“Motivation is the extent to which you make choices about (a) goals to pursue and (b) the effort you will devote to that pursuit.”

H. Douglas Brown

H. Douglas Brown, the distinguished author of “Principles of Language Learning and Teaching,” talks about the need for language learners to set personal goals and apply appropriate strategies to reach those goals. But where does motivation come in? It is when you make the conscious choice of pursuing your language goals that you find motivation. Think of motivation as the fuel that drives you to reach your target. Without it, you’ll definitely find it difficult to move forward. 

Moreover, studies have shown that there is a coherence between motivation and language strategies. A 2011 study published in the International Journal of English Linguistics entitled, “The Relationship between Language Learning Motivation and the Choice of Language Learning Strategies among Chinese Graduates,” revealed that there is a significant correlation between motivation and learning strategy usage. It also says that “the more motivated students were, the more strategies they tended to use” and that students’ “motivational strength and personal goals have the highest correlation with the overall strategy.”

But what if you lose your motivation? There is no reason for despair because this definitely happens. The important thing is you bounce back from being demotivated and pursue your goals once again. Here are some quick tips you can follow when you feel stuck in your language training:

Remind yourself of your original goals and make adjustments if necessary. Goals are very important but they should not be set in stone as your priorities may change over time. 

Assess and appreciate how far you have progressed in your language learning journey compared to when you first started. Make it a habit to check your progress and constantly use what you have learned, so you won’t forget them.

Examine your learning strategies. As you evaluate your strategies, drop the ones that didn’t work and re-strategize. If something doesn’t work, be open and flexible to changes because that’s how you’ll learn. 

At the end of the day, don’t forget to reward yourself no matter how big or small you have achieved in your language learning journey. You deserve it! Learning never ends after all. 

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