Is one of your goals for the year to learn more Hungarian? Or maybe to speak Hungarian better by the end of the year? If so, I have bad news for you: unfortunately, these are not good goals. Sure, they sound very good, and it would be great if you could learn Hungarian more or speak Hungarian better by the end of the year, but such very general statements don’t actually help you achieve your goals.
This article is a transcript of a video I made for the members of our Daily Dose of Hungarian project. The video is available here for the members in Hungarian with Hungarian and English subtitles.
If you want your motivation to last more than 1-2 weeks, you need to be more specific when setting your goals. Have you ever heard of the acronym SMART? SMART goals were originally invented for entrepreneurs, but you can use the idea perfectly in many other areas too. The acronym SMART covers 5 criteria that a goal must meet. Let’s see what these five criteria are!
S for Specific
It’s no good if your goals are too general or too vague. So instead of saying, “I will learn more Hungarian.”, say, for example, “I will learn Hungarian at least 5 times a week for at least 15 minutes.” Instead of saying, “By the end of the year, I will speak Hungarian better,” you could say, “I want to be able to talk to my Hungarian relatives about everyday things.”
M for Measurable
It can be very motivating when you can see that you are making progress towards the goal you have set, and it helps you to keep moving forward on the path. Set goals that you can easily measure, that you can track. For example, the aforementioned “I will learn at least 15 minutes of Hungarian at least 5 times a week” is a perfectly measurable goal. Here’s another example: instead of “I will improve my vocabulary.”, you could say “I will learn 5 new words a day.” Journaling or various habit tracking apps can also help with this; I use an app called Streaks to track my habits, for example.
A is for Attainable, or Achievable
If you set goals that are unrealistic, that are impossible to achieve, it can quickly discourage you from learning. If, for example, you have a very busy day, a very busy job, it’s totally unrealistic to put in an hour of Hungarian every day. But if you want to make a habit out of learning Hungarian, you can say “I’ll spend at least 15 minutes on Hungarian every day.” So on a busy day you can just get through your daily Hungarian on public transport on the way to work, but on a more relaxed day you can sit down for a longer period of time.
R for Relevant
Set goals that are really important to you and do tasks that are relevant. For example, if your greatest desire is to be able to talk better with your Hungarian relatives, don’t set a language exam as a goal, because a language exam requires learning completely different things and doing completely different tasks than an ordinary conversation with friends and acquaintances. Or, if your goal is to expand your vocabulary, learn words that are really important to you, not every new word you come across.
T for Time Bound
Set a deadline. For example, for the goals you’ve set so far, add “for one month” or “in 6 months”. “I will learn at least 15 minutes of Hungarian every day for one month.”, “I will learn 500 new words in 6 months.” These deadlines should also be realistic, and what I think is also very important is that when the deadline expires, you should reflect on whether you have achieved the goal you set. If not, why not? Was the goal unrealistic? Did you expect too much of yourself? How could you change it to make it happen? And if you did, reward yourself and set your next goal. 🙂
I have created a collection of SMART goals that our Daily Dose of Hungarian program can help you with. Have a look at the list, pick the ones that appeal to you, adapt them to suit you, and go for it, reach your goals! 🙂
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