Learn English – I achieved my language learning goal for 2020

For the first time in my life, I set a goal last January 1, 2020 and surpassed it.  I’ll tell you about that and what my new goal for 2021 is.


Victory! I achieved my goal for 2020. I kept my New Year’s resolution. I finished, yes. Have a listen and watch and I’ll explain what my goal was and how it turned out.

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

Sometimes in past years, I have made a resolution, I have set a goal for the new year. We do that often here in America. And in the past, well, I have never kept a New Year’s resolution. The longest I went before giving up was two and a half weeks.

I had read a book about writing a thank-you note, thanking a person by writing a note, writing a new note every single day for a year, writing to a different person each day. I thought that was a great idea. And I resolved, I decided I would do that. But after about 17 or 18 days, having written 17 or 18 notes, I gave it up.

But then I found a new passion, learning Spanish. In June, June 1st, 2018, I started to study Spanish, to learn Spanish because I thought I was going to co-lead a trip to France and Spain with another teacher. And I didn’t know hardly any Spanish. 

So, I started listening to podcasts, watching simple videos on YouTube. I began to read simple things and I kept track of the time I spent with Spanish. Last December, after a year and a half, I had accumulated, I had spent 792 hours with Spanish, learning Spanish. 

So, my goal for 2020, my New Year’s resolution was to double that, to add another 800 hours in one year, not in a year and a half. And I figured out how many hours a month of listening to podcasts, of watching videos, of reading, of trying to speak to people, I figured out how much I needed to do every month.

And you know what? I kept up. I did it every day. I wrote down in a little notebook, how many minutes I spent listening to this podcast or reading my Bible or having a conversation or watching a video. I, every day, religiously wrote down my minutes and kept track by month. 

And as of today, when I’m recording this, December 30th, 2020, I have exceeded my goal. My goal was an extra 800 hours and I am up to 1049 hours. I did the math. That’s 31% more than my goal. I’m amazed! 

I am so pleased and thankful to God for helping me, for keeping me on track, for giving me the desire, the, the, the will to keep this up. What has been the result? 

My comprehension, my understanding of Spanish, has really increased. Yes, for sure. But, I’m not satisfied with my speaking. Each week, I get only, I only speak about 45 minutes every week. I have 45 minutes of an intercambio, 15 with one person and 30 minutes with another. And sometimes I get to use my Spanish with other people, but it’s not regular.

I heard on three different podcasts, three different people say that there was a benefit in talking to yourself in Spanish, in the language. And the last man who explained this, gave a system and I’ve tried it out once. And I think it’s going to work.

So, here’s my new goal for 2021. Once a week or not once a week, but in a week, I want to spend 60 minutes, one hour. It can be several times a week or one time, just once, but at least 60 minutes, I want to spend talking to myself. 

I have Voice Memo on my iPhone. And I tried this out.

I pressed the Voice Memo and I described what we had done over Christmas. We went to visit our son and his family. The recording was about six minutes. Then I played it back and I could detect, I could pick out my errors, and I wrote them down. And the words I didn’t know, that I needed, I wrote them down and looked them up.

And then the next day I looked over those words, the corrections, covered that up. I re-recorded the same topic, what we did over Christmas. And then I listened to that again. Things were a little bit different. I saw some new errors, looked up some new words and all that took about an hour. 

So, what I have done is on my calendar, I have made an appointment with myself on Thursdays, not at a certain time. But I know that if I haven’t accumulated, if I haven’t spoken and corrected at least one hour in that week, I will do it. I will finish on Thursday.

I’m curious. I’m curious to see how much this helps.  My theory, my hypothesis is that it will be very useful because I’m only going to be talking about the things I want to talk about. 

Today on a walk, I practiced a different topic. I listened to a podcast in Spanish, and then I spoke into my Voice Memo and gave a summary. I said what I could remember in Spanish about what I had just heard. I summarized the content. 

That’s another possibility. You could do that with something you watched on a TV program or a book. Anyway, that’s my goal for the year. And because my passion is to learn Spanish and to speak it better, I, I have no doubt. I know, God willing, that I will follow through. I will do this. I might even do more than the one hour a week. But I have learned that it is best to set easier goals. Because if you set a goal too high, it’s easy to get discouraged. My example from 2020, I set 800 hours as a goal and I did more, some psychology. 

Well, what about you? Do you have a language learning goal for 2021? Maybe you ought to think about it. And, don’t make it too hard, but make it achievable and see what it does for your English language acquisition, or if you’re learning another language. Leave me a comment below this video and tell me. 

Well, if you would like the written words for this podcast, remember that a day after this posts on YouTube, I try to have a transcript, the written words on my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com. You’ll find most of my videos have transcripts over the past almost three years now. I wish you a very happy New Year and we are all praying that the virus will cease doing its damage.

(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)

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