What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2023. It’s the start of a new year. It’s time to focus on the next 12 months and all the stuff that we want to achieve in that time. It’s time for some New Year’s resolutions and why it’s important to set some goals, if you want to improve your English this year. Let’s talk about it!
Alright mate! How’s it going today? I’m not too bad. Thanks for asking. If you’re new around here, my name is Dan, better known as Dan Sensei, and I’m here to help you stop being an English student and start being an English speaker. This podcast is designed for intermediate and advanced level English learners that want to practice their listening with a native speaker and we’ll have some interesting stuff for you to think about that’ll help you improve your English over the next 12 months.
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Today’s show, we’ve got some stuff coming up. We’re going to be talking about this concept of new year, new me. Let’s set some goals for the upcoming 12 months. We’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about why that’s important for learning a language, you know, why goals are something that you need and what kind of goals you should be thinking about. We’re also going to be talking about my goals for 2023, um so yeah, lots of stuff coming up.
If you want to get the transcript for this podcast, you know, maybe you want to read along with the words that I’m saying, the full transcript is available for free over on my website. The link is in the show notes, but it’s dansenseienglish.com check it out! You’ll be able to get the full transcript. Every word that I’m speaking right now, written down, follow along and if you want a pdf version make sure you join the study Squad mailing list. I’ll email it out to you every week and that way you can download it, keep it forever and you know, make a textbook… I don’t know what you’re going to do with that but if you join the Study Squad mailing list, you’ll also get my free ebook the study hacks guide, you know, good stuff all around and you’re never gonna miss anything because I’ll email you about it.
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What are new year’s resolutions?
Right then, should we jump into this episode? It’s the start of a new year, you know, 2022 is finished – get out of here 2022! We don’t want you anymore! We want the shiny new 2023 and that’s where we’re at. You’re listening to this at the beginning of January and at this point in the year, a lot of people start to focus on what they want to improve in their life over the next 12 months. You’ll see a lot of posts on, you know, Instagram or Facebook or Twitter and a lot of people will be like “oh new year, new me!” when ironically they very rarely change anything about their lives… but the concept here is that you make a New Year’s resolution.
New Year’s resolution – a resolution is kind of like a promise to yourself where you decide that you want to do something or don’t do something to improve your life in the next 12 months. It’s really common. Lots of different cultures do something similar and in the UK, we make New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of January. The joke in England is is that, usually, a New Year’s resolution lasts about two weeks. After two weeks, everyone gets sick of it and they just go back to doing whatever they were doing before. Common examples of this kind of thing, is like “this year, I wanna lose weight” and then two weeks later you see them in McDonald’s eating a Big Mac or “oh this year, I’m gonna stop smoking” and then 10 minutes later, they’re the round the back smoking. It happens to everyone.
For a lot of people, it’s kind of a general Improvement of their life. They’re not very specific goals. They are just kind of “this year… do this” and those goals are very difficult to achieve, you know? and “this year, I’m Gonna Save a thousand pounds”… all right… how are you gonna do that? “I don’t know, just I’m gonna do it” which is wild when you think about it… and we’re going to talk about how to set more realistic goals a bit later but they’re quite unrealistic goals, right? It’s quite difficult to go from not having a thousand pounds… something happens and then… I’ve got a thousand pounds. You’ve got to plan a bit more than that.
So yeah, that’s um kind of some common ones. I don’t know… usually I don’t really take part in those kind of things, um because I generally fail at them every year! I think I’ve had the same resolution for about the last 15 – 20 years and that’s to lose weight and every year, I don’t do that… so you know it’s not really for me. Having said that, two years ago uh I stopped smoking, uh I haven’t smoked for the last couple of years and last year I stopped drinking, so you know, sometimes it works for me um but yeah most of the time it doesn’t really work for me in that sense.
Why are goals important?
However, I do think having a goal or having something you want to improve about your life over the next 12 months is an important thing and this is also true in language learning, right? It’s super important that you have a goal when you’re learning a language. Now this can be kind of a big goal, you know, maybe I want to live in England so I’m learning English – great! or I want to get a promotion at work so I’m gonna do the IELTS test – whatever! Whatever your goal is, that’s fine but having that goal is important.
Why, you might ask… Well learning a language… I’m not sure if you know this… but learning a language is a pretty difficult thing to do. It takes a long time. It takes a lot of effort and if you don’t really know why you’re doing this you, don’t really have a goal, you’re not gonna do it. You’re gonna be like “nah mate… I’m sick of this now… it’s been three weeks, I’m not fluent in English… I give up… I resign… I’m not doing it anymore!” You know, that kind of thing… um at least that’s how it usually works for me. So, you know, having that motivation to keep you going is really important.
