Over time, many language learners hit a plateau where it starts to feel like all the effort isn’t paying off. You thought you would be fluent by now, but instead, you feel lost every time you try to have a conversation.

If the only measure of success is “being fluent”, then learning Portuguese will feel discouraging and never-ending. If you can shift your focus to enjoying the ongoing process of learning Portuguese, you’ll find that small, consistent improvements will soon accumulate and push you towards a new milestone.

Remember that failure is not only acceptable, it’s necessary! If you aren’t struggling and making mistakes, then you probably aren’t challenging yourself enough. Seeking out failure, rather than avoiding it, is an important step towards any kind of growth. The challenge becomes maintaining resilience in the face of these inevitable setbacks.

Defining clear, realistic goals is absolutely essential. “I want to speak fluently” may be your motivation, but as an actionable goal, it’s too vague and far off. Instead, goals should be specific and realistic: small things you can accomplish within the next day, week, or month.

They could be as simple as “ask for the menu in Portuguese at lunch today” or “memorise the numbers 1-20 by the end of the week”. A great way to start building a foundation for your own Portuguese learning is to clearly identify some of these baby steps that will have an impact on your daily life.

Think of your short-term goals as launching off points. If you feel excited about a particular topic or need a break from the structure, let yourself veer off the path to engage with the language until you find you need another boost.

Learning a language happens through thousands of small successes over time, rather than a few large leaps. Unfortunately, these milestones become less obvious the longer you spend learning the language, so just as you need to be intentional about goal setting, you also need to continuously look for these small achievements.

For more information on identifying realistic and motivating goals (and with Portuguese support along the way), visit practiceportuguese.com/goals