Goals, if you’ve ever wanted to achieve something of real value in life, then you’ve probably set some goals in the past. Now, here’s a question for you: Is achieving fluency in Spanish a goal in your life?
Every goal needs a plan and the bigger the goal, the better the plan you need to design in order to achieve what you want to get.
I remember when my uncle decided to buy a house for my cousins: “First things first!”— He said as he was sitting with a pen and a paper aiming to design a budget.
His goal was to buy a house in a year or less using some savings and a “route” to finish the payment in the least time possible. My uncle made an awesome plan, he adhered to it and in just a matter of months, my uncle’s family was moving to a brand new place.
Why am I telling you this? Well, because I know that speaking Spanish is a goal for you, but not just that, you want to achieve fluency! Just as buying a house was a big goal for my uncle.
In order for you to complete your goal, you need to do what my uncle did, you need a ‘budget’, or in other words, a plan.
What is fluency?
There’ve been some people who actually like to debate about what fluency means and what it doesn’t. However, from my viewpoint, I love the simple definition that Wikipedia gives about it: “Fluency is basically one’s ability to be understood by both native and non-native listeners”
What does this mean? Just picture our friend Johnny who was born in the U.SA. He learned to speak Spanish and then he went to Chile for a vacation.
During his vacation, Johnny didn’t have a problem with Spanish, in fact, he made native Chilean friends there, and even better, he met a Japanese woman named Yuki who had learned Spanish on her own as well.
They both liked each other, but there was a small problem between the two of them: Johnny didn’t speak Japanese and Yuki couldn’t speak English.
However, they both spoke Spanish with native speakers in Chile, and since Spanish was the language they had in common, they decided to communicate in Spanish.
As you noticed, Johnny could communicate easily in Spanish with native and non-native speakers, he had fluency! Basically, it was all about communication!
Define your goal: Spanish fluency
Remember my uncle’s words when he said that he wanted to buy a new house?… “First things first!”, he said. That’s exactly what you want to say before you start running towards your goal, you need to design a plan.
Think of yourself as a pilot who’s about to fly to a wonderful island.
Before flying, pilots need to have a flight plan, which is a document with all the info about the journey that it’s about to take place.
In their flight plan, pilots get Information such as the route they should take to get to their destination, alternate airports in case of any unexpected event, how much fuel the airplane has, the altitude and speed the pilot needs to reach, among other things.
Now, my question to you is: What is your destination for your Spanish learning journey? How far do you want to go?
For some people, achieving a level of communication in Spanish with native and non-native speakers (fluency) is enough. However, others want to go beyond that.
Some learners want to work on their accents, imitate speakers from certain regions and even use slang and idioms from certain countries.
What’s your destination? Is communication enough for you? Or do you want to get a really high-level of fluency?
Set a clear goal for yourself. You need to know where to go and you definitely want to know when you get there.
Your route to get to ‘fluency’
After you set a clear destination in your journey, you will want a route, a clear and effective path that takes you to your goal.
This road that you are about to walk mustbe very special and full of energy.
The problem with most Spanish students is that they see this new and wonderful opportunity to learn and grow as an academic subject.
Of course, this is not people’s fault. This is just the consequence of how the education system has taught us Spanish so far.
Just think about it, you go to a Spanish school, you feel excited about what you’ll learn during the course, and then you find out that your time will be spent:
- Sitting in a classroom. (Low energy)
- Listening to the teacher.
- Repeating boring drills.
- Taking written tests. (Sometimes stressful)
- Trying to figure out what “la camisa negra” by Juanes mean.
Now, let us think for a second about your mother tongue, how did you learn it?
- First, you were a baby exploring new things.
- Adults were talking to you all the time.
- Over time, friends became a huge part of your life.
- You had fun when playing games and doing different activities.
- New people showed up through your life.
- You watched fun TV shows and movies that you can even remember today.
- Physical activities with human interaction involved was a big part of the process.
Do you see the difference between you going to school and you achieving fluency in your mother tongue? It was all full of emotion, interaction, and fun!
[clickToTweet tweet=”Learning Spanish must be full of emotion, interaction, and fun! @spanishtomind” quote=”Learning Spanish must be full of emotion, interaction, and fun! “]
Of course, you can’t go back in time to grow up in a Spanish environment aiming to achieve fluency in Spanish, but you can do things to imitate what you did when you acquired your first language.
This is the kind of path you should take to achieve fluency in Spanish.
How to achieve fluency in Spanish: 3 key points to achieve your goal
So far, we’ve covered two basic points that are a must if you want to achieve fluency in Spanish:
- You need to set clear goals, and…
- You’ve got to have a nice plan or a ‘route’ that takes you to your goal.
However, during your journey towards achieving fluency in Spanish, you need more. I want to introduce you to three key points so you complete your goal as soon as possible.
*Note: If you want to know more than just these three key points, why not sign up for my free ebook in Spanish: 10 Secretos que nadie te dice para hablar español como un nativo?*
1- Your motivation and energy will determine your success.
It was the final game of one of the most important soccer competitions in Europe, the two teams were giving everything they had, but the game was still tied, players seemed to be extremely tired.
Two extra times were added. Before they began, players of each team gathered together to have a motivational banter.
I was watching this game on TV, and as I saw players listening to their captain, I noticed how their energy was increasing, they began to shout, they made some handshakes and kept going until the game was over.
Just as it happens in sports, motivation will determine how far you will go in your Spanish learning. Research shows that language students with a strong psychology and motivation will learn and remember the new language faster.
if you have a low energy it’s very likely that you don’t see very much progress in your Spanish. However, there are ways to change this by being proactive and following some steps (in my free ebook, I show you a powerful way to increase your energy and build a stronger psychology).
2- Listening: Key number one for achieving fluency.
Do you know who are the best language learners in the world?… Children! If you take a 6-year-old boy from Spain to live in England for a while, he will end up speaking English and Spanish, both fluently and with a native accent.
Their secret is very simple, kids don’t study the language: They use listeningas the main source of their learning.
I know some of you may be thinking: “it’s not just listening, they do more than that!”. Yes, you’re right; they have a lot of human interaction, and theyir psychology plays an important role too, but basically, they use their ears to acquire the new language, instead of their eyes (studying).
Imitating children in the way they learn Spanish will havea tremendous impact in your fluency.You can emulate what kids do by creating an everyday Spanish listening schedule.
In my free ebook, I talk more about this topic and I teach you an awesome technique to use your listening to improve your Spanish.
3- Learn authentic Spanish.
I’ve heard a common complaint among Spanish students, they always say: “Spanish speakers talk too fast!”.
This may be true in some regions. However, In general, this problem happens because people learn Spanish from textbooks, which most of the times, have formal Spanish and a very serious way of speaking.
In real life, people don’t speak like that!
Native speakers use so many contractions, idioms, and they even make grammar mistakes! Because of this reason, in order for you to really learn Spanish, you have to do it from real native speakers, this is authentic Spanish!
Fluency in Spanish will be the result of putting together your clear goals and a nice route to get what you want.
Unlike children, adults tend to approach language learning from an academic viewpoint. Nonetheless, if you want to achieve nice results, you need to change the way you learn Spanish using key points like the ones we just analyzed during this post:
- Your motivation and energy.
- Learn Spanish using listening as your main tool.
- Learn authentic Spanish.
If you would like to learn more, you have to sign up for my 8-day free E-mail course on the following form. I’ll show you the way to optimize the way you learn Spanish.
There’s also downloadable material in almost each day, so be ready to start learning Spanish!
I’ll See you there!