The problem comes when people have a goal and their goal is like “I Wanna be fluent in English” great! everybody wants to be fluent in English, that’s learning English, but this goes back to the thousand pound thing – how are you actually going to save a thousand pounds? how are you actually gonna become fluent in English? “I don’t know I’m just gonna study and then eventually fluent.” I don’t think so mate… doesn’t really work that way. So I think it’s important to have goals but it’s also important that you break those goals down into manageable chunks that you can actually measure, you know, for example, a bad goal is um “I wanna be able to have a conversation in English” okay what kind of conversation? A conversation English could be “hello how are you?” “I’m alright thanks, you?” Finished… that’s a conversation… congratulations you’ve achieved your goal. Is that useful in the real world? I don’t think so.
HOw to set some language learning goals!
So, you know, you’ve got to be a bit more specific about your goals. Maybe your goal is “this month, I’m going to learn 15 phrasal verbs and how to use them” Maybe your goal is “I’m going to listen to four podcasts” Maybe your goal is “I’m going to… I don’t know… read a book.” Whatever. It is a bit more “yes I did it/ no I didn’t do it”. You can measure that. It’s more achievable. It’s more specific and it’s going to be something that is more achievable.
Like if you go back to the original goal of “I want to be fluent in English” sure that’s achievable but it’s not achievable in the short term. That’s going to take a few years, you know? But a few years without reaching any goals kind of makes you feel a bit “oh it’s taking forever! I’m not making good progress… blah blah blah” So that’s why you should also have a bunch of smaller goals that get you to your bigger goal and, like I say, this should be kind of short term. In one month, what is something that you want to achieve in the next month and then something a bit more long-term you know six months time, what are you doing in six months and then finally you can look at more two years – one year / two years, what do I want to achieve in that time frame and then setting goals is great, but then you’ve got to assess them.
You’ve got to like, come back to it. You can’t just be like “okay that’s my goal” and then carry on. In a month, you need to look back – Did I learn them phrasal verbs? Did I listen to those podcasts? Did I achieve that goal? yes or no. In six months did I achieve my goal that I set for six months? You know, we need to make sure that we’re actually working towards the goals we set and we also need to think about all the goals are useful, you know, for you. Let’s imagine that you want to work with English in your business. Okay you know, so you’re dealing with a lot of business English, there’s not much point for you learning 10 new slang words, is there? Like you’re not going to be using slang words in your business meetings so they’ve got to be relevant as well.
So let’s just recap. They’ve got to be like, achievable. They’ve got to be measurable, like you’ve got to be able to measure if you’ve done it or not. They’ve got to be relevant to you, you know, like they’ve got to help you achieve your goal… your main goal… there’s no point learning medical vocabulary if you’re not going to be a doctor is there? You know? Well, there’s there’s a little bit of point but it’s not a focus, you know? and I think that kind of stuff will really help you, you know, really dial in what you want to study next.
Now a lot of Learners, and we’re going to talk about this on a future episode, but a lot of language learners hit the intermediate plateau, right? Have you ever felt like this? When you started learning a language, it’s easy! You’re learning loads of new words… you can make sentences… like “oh that is a dog” yay! You know really simple stuff and it’s not too hard and you make a lot of progress quickly and everything’s going well… then suddenly you notice that “oh I’m not really making much progress anymore” and it’s a bit frustrating! I don’t really know what to study next… I’m not improving… this is called the intermediate plateau and it happens to everyone. It happened to me in Japanese. It happens to everyone. There’s a point where progress gets hard and you’re not making the progress you need to anymore. At this point, loads of people give up because they don’t know what to do, and we’re going to talk about it fully in a future podcast, but one thing that you need to do if this is happening to you is set yourself some new goals.
Go back and look at the progress you’ve made. Realise where you are on your language journey and make some new goals, you know? Things have changed. You need to reassess where the finishing line is. You need to work out where you are on the journey and which direction you need to start heading in. Now that you’ve got to this point, super important can’t recommend it highly enough.
Some examples of good language uh learning goals for intermediate is like “this year I’m gonna learn um I don’t know 2000 new English words” uh we can break that down per month “each month I’m going to learn like 180 words or something” you know something like that. Measurable um and you can do that every month and it’ll help you get to your goals you know? Maybe you want to increase your listening you’re going to listen to some podcasts every day. You know that kind of stuff. These are goals that a lot of intermediate learners set depending on what your main goal is but it’s definitely something to think about.
My goals for 2023
I think um in terms of my goals… let’s talk about my goals. I’ve got two different aspects of my life that I’m making goals for in 2023. The first is my own language learning journey in Japanese. Now I’ve lived in Japan for over six years and many of you listening will be like “well obviously Dan is fluent in Japanese then, innit.” not so much mate um honestly I haven’t really put as much effort into learning Japanese as I probably should have been that I’ve lived here for six years. Now don’t get me wrong, I can deal with daily life stuff. I can go to the, you know, the city hall to talk about, you know, tax or whatever and I can go to the doctor and I can deal with most things. I’ve got enough um tools in the toolbox to deal with most daily life stuff, however, there’s loads of times where I can’t really express what I’m trying to say or I don’t know the words for this that and the other and Japanese has a whole other problem with the writing systems because there’s three different writing systems and it’s really complex. So I haven’t really put as much time into that kind of stuff as I probably should have.
