The #1 Reason Why You Aren’t Learning As Much English As You Want

Are you one of those people who, when finding a new way to learn English, will get all excited and practice a lot for a few days, then stop? (Like New Years Resolutions or gym memberships.)

Are you one of the English learners who knows and understands the importance of being a great English speaker, but you just don’t spend as much time learning English as you know you could?

Do you waste time watching TV, surfing the internet, and looking at the statuses of people who aren’t even really your friends on Facebook?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then you’re not alone. There are many people who are having the same problem.

And one of the biggest reasons why people aren’t as successful with having a consistent English practice is because they have not clarified their purpose.

Do YOU Really Want What You Think You Want?

Have you ever set goals that you never ended up completing? When you wrote the goal down it probably got you fired up [really excited], and maybe you carried that momentum [kept doing it] for awhile, but eventually you lost your motivation.

It’s happened to me many times and it’s likely happened to you as well.

Why is this?

First of all, you need to make sure that the goal is what YOU really want. A lot of times we THINK we really want something, but it’s actually the conditioning of our parents, our friends, or society. This happens a lot with English learning.

Is becoming a better English speaker something you REALLY want? Or is that what your parents want? Is that what your job expects of you? Or maybe you just think it sounds cool?

If YOU don’t have a burning desire to become a better English speaker, than it doesn’t matter how many goals you set, you won’t be uninspired to accomplish them.

If you have a lot of self-discipline, you can force yourself to do these things, but eventually you’re going to burn out [get exhausted] or lose interest.

What you really want is to be able enjoy the process, the journey of achieving your goals, whether that’s becoming a better English speaker, waking up early, eating healthy, or whatever.

To find out if your goals are actually what YOU want, and not just what you’ve been conditioned to believe, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why do I want this?
  2. How will I feel when I achieve this?
  3. Will I enjoy the journey or am I only focused on the end-goal?

Write your answers down, don’t just answer them in your head. Journaling or keeping a personal diary is a much more effective way to think than just using your head.

What you’re doing here is clarifying why this goal is important to you.

Why Clarifying Your Purpose Leads to Success

clarify your english
The more you understand WHY you want something, the more motivated you will be to achieve this.

Would you rather be naturally motivated to do something or have to force yourself to do it [use your willpower]?

By taking the time to clarifying the purpose behind your goals, you are setting yourself up for success.

How to Clarify Your Goals

So let me show you of how you can clarify your goals with an example conversation between two people.

“Tell me about some goals you have.”

–”I want to practice English for 30 minutes every day.”

“Okay? WHY do you want that goal?”

—”Because I want to improve my English?”

“WHY do you want to improve your English?”

—”Because it will help me to communicate with people from all over the world.”

“Okay, sounds great. WHY is that important to you?”

—”Because I want to learn about new cultures, I want to be able to understand and express myself to people from different cultures.”

“Cool. How will that improve your life?”

—”The more I understand about other people’s cultures, and the more I understand the way different people think, the better I can understand the problems in the world.”

“And WHY do you want to have a better understanding of the problems in the world?”

—”So that I can help solve them and ease the suffering of the people of the world.”

And what types of problems would you want to heal?

—”I want there to be peace on Earth.”

“So you’re saying if you practice English every day for 30 minutes, it can help you bring peace on Earth?”

—”Well, when you put it that way, YEAH!”

* * *

Okay, see what we did there?

We started from “the reason I want to learn English is because I want to talk with people from all over the world” to “the reason I want to learn English is so I can help bring peace on Earth.”

Now what’s more motivating? Wanting to talk with people from all over the world or creating peace on Earth?

You might have different reasons for learning English and that’s fine, but the point of this exercise is to go into the center of your being and figure out what you REALLY want. 

Whenever you have a goal, keep asking yourself “Why is this important?” “Why do I want this?” “How is this going to improve my life?” until you get to an answer that really moves you.

THIS is your true reason. THIS is what’s going to actually motivate you to follow through with your goals.

Most of the time, when we’re asked why we want something, our first answer isn’t really the most accurate. It takes a little searching and thinking and questioning to get to the root of the desire.

How to Apply This

When you start focusing on the deeper reason you want to achieve something, you naturally become motivated to take action.

When you’ve truly clarified your purpose, you want to put your goal/purpose into writing and read it every day. (I have my goals printed and taped on the wall in my bedroom so I see them multiple times a day.)

So, continuing with the above example, you could say “To help bring peace on Earth, practice English for at least 30 minutes every day.”

Imagine you’ve just had a long day of work. You come home and all you want to do is watch TV. But then you read your goal about bringing peace on Earth, and think to yourself, how can I waste my time watching TV when they’re so many more important things do to?

Reading your goals every day does not take much effort. But it naturally motivates you to take action on what matters most in your life, whether that’s learning English, being healthy, and/or meditating.

So get started. Spend some time clarifying your purpose. Ask yourself why you want to learn English. Ask yourself why it’s important to you, ask what benefits you want to get from it.

Keep going deeper and deeper into your true purpose for achieving your English goals into you reach something that inspires you. Then write it down and read it every day and watch how your resistance to learning English melts away.

I’ve Clarified My Goals, Now What?

If you now have clear idea of WHY you want to learn English, it’s time to put that to use. Check out our free 3 part mini course on simple fluency secrets they don’t teach you in school.

Return from How to Give Your English a Fresh Start: Clarify Your Purpose to English for Life

  • Thank you for your great article 🙂
    Today, I'm not really good in English, but I'll keep learning!
    English is fun!
    God bless you.

  • Rimee Non says:

    I like the article,
    I’ve been learning English Language for long, but I’m still not getting desired goals
    But I’m sure after I read above grearful article will have more specific goals and will
    Come true during 2014

    Thanke you so much.

  • Marisel says:

    Hi, I really like your website however you keep writing than when you mean then. I think you should correct that mistake specially when you are trying to teach others.

  • Stefie Smith says:

    love your article, after reading this lots of idea pop in to my mind.. I think I should set my goals to become more efficient and effective on my English proficiency.. it really motivate me thanks to your good article.

  • Jussára Spader says:

    Reading your article seems easy to find an answer. I’ve been asking myself the questions. Why? What made me look for a course after so many years? Since I’ve heard of my English teacher pronouncing the first word in English I fell in love with the language. Along all these years I’ve been studying and reading and watching films on TV, video cassetes, CDs, netflix,… but something was missing. Then, I saw on Youtube “Learn English with Friends’. Maybe that’s what I needed. The only thing I know is that I want to improve my English, get more vocabulary to understand people, films, songs, Talks, …. but I still don’t have a real answer: Why? Why do I really want to continue my studies? I’ve been reading your excellent articles and I hope along the course I find the real reason.

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      Hello Jussara! Thank you for sharing! Hopefully, we can help you find your WHY. This gave me an idea for our Fluency Circle Facebook group activity!

  • Nuril Aida says:

    Thank you so much for your article. It’s a great article who can make me more motivated to learn and more fluent in English 🤗

    • Thomas Muller says:

      Aww yeah, Nuril! We’re glad ot hear that. Thanks for learning with us!