Updated: May 19
Here are some strategies to help you stay consistent when studying Korean (or another language).
#1 ~ Schedule/Block Out Time To Study
Pick a time of day or day of the week where you are not busy and plan to study at a certain time. By doing this, you are not leaving any excuses for yourself to say “I didn’t have time”. Even if it is 15 minutes or during your commute - try this out!
#2 ~ Go In With An Idea Of What You’ll Do
When you sit down to study… but then have no Idea what to do it can really hinder you and make it hard for you to start studying. I have created a study plan (well.. 3 different ones) that you can use instead if you don't have the time or energy to create your own.
These study plans are for a 1 month period of time and are broken down week by week - for a total of 4 weeks. There are a list of tasks presented each week, separated by level of intensity (Light, Casual, Intensive). These plans are designed to give you the freedom to choose how much you can/want to do each day and for how long you are able to do it.
They’re organized to make sure you cover grammar, vocabulary, reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
Use code: BackOnTrack at checkout to get one of my study planners for free when you purchase the pre-made monthly study plans.
#3 ~ Have 1 Easy and Non-Negotiable Task
I heard about this from @lindiebotes. You need just 1 task to anchor yourself in your studies. So no matter if you haven’t studied all week, you’re busy, or you just don’t feel like studying there is one thing you can do to stay steady. For example, if you had a tutor having that lesson with them. Or if you use duolingo - completing a few rounds. Or studying your vocabulary list, watching a video in Korean , listening to a few minutes of a podcast - things like that.
Be sure to personalize it to you and make it a non-negotiable task that you will do no matter what even when you haven’t been consistent for awhile.
#4 ~ Create a backup plan
Sometimes you'll be super motivated to study, especially in the beginning. Motivation will not last and will fail you eventually. Make a plan for when that motivation dies down. There are gonna be plenty of days when we do not feel like getting out a textbook or pulling up a website to study, so create a backup plan for those days.
#5 ~ Create a good routine
A second way - and the best way actually - to combat that feeling of losing motivation is to have a routine to fall back on. Even if you can’t stick to routine for long that’s okay, change your routine as often as you feel you need to.
By building a routine and making the conscious effort to sit down and do it whenever you promised yourself to you will start to become disciplined and build the habit.
#6 ~ Know what you want from each study session
What do you want to walk away from each study session feeling. For me, I want to feel that I learned at least 1 new thing even if it’s just 1 new word.
#7 ~ Be realistic and don’t overwhelm yourself
If you don’t have a “proper” reason to do so, don’t give yourself some super intimidating goal like reach advanced level in 6 months when you are just a beginner.
Have smaller goals like “be able to speak in Korean for 10 minutes straight” or “know 200 more words”. When we feel overwhelmed we are more likely to procrastinate studying and put it off.
#8 ~ Don’t compare yourself
This is a BIG one. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don't compare your journey or level to someone else's. I don't care if they have been studying for the same amount of time as you or less time than you. That person has a different way of learning, a different lifestyle, a different environment, etc.
#9 ~ Take breaks when needed
Don’t mentally punish yourself for skipping a study session, not doing as much, or feeling like you didn’t learn anything. Sometimes you need a day or a week off.. sometimes more. You won’t forget EVERYTHING you learned after a week and relearning a topic is easier and quicker than learning it for the first time.
#10 ~ Do a countdown from 10
As you countdown from 10, tell yourself that you should be on your way to doing the desired task before reaching 1. I start counting down when I feel I can’t get up and get started. Studies show that once you actually start something (even if you had an aversion to doing it prior) you will get into the grove of it and feel into it. Slowly start to move and get up as you countdown - remind yourself that this countdown is not to punish yourself but to fulfill the promise you made with yourself.
BONUS #11 ~ No 0 days
This isn’t for everyone, because as I said rest is important. Some people need more than others. But if you are up for it try this out. No days where you do absolutely nothing. It does not matter how small or how trivial it may seem - do 1%. Following this will help you to build the habit of studying daily. You don’t have to follow it for forever, but doing this for a month might really help you build the habit of studying.
If you can’t study for 30 minutes - study for 5 minutes or 10 minutes. Anything is better than nothing. In that 10 minutes, you could learn 20 new words, or review what you learned, or practice speaking, or learn a new grammar. But you’ll be better off than if you did nothing.