Need some inspiration to keep up your New Year’s Resolutions?

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LFF Founder Jessica Bonnard tells how she stays motivated on her language learning journey

Do you ever just feel like giving up? I know I do. I might have designed a whole language teaching programme, but some nights I’d honestly rather flop on the sofa than go to my online Spanish class.

I love my teacher and my classmates, we always have a giggle together. But often I’m so busy with work, I end up joining my weekly lesson from a motorway service station or dialling in from an unforgiving time zone. 

We’ve also reached a level where the grammar is becoming more challenging. For a sworn grammarphobe, the Spanish subjunctive is nothing short of triggering. So I must admit, I wasn’t sure whether I’d sign up this year.

In the end though, I decided I owed it to myself.

I knew skipping a term would make it harder to keep up with the classmates I have spent four years getting to know. How else would I hear about their kids, partners and holiday homes?

I reminded myself of the last time I struggled with a tense. I had to keep at it for three whole terms, without much of a clue what was going on, before the penny finally dropped. So I know I’ll get to grips with the subjunctive over time.

I thought about the trip to Spain I’m planning with my daughter this summer.

Last time we went, speaking the language made no end of difference – and not just when I needed to know what was in my paella. We got great tables, better service and smiles from the locals when they saw we were making an effort.

Finally, I let myself be carried along on a wave of New Year’s good intentions. What seemed inhumane in the depths of Christmas self-indulgence – healthy eating, sport and limited wine – suddenly looked like a good idea again. I knew it would help me to keep my brain healthy and challenged.

While our classes can take away the stress of language learning, there’s still a lot of hard work involved. We can’t say it will be easy – or quick. But if you’re hesitating to sign up again, you might need to remind yourself of why you started learning in the first place.