Don't set unreasonable goals for yourself
I have learned an extremely valuable lesson. NEVER set your goals to high. You won't make them. Best to start little by little, bit by bit, and it will add up. Lately I've been setting some pretty lofty goals for myself. Then I hold myself to it and attempt to reach them, however more often than not I end up far off my goal, this leads to the train of thought, "Man, you sure are a loser, you couldn't do 2,000 mealy xp this week" or something to that effect. The higher and more lofty the goals became, the worse I started failing, and I the more I beat myself up over it. Gradually I realized that with the new xp change 2,000 xp wasn't reasonable. So I started toning it down. Instead of saying "DO 2,000 xp this week" I'd say, "Do 3 skills in spanish, and level up a skill in Russian" this worked a lot better. So that is my little piece of advice. Don't set your self up for failure by setting a goal that is next to unachievable.
About 6 months ago, I had to write in red ink on my planner: "Set achievable goals".
I was doing a bunch of dumb stuff, like trying to juggle 6 languages in a week (1 language per day) along with 2-3 different apps and textbooks or one time I wanted to do all 33 available languages on Duolingo, leveling them up all at the same time. Setting impossible tasks is a good way to ruin your relationship with language learning.
Another piece of advice is don't compare yourself to other people and don't listen to what people say their goals are. Some users here are already bilingual, or in some cases trilingual, or have had previous instruction in a handful of languages. Some users don't even set realistic goals for themselves. Language learning is a race, but its a solo race; you vs. your old self. Just because someone else is doing better doesn't mean you aren't doing enough, just worry about yourself.
I find setting a time goal is more useful. That way I can mix and match DL and other activities. (And I can count going to the Hungarian Club and watching a film as "study")
I agree, but for a slightly different reason. First, Duolingo gives you the chance to reset your goals if you wish. Secondly, how can you establish a goal before knowing the challenge? I have a sound experience with foreign languages, yet rushing through Czech would make no sense. Yes, I can guess quite well and pass fairly easily, especially since I am conversationally fluent in Russian. However, there is no way I can really master or get a sound understanding of the unit without doing outside research for grammar, pronunciation and even basic definitions. So, be realistic, too.
It's good to have high goals. But never put them above what you can handle. The strain of the task can through you off completely. Better a bit slower then going fast and quitting. Don't put them to low either, as then you can get bored. Or spend so little time on the task that you end up forgetting that you where doing it.
this is very true. I used to have a goal of 3 hours of korean a day but this turned out to only end up in me beating myself up over only doing 1 hour.
I have been going at learning Japanese for less than a year now. In the upcoming year, I will have the opportunity to visit Japan itself, and I was mentally freaking out about how I would be able to effectively communicate with the native speakers. This post made me realize how unrealistic, but how pressuring the goal I had was. The goal was to learn Japanese, or at least be able to translate by 2020. Most people know that this is almost not achievable, as even top experts state that it takes about 3-4 years to become completely fluent. So, for my goal, to 'learn Japanese' in less than a year is hard to imagine. This isn't meant to be negative, but it simply is the reality. Don't get me wrong, it is considerably healthy to have high standards for yourself. But, I ending up beating myself up, and having a negative mentality about not becoming what I wanted to be, in a small amount of time. Sometimes those who rush, will crash. It is important to not burn yourself out, especially if it involves your personal interests. My cousin and older brother just started learning Japanese. So, I took it upon myself to remain at the 'top' of my family, you know, the grandchild who knows the most languages, instruments, can dance, and perform well academically. That's who I have become in the eyes of my family. And keep up with a drastically changing image such as, can be physically and mentally exhausting. But, I realize my only competition is myself, and as long as I still have the love for learning languages, I will be happy. I was still hoping for better days.... but now I'm here :)
Thank you so much for this, and I hope you have a wonderful day~
my goal, to 'learn Japanese' in less than a year is hard to imagine
Break it down into smaller goals which are achievable - but still push you. Say finish DL in x months; learn y words in so many months; watch so many cartoons per month etc. (And keep an eye out for a course that will eventually take you to fluency)