Learning Portuguese is a long-term goal, so in the moment, studying is always going to feel like something that can be done later. Unless you’re trying to pass the CIPLE or you have upcoming travel plans, there’s no strict time constraint, which makes it very easy to procrastinate. Keep that in mind next time you say “I’m too busy right now, I’ll do it later”. Will you really?

Learning comes from thousands of little moments over time, so fight the urge to save it for later. Even if you don’t have hours to spare, a quick review session or listening to a 2-minute dialogue will help keep you on track. Maintaining motivation is easier said than done, so it’s important to remind yourself exactly why learning Portuguese is a priority.

For example, there are big, long-term, broader reasons, such as:

• I’m learning Portuguese so I can be closer to my family

• I’m learning Portuguese so I can get residency in Portugal

• I’m learning Portuguese so I can feel more confident

And there are smaller, everyday, specific reasons, like:

• I'm learning Portuguese so I can order food at my favourite Portuguese restaurant

• I'm learning Portuguese so I can read that José Saramago novel

• I’m learning Portuguese so I can talk about my symptoms at my next doctor's appointment

• I’m learning Portuguese so I can make small talk with my neighbour on Sunday

• I’m learning Portuguese so I can email my cousin

Whatever it may be, write down all the reasons, and update the second list every month or so. The more specific you get, the more you will notice your progress. Language learning is a tumultuous series of successes and failures, so it’s easy to miss the good parts if you aren’t looking out for them. Your long-term goals may be a higher priority, but the tiny everyday successes are what keep you motivated along the way.

Now that you’re tracking all the reasons “why”, set out visual reminders in your home or workspace. This could be a souvenir, a photo of a Portuguese loved one, a place in Portugal you want to visit, or anything that makes you think of what you’re working toward.

For more information, please contact Practice Portuguese.