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Tips for staying motivated (when you’re learning Dutch)

It’s not always easy to keep motivated when you’re learning something new, so here are some ideas to get you going again.

Sometimes, things may start to slow down and you might feel like you’re not moving forward towards achieving your goals. It’s during these times that getting motivated to set goals and reaching them can be really challenging. As hard as it may be to get started it’s important to follow through on the things you want to do. Here are a few tips to help you get back on track.

1. Set realistic goals. You may have heard this before, but setting SMART goals can help organize how you approach different achievements. You can use SMART goals not only for long term goals but for smaller ones as well. If you need to, use a goal-setting worksheet to help plan your process. SMART stands for:

  1. S – Specific

  2. M – Measurable

  3. A – Achievable

  4. R – Realistic

  5. T – Time-based

For example, if your long term goal is improving your Dutch skills by one level over a period of 4 months, then you can set a SMART goal for each of your study sessions. You can measure out the time to study a specific subject for two hours with 15 minute breaks (time-based), and do this twice a week (realistic). This plan seems really achievable!

2. Have a support system. The people around you are really important and help you respond to challenges. You’ll want to surround yourself with people (locals, neighbours, friends, coleagues) who care about you and your well-being. If you find it helpful, you can ask people you trust if they can help you keep track of your goals and check in on your progress from time to time. They can also help you if you start to feel overwhelmed. If you don’t have a support system, you might want to find a Dutch tutor (online) to support you, track your progress and help you achieve your goal.

3. Recognize your roadblocks. Do you know what’s holding you back? You might be surprised that there is something keeping you from achieving your goals. This “something” might be a lack of skill in one area, or a quality you may not realize may be holding you back. If you’ve worked with someone on a task before, you could ask them what might be holding you down. It’s important to reflect on yourself and how you start your work so you can think of ways to improve. If you don’t know exactly how to improve these skills, contact a Dutch language teacher to help you with this.

4. Be kind to yourself. Take care of your health and see yourself in a positive light. You may make mistakes or not get the (fast) result you wanted, but these are all learning experiences that will help you grow. Practice positive self-talk, and talk to yourself the way you would talk to a loved one.

5. Celebrate the small and big victories. If you completed a goal, whether it’s big or small, it’s still an achievement! So be sure to take some time to take a break, maybe treat yourself to your favourite meal. When you’re done celebrating, keep up the motivation by setting a new goal and keep growing!

P.S You got this. You CAN do it!

If you need help from a professional and experienced language teacher, you can schedule a free 15-minute meeting with Dutch of Course to discuss your personal goals:


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