27 habits you need to change if you want to learn French (or another language)
About 50 million people are studying French as a second language and 300 million speak French, according to Francophonie Organization.
These figures prove that if there are so many people speaking and learning French, you can’t be wrong about learning French as well. It also means that there is no reason you can’t make it either. If they can do it, you can do it too.
But now, if you are reading this article, you are probably trying to learn and you have doubts about your progress, your way to improve your skills or how you would reach self-confidence while speaking. I totally understand you. I’m learning my 7th language – I’m not fluent in the other 6, I wish, and sometimes, I really wonder how I am going to reach the next level, especially with my Dutch for example.
Learning a new language such as French or adapting any new discipline implies motivation, frequency, practice, failures, doubts, self-study and so on. Let’s examine French as a diet. Whatever the reasons you decide to implement a change in your life, in order to be efficient, some of us (if not all of us) need to also adopt or adapt new skills or habits.
To implement a change and enjoy results of the said changes, we, first of all, need to be patient. Like project, six packs or diet, French is no exception. Results take time. Results require routine. Results require motivation. Results require mistakes. Results demand regularity. As for your diet, you prepare your body and your mind for the change. For a few days or weeks, your body evaluates and processes changes. This period might be uncomfortable because it’s an adaption stage. It’s also a challenging period in an instant reward society where people are always looking for short cuts. There are no short cuts to learning French. The only short cut is patience.
After the uncomfortable stage, a few results are enjoyable. Many people tend to drop it once they enjoy the first positive results. It’s important to keep the faith and continue to really implement changes for real.
Thanks to my decade of experience in teaching French to adults and helping them to be more confident; I’m able to identify the habits you need to change right now if you want to progress and speak French at some point in your life.
Here are some of the habits you need to change if you want to finally speak French for good:
- Being lazy
- Postponing your studies
- Comparing yourself with others
- Not setting up goals
- Being disorganized
- Not knowing what your methodology is
- Not being consistent
- Refusing to practice
- Refusing to let go
- Allowing doubts to be stronger than you
- Blaming yourself for taking a well-deserved break
- Blaming others: kids, partner, work, etc., for affecting your consistency
- Letting others destabilise you and your guts (kids, partner, in laws, toxic boss,..)
- Being impressed by native speakers – who sometimes speak worst English or Spanish than your French
- Not having a routine
- Not believing in yourself
- Not challenging yourself
- Refusing to disconnect your native language
- Refusing to see the world differently
- Trying to find explanations and exact translations in your language
- Not trying to understand
- Not thinking outside the box
- Refusing to integrate yourself
- Thinking that certain rules are ridiculous – if there are so many people speaking, there might be another reason
- Associating French with the wrong people (in-laws, dickhead boss)
- Not preparing your mind to have a new language body
- Wanting to learn French only with short cuts
Now that I’ve listed the major habits that block you to learn French. You know what you need to implement in your life to finally learn and speak French, where do you see yourself? Can you identify yourself?
Am I legitimately positioned to share with you the points above? Absolutely, yes, I am. Like you, I’m an adult learner and some languages are faster to learn than others. I learned Spanish quickly because while living in Madrid, I didn’t have any other solutions than to speak the language if I wanted to improve my integration. At that time, my English wasn’t good enough to survive anywhere. I studied Spanish and English religiously and I even considered myself bilingual. However, I can assure you that with other languages, I never managed to reach the intermediate level e.g learning Dutch.
And you? What are the bad habits that hold you from improving your French skills? Why do you want to learn French or what is stopping you?
Join my weekly newsletter and share your bad habits with me.