|OFF-003| New Year’s Resolutions (2019)

Hello Exam Seekers,

Here comes that time of the year in which we are full of expectations and plans for the year that has just started. Today we are talking about those lists that we insist on compiling so as to change some old habits or implement some new ones. It seems that with the ending of the year and the beginning of the other we are more prone to redesigning ourselves or rather feel more comfortable setting out new goals to achieve for the year that lies ahead.

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Nevertheless, apart from those same old plans we are continually thinking of but never truly work for them to happen, such as eating healthy, exercising, starting a new hobby, reading a book monthly, saving money, working smart, what are the goals you are setting for yourself when the subject is studying? Have you considered learning a new language? Developing a language you are somehow rusty nowadays? Starting a course that you have been putting aside for a while? If you haven’t yet thought of all that, what is holding you back? Why not make 2019 the year you will finally put into action all those goals you have set for yourself a while ago but have never had the opportunity to achieve?

On setting goals: the way I do it

I don’t know about you, but I, for one, have already set some ambitious goals when it comes to language learning and development for the year to come. I am a huge fan of writing them down and looking back at them whenever I feel forgetful or even to keep on reminding about what the changes I want to have done by the beginning of the following year are.

Therefore, I jotted them all down on my bullet journal giving a purpose to each and every one of them. For instance, I plan to apply for a Masters’ abroad the following year, and I know that when I am preparing my application, I will need to have both a valid English exam and perhaps a French exam as well. Even though I hold a CPE, universities tend to accept results which date up to two years before the application, so my CPE, for that purpose, is not valid any longer. Also, for the universities I plan to apply, French is accepted depending on the course I intend to take, and since my French is intermediate – between B1 and B2 – it would be better if I studied until I could sit for a C1 or C2 exam.

So, while I was setting my goals, I kept in mind the following questions: What? When? How? Why?, so that I could consolidate my plans better and actually take some time to consider the reason why I wanted to set them for 2019. In the end, that is what my goals for languages looked like:

I want to speak advanced French by the end of the year by studying daily for at least 30′ because I will sit for exams next year and that will come in handy when I prepare my application for the Masters’ in 2020.

I want to sharpen my English throughout the year by studying daily for at least 30′ because I will sit for exams next year for the Masters’ and also for language development as a whole since I continue using English on a daily basis to work.

Here, of course, I am talking about the language goals I have for the year. I have done the same for other areas which I would like to implement something or change an aspect. Nonetheless, let’s be honest, these plans will not work out if you don’t set a plan of action along with them. So, not only did I write them down, but I also write what I will do daily related to those goals.

For example, this Monday I will study French and will read two articles, writing down vocabulary that I am not familiar with – preferably expressions or verbs and prepositions together – and do some listening exercises. Apart from that, I will listen to at least 20 minutes of a French podcast or a radio station. I tend to listen to podcasts and the radio daily, but I usually write those down on my to-do list for the day, mainly because it feels great to check something you have accomplished for the day, but also so that I keep in mind to do it in case I haven’t yet.

Regarding English, I will read the two articles and work with vocabulary just as I mentioned above, and I will also do some grammar exercises. The amount of time I spend doing each will vary according to how busy the day will be, but I try to write what I will work on a couple of days before so that I can plan myself better when the I have to do those things.

Making SMART goals

It is always good to remember to make your goals following the SMART model as well.

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The reason is that your goals will be more meaningful, and they are more likely to be achieved. Once you come up with straightforward goals that are, in fact, possible to achieve and that you can follow the progress of what you are doing, chances are you will stick to them more often than not. Also, setting time for them to happen is crucial, since you will be more likely to follow through what you set for yourself. 

Additionally, it is vital to write them down where you easily have access to. This way you will be able to be reminded of your goals and the reason for them every now and then. And, believe me when I say it, this will make a whole difference!

Because, after all:

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Now, tell us, have you already set some goals for 2019? What are the language goals you have so far? Any related to teaching certificates and language exams? Share with us! We would love to know more about them and help you with them as well!

Have a great weekend (and year!),
Eve and Patty.

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