As a language learner in 2017:
You have so many options at your disposal, that it’s sometimes hard to decide what activities to engage in.
The trick is to find a balance between what you like and what you should do.
An imbalance here will have negative consequences for your language learning.
If you do mostly stuff you like, chances are you’re not challenging yourself enough to advance.
So, although you’re somewhat having a good time, the work you’re doing is largely in vain.
What Type of Language Learner Are You?
You may be working with the same material over and over again.
Stuff you’ve already learned.
It feels good…you’re not making mistakes.
The work you’re doing is pretty much worthless!
Like a big pile of three-week old smelly ……….
Okay, okay, maybe not that exaggerated. But if you really want to learn this new language, this is not the way to do it.
Because you’re not challenging yourself enough to advance.
If you want to get better in your new language, you have to work on your weaknesses! Not when you’re just starting out, but from the intermediate stage upward, you should.
I bet there’s plenty of stuff you’re avoiding. Deep down you know you should be doing those things instead of the shit you’ve been doing, but…
It doesn’t give you the same warm fuzzy feeling.
It makes you feel like you’re doing great at learning this foreign language — like your work is paying off.
On the other hand:
Doing challenging stuff makes you feel like a failure. It’s hard. You make many mistakes.
But that’s just part of the learning process — a side effect of growth.
And growth hurts a little.
If you do mostly challenging things — stuff you should do — you might be setting yourself up for a “burnout”.
Good to hear you’re working on your weaknesses, but…
If it’s growth and only growth you’re after, you’re probably not enjoying the process very much.
And without some form of enjoyment, you’re probably not going to make it all the way up to fluency.
If everything you’re doing is arduous, there will be only so much you can do before you need a big break.
A break that might be too big.
Too big, like…forever.
By doing challenging stuff you may come to the conclusion that you aren’t doing quite as well as you thought. And that can give that feeling of inferiority, of not being good enough.
You can probably stomach that feeling for a little while. (Maybe longer if you have a really strong motivation to learn the language.) But if you’re in this state too much, stress levels will rise.
The Sweet Spot is in the Middle!
The best place for you as a language learner to be, is between what you like to do and what you should do.
Finding this balance is crucial at all times.
It’s probably the only way to both advance in your target language and stay the course long term.
Have a good look at how you spend your language learning time.
It might be that you haven’t been challenging yourself enough lately, and because of that you’ve come to a standstill.
Or, you’ve been pushing yourself too hard and you’re on the verge of a “burnout”.
Either extreme is bad news for your language goals.
Get it sorted out before it’s too late.