Last updated on April 2nd, 2024 at 10:33 pm

Learning a language is a bit like trying to lose weight. There are many programs out there offering a magic formula, and yet, most people just give up somewhere soon after starting. Why? Because both learning a language and losing weight require strong motivation, consistency and grit. I have been wondering why some of my students can learn English fairly fast and really well, while others struggle a lot. So, I decided to interview them. Unsurprisingly, I received exactly the same answers from each one of them. Below you can find everything that I have learnt from my highly successful language students.

#1 Know your goals and stay focused.

First and foremost, you have to be clear about why you are studying. What is your purpose? Define your why. It is not the same to prepare for an exam as to speak English at work. Set your goals for learning the language and stay focused. People who regularly remind themselves of the reasons for doing something are less likely to quit before reaching the finish line.

#2 Regular study.

Well, this is really a no brainer. You should decide how many hours a week you are going to dedicate to learning and stick to it. If you can only do half an hour a day, but you do it every day, or at least five times a week, you have already achieved a great 2.5 to 3.5 hours! Could you do your homework while you are commuting to work? Or, right before falling asleep at night? When it comes to language learning, every little helps if it is regular and consistent. Meanwhile, those who only get their books out at the weekend or just right before their language class will not see the same increase in their language abilities.

#3 Repetition.

Yes, repetitions is extremely important. Revise what you did yesterday before you start with today’s new material. If all you have time for today is to revise, you have already done a lot!

#4 Fake it ‘till you make it

Learning a language involves taking risks and making mistakes. You have to become comfortable with making mistakes. A successful language learner knows that mistakes are a sign of moving forward because learning is messy, and it certainly isn’t a linear process. You need strong will to cut through the clutter. It takes time to organise the language information in your head into your own personal language system. However, this can only be done if you use the language. Be confident and try out what you have just learnt.

# 5 Copy the natives.

Observe what native speakers do and imitate them, after all they (should) know best. The easiest and most practical way to sound like a native speaker is to learn chunks, that is, combinations of words, that they use together. Memorising what you read or hear is the best way to start. Write it down and then repeat it to yourself in a loud voice.

Repeating words, expressions or whole sentences in a loud voice is extremely beneficial because this way you are connecting your mind, your ears and your mouth and they learn to work together in a foreign language. You will find that recalling the words when you need them becomes much easier and faster.

#6 Be independent and proactive.

Don’t have the time or money to go to a country where your chosen language is spoken? Cannot go to glasses? That is just not an excuse anymore! We live in connected times and if you are reading this, the chances are that you have at least one gadget, a smart phone or a laptop, with internet connection. Therefore, you have everything you need to find material in any language you want. So, why not take advantage of this incredible fountain of information and use it to your advantage? Buy an eBook in the language you are learning, listen to videos on YouTube – the transcripts are getting better -, find an online dictionary and look up the words. If you combine these with the previous point, your learning will be super effective.

#7 Grit.

Grit means persistence and passion. Successful language learners are committed to improving their foreign language and are in it for the long haul. They just buckle it down and get on with it.

Moreover, they enjoy the process. Yes! This is a very enjoyable process if you focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t. Find you passion in learning a language! How amazing it is to understand a movie or read a great book in their original language, isn’t it?


Well, this is an honest guide to effective language learning. If you expected some sort of promise of a magic bullet, then, I’m really sorry because it just does not exist. On the flip side, though, you already have all these skills. To become a successful professional in any career requires exactly the same habits as successfully learning a foreign language.

Would you like to know more about English grammar?

I have prepared this guide to English grammar for professionals just like you!

Download my guide to Ultimate Guide to English Grammar on the link below.