How To Stay Motivated When Learning English

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

What do you do to stay motivated as you are learning English?

It can be really hard to find that motivation to learn. So, In today’s video, we’re going to talk about one of my favourite topics: how to stay motivated as you’re learning English.

There are so many things that might contribute to you losing motivation:

⭐ if you feel like you’re not making any progress
⭐ if you’re not enjoying studying English – maybe it’s not fun for you anymore.
⭐ if you have other priorities – like family, work, or health commitments.
⭐ Or if you’re getting back into learning English after taking a break.

I’ve taken these four common motivation issues and, using the advice given by students inside Hey Lady! I’ve put together some tips and advice for you on how to stay motivated when you’re learning English.

Motivation is hard, but it’s totally doable. Even if you take one step at a time, it’s still a step, and that’s important.

Video Transcript
Section 1
Well hey there I’m Emma from mmmEnglish and today we are talking about one of my favourite topics: how to stay motivated as you’re learning English.

Let’s be honest, very few of us are able to stay excited about something a hundred per cent of the time, right?

Especially if that something takes a lot of time, effort or energy to make it happen like becoming fluent in another language, for example. It takes work and effort to stay focused, to keep on the path, to keep working towards your goals.

So let’s talk about what you can do if you’ve lost the motivation to learn, to study or to practise English.

Hey Lady! is an online community where women from around the world meet to practise speaking English together. It’s the easiest way to find English-speaking friends and to get regular practice, the practice that you need to speak English confidently and fluently.

Hey Lady! is a safe and supportive space for women with an intermediate to advanced level of English. Come and visit us at and discover the English speaking version of you today.

Do you sometimes lose motivation with your English practice? I’m curious to find out what you do to get your motivation back. Have you tried something that didn’t really work? Or is there something that you do regularly that does work?

Share it in the comments. I would genuinely love to hear from you.

Motivation is something that we talk about a lot over inside Hey Lady!

Hey Lady! is my online English community and we’re always discussing strategies and ideas, especially about what we can do if we lose motivation. And this can happen for all sorts of different reasons, right?

  • If you’re not making any progress or you don’t feel like you are.
  • If you’re not enjoying studying the language.
  • Maybe you have other priorities, family or work or health commitments
  • and maybe you’re trying to get back into English after you’ve taken a break and that can feel hard too.

So today I’m going to talk about what you can do in all four of those different situations to try and get some of that motivation back, to get back on track.

But the advice that I’m sharing doesn’t come from me alone, it comes from all of my students inside Hey Lady! too, their advice was so spot on when we were talking about it, I just had to create a video and share it all with you too.

So let’s start here.

1. I’ve been learning English for a while and I don’t feel like I’m making any progress.

What can I do?

So the underlying feeling here is: What’s the point of all of this study and practice if I’m not improving?

And my question to you would then be: Well, what are you doing to keep track of your progress?

There is a real difference between feeling like you’re not making progress and actually documenting your progress as evidence and knowing that you’re not making progress.

So two things here. Set clear and achievable goals and keep a progress diary so that you can keep track of your progress. It doesn’t have to be complicated but it should be something that you do to document the action that you take along with the success that you have and the things that you still need to work on.

So let’s look at some examples of this.

  • I watched a lesson about the second conditional.
  • I practised writing sentences and sent them to my tutor to check.
  • I met my speaking partner and talked about what we would do if we were invited to meet the Dalai Lama.

So some of these things went really well. Success could be:

  • I had a really interesting conversation with someone in English.
  • I feel more comfortable using contractions when I speak.
  • I seem to be using the second conditional really well when I write.

But then there’s the things that I still need to work on.

  • I’m not automatically using the second conditional when I’m speaking.
  • I hesitate and I think too much about the structure.

So keeping track of this progress allows you to see what you’ve been doing and prove that you’ve been doing things, helps you to see your success and now you also know what you need to keep working on, what you need to keep improving so that you can feel that progress over time.

I’ve made you a really simple PDF download that will help you to set your goals and keep track of your progress as you go and I’ve linked to it down in the description, it is such a simple and easy way to record and measure your progress.

2. I have to learn English and I’m just not enjoying it.

What can I do?

This is tough. It’s tough to get your mind out of this place, we all go through periods like this whether it’s learning a language or an instrument or a new skill, whatever it is, sometimes it feels hard and it doesn’t feel fun.

And if it doesn’t feel fun and we find ourselves thinking: Why am I doing this? What’s it all for? What’s the point?

