Set realistic goals
How good do you need, or indeed want your English to be? Decide what your ultimate goals are, and then break down your language needs into identifiable and measurable chunks. By focusing on a series of short term targets you will gain a better sense of progress, and this in turn will encourage you to study more. Remember, you do not need to know everything; and taking many small steps is much easier and more effective than attempting a giant leap.
Perhaps you want to improve your English because you like travelling. Travel English is a huge subject, so where do you begin? Start by working out what areas of language you need to cover. For example, maybe you always travel by train or bus; so don’t bother wasting time learning the English associated with car-hire or taxis. Focus on the English you are actually going to use, and ignore the rest.
Next, take each of these areas in turn and break them down into specific “need-to-do” lists. So,
for example, let’s take train travel. What do you actually need to be able to do? Ask about train services?
Buy tickets on line or at a ticket desk, or both? Ask for directions? You decide; and then study each area
in turn, only moving on to the next item on your “need-to-do” list when you “can-do”
the previous item to your satisfaction.
Just as you do not need to know everything, you do not have to study everything on your “need-to do” list in one go. So, maybe tonight you could learn how to buy a train ticket. Then tomorrow, learn how to exchange it for another, or ask for a refund. Cover everything on your lists step by step, and be sure to give yourself a little reward each time you “can-do” something new.