Set Yourself Up for Success

Creating the conditions for success – are you an obstacle to your own progress?

In our busy lives we often try to cram in  too much, and end up chasing our tail! We all do it. But, to be successful, we have to create the conditions that allow for success – and that includes learning a language!

I recently had a lesson with a student who called me whilst driving – he had double booked himself and was calling me at the weekend when he was on the way to a family party and needed to pick up a gift on the way! The whole experience was stressful for him and his language skills were, unsurprisingly, not as proficient as usual.  

A few days later we had another class, with fewer distractions. The student was much more relaxed and focused in the class  and as a consequence we both noticed that he spoke much better. Together we agreed to stick to a regular time for our lessons – that way it would be easier for him to block out the time in his diary rather than  trying to learn in the middle of his other responsibilities.

Obviously life is not perfect and things do not always go to plan but by following some protocols you can begin to take control and really progress in your learning. 

Here is our list of dos and don’ts to help you create the best conditions possible for learning:


  • Make time, away from all other tasks/jobs you have to do
  • Choose a time when your mind can be free from clutter.
  • Set realistic (small step) targets e.g. to use the past continuous tense correctly or use the newly learnt vocabulary
  • Keep a diary or notebook where you can keep a record of questions; this way you will also be able to monitor your own progress.
  • Focus on, and celebrate what you can do. 


  • Don’t ‘double book’ yourself – avoid trying to do too much at once. Don’t try to squeeze something that should take an hour into 30 minutes –  it just won’t work!
  • Don’t choose a time to learn when you have a work deadline or an up-coming appointment.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! 

For more tips & tricks follow us on Instagram @nativeenglishfast

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