Why You Need To Stop Doing Language Learning Challenges in January and What To Do Instead

Self-love is really a foundation for everything, and however you practice or express that is so, so important.

Solange Knowles
TL;DR? Take a listen instead.

The Pressure of Keeping Up with Others

Everybody seems to do some kind of challenge in January. I've noticed that sometimes we tend to give up halfway through these challenges. If you happen to start a challenge in January, you've already given up and are now feeling bad about yourself by mid-month. Did it happen to you again this year? It's happened to me hella times before. Why is that?

One word: pressure. It's the collective pressure to finish a challenge in January. To start the new year on the right foot, but completely forgetting that you had two months of grueling holiday bullshit. 

Whether you were cooking, wrapping gifts, or making the house smell like a Scandinavian forest, by the end of December, you're burned out.  Add work and travel to that, and you're beyond spent. 

Oh, and let's not forget you celebrated the new year. You may have gone out, and even if you were one of the very few good people who stayed in and went to sleep early, you are still tired! That's not including the recovery time.

Avoid the Polyglot Rat Race

And I don't know about you, but something I've noticed about myself is that I've had to start about two weeks early to get any momentum for the new year. In the middle of the holiday kerfuffle, no wonder we're all stressed out. Last year, I did a language challenge. I posted the video of me using an app to decide which language I was going to learn to hold myself accountable. Because I was ambitious, I only put difficult languages on this wheel. *facepalm*

I had Swedish, Mandarin, Tagalog, and of course, the one that I end up getting, Persian. I did a 31-day challenge, and I drove myself completely nuts. For starters, there aren't a lot of resources for the Persian language. On top of that, I didn't quite understand what it would take to complete a 31-day language challenge with Persian. Had this been a language close to English or any of the other languages that I already know, it might have been a little bit easier. But I'm an overachiever; I tend to shoot myself in the foot often because of it. *womp, womp*

On top of learning this new language, I was also posting my daily progress. Several people joined the challenge with me, and I noticed that on the seventh or eighth day, people were starting to drop out. I saw that people weren't opening the emails, and I was receiving emails telling me, “Hey, I can't do this. This is too hard. This is too much.”

Only you know what you can and can't handle. Trying to overexert yourself for some vanity metric is not something you need to do now or ever. Instead, check-in with yourself before you take on another task. By the way, I'm also reminding myself!

Check out: Q + A: “How do you start learning a language and stay consistent in learning when you feel overwhelmed?”

Your Learning Style and Why It Matters

If you think about it, I was expecting others to learn like me. Nice one, Elizabeth. So, I learned two things after my experiment. You can do a language challenge, but you can't tax yourself trying to learn three months' worth of stuff in one month. Adding a language learning routine to another “new year, new me” routine, is asking too much of yourself. 

That's why they say to make it a habit for 30 days and then start to add more things. So, this year, I did go ahead and do the yoga challenge again. I got sick mid-month. And guess what happened? I started to beat myself up. I did that last year, too, after the 31 Day Challenge language challenge because I didn't think I retained as much info as I wanted. 

Think about what you're doing. You are learning something new every day, and you're not allowing your brain to marinate on that information. Do you know what I mean? 

It's like when you read a book. If you're not taking notes, or you're using the information right away, you have wasted your energy. So there are a lot of variables that go into it, and this year, I decided that I wasn't going to put myself through that. I also got rid of my language challenge for that same reason, because I didn't want people to put themselves through that either. 

It’s Okay to Take a Break

The thing is, after the holidays, you need a bit of a break. You have the holiday aftermath to deal with anyway, so why give yourself more tasks? Simplify, man! I figured that from now on, you start the new year whenever the hell you want, and however you see it fit. Stop doing what everyone else is doing! 

You don't have to wait until the new year comes around to start a goal or learn a language. You can do it at any time you'd like. Take it from me, don't stress yourself out crushing your life or language goals. AND PLEASE be more kind to yourself. After all, if you're making yourself miserable, you won't enjoy it, and you won't stick to it!

*ugh* Am I the only that needs pizza after this?

*Hey, this page contains affiliate links. There's no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission when you decide to use them. They help me keep this party going.



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