July 17

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How to Start Learning English When You Have a Busy Family and Work Life

Do you ever look at some language learners and wonder how they get so much done?

How they’ve achieved so much progress in such a relatively short time?

They must be language learning machines with special super powers.

They can’t have demanding jobs or little kids.

They probably have all the time in the world.

Whatever the reason, somehow their lives must be easier than yours.

They can’t have a busy live, like you. Otherwise, how could they keep learning, without ever giving up?

They must know something you don’t . . .

The story of most adult language learners

If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone.

I’ve heard the same story hundreds of times when teaching English.

Many students hit a certain point, several months into their learning journey, when they say they just can’t find the motivation to keep learning.

This is what happened: 

You start out excited, having this big goal of being able to speak English fluently.

You create a plan. You enroll in a language course, or you find a private teacher. You start. But the next thing you know, daily life gets in the way.

You have a busy week at work. Relatives come to visit. Family members get ill. And in the worst case scenario, everything happens at the same time.

You think, “Oh, I’ll just learn English later this week, once things calm down.” But by the time things are back to normal, you are exhausted.

You only want to relax. Sit on the couch. Check your phone and watch some television. So that’s what you do.

Still, you feel a bit guilty about it. Another day has gone by and you haven’t practiced English — again.

You start wondering whether you’re really able to learn the language. Maybe you’re not good enough. Maybe you don’t have super powers like some other people.

After some thinking, you promise yourself you will do better tomorrow.

But will you? 

The real problem

This is usually the point where learners of English say things like, “I have lost my motivation” or “I need to get motivated”.

And before you know it, they give up.

This scenario is not an exception. Based on my experience teaching English to adults, it’s the rule.

But it shouldn’t be that way. And it certainly shouldn’t happen to you.

Because it’s not that there’s something wrong with you. Or that you don’t have enough motivation.

It’s just that you’re not mentally fit enough yet to learn English while doing all the other important stuff in your life.

If you want to speak English fluently someday, you need to do more than just learning the language.

You should also create the right mindset.

You probably haven’t thought much about creating the right mindset. As a matter of fact, you’ve probably ignored it.

As a result, you’re not doing the things you need to do to create the right mindset.

You might not even know what those things are.

If that’s the case, you’re in the right place.

Three tips to create the right mindset  

If you’re still reading, you probably want to make faster progress in your English. If yes, you need to create the right mindset. 

Here are three things you can start doing today.

1. Think long-term.

You probably have an important reason to improve your English. 

Maybe you want to be able to travel anywhere in the world. Or maybe you want to expand your job opportunities. You might even want to migrate to another country.

These are all big dreams.

Embrace your dream. Write it down. And understand that it takes time and effort to become successful.

Yes, you can fulfil your dream. But you have to do the work and you have to be patient.

It’s going to be a long and hard journey.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.

2. Believe in yourself

Now that you understand that it’s going to be a long journey, you need to take the next step. 

You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you can do this.  

Easier said than done, of course.

Or is it?

To create this intense belief in yourself, some people say you have to focus on your goal and tell yourself one thing:

“I will have it, or I will die trying to get it.”

No other outcome is possible.

Well, this is a good method for some people, but it doesn’t work for everyone. 

All athletes aspire to win gold at the Olympics, but most people won’t be able to reach that goal, right? 

So a better way to start believing in yourself is this sentence: 

“I’m going to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be.

Once you adopt this mindset and you really believe in it, you’ll become nearly unstoppable.

This mindset will become part of who you are, and it will carry you through the long times when your efforts seem to be producing no results.

Now that you’re able to think long term and believe in yourself, it’s time to talk about the one thing that most people don’t want to do.

3. Start saying “No”

Let’s be honest. You have a busy family and work life. Just like everyone else, you have only 24 hours in a day. 

And now you want to improve your English.

But where do you get the time? Well, this is what you need to do:

Start saying “No”.

I know, this is not an easy thing to do. But it’s absolutely necessary.

The good news is that there are many things you can say no to: 

Work less hours; spend less time with your mobile phone; don’t watch television; say no to friends.

These are unpopular things to do. Some of them might not be possible. (Though working less hours doesn’t mean being less productive!) 

And to make matters worse: as soon as people see that you’re creating time to learn English, they’ll start trying to ask more from you.

You’ll be forced to defend your choices.

This means you’ll have to start saying no to everything, otherwise you’ll find that you’re never going to improve your English.

So, prepare to be unpopular. 

Set yourself up for success

If you’re still reading, you probably want to improve your English. As you know by now, your success starts with creating the right mindset.

How do you do that? 

  1. Think long-term
  2. Believe in yourself
  3. Start saying “No” 

So get started today. Create the right mindset. Set yourself up for success.

Because if not now, when?

P.S. In this video I share a bonus tip to set you up for success.


About the author 

Kristian

Kristian is a Dutch guy who teaches English online. He relaxes with audiobooks, music and podcasts. Kristian still has a lot to learn, but he's happy to share what he has learnt along the way.

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  • What do you think about this article? Have you ever lost your motivation to learn English? How is your mindset right now? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. I reply to every comment – try me 🙂

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