Simple But Powerful: Creating Goals for English Learning Success

Why is it important to set goals?

Dan Kennedy (a man who charges $10,000 an hour for his services and is one of the most powerful entrepreneurs in the United States), would hold seminars on how to become a better, more productive person.

At these seminars he would ask the audience, “Who here is carrying their goals with them right now?” In an audience of hundreds of people, there would be only a few who raised their hands.

Dan would then give a $100 bill to everyone who had their goals with them. However, these people were usually the ones who needed the money the least, because they were the most successful.

Why did he do this, and why am I telling you this story?

Dan Kennedy, a man who makes more money in a single day than most people do in two years, is showing us why it’s so important to not only have goals, but to constantly read them.

So let me ask you, do you know what your goals are for learning English (and/or the rest of your life)?

If you don’t know what your goals are and don’t read them every day, like most people, Dan would bet that you’re not going to be very successful.

The Difference Between a Focused and Unfocused English Learner

If you don’t know what you want, then how do you expect to get it? As the great Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.”

An unfocused English learner hasn’t clarified their purpose, they don’t know exactly what they want. If you ask them what their goals are for learning English, they’ll probably give you a vague response like, “I want to become fluent.” If you ask them how they expect to do that, they’ll probably give you another vague response like, “Listening to podcasts.”

An unfocused learner is someone who is likely to get really excited and practice English a lot for a few days, then lose their motivation and not practice much for weeks. Have you ever noticed yourself doing this?

A focused English learner, on the other hand, is someone who knows exactly what they want and they know exactly what they have to do to get it. They understand that learning is a marathon not a sprint, and they set habits that get them practicing a little English every day.

A focused English learner has thought deeply about why learning English is important to them (they may even obsess about it from time to time). They’ve created goals that inspire them and they read them every day. They understand that even thought they don’t have much time, 15 minutes a day is practical and will add up to big improvements over time.

So what type of English learner are you? Would you like to learn how to be more focused?

Create English Learning Goals that Inspire You

Oftentimes, when people create goals, they’ll write down something like, “My goal is to practice English for 20 minutes every day.” While that’s better than nothing, does it really motivate you to want to do it?

The main reason you want to create goals is to inspire you to action, not to guilt-trip you [manipulate you into action by making you feel guilty] into fulfilling an obligation.

If you haven’t read the article, The #1 Reason Why You Aren’t Learning as Much English as You Want, then read it now. In order to create goals that inspire you, you really need to know WHY you want to learn English in the first place. This article will really help set the tone [give a good base] for you to create successful goals that you follow through with [complete].

So now that you’ve read How to Clarify Your Purpose… it’s time to set up some goals that inspire you.

First of all, why do you want anything? Whether it’s money, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or to be a better English speaker, what do you REALLY want from these things?

The reason why we want anything, is because we think it will make us FEEL a certain way. If I have more money, I’ll feel happier because I can fly in a helicopter over traffic. If I have a boyfriend than I’ll feel loved. If I’m a better English speaker than I’ll feel more connected to the world.

So whatever feelings you think learning English will give to you doesn’t matter. The important part is that you TRULY want to feel this way. That it’s YOUR goal, and not the goal of your family, friends, or society. (Again, if you haven’t read How to Clarify Your Purpose yet, this will help you make sure your goal is coming from you).

Remember, the most important part of a goal is the FEELING that it gives you (this is what it means to say “my heart is in it”). After you clarified the feeling you want, the next step is to clarify how you’re going to do it. This part is much easier.

Create Simple Goals

If you’ve read the article, How to Be a More Disciplined English Learner, then you’ll know it’s much more important to set goals that aren’t too difficult for you to complete.

Remember, learning English is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s more important to have a steady rhythm than to run as fast as you can and get burnt out [exhausted and quit].

So the main focus with setting these goals is to do something you know you can do, then have the discipline to follow through with it every single day.

For example, if you don’t have a consistent English practice, it’s more important that you get into the habit of studying every day (check out this article about a cool way to incorporate grammar into every day life), than how much you study. When learning languages or music, it’s more important to learn 20 minutes every day than to practice for 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday.

So if you’re not used to studying every day, then that would be a great goal to have.

So if that’s the case, your goal could be, “To feel more connected to the world, practice English for at least 15 minutes every day.” If 15 sounds like too much, then 10 or 5 minutes is fine. Remember, the point here is to build the habit—learning English is a marathon not a sprint.

Okay, now that you’ve got your goal written down on a piece of paper, what’s next?

Why Reading Your Goals Every Day Will Lead to Success

What use is a goal if you don’t know what it is? It’s easy for us to be pushed and pulled by the many responsibilities of life and totally forget about what’s truly important to us.

The main reason for creating these goals is to inspire us to take action, not to force us to unwilling to do something because we feel guilty.

So if you want to feel inspire by your goals, then you have to read them every day!

Put your goals somewhere you’ll easily see them and ready them as much as you can (I have mine posted on my bedroom wall, so I see them before I go to bed and as soon as I wake up).

Remember, your goals are there to inspire you. You need to be constantly reminded of them if you want to take action.

But if you set goals that inspire you, you read them every day, and you do your best to work on them every day you are bound to be successful [guaranteed to be successful].

So if you haven’t already, clarify your purpose, create some goals that inspire you, write (or print) them on a piece of paper, post them somewhere you’ll see them, and read them every day.

Do it now.

  • very good articles. thank you for this job!

  • […] verbs and be able to conjugate them, but if suck it up (act as if it’s no problem) and  set a strong goal to learn, you’ll see that it’s not as difficult as you […]

  • Valério Oliveira says:

    Very useful arcticle.