Language Learning Goals for January: Clear the List!

This is my first post of 2017. In this post, I'll be sharing my language learning goals for January as part of a blogging link-up called “Clear The List” a concept that was started by Lindsay from LindsayDoesLanguages and Shannon Kennedy from Eurolinguiste.

The idea is that you gain accountability and share the link love across your various blogs so that everyone benefits. It's a great concept, and I'm excited to take part as one of then new co-hosts.

Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste, Lindsay Dow of Lindsay Does Languages, Angel Pretot of French Lover, and Kris Broholm of Actual Fluency

Defining new goals

I don't make resolutions anymore. I think they are ineffective and represent a wishful thinking that only leads to overwhelm and burning out.

In 2017 I'll be attempting to learn two new languages from my new base in Denmark. This new workflow will be radically different than what I was using to learn Hungarian in Hungary, so when I set these initial goals I have to really go back to the basics.

This is a topic I have extensively covered in my premium course: Language Motivation Mastery, but here is the short version:

I generally work with two different types of goals.

Outcome goals: Usually longer-term, can be similar to “dreams” or “ultimate ambition” and

Process goals: The smaller goals, usually very frequent that contribute towards the outcome goals.

It's important to set very specific process goals, as the outcome goals can often be a bit vague and intangible. For example: what does it mean to “speak French well”?

2017: Romance Languages

In 2017 I've decided to finally tackle romance languages. After dabbling with Russian and Hungarian it will be a welcome change to get a bit closer to home, language-family wise.

My outcome goal for 2017 is therefore to speak lower conversation French and Spanish. I want to be able to converse on not too technical topics, understand what people say most of the time, that is the most important outcome goal.

The secondary outcome goal will be to read and watch native level material and understand enough to follow what is going on. I expect this won't be particularly difficult to reach, but we'll see when I get started how I progress.

I'm definitely not aiming for C1+ mastery levels, as the limited time scope of roughly 6 months per language will make this highly unrealistic.

I'll start with Spanish and then switch to French around the 6-month mark. If everything goes well I'd love to visit the Montreal Language Festival late August and learn French with higher intensity.

So, with that in mind let's take a look at some goals for January.

January Clear The List

Process Goals

My Spanish toolbox

Note: I'll be updating this every month to reflect all the software, services, and tools I've used.

Baselang: Unlimited Spanish tutoring classes for $129/pm

Language Hacking Spanish (Benny Lewis):

SpanishPod101: A great podcast with good explanations for new learners. Lots of content from total beginner to advanced levels.

Duolingo: Great little addictive language learning app for learning on the go or on the commute.

I'm making this month a little light, as I'll be extending my holiday break until January 10. Starting February I will reevaluate and see if I can do more.

It's always going to be a balance. I'm keen on learning Spanish and French as fast as possible, but I also have to remember to set aside time to produce content for Actual Fluency and my new upcoming projects.

2017 will be a year of hard work, but hopefully the results will be worth it.

What are your January goals?

Clear the list hosts:

Lindsay: LindsayDoesLanguages

Shannon: EuroLinguiste


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  • Good luck this month Kris. It seems we have similar aims as far as Spanish goes and I totally agree with your point about setting specific process goals. That’s exactly how I intend to kick on with French. Are you planning to use Benny’s book as a guide for what content area to study?

    • Thanks! I’ll just use Benny’s book as a kickstarter to build my script and basic/touristy fluency and then move onto something more substantive like Assimil or Teach Yourself. Best of luck in your Spanish and French studies!

  • Bea

    Good luck with your romance languages learning this year!
    I’m glad you’ll be starting with my dear native language, hope it won’t be too much of a pain in the *weknowwhere*. Anyway, I’m sure that after Russian and Hungarian, Spanish is going to be “pretty easy” for you 🙂

  • Helen Cunningham

    My goals for Spanish are very similar to yours and I too am using Benny’s Language Hacking book as a quick introduction / recap before I get immersed into Olly Richards Fluent Spanish Academy as my main resource. Do you think 6 months is a good timeframe to get to a lower conversational level? Do you set any time limits on how much time per day you spend on Spanish study? I really need to be at a conversational level by August this year as I am spending a month in Spain travelling with my family….. I will be coming back here to your blog to keep myself motivated.

    • Theoretically 6 months of focused study to reach conversational competence in a related language should be doable, but I don’t really want to focus so much on that. I’d rather focus on implementing the system that allows me to work on the language daily, and then see how far 6 months get me. Hopefully far! Best of luck with your mission too, keep me posted 🙂

  • Baselang sounds like a really interesting concept. I’d love to know what you think of the tutors there. And if you need a Spanish study buddy 😉 Good luck with your goals!

    • So far I’ve only had positive experiences. They’re very kind and friendly people on there. Thanks for the comment and organising the linkup 🙂

  • Kris, you know I’m gonna be wanting to speak Spanish next time I see you now! 😉 Suerte! Good luck for your languages in January! 🙂

  • Dorothée

    Buena suerte con tus objetivos en español!
    As I’m learning Spanish too, I’ll follow your learning and progress 🙂
    Happy new year and happy language goals for January!!

    • Thank you dearest 🙂 hope you have a great year too

  • ali

    Good luck Kris 😀

  • dandiprat

    Good luck Kris. We’ll be cheering for you.

  • If you talk French/Spanish with Benny in the future, those Romance languages then become Bromance languages!