So, here’s my take on new year resolutions, and why learning a new language should not be one of them.
At this point of the year, across our network we have a massive influx of people enquiring about learning a new language with us. This is great for business of course – and do please continue to enquire! But I thought you might like to hear this little insight from over five years of running our schools. Our data shows that students who started learning a language with us at other points of the year notably in summertime, or at the start of an academic year, are still learning with us years later. Those who started learning early in the year as a new year resolution, perhaps that January, February time, are the students who have a greater percentage chance of dropping out before the end of the first year.
Why is that the case? Personally, I believe that it’s not worth putting extra pressure on yourself at this time of the year. A point where we should be in hibernation. We are just coming out of a month of two of overindulgence. We are tired, skint, miserable… not to mention the darkness which is just horrid. This is not a good time to put another layer of pressure on yourself.
As we move into the spring-time we are more likely to view new ideas and new plans more positively. Also, in summer we may have been on holiday and perhaps realised how crap we actually are at speaking Spanish or French, and therefore we see a real motivation and a practical application of this resolution to learn a new language.
I think it’s worth bearing in mind that language-learning, if done correctly, should be a complete change in a way of life. Learning a language is not something that can be done in a new year or even in the space of one year for that matter. Learning a language is something that takes a lifetime, or at least five, six or seven years to gain the sort of fluency that these new year resolution-makers might have in their mind as their goal. Let’s be honest, how many times have you said you’re going to go on a fitness kick in January, only to be carrying those extra pounds when you reach the beach in summer? And by the way, still not being able to say more that “merci” or “gracias”.
So, think about it. Take a pause. Don’t be in such a rush. By all means, put language learning on your new year’s resolution list. But be aware that this is not just a flash in the pan. If you embark on this journey, recognise that it will take more than just a few months at the start of the new year to achieve your goals.
And of course, if you do choose to learn a language this year, you know where to come. 😊