Now my goal in learning Japanese is I want to be able to communicate with people. Like… I’m very much coming from the communication side of things. I don’t particularly care about writing so much. Reading, I think is important, but for me output… speaking and listening is definitely my focus and until this point I’ve just kind of been you know going through textbooks and learning by watching TV and that kind of stuff, but this year I really want to kinda put more focus on my Japanese studies for the coming year. So I’ve definitely been on that intermediate Plateau for a while and I’m going to reassess my goals this year.
I’m gonna spend at least 15 minutes every single day studying something. I’m gonna try and listen to at least one Japanese podcast a week, so when I’m driving in the car or something, I’m gonna use that time to listen to at least one podcast a week. I’m gonna learn some more sentence patterns and grammar patterns I can use in daily life. Now I don’t care about like super complex grammar, I just want to be able to express myself in new ways and of course I’m going to learn more kanji and more grammar. When I say more kanji and more grammar, my goal, by the end of this year, is to be able to read 2000 different kanji. At the moment, I’m at about 1000 maybe 1200. By the way kanji, if you don’t know, is the Japanese characters, the Japanese written characters that um they use in Japan, so yeah, I’m gonna try and get to 2000. Vocabulary wise, I want to learn at least 10 new words a week that I can use to express myself in daily life and yeah… basically improve my listening, improve my ability to read and be able to express myself more fluently… that’s kind of what I’m aiming for this year and I hope that I’ll achieve it.
In terms of life outside of learning Japanese, I’ve also got some goals as well. Of course my regular goal lose weight is on there but you know I think it’s just more important that I start doing more exercise than anything um lose weight is one of those very big goals that is hard to achieve so I’m going to start with let’s go for a walk you know five times a week uh at least an hour a walk you know that’s a good start for me as a big guy I can’t just run a marathon so you know that’s a good start for me.
A new start for me
In terms of business, now 2023 is a big year for me. This is the first time since I was about 16 – 17 that I haven’t had a full-time job. That doesn’t mean I’m not working. It’s just I haven’t got a full-time job with a pay check that comes in every month at the end of last year I ended up not having my contract renewed with my company and rather than immediately searching for another job I’ve decided to start my own business under the the DanSensei umbrella and in terms of goals for the year, I’ve got a lot but, I like making content so my goal for the podcast kind of things is at least one episode a week and I want to grow the community, you know?
I want to have people on Patreon that join my conversation groups and join my Discord community so we can have a community of people that are all learning together that’s one big goal for this year. I have started offering online man-to-man lessons, so I’d like to get some more students that I can help them improve their English and I’m also hoping to launch a group course in the early part of 2023. I’m already working on it. Things are going in the right direction and as soon as it’s ready, I’ll let you know but I want to try and help as many people as I can improve their English. Whether that’s listening to the podcast, whether that’s watching my videos on YouTube, whether that’s taking courses and lessons with me – whatever it looks like, I really, really enjoy helping people with their English and I want to do that more.
I want to increase that in my life and I want to take you guys along for the ride, so yeah, they’re my goals for 2023. I’m going to try my best to achieve them and I want to leave you guys with a final question… What are your goals for 2023? What do you want to achieve this year? and how are you gonna do it? Let’s be a bit specific about it! I want you to think about that. I want you to get a pen and paper, write it down somewhere, you know, or if you’re more technologically minded, why not whip out your phone and use the notes app to write it down or even better yet send me a message with it in? Go to Instagram, go to Twitter, whatever, send me a message! even email… send me an email mail[at]dansenseienglish.com with your goals for 2023 and yeah let’s work together to try and achieve those things!
So that’s basically the end of this podcast. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you have a fantastic 2023 and you smash all your goals because you’re obviously an amazing person that’s how this works!uh… Just to finally plug everything again. The transcript for this podcast is available for free over on dansenseienglish.com, link is in the show notes. I’ve got Patreon, check it out if you’re interested in improving your English… you’re going to get videos of each podcast, you’re going to get bonus content, you got access to my Discord Community where you can chat with other English speakers, you’ve got um the weekly Hangouts where we all chat together and you can even get private lessons with me through there as well, so be sure to check that out! The link is in the show notes – it’ll make a big difference to my life, it’ll help support what I’m doing and yeah it’ll help me continue doing this for as long as possible, so I’d proper appreciate it if you check it out… Other than that, let’s do our best this week and I’ll catch you next week with another episode but until then I’ll see you next week.
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