In these moments we’re often asking ourselves these questions because we’re not really clear on why, why you’re doing this. This is your reason, your purpose for working so hard. If your reason is strong enough, you should be able to use it to refocus your energy, to see the big picture and understand why all this hard work is worth it.

Here are some really powerful reasons why you should be studying and practising your English.

  • I’m improving my English so that I can study my Masters abroad.
  • I can attend conferences and I can create career opportunities for myself and my family.
  • Now that I live in an English-speaking country, I want to be able to speak with my children’s teachers at school and mingle with the other parents at birthday parties and become friends with my neighbours.

These reasons are huge motivators, it’s about identity, recognition, friendship, these are really strong human desires.

Here’s a less powerful reason why.

  • I want to be able to speak with native speakers.

This one is not specific enough, it’s not meaningful enough.

When times get tough and you feel unmotivated, having that really strong reason why, that strong purpose will encourage you to pick yourself up and get back to work.

So I want you to tell me, what is your reason for learning English? Tell me down in the comments and try and make it as powerful, as meaningful as you can.

What about your life will change if you can speak English clearly and confidently?

Next, create an English learning journey that excites you. If you’re going to boring language classes and you’re complaining about not enjoying it, it’s up to you to mix things up a little, to try some different classes or work with a different tutor, see if you have more luck joining language exchanges or online communities like Hey Lady!

Everything is in your control so if you’re bored and you’re feeling uninspired, do something different.

Here are two interesting ways to mix things up a little, delve into your existing hobbies and find other people who share your interests.

No matter what your hobby is, there is definitely an English speaking space out there for it.

Are you into gaming? Play online and talk to your opponents. Find forums or discussion groups to talk about the latest games and stuff. I mean other gaming stuff, I guess.

Or cooking. What about cooking, movies, music, meme-making, bike riding, gardening, whatever it is, there are forums, discussion groups that you can join.

I know we have lots of interest groups that have formed inside Hey Lady! for this exact reason so that you have a way of sharing and exchanging your passions through your English.

You want to engage with someone so you can try different social media platforms, especially those that are tailored for discussion and interaction: Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, where you can reach out to people that you follow and start a conversation.

When you do find someone to chat with and you can see how your English skills are creating new opportunities and experiences, well that is a huge motivator.

Okay how about this one.

3. To be honest, I have other priorities right now. I just can’t focus on my English.

This is a tricky one because life happens, doesn’t it? A family member becomes ill, work gets really busy maybe we have problems in relationships with the people around us.

We have to manage all kinds of different stresses and sometimes your English practice has to take a back seat and that’s okay.

But there are a couple of things that you can do to take a break when you need it but then make sure you get back to your practice after that.

And I think the secret is to allow yourself to take a timed break. Maybe a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, maybe a month. If you can put a deadline on it, do it.

The problem is with an open-ended break, we can just keep putting it off, pushing it back again and again.

So write the date down, put it in your calendar, set the intention by telling someone else your plan. These are all really small things but they will help you to stay true to that date.

It’ll allow you to give yourself the permission you need to take a break, know that that break is specifically to help you heal, recover, rest and come back to what you’re working on with full energy and optimism and motivation to keep going.

And even if you are on a break, you can still immerse yourself in other ways. Your English practice doesn’t have to be a hundred per cent study all of the time.

Ask yourself:

4. How can I keep English around me in my life even if I’m taking a break from formal study?

Music or podcasts or movies. There are so many different ways to keep engaging with English unofficially.

Okay so I took a break but now I feel like I’ve forgotten all the English I know. How can I get back into it?

Well firstly, you’re never back at square one again. If you’ve started learning something then that information is stored somewhere in your brain somewhere, you just need to access it.

So start by doing a little revision, go back through your old coursework or books. Test yourself on what you remember, you probably remember a lot more than you think.

But find those areas where you’re getting stuck, spend some time revising, revising what you know and it will come back to you faster than it came to you the first time around.

So give yourself ten to twenty minutes every day to get back up to speed. And be reasonable with yourself, if you’ve taken a long break I’d say you’d need around one month of daily practice to get yourself back up to speed, back to where you were before you first took that break.

And it’s at that point that you can start talking about taking on new knowledge and learning new things and really seeing that improvement.

Okay my friends, I really hope that this advice helps you to find some of that lost motivation again. Work on it regularly, find the favourite parts of learning English and run with those. Take time out when you need to, rest, recharge, come back stronger than before.

And don’t forget to download my progress tracker so that you can prove to yourself that you’re heading in the right direction. The link is down in the description below and I’ve also created this video right here about habits that you can do daily to improve your English every day.

Links mentioned in the video

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