Seize the day!
Take the world by storm.
Shout out to the heavens, “Good morning, world! It’s me, [insert your name here], and today is going to be awesome!”
Feeling pumped up yet? Excited to take on the day?
Ready to commit to learning, practicing and studying the French language every day?
Oof, I may have lost you on that last one.
Listen, you’re amazing. You can do anything you set your mind to.
The only thing stopping you from achieving your goals… is you.
Chances are, if you’ve come across this little blog post then you’re at least thinking about learning French. But whether you’re doing it for fun, for work or just as a challenge to yourself, you’ll have to put in the effort if you truly want to achieve your goal.
In this post, we’re going to run through a list of some common doubts and excuses that can put a damper on your language learning aspirations. Then, we’re going to give you some helpful tricks and tips for crushing those delusional, destructive thoughts and setting off on your language learning journey!
Crush Those Doubts and Stay Motivated
If you truly want to succeed, you’ll have to put in the time. It’s been scientifically proven that turning language learning into a daily habit is one of the most effective ways to actually learn the language.
Maybe you’re thinking, “This whole carpe diem thing is just a silly, unrealistic ideal that millennials are using to avoid real responsibility!”
Try these on for size instead:
“You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
“Leap, and the net will appear.”
“The most effective way to do something, is to just do it!”
Practicing French every day is important, so pick your favorite phrase and make it your mantra. Then think of it the next time you feel frustrated along your journey to incorporate French learning into your daily life.
How to Stop Making Excuses and Learn French Every Day, Starting Aujourd’hui
Below are four classic excuses language learners make and 10 quick and easy tricks to avoid them.
Find yourself using one of these excuses? Pick your favorite tips and tricks from the list below and commit to incorporating at least one of them into your day, every day.
Crush your doubts and fears, stop making excuses and start making the progress you really want to see!
Excuse #1: “I Don’t Have Time to Devote to Learning French Every Single Day.”
Create a sense of urgency.
If you were suddenly faced with an emergency situation, you’d find the time to take care of it. It’s true that we only have so many hours in a day, a week, a month, a year… And yes, we are all “busy” people, leading “busy” lives, with “busy” schedules.
But if you decide to make something—like, say, language learning—a priority, you’ll suddenly find that the time you have will stretch and that your “busy” schedule was not too busy to accommodate the extra commitment after all.
Transform your daily morning or evening routine into French.
You are most alert at the beginning of a day. At night, your brain processes all the information you learned recently. Practicing and learning French in the morning and before bedtime can be a good, low-stress way to incorporate French into your daily life without taking a chunk out of your schedule.
For example, if you read a book before falling asleep at night, try picking a French one instead. It can be the French translation of your favorite book, like “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” or just a famous French classic. You can also narrate your routine in French, use labels around your house or find other ways to think in French.
Make your commute a little less boring (and a lot more fun)
Read a French book, catch up on the news in French, or listen to a French audiobook or podcast during your commute. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Check out News In Slow French. The title says it all!
With News In Slow French, you can listen to news stories in, well, slow French. The audio broadcasts include the French transcripts and English translations.
And if you’re not driving, you can also get a sense of immersion while having fun by using FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Say au revoir to boredom and salut to fun commutes that end way too fast!
Google in French!
Chances are, you probably Google things out of curiosity or for research purposes at least once a day. Curious about the health benefits of blueberries? Need to know the capital of the Netherlands? Interested in learning more about going green?
Next time you have to Google something, use Google.fr to get your results in French! And for fun, check out this list of the top things people Googled on French Google in 2016.
Excuse #2: “I Don’t Have the Resources to Learn French.”
You have more resources at your disposal than you think! And a big one is your own creativity. If you’ve made the decision to prioritize language learning, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to study, learn and practice everywhere!
Study the old-fashioned way with free resources from your local library
Pick up a French textbook from your local library (preferably one that comes with an audio CD) and go through one section or a certain number of pages per day. You can do this over your morning coffee, during your lunch break or on your commute.
And you never know, your local library might have French classes, too! You can also check out Litterature Audio for free audio book versions of over 6000 books. Oh, and here are some free e-books in French, too. You’re welcome!
Excuse #3: “I Don’t Have Anyone to Practice French With.”
Find a language exchange partner
It’s surprisingly easy to find opportunities for practicing your French speaking and listening skills! For starters, you can find a language exchange partner. Below are some more tips to stop this classic (but unfounded!) excuse from hindering your French-learning aspirations.
Find your local Alliance Française and attend one (or all!) of their events
The Alliance Française (French Alliance) is a phenomenal organization that aims to share the French language and culture with people around the world. The group hosts events, talks, movie nights, wine and cheese nights and more. There are over 100 locations throughout the US alone, so check to see if there’s one near you!
Talk to Siri in French
If you have an iPhone, change Siri’s language to French. The next time you need to know the time mid-workout, you’ll be forced to ask Siri in French. Oh, and heads up: Enunciating in French is significantly harder when you’re out of breath in the middle of a three-mile run.
And speaking of using technology to our learning advantage, you can also change your Facebook language or email settings to French. As a bonus, when you email someone and it says “Envoyé de mon iPhone” (“Sent from my iPhone”) at the bottom, you’ll encourage others to make the language switch, too! (Or they’ll marvel at your ambition. It’s a win either way!)
Watch the evening news in French
Do you like to stay up-to-date with current events at the end of a long day? Try doing so in French! It’ll help you keep your aural comprehension skills in tip-top shape. Check out shows like “On n’est pas couché” (loosely, “We’re not sleeping yet,” or “We can’t go to bed just yet”), which has a YouTube channel that you can subscribe to.
Excuse #4: “I Already Have so Many Other Hobbies and Extracurricular Activities in My Life.”
Hobbies and fun pastimes make you a happier person! If you really don’t think you can fit one more life-enriching endeavor to your schedule, then French-ify your current hobbies and extracurricular activities.
Turn your hobby into a language learning opportunity
Love cooking? Find some new French recipes to try! Enjoy playing board games? Get together with your language exchange partner and play a French board game, like the French version of Monopoly!
Whatever your hobby is and whatever your extracurricular interests are, there’s probably a way to transform it into a fun French learning exercise. Use your creativity, and the sky’s the limit!
Use the French versions of (or alternatives to) your most-used apps
If you spend an hour every day on the New York Times crossword puzzle app, why not try an app of mots croisés (“crossword puzzles”) in French? Whatever your most-used apps are, go to Google (that is, Google.fr, of course!) and find a French version or a similar French alternative.
Follow a guided meditation session in French
And if all this talk of studying and learning is stressing you out, treat yourself to a guided meditation session in French using an app like Petit Bambou (“little bamboo”).
Remember, the only thing stopping you from achieving your goals is you!
So take charge, remind yourself how unbelievably unique and amazing you are and go crush those language learning goals—one day at a time!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.