I was making much progress but eventually, I noticed that I improved immensely. And I became more overjoyed when my friend realised that my French written skills were improving since she did not have to correct me as often.
It made me realise that the little everyday decisions can actually make a huge difference. And since then, I decided to adopt that attitude with everything else that I was working on. So whether it comes to following a new skincare routine or improving my French I try hard to remember that I must stay consistent.
I will admit that it can be hard to get into the routine, especially when you feel like nothing is changing but trust me, it is one of the best things you can do!
Below are some of the methods I used to stay consistent with learning French however, these tips can be applied to practically all types of goals.
It may sound pessimistic but if you do not establish a clear goal, it will take even longer to get your desired results. According to the Psychological Bulletin, you are more likely to improve task performance when your goal is detailed.
Think about why you want to achieve it, how you plan to achieve it and, if you can, create a realistic deadline. Try to be as specific as possible too. For instance, here are a few questions I asked myself when I was preparing to learn French:
Even if you dedicate 15 minutes a day to your goal, make the conscious effort to work towards it. Being intentional is the key to becoming consistent because eventually, it will form into a habit and become part of your daily routine which will, in turn, keep you on track to reach your goal.
Sometimes I had to set a daily alarm to remind me to start studying French so don’t be afraid to get creative and adopt new ways of working to help you to stay focused.
When you self-evaluate and acknowledge the improvements you have made it will motivate you even more. It is also important to remember that no matter how big or small, progress is a huge achievement so be proud of yourself and keep going even if it is taking longer than you expected.
A good way to track your progress is to keep a diary. For example, I would take mini-tests each week and record my score, I would then revisit a few weeks later to compare previous scores with my newest scores. Keeping a diary made it easier to quantify and understand the progress that I made.
Having someone to hold you accountable will increase your chances of staying consistent and you will find it harder to slip into your old ways. It will also be a great opportunity for you to help them reach their goal by holding them accountable too!
This one can be hard to accept but it is arguably the most important one to understand. Most things that are worth having require time to achieve therefore, you need to be patient and trust the process!
One of my mentors told me something that completely changed my attitude when it came to being patient. She said “whilst some things may take a while, you have to realise that the time will pass anyway. There is no point giving up because 3 months will go by whether you decide to use the time to achieve your goal or whether you decide to abandon it.”
Having a positive mindset is essential in any scenario and unsurprisingly, it will make it easier to reach your goal. Even when you experience a failure, try again and remember that a negative mindset will only steer you further away from where you intend to be.
Hopefully, you can put some of these tips into practice and if you find them useful make sure to share this with your family, friends and those who would appreciate it!
Whilst being consistent can be hard, once you see your goal becoming a reality, you will be so grateful for all the hard work and effort that you put in.
So don’t give up, keep pushing and stay positive because in due time you will be exactly where you want to be.
Syah is an aspiring writer/journalist. In her spare time, she loves to learn new languages, read all types of books and binge-watch shows on Netflix. She has a blog where she posts pieces on culture, entertainment, history and current affairs too. On the thinkHer blog, she will be writing posts on wellbeing and self-improvement in the hopes to help you work towards becoming the best version of yourself!