How to Learn a New language When You Have No Time (The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution)

How to Learn a New language When You Have No Time (The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution)

“You have to break your big ambitious goals down into more manageable decisions – types of decisions that need to be made correctly along the way in order to improve the odds of achieving the type of outcome you desire”

Stephen Duneier

Does the following statement resonate with you?

New year, same resolutions.”

You see, we all do it. We all tend to make resolutions, stick to them for 1-2 weeks, then fall off track.

Why is that?

… Because the changes we make don’t actually tackle the root of our bad habits. And because we don’t know how to get granular enough with our resolutions.

Well, that’s why I am writing this post. And in fact, that’s why I’ve written the past 68 blog posts with tips to help you reach your goals quicker.

So 68 blog posts later, it’s finally time to work toward the ultimate resolution: learning a new language.

Start Small Think Big

If you want to make 2020 the #YearofYou you’ll have to actually stick to your goals. I find most people think big when it comes to creating their goals, but they forget to start small when it comes to taking the steps that will lead them there.

I was reminded of the necessity of starting small when I watched a life-changing Tedx Talk by Stephen Duneier. You see, Stephen Duneier learned to speak German fluently without making any extra time in his day for lessons. Alternatively, Duneier focused on re-organizing how he spent his existing time and then added small increments of language-learning to that time.

One day Duneier went to the store and purchased 33 CDs of a German language program. He ripped the CDs onto his ipod as well as removed all the music. So instead of listening to music on his ipod everyday on his commute to and from work, he listened to this language program. After only 1 year of commuting, he had listened to each CD 3x over and decided to go to Germany to take an intensive 16 day German language course.

Duneier became a fluent in German by making only 1 small change in his life: listening to a language program instead of listening to music during his commute.
So if he could reach that big goal, what other goals could he reach by applying the “think big, start small” concept? … Well as it turns out, this concept can be applied to everything. If you approach your goals with smaller, customized, and realistic steps, you are going to put yourself in a position to succeed. You are going to reach your goals without quitting on them and ultimately make this the #YearofYou.

So I am going to challenge myself to apply the same concept. And here’s how I’m going to break it all down:

#1 Pick a Language

For those of you who don’t know, I am both Croatian and Italian nationality. Growing up, I understood Croatian quite well because it was my family’s first language. But since moving out, I’ve been around Croatian much less, so communicating with my family has become difficult.

That said, I decided I will commit to re-learning Croatian in 2020.

I just downloaded 50Languages App Croatian so I can listen and learn just like Duneier did. The App has 100 Audio files plus tests, a phrase and vocab book. 50Languages has tons of different languages courses available, and you can download the free app on both Android and Apple operating systems.

What language will you commit to learning this year?
Comment below or message me on Instagram to let me know what language you will learn in 2020!

#2 Commit to the Resolution

Write it down. Whether it be in a journal or on a piece of scrap paper, writing down your new goal will make it more concrete. Think of it like creating a contract with yourself. Remember I want you to think big. But also remember that the steps you will take to reach your goal will not be big.

My 2020 intention

#3 Get Granular

I find one of the main reasons people quit on their goals is because they make their action steps as big as their goals. But achievement doesn’t work that way! Imagine walking into a 23 story building. In order to get to the 23rd floor, you have to pass floors 1-22 (it doesn’t matter if you take the stairs of the elevator). But you will never get to the 23rd floor by jumping and expecting your body to propel up to floor 23 – that’s impossible!

So just like the 23rd floor, you can only reach your goal by taking the small steps first. You need to break things down so you can put yourself in a position to succeed.
Here is how I’ve broken down my time so I can implement small steps to learn Croatian:

  • I normally listen to music or podcasts …
    • on my commute to and from work;
    • while washing the dishes; and,
    • while putting on making/getting ready to go out.
  • I normally read while on the stationary bike.

That’s a pretty basic breakdown if you ask me. As Duneier says, these are all times where I am aware, awake, and basically doing nothing. So now that I have 50Languages, I will replace listening to music/podcasts or reading at least once a day. That’s it! No fancy course, no specific hours, and no money spent. All I am going to do it make 1 small change.

Will You Make the Change?

If learning a new language has always been a new year’s resolution of yours or a goal on your bucket list, download the free app and let’s do it together!
I’m sure I will be posting updates of my progress on Instagram throughout 2020, so make sure to follow me there if you want to stay up-to-date and post your progress as well!

I wish you all a happy new year, a healthy and safe 2020, and of course, I hope you commit to making this the #YearofYou!

As always, Happy Monday!

[Like this post? Then be sure to share it with your family and friends!]

Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.


Comments: 2

  1. Out of the Shadows Corvo says:

    Great post Ella!!! So very true! If we start out by trying to take gigantic steps we will never stick with/reach our goals. Baby steps are key to making measurable progress and dreaming big is how we can acquire the life we desire ❤

    – Matt

    • Ella Sofia says:

      Thanks Matt! I love what you just said about “measurable progress”. If we can quantify our action steps, then we know when we are progressing 🙂

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