Language Goals September 2016 #ClearTheList

Let me start this month's clear the list with a confession: it is very difficult for me - and, I assume, for many of you too, to accurately evaluate my work capacity and the time that will be necessary for a task which I am not used to doing often. This is the real challenge: in one month, how much exactly can you achieve?

That said, I am quite happy with my August achievements. It turns out that most of it is done; Youhou! You can find my list of goals for August here.

Let's jump to my...

August language learning review:

Spanish and Portuguese

I did it all! I don’t have any vocabulary backlog anymore, I had a Spanish lesson at the beginning of the month and even two Portuguese conversations since my teacher and i decided to do a regular language exchange. My level hasn’t dropped.

Mission accomplished.

Also, I read “El principito”, “the little prince” in Spanish. As for the routine, I’ll report about it in the “across languages” section


“A long conversation with a native”. - unfortunately, this didn’t happen; I repeatedly tried but my native wasn’t available. I’ll find another one.

“Intensive reading of one complex document” - in progress; the document turned out to be quite long and difficult (medical topic) and took me much more time than expected.


“Come up with a way to have more esperanto in my life. Read something. Or maybe listen to something”. - totally didn’t happen, I tried but couldn’t come up with something sustainable. Since I have many goals for the coming months, I’ll pause Esperanto for now.


“Read one book”: I read 3 and a half! Reading in French is really entertaining and is a great way to disconnect from work. I hope I can keep finding books in French, since my local library doesn’t stock that many.

Across languages:

  • A trip to the library: I even went twice!
  • Come up with a sustainable language learning routine - did it! In fact, I’m very happy with the results. This is going to be my new favourite tips for students. I found out that you can nail pretty much any task you have to do in a relatively short period of time if you just dedicate 30 minutes per day to it. 30 minutes a day, everyday. That’s all.

This technique is sometimes referred to as “the compound effect”: do something

Everyday and you will see good results. It doesn’t even have to be a 30 minutes commitment, it could be any duration, or any other way of quantifying what you do, such as “ten pushups” or “at least as many pushups as yesterday”

This approach has completely changed my way of organizing my tasks, not just language learning but pretty much everything I have to do. This is worth a dedicated article, so I’ll stop writing about it for now and instead I’ll share my...

Goals for September 2016

Without getting too nerdy about it, I use the SMART criteria to define my goals, which specify that goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time related. If you want to get things done, I strongly encourage you to also use this method or a similar one.

All languages - Method

  • Keep elaborating on the compound effect method to find a way to integrate all languages in a regular week. My dream would be to even make room for a new language.


  • Go to the library again - or maybe go to another one.


  • Take one lesson to make sure to keep my current level.
  • Decide on other Spanish tasks to integrate in the above mentioned routine. Options include extensive reading, intensive reading, watching videos, listening to music, a language exchange, writing, grammar exercises (ok I hate those, but they could help), following social media accounts etc.


  • Keep the language exchange with Ines going - that’s one conversation every other week.
  • Decide on other Portuguese tasks to integrate in the above mentioned routine. Same options as above.


  • Finish reading the document I started reading and learn all this frightening medical vocabulary
  • My long term goal in German is to be able to read books and articles about any subject (that I’m interested in) so yes, it’s relevant.
  • Find a German language partner or tutor to have regular conversations.


  • Keep reading
  • Also keep watching French movies with my wife who is learning French.


Since this goal setting exercise works so well, I’d also like to share a non-language goal for this month:

  • Exercise more. Currently, I do a little bit of yoga every morning but I feel that it’s not enough. I intend to build a more consistent exercising routine.

That’s it for this month - your turn now ! What language are you learning? What are your goals for September? Let me know in the comments!


Angel Prétot4 Comments