El Comienzo

Getting started

Step 1 Set some expectations

Create a goal of what you want to accomplish. Your main goal. It’s important to have an attainable goal in mind when it comes to learning new skills. I’m going to emphasize attainable because it boosts your confidence when you will reach your goals. It is 100% percent okay to take small steps. I am going to try to set weekly objectives all in order to reach my overarching goal. I will have to talk more about how that works out for me in a later post.  

 I suggest asking yourself a few questions to figure out what you hope to gain out of this undertaking. 

Do I want to speak with ease and confidence? 

Do I want to improve writing and reading? 

Do I want to learn the basics for traveling? 

Do I have a specific reason or need to learn Spanish? 

Then break it down even further in detail

Do I want to speak with ease and confidence? 

Yes, I want to be able to hold engaging conversations, speak with confidence and ease. 

Do I want to improve writing and reading? 

Yes, I want to be able to write on a variety of subjects with minor errors. 

I want to be able to read and comprehend the majority of a chapter book. 

Do I want to learn the basics for traveling? 

Yes, I want to be able to navigate through an airport, call a taxi, check into a hotel, order services, and schedule excursions while I am in Mexico for vacation. 

Do I have a specific reason or need to learn Spanish?

I work in retail so I have a need to learn vocabulary related to the items that I sell and I need to be able to assist Spanish-speaking customers. 

If you even want to take it a step further you can make your goal time bound. 

For example, by the end of the year, December 31, 2020,  I want to be able to hold basic conversations with native speakers without having to use a translator. Basic conversations including talking about my career, future plans, past experiences, like and dislikes and trending topics. 

Step 2 Get your resources. 

Find resources and activities that you enjoy. It makes learning that much more fun and memorable when you are enjoying it. 

Resources to improve speaking and listening:  auditory programs, movies, Youtube videos, podcasts, books on CD, radio programs, language exchanges and meet ups

Resources to improve reading:  bilingual books, children books to start with, books created specifically for language learners. 

Tip: Check the foreign language section of book stores and the children´s Spanish section. Used book stores can be a great place to look for affordable learning materials as well. 

Resources to improve writing: writing prompts, Spanish mad libs, fill out a journal, write your daily to-do lists in Spanish, write letters to pen pals in Spanish

Step 3 Track it all. 

Track your progress. Progress tracking is really important because it is motivating to see how far you have come. I track my progress by using check lists and a monthly habit tracker work sheet. You can find habit tracker worksheets on etsy.com; most only cost a few dollars and you can download them straight from etsy. 

Step 4 Mark your planner. 

Plan when you are going to study. This step is sort of optional. I like to have a flexible schedule and spontaneously study when I find the time. Some people may really benefit from having a set study schedule. I have a full time job and work set hours, so, it is a no-brainer when I am going to have time to study. However, on my days off I would make sure to set aside a few hours for Spanish. 

Step 5 commit to this.

Hold yourself accountable for your own language education. As Will Smith put it ¨Self-discipline is self-love,¨  It is going to take a ton of time and effort to get super good at any skills. That’s a fact. 

Últimos pensamientos – 

Also, just remember to have fun. Learning a language is more of a lifestyle than anything else. You can incorporate some studying into fun activities like using karaoke to help with pronunciation, watching interesting documentaries in Spanish, cooking using recipes written in Spanish, making friends on language exchange websites… the sky’s the limit. Find what resources work for you and use them as often as possible. 

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