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How to make good resolutions stick and improve your French

Do you know the difference between good resolutions soon to be forgotten and actual goals that will lead to changing habits and progress? I’m preparing a podcast episode to tell you all about it but before that here are some reflexion questions for you. Make your good resolutions stick and improve your French in 2021!

Doing a review of the year ending is always useful to see where you’re at and decide where you want to go. If you haven’t done it, here are some questions to help you in this blog post.

You’ll see it’s all about planning, anticipating what could go wrong and strategies. It all starts with asking yourself the right questions to make sure your resolutions are in fact SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) but there’s more!

It’s ok to ask for help and make the process more efficient with the guidance of a coach. Reach out here to apply for a free 20 minutes consult!

1. Brainstorm what you’d like to achieve in French (write down, draw, record yourself speaking)

Be as detailed as you can. For example, “being fluent” is too vague.

  • What does fluency mean for you?
  • And what kind of conversations do you want to have?
  • Which videos/audios do you want to understand?
  • What kind of texts would you like to read?

Explore the feelings you’ll feel when you reach that state. Visualize your posture, the way you speak, etc.

Examine each point of your list with brutal honesty

  • What would it take for you to be able to achieve this state within a year?
  • Is it feasable within your current lifestyle and schedule?

2. Start with one main goal from your brainstorming

What is the next step you will take toward that goal?

Be as concrete and detailed as possible: what? when? how? where? etc

If you choose to do it in French, use the futur proche tense (I am going to …), this is the tense for strong intensions, for concrete plans while futur simple is more elusive and conditionnel is hypothetical.

Exemple 1

Je veux améliorer ma compréhension de la presse et développer mon vocabulaire alors: Je vais consacrer 15 minutes par jour à l’étude active du français pendant ma pause déjeuner. Après manger, avec un café, je vais lire un article du journal “XYZ” et prendre des notes. Le vendredi, je vais relire toutes mes notes de la semaine. Pendant le week-end, je vais écrire un texte à partir de mes notes.

Exemple 2

Je veux avoir une conversation détendue avec mes collègues à la pause café alors: Je vais m’entraîner avec un.e tuteur.trice 2 fois par semaine sur les sujets les plus courants. Je vais m’intégrer aux conversations de mes collègues, pour cela je vais trouver des stratégies pour prendre la parole et je vais travailler sur ma compréhension orale en faisant [nommer une petite action]…

3. Pick 1 or 2 secondary goals from the list of resolutions on how to improve your French

They can be linked to the first one or not.

If your first goal is about fluency and self-confidence, your other goals could be about “mechanical” aspects of the language (grammar, syntax, pronunciation…)


Je veux être capable de raconter mon histoire personnelle jusqu’à ce jour alors : Je vais étudier les temps du passé en français (imparfait, passé composé, plus-que-parfait) et m’entraîner à parler des événements marquants de ma vie (mon enfance, l’université, la rencontre avec mon.a conjoint.e, mes enfants…)

Exemple 2

Je veux améliorer ma prononciation pour mieux communiquer avec mes enfants et les enseignants. J’ai surtout des difficultés avec les voyelles. Je vais pratiquer la lecture à voix haute chaque soir après le dîner, je vais prendre des leçons une fois par semaine avec un professeur spécialisé.

4. Which frustrations or obstacles could you encounter on the way? (internal or external)

The fact that we don’t know how long the pandemic will last is definitely an obstacle. It would be helpful to have a contingency plan in case we go back to “almost normal” or if we continue to do work remotely and have kids at home for extended periods of time.

List 2 or 3 major obstacles.

5. Brainstorm creative solutions to overcome these obstacles

6. Which soft skills will help you overcome each obstacle?

What qualities and personality traits can you use in those challenging situations?

What helps you, or who helps you, in difficult times?

7. How will you feel when you’ll have reached your goal?

If it helps, you could use a visualization technique to meet your “future you” (explanation in French)

8. Choose a key word to remind you about your goal and to motivate you to keep going.

Place it above your desk or anywhere you can see it and come back to it any time you feel a little low.

Visualisation of goals and types of learners

How to make resolutions stick and the motivation high to improve your French? Everyone will proceed differently. You may have a preferred method or a combination of many.

  • Have you ever done a vision board? Especially if you’re a visual person, it helps to have a representation of your goals. You’re more likely to follow through if you can visualize the outcome and/or the steps.
  • Create a motivation playlist with your favourite upbeat music! How about selecting some French songs?
  • Write ! You could keep a journal, write a letter of intention with what you will do or a letter from “future you” to “current-you” with useful insights.
  • Visualize the goals and steps with movement (dance, imagine yourself doing the actions to fool your brain into thinking you’re doing it like a hurdler picturing how he/she’s going to jump over each hurdle, etc)
how to improve French

Apply for a free 20 minutes conversation to talk about your goals, motivation and learning process. We’ll see if we’d make a good team to help you reach your goals!

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(This article is a translation and adaptation to the French learning process from this article in French by Marion Guiset, Leadership coach)

Read also about goal setting and being clear on the French you want to learn.

About Cathy

Cathy Intro is a certified Neurolanguage® coach helping aspiring French speakers improve their language skills to live their life and socialize in French with confidence. She has a strong focus on active listening, cultural awareness and self-understanding. She believes clear grammar foundations are key to reaching fluency in French but that it shouldn't be taught with a linear textbook-approach method. Her role as a coach is to empower the learner, ignite curiosity and provide support to reach the objectives with no waste of time and efforts, in a positive and fun environment.

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