Teaching Yourself Spanish Issues: 5 troubles just before the start

You want to learn Spanish as fast and easy as possible, and you have decided to do that in the most effective way – by teaching yourself Spanish .
You already know that studying a language by yourself is a mission possible, so you are well aware what to encounter on your way.

Yet, you might however still feel somewhat confused. The good news is that some features would come with time, so there’s no need to worry about. There are five issues however you’ve got to consider before taking up with Spanish on your own, otherwise your self-study is not going to bring you all the expected benefits. 

1) Problem: You don’t know what you need Spanish for

If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else. Software developers have one basic principle – when trying to search the solution of a problem, first assume that you have already found the solution.

This means to start from the end – to confess what you expect to see eventually, what your end goal is, how things look like in your mind when everything will have been completed.

For example: if you are a sports fan, you want in 3 months to be able to talk in Spanish all the sports you’re interested in – let’s say they’re basketball, soccer and tennis.

You want to understand everything you hear on your favorite sports TV channel and you want to have a chat with some native Spanish speaking people – talking not only about sports but about common things as well.

Result: You’ll have problems to choose a Spanish learning program, so you are likely to choose a wrong program. You’ll have problems to make a plan and to set yourself targets, so you might set unrealistic targets.

Solution: List all the reasons which make Spanish attractive to you. Then think that to make your wish(es) come true, you need to study every day in the first couple of weeks/months, and after your beginner’s course is over – you should study all your life. You know, in life there’s no such things as free lunch. Review again all the reasons, be fair with yourself. Is it possible that some reason(s) be temporary?

2) Problem: you have not assessed your current Spanish level properly

Result: You could choose the wrong program for you or set yourself unrealistic targets – for example to be fluent in a month, thinking you are intermediate, which is actually not true because your level is close to beginner’s one.
Solution: Be fair with yourself. Don’t mix wishes with abilities. Try to estimate which skills you have and which skills you lack.

3) Problem: you don’t know whether you can find time to study Spanish regularly

Result: If you are not able to find time to study regularly, it’s difficult to both keep what you’ve learnt so far and expand your knowledge and skills. This means rather small or no progress for you at all.

Solution: The most important is to study every day or at least 5 days a week. If you cannot afford one hour a day, you could study half an hour. Or you could study 20 minutes but you really should not miss a day off learning. Try to find the balance between what you should do to make progress and what you should not do to get bored. Such a balance is very important. Don’t be too pushy with yourself.

4) Problem: you hesitate between two Spanish learning programs

Result: You don’t know which one of the two programs to choose, and hoping to get the best of both in a shorter period, you intend to start two parallel studies. However thus you’d split your energy, attention and time.

Solution: If you consider them really equally valuable, choose one of them to begin, when you’re through with it, take the other one. This is the perfect solution – you get better by not repeating the same book and exercises.

5) Problem: People are telling you that it’s not possible to learn Spanish on your own

Result: You feel confused and hesitating. You wonder all the time whether studying Spanish by yourself is worth at all.

In my life I’ve heard stuff like this hundreds of times, if not thousands.

My parents, my friends, my relatives, my colleagues – everyone – would tell me it’s not worth studying languages alone, that it’s not possible and normal to study language by myself, that the normal way is to go to a language class – as though such a language class would be the placebo, the ultimate painkiller, and that after completing such a class everything would be bed of roses.

I don’t see how a language class is going to help you if you are lazy and passive person by nature, waiting always someone else to do your job for you. While being proactive the most natural what comes to mind is inevitably “When there’s a will, there’s a way”.

Solution: Don’t listen to such statements at all. Just remember that your motivation is that unique mix of wish, willingness, plans for the future, determination, ambition and passion that make you feel wonderful.

Don’t let your motivation be killed by superficial advices or worn-out phrases told by people who don’t have your willingness or don’t need Spanish like you do. If I had listened to all the people I mentioned above, I would definitely not be able to get fluent in all these languages and I would not be writing this now…obviously because I would have nothing to tell you.