In this blog post, I want to present the idea that learning a language in our times works in the same way as when we want to achieve physical well-being.
A. Why should we compare learning a language with fitness?
1. Because both take time to reach. We must be reasonable with time setting.
2. Because both require a maintenance work once these goals are met.
B. How do these two concepts resemble each other?
1. The best system is the one in which you persevere.
There is no perfect gym, no perfect instructor or perfect diet; nor is there a perfect time to start taking care of your health. The problem is that few people persevere on their goals to get fit. In the same way, there is no perfect day to start studying English, but many people just postpone their English learning.
I can spend a lot of time reading about English classes, the best teachers, the best academy, etc. Sometimes we tend to postpone the beginning until we have less work, until we finish the master degree, until we find a perfect book or a perfect app. This will postpone the beginning forever! Do not waste your time finding a perfect system, you’d better start and do it as soon as possible. Once inside the training, you must resolve not to leave it. Get clear goals and do not leave it. It is the only way to see results.
2. We must make each training session count.
An exercise routine done without any effort on your part would never benefit you. In fitness, intense training coupled with the right combination of weight-lifting will make the muscles work hard, adapt and grow bigger and stronger. No matter what exercise we do, it is important to do it conscientiously and with maximum intensity. In the same way, using your English class just to talk is not the most efficient. To achieve results, we must take advantage of class hours with exercises aimed at improving those areas in which we have difficulty, we must work on the acquisition of vocabulary, try to use new sentences, etc. Let every minute of your study session count!
Psychologist Anders Ericsson coined the term “deliberate practice” by investigating how people become experts. Studying experts from different fields, Ericsson dismantled the myth that experts in a particular practice (or profession) have innate talents out of the ordinary. Instead, this psychologist discovered that experts achieve their maximum performance by practicing in a certain way: it is a deliberate effort to become better, to challenge themselves. Experts are always characterized by trying to improve their performance beyond their current level. Just like in fitness, to learn English, every effort counts!
3. It is important to record our progress.
From the first training session, fitness machines record the number of repetitions of each exercise you did and the calories you burned. This helps you keep track of your progress from session to session.
Progress in learning your English must be recorded and measured in a number of ways. You can measure the results of each class based on the goal of the session and then measure the overall results by certifying what you have learned. Getting an international certification like TOEIC® for each of the level you achieve in English gives you an accurate look at the level of English you have achieved. At YES, our students get a certification after 6 months of training in English. That’s a great way to measure results accurately!
4. In the end, those who achieve long-term results are those who change their habits.
According to Dr. Gary Foster, clinical director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Weight and Eating Disorders Program, nearly 65 percent of dieters return they had before the diet in three years. Other studies indicate that only 5 percent of people who lose weight on a strict diet can maintain their weight after three years! This crude reality has its origin in bad habits, which do not disappear with a diet. Changing eating habits requires a change of thinking, a different way of looking at health and weight.
Likewise, if you are going to work hard at improving your English for a year, you will definitely learn, but if you do not have a long-term plan on how to keep practicing your English, you may eventually forget important concepts and a lot of vocabulary. It is vital to keep your English updated, not necessarily with English classes but with other resources like videos, books, podcast and other resources that should be interesting for you, particularly, so that you enjoy this practice without it becoming a burden.
As you can see, persevering, changing habits and thinking about the long-term, is the way to success when it comes to learning a language. This is not an easy path, but your motivation must rely on the benefits you will have by speaking a second language, and all you can achieve once you do.