We all often look to the future and think about what we want it to be like, look like, and feel like. Sometimes we have a clear vision of what we need to do to make that happen. When each new year rolls around, we see it as an opportunity to ‘start fresh’ on our future. People often make New Year’s Resolutions that involve exercise, getting rid of bad habits, learning new skills. But these decisions come with a need for foresight, planning, and determination to see it through no matter how much work and difficulty are involved.

You made the decision some time ago to do something for your future when you decided to learn English as a second language. Your motivations may have been and may still be for a variety of different reasons. But to be really successful in making that vision a reality involves many more resolutions. This blog gives you some ideas about resolutions to make you a more successful language learner.

1. Read More: Possibly one of the most undervalued activities in our youngest generations today around the world is reading. This is very useful when studying English as it not only helps you improve your vocabulary, it also gives you access to many ideas that can help you expand your ability to communicate in both writing and speaking.

2. Spend more time living your life in English: Depending on your living situation, this may be more of a challenge for some than others. But, even with the difficulty of changing your situation to where you have more opportunities to speak, listen, write, and read in English, it is well worth the effort to meet your goal. If you spend most of your time with people who speak your first language, make a pact with them to speak more English together. If they are unwilling to do this, try to make plans to spend more time with people who do want to speak English. This can be between classes, at lunch, and when you are spending time away from your school.

3. Diversify your study and learning experiences: You’ve heard us say before at IEI that simply studying grammar will not make you the successful English user that you want to be; you have to speak, write, listen, and read. But even among these skills, you need to diversify too. Find different ways to write (emails, letters, essays, personal journals and reflections), different ways to speak (conversation class, with people in the grocery store, with your friends in practice groups, to yourself as you narrate what you are doing), different ways to read (books, articles, advertisements, brochures, game instructions), different ways to listen (listening lab, TV/movies, radio, audio blogs).

But, you have to decide clearly what you want and then begin. Decide now to do what you have to do, then do it. No more excuses. Forget about good things coming easily, because the best things never do. You also need to unlearn the idea that difficult is bad. You know you have something valuable because of the blood, sweat, and tears that you have spent to get it.