To make progress faster in English, it’s not more English that you need, it’s a serious talk with yourself!
Does this sound familiar?
You sometimes do (or don’t do) things that block your success or prevent you from achieving your goals in English.
Don’t worry you’re not alone and it’s easy to do.
Today I nearly didn’t go running because “it looked like rain” The reality, however, was that I hadn’t been running for more than a week and:
- I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run as far as usual
- I’d feel like a failure.
How self-sabotage stops you from making progress
- Makes you miss valuable opportunities to practice and improve your language skills, which slows down the learning process.
- Demotivates you and makes it challenging to stay committed to your language learning journey
- Destroys your confidence and makes it harder to be consistent
- You lose your English mojo
It’s clearly not a good thing to do, so why do we do it?
Why do we self-sabotage?
There are many reasons that we might procrastinate or avoid engaging with English and putting in the required effort, including:
- Fear of making mistakes or not achieving fluency
- Being too perfectionist and setting unrealistic standards for ourselves
- Having low self-esteem or lack of confidence in our language abilities
- Telling ourselves we’re not capable of learning the language
- Comparing ourselves to others which leads to feelings of inadequacy and frustration
- Remembering past negative experiences with language learning, such as failure or embarrassment can create a mental block to avoid further pain
- Feeling pressured by others’ expectations to learn English
How to stop self-sabotaging to make progress faster
The first step to overcoming self-sabotage in your life (or at least keeping it to a minimum) is KNOWING that you’re doing it!
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Am I consistently putting off language learning tasks or making excuses to avoid them?
Procrastination is a classic sign of self-sabotage. If you find yourself delaying language learning activities, it’s time to dig deeper into the reasons behind this behaviour.
- Do I frequently engage in negative self-talk regarding English?
Negative self-talk can be a sure sign of self-sabotage. Recognize and challenge these negative thoughts to break free from them.
- Am I setting achievable and realistic language learning goals?
Unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and frustration, and stop you from making progress. Make sure your goals are achievable.
- Do I find it hard to celebrate my progress and achievements in learning English?
Failing to acknowledge and celebrate your progress can be a form of self-sabotage. It’s important to appreciate your efforts and growth, no matter how small.
- Do I fear failure and avoid challenges in my language learning journey?
The fear of making mistakes and the desire to be perfect can hold you back. See mistakes as learning opportunities and challenges as stepping stones to improvement.
So the next time you tell yourself…
I haven’t got time for English
True or self sabotage?
I don’t know enough vocabulary to give a presentation in English
True or self sabotage?
People won’t understand me
True or self sabotage?
Once you identify that it’s self-sabotage, you can take steps to change your thoughts and behaviours.
Be kind to yourself
Everyone makes mistakes and faces challenges. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer a friend.
Set Realistic Goals
Break down your language learning goals into small, manageable steps and of course, celebrate each small achievement along the way!
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For every negative thought you have about your English, try to reframe it with a positive and encouraging one e.g instead of “I don’t understand what my boss says” say “I don’t understand everything my boss says yet but I understand more than I did 6 months ago”
Join language learning communities, connect with fellow learners, or find a language partner/study buddy. Sharing your experiences and challenges will help you keep going and feel motivated.
In order to keep going, even when things feel difficultm understand that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Each mistake is an opportunity to grow and learn more.
In summary, overcoming self-sabotage takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it for anyone who wants to be the best version of their English self.
By the way, once I’d identified that the possible rain situation was just a rubbish excuse and goddamn it, I was self-sabotaging again, I put on my running shoes and headed for the hills…
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