New Year resolutions 2019

Learning English

We’ve all been here before. Who hasn’t started the New Year with a pile of good intentions which have usually fizzled out by the time we hit spring? Yes, setting a New Year resolution is the easy part.  The challenge is setting an achievable target and finding a way to keep it going throughout the year.

The most common New Year resolutions in the UK

So how do we all want to change our lives? Firstly, as we all spend more and more hours in front of a screen, exercising more, losing weight and eating more healthily tend to top the charts. Close behind comes a desire to stop smoking and drink less.

New Year Resolutions - start a diet or get fit
Many of us start a diet or plan a new health and fitness regime at the start of the year

On a positive note though, many of us also want to spend more time with family and friends. Encouragingly, most of us also recognise that phones, tablets and all things electronic are taking up a disproportionate amount of our waking hours. So it’s not surprising then that many of us would like to use our phones less and get back control of our working hours.

The desire to learn a new skill, or improve an existing skill, is another favourite, with foreign languages leading the list. It seems that learning a new language satisfies us on multiple levels, from a basic need to improve our job prospects to the knowledge that it sharpens our brains. The fact is that sharing a language with someone from another country opens up a whole new world.  Learn English and you’ll find yourself able to communicate with people from all over the world.

Why do we fail?

Given the multiple benefits, it’s perhaps surprising that so many of us fail. Or is it? Possibly, we set out with unrealistic expectations and so become frustrated with the lack of progress. In fact, the key to success is to be realistic and set small achievable goals from the outset. Setting measurable targets will help you to track your success and so stay positive.

Practice makes perfect

The amount of time we commit to learning a language is also an issue. Rather than setting aside one big block of time each week to practise your English, little and often tends to produce better results. Find 30 minutes each day to listen to a podcast or read an online article. Sit down and watch a sub-titled film with your partner or family, or, if you have friends who also want to learn English, perhaps set up an English language monthly film or book club.

Finally, aim to get to the UK at least once a year, to tune in with colloquial English and practise speaking. With Lingua Holidays, you can set aside just an hour or two a day to improve your English with a private teacher and still have a holiday with your friends or family in London!