Hi guys! So I did intend to write this post earlier this week – but an awful lot has happened since the new year: I said goodbye to my friends and family, I came back to Vienna, I started back at work (those pre-6 a.m. wake ups are killer!) and, on Monday, I became an aunt for the first time! 😀
So it has been awfully busy, but I thought that I should still make time to outline my goals for the whole of 2016. I did talk about my January-specific goals in this post, but I have some overarching goals for the year that I’d like to share with you all.
Now, the languages I definitely have to continue working on this year are German and Mandarin, as I’m trying to get into university to study translation in September and I have to make sure my language skills are up to scratch. German I’m not too worried about (living in Vienna does help…), though I need to remember to work hard over the summer. My Mandarin needs some improvement, so I have to keep up on that with things I enjoy as well as ‘proper’ studying. I also really want to work on my Spanish (I’m probably going to go to Spain a couple of times this year, yay!) and, obviously, I’m studying Japanese too – though with some restrictions.
I know that some people don’t like doing New Year’s resolutions or goals and I am a great believer in the idea that you shouldn’t wait to start things you want to do (though I don’t always put that into practice…), but I like the idea of starting things on the 1st January. It’s fun and there are lots of other people doing it with you, so you can always get some extra motivation.
I also like the idea of quantifiable goals, which can be very difficult with language learning. I like to see and measure progress, but I know that I won’t keep track of hours (like I do for 6WCs) all year, so I had to choose something a little different.
So, without further ado, here are my goals for the year:
- Get ready to sit a C2 exam (April/June).
- Read 5,000-10,000 pages (~10-40 books).
- Watch 50 hours of media (TV, films, YouTube, etc.)
- Write 10,000 words.
- Meet a tandem partner once a week.
I’m hoping to sit a C2 exam while I’m here in Austria still, but if I don’t manage that, then I’ll do a mock one over the summer and try and sit an exam in the autumn. It really depends on time management, but I think having the exam as a goal will encourage me to actively study more.
Of course, I’m not as interested in serious study for German as I am in just using the language and enjoying it – so I’ve really upped the amount of native/translated materials I want to consume this year. I’ve started my reading goal at 5,000 pages (which averages out to about 14 pages a day), but if I hit that early in the year, then I’ll target that 10,000 pages instead.
I also want to watch 50 hours of media, which I might well surpass, but since I haven’t found a show I really want to focus on in German, that is quite difficult right now. The 10,000 written words goal might also be somewhat difficult, but I am counting any blog posts and things like that towards this goal. I’m also hoping I’ll find a tandem partner in the next few weeks and then be able to meet up with them once a week, as that will help me to use my active skills, which have always been my weakest.
- Be ready to sit the HSK 5.
- Read at least three books (approx. 750 pages).
- Watch 500 hours of media.
- Write 10,000 words.
- Meet a tandem partner once a week.
Yeah, so I’m not going to commit to actually sitting the HSK 5 this year, mostly because I haven’t looked into it that much, but I’d like to be ready to sit it – as in, I can take a mock exam and pass.
Reading is a big area that needs improvement for me in Mandarin this year, so I’m going to try and get through three books. I’ve read about ten pages of the first Harry Potter, but I might try The Hunger Games or something similar as well. I think that should be about 750 pages, but if I finish three books and it turns out to be fewer pages, then I don’t mind. The point is just finishing something.
500 hours of media is probably ambitious, but I really want to get back into some TV – I definitely notice an improvement in my general feeling for the language after I binge watch a little. Plus, I haven’t finished 花千骨 and I never finished a couple of series that didn’t have subtitles all the way through, so I’m going to tackle those this year.
The writing goal is the same as for German, though I won’t be surprised if I actually go over here, as I’m just using the word counter on Word, which basically counts a character as a word. If I finish this goal very early (i.e., before June), then I’ll adjust it. The tandem partner thing is the same as for German – the once a week isn’t too strict, it’s just where possible.
- Be ready to sit a B2 exam.
- Read at least five books (approx. 1,250 pages).
- Watch 100 hours of media.
- Write 5,000 words.
Oh, Spanish. It’s such a great and frustrating language for me. I always feel like I should be much further along than I am, but then I don’t put in the work to get there. So 2016 is kind of going to be my Spanish year; I’m going to focus and get my skills vaguely where I want them.
One of these things is that I’d like to be around a B2 level, so I’d like to be ready to sit that exam at the end of the year – though I have no intention of doing so. I’m going to do this through general self-study, as well as trying to read at least five books (Spanish is still easier to read than Mandarin, even though I’ve been studying Mandarin consistently for a longer time). I’ve put 100 hours of media down because I really enjoy Spanish TV shows too and have found one I enjoy (Águila Roja, where each episode is ~90 minutes long) and I’d like to write about 5,000 words.
I’ve not put a tandem partner down for this, but I am using apps like Tandem and HelloTalk for text chat, so I might end up meeting up/video chatting with people later in the year.
- Study 20 minutes a day.
- Be ready to sit the N5 exam.
Ah, the newbie. We’re nine days in and I don’t really know what I’m doing, but you’re all going to get to watch my progress as we go, so that’s fine. I can already tell you I’ve not managed the first one: I’ve definitely had a few days where I haven’t studied, but again, I’d just like to study more often than not.
I figure the N5 exam is a pretty reasonable goal for some point this year (again, a mock, I’m not actually going to sit it) and it gives me a vague study outline too. I found this article about how many hours you may need to study before sitting the JLPT exams and for the N5, it recommends anywhere from 150-750 hours of time, but I think I’ll just see how it goes. Let’s hope it’s not 750 hours though! 😉
I also have a few goals that are not language related, including:
- Exercise more! (Preferably: 30 minutes, four times a week.)
- Blog once a week (and put more time into the blog in general).
- Write for 15 minutes a day.
I can tell you already that I’ve not managed some of these goals so far, but that’s okay too – it’s all about getting into habits. I didn’t have these habits in December, so I’m not just going to expect them to pop up overnight. It’s going to take some work and I hope that by this time next year, I will have achieved at least a few of these things.
I think most people have decided on them by now, but: what are your New Year’s Goals/Resolutions? Do you make them at all, or do you just try and achieve your goals when they come up? Let me know! 🙂