Your Blueprint for Success

Blueprint for Success

To make progress in achieving any goal, you need a plan of action. Language goals are no different. Are you ready to develop to your action plan? Here’s what you need:

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You have to know exactly what you want in order to properly plan how you will get there. If you were planning to build a house, you couldn’t just say, “I want a house.” That’s not a plan. You could end up with anything!


You need DETAILS! The same is true for language goals. If your goal is fluency, you need to provide the details of just exactly what that means to you and just exactly how you are going to achieve it. It isn’t enough to say, “I want to speak fluently.” You must make your plan more detailed. For example, “I want to learn 1000 new words.” And then you need to explain exactly how you will do that. You need:

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Just like the blueprint tells the builder exactly what to do to build a house according to plan, an action plan details the steps you will take to reach your objectives. For example, if we use the goal of learning 1000 new words in a year, you have to decide how you are going to do that. In this case, you could plan to make new vocabulary cards each morning to add to your Envelope System (see post here). But you can’t stop here! The next thing you need is:

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In order to determine if you are being successful, you need to have a way to measure your progress, so set a date or a time limit for your goal. You could say, “I will learn 1000 new words in a year.” A year has 365 days. That means that learning approximately three words per day will get you to your goal. But you can’t stop there. People set goals all the time, but they don’t always reach them. Why not? They give up, things get in the way, they lose interest. How can you ensure that this won’t happen to you? You need:


Reasons provide you with the motivation you need to keep going and to keep doing the actions that will lead you to your goal. Some mornings, we just don’t want to get out of bed when that alarm clock goes off. But we keep doing it. Why? Because we have very compelling reasons to do so. You have your reasons for wanting to learn a new language. What are they? Do you want to work for an international company? Do you want to travel and know that you can communicate all over the planet? Do you want to write academic articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals? Do you want to read the latest in scientific writing? Recalling your reasons for pursuing your goal will help you stay on track when you don’t feel like looking up words or reading that book or attending that class.

But wait! There’s more. You need:


Good builders plan ahead. They see the obstacles that might get in the way and they plan around it. They know what their budget is and they stick to it. They know their schedule so they don’t overbook. When you set goals, you need to look ahead and think about what might get in your way, what might prevent you from reaching your goals. Then you need to plan around it. Sometimes, unexpected things happen, but if you are focused on your goal, you can focus on solutions to barriers.

So that’s it! Oh, one more thing. Research is very clear about the importance of writing down your goals. People who write their goals down are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. Check out this article. Here’s a template you can fill out, or make your own. Write down your goals, review them often so you can see how you are doing, revise them if necessary, and share your goals with others. If you share with others, it helps keep you accountable, and nobody likes to be seen as a quitter! Happy planning!

Click the link below for a PDF version of the Language Learning Action Plan

Language Learning Action Plan

Language Learning Action Plan

The Blueprint Challenge

Fill out your Language Learning Action Plan and share it with someone who will support you in reaching for your goals!

About the Author
Lori Michele Kelley

Lori has Master’s degree in TESL and has taught English and Intercultural Communication in the United States, Turkey, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. She also develops and conducts teacher development workshops for both pre- and in-service teachers. Riding pillion on backroads with her husband Michael Kelley in the tropics and wherever else there are good roadside coffee shops is one of her favorite things to do. She’s also quite fond of the water and made her husband promise they could live on a houseboat someday.

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