5 Steps to Kickstart Your English Progress in 2022

Vocabulary in this text

the norm (phrase) – something that is typical or standard
tangible (adjective) – clear and definite or real.
lyrics (noun) – the words of a song
plot (noun) – the main events of a story
incorporate (verb) – include
commute (noun) – the journey between one’s home and workplace
on a roll (idiom) – to be making great progress or experiencing a period of success

We all know what it’s like to start something new; a new diet, guitar lessons, learning a language. We have the best of intentions at the beginning, but soon fall out of the habit and eventually give up completely.

So how can you make sure you stick to your resolutions and achieve your goals?

Science tells us that small, easy to maintain actions, repeated for a few weeks will train our brains to see this as the norm. Once your brain accepts this new habit as normal, you won’t have to make such an effort each day.

Soon enough, you’ll be reaching for the salad rather than the cake. You’ll want to pick up your guitar after a long day at work because you find it soothing, and you’ll find yourself thinking in English without even trying.

For more than ten years, I have discussed this situation with hundreds of students and I have experienced it myself while learning my second and third languages. That’s why I have compiled this list of the top 5 steps that I recommend to my students.

These are steps that you can take TODAY to begin creating those small, manageable habits which will soon turn into tangible progress and a wonderful feeling of achievement.

Aristotle quote


Step one

Try to practise every single day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

There’s a reason that this is one of the most common pieces of advice for language learners: it works!

The human brain is very much like our muscles in that it functions much better with short, frequent activity. You may have been told by your personal trainer that High Intensity Interval Training is very effective for building muscle and burning calories.

Equally, having distraction-free, concentrated English practice for short periods once or twice a day will make sure you absorb and retain the language more effectively than if you study for an hour, once per week.

So how do you build this habit into your already busy schedule?

Step two

Find things that you would enjoy in your own language, but switch them to English.

Do you love to listen to music in your native language? Try switching to English music and read the lyrics while you listen.

Do you enjoy watching films and TV series? Try to watch with English subtitles, but be aware that these are sometimes incorrect. Better yet, watch that TV show completely in English. You might not understand every word, but you will be training your ears to pick out the sounds of English and you will soon get used to the most common accents.

Many students prefer to watch films they have seen before in their native language as it’s easier to guess the meaning of words from their context when you know the plot already.

Personally, I am mad about podcasts. I often recommend that students find a podcast about a hobby or passion of theirs.

The vast majority of podcasts are in English, so it’s a fun and interesting way to incorporate English into your daily routine. Listen to it on your commute, at the gym, while you’re washing up the dishes after dinner or when you’re having a bath.

Did you know, the Intrepid English podcast has been downloaded more than
3000 times in hundreds of countries?

Step three

Make sure you record your new vocabulary in one place.

Many students tell me that they find themselves learning the same words or phrases again and again. My first question is: How do you record your new vocabulary?

In my experience, the students who don’t record their vocabulary are the ones that find they are having to relearn the same words and phrases many times. The students who record their new vocabulary all in one place know where to look when they need to find the right word and review regularly.

However, there’s no single method for recording vocabulary. It really depends on your preferred way to learn, and how likely you are to have it with you at any time.

Paper flashcards are great for learners who like to write things down
Electronic flashcards are great for learners who do everything on their smartphone
Notebooks are neat, tidy and easy to carry with you
Post-it notes are useful when learning the words for objects in your home
Spreadsheets are great for the uber-organised student
Diary entries are a great way to incorporate a habit of recording your new vocabulary at the end of every day

Whichever method you choose, it must be available at any time of the day for you to scribble down a new word or phrase.

It’s also essential that you regularly review what you’ve learned. Frequently reviewing the new language you’ve recorded will help you to recall it when you need it. Another way to keep your new English front-of-mind is to use it several times in conversation as soon as possible.

Step four

Sometimes, the best motivation is to see progress in the areas you really need it, fast!

That was the inspiration behind the self-study courses that you can find in the Intrepid English Academy. We wanted to create courses that would cover a wide range of skills and objectives for any English-language situation.

Intrepid English Academy members can access any course from the growing library, from business English to general English, from exam preparation courses to grammar and vocabulary lessons.

You can study these courses from beginning to end or one section at a time. This enables you to have the freedom to develop the individual skill they need right now. Alternatively, you can follow a structured, personalised Success Path that will guide them through every step of their English-learning journey.

Step five

So, you’re finding interesting ways to study English a little every day, you’re recording your new vocabulary and reviewing it regularly. You’re even working your way through some great self-study courses in the Intrepid English Academy. You’re on a roll! You’re doing great.

Now’s the time to book a lesson with your English teacher to practise everything you’ve learned.

Your teacher can help you to change your passive knowledge into active English ability. Practise with us so that you can walk into your next English conversation with confidence. We’ll even make sure your pronunciation and intonation are correct. What a team!

If you have any questions about the advice above or want to know more about the Intrepid English Academy, please feel free to ask.

I’m also happy to show anyone’s who’s interested my super-duper, colour-coded flashcard collection… I’m not ashamed!

We’d love to hear from you.

This blog was written by Intrepid English Teacher and Founder, Lorraine

Teacher Lorraine

Find out more about Lorraine on her Intrepid English Teacher profile page.

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us here or email us at Intrepid English.

Say goodbye to boring English lessons! Book a free trial lesson today to discuss this topic in more detail, and talk about your English learning goals with an experienced and friendly native English teacher.

If you’re not sure what you want to learn, let your teacher choose from the range of English courses that have been designed to help our students to achieve their goals.

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