If you are - you could talk to me – I have done this a few times….
If you can’t talk to me, keep reading - you may get a few tips ….
Many adults, as learners, are great at self-sabotage. We get in our own way of learning and don’t give ourselves the opportunity to learn properly.
"Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn't happen." Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
People seldom mean to sabotage themselves. It's not generally a conscious decision to spoil things - and that's the problem. We can be left with the feeling: "Why did I do that?" Sometimes it might be a fear of failure; sometimes it might be changing bad habits…but self-sabotage always has some conscious justification (or what seems like an excuse) to explain the situation. I learned a lesson years ago that if I felt the need to justify, perhaps I was the one who was wrong!!
See if you can recognize any of these:
I want to learn my language but I’m soooo busy – I can never find the time to do my lessons properly. If this sounds familiar - a key for me was to stop making this my excuse; I got my diary out and diarized time for my language. Set aside certain time (or times) each week that you consistently use for your language. You may go slower in your language journey than you want but by consistently ‘drip feeding’ your language you will get the end result you want.
I’ve been learning for ages but still can’t speak …We often self-sabotage because of perfectionism - if it isn't perfect, then what's the point? My tip here is to focus on what you can say and say that really well – then extend ..
We all expect instant results and when we don't reach our goals right away, it's easy to become discouraged and use it as an excuse to give up. But this is a language journey – so enjoy the process not just the end result.
I’ve got no one to practice with……in this era of technology this is not valid – go onto the internet and check out the language chat rooms or put a note on a university board/community centre asking for a language buddy. You’ll be surprised how many people would love the chance to swap languages over a coffee/beer.
I can’t remember anything… my memory is not what it used to be. I hear this often with older students – actually I don’t believe our memory deteriorates with age, but perhaps we lose some flexibility with the way information is learned and retrieved, often when we are doing multiple tasks. Guess what? Our mind does not operate flexibly when we are stressed or trying to do many things at the same time. If we store information in our subconscious mind properly – through visualization and repetition – know that it is there – it just needs to be retrieved. It’s a bit like meeting someone on the street whose name we know but have forgotten – we always remember as we are walking away. The information has been there all the time…
Old patterns will continue to emerge unless we get the right and left sides of our brains working in sync—make sure you have a good visual image of yourself speaking your new language and get excited when you think about this. Focus on this visualization before you start any learning and you will be thrilled when you are experiencing it as a reality.
One of the perks of my job is to see a prospective student make an enquiry about learning a language and then seeing them walk out of the Centre (in differing lengths of time) having achieved it…. It still continues to inspire me……
Joanne Ammerlaan has been helping people achieve their language goals at VLLC for 25 years.