Have you ever thought to yourself, “if I could just practice 10 minutes a day, I would really start to see some progress…” but then found it surprisingly difficult to set aside those 10 minutes?
Maybe you’ve even gone to the trouble of setting a reminder in your phone or in an app, but then become all too familiar with ignoring it?
The truth is, if you’re not consistently practicing your target language, you’re never going to get any better.
Here are 5 great apps and websites to keep you accountable to your language learning goals.
Italki is a rich database of language learners, community tutors, and professional tutors alike.
Let’s say you want to practice Finnish. A quick search on italki will surface all kinds of people who teach Finnish, are learning it, or want to learn it tandem.
When I was learning Italian, I practiced tandem with dozens of people per week, for less than 10 minutes per person. This was great for progressing quickly in my target language because I was able to practice my intro over and over without boring the other person.
Once you have a few new friends to practice with, check back with them often and ask them to be accountability partners. This way you can hold each other accountable and accelerate your learning.
I also recommend getting an italki teacher. (You can learn more on what makes a good italki teacher here). My teacher kept me motivated and reminded me that whenever I skipped a lesson, I was delaying my progress.
If you’ve tried accountability groups and want to take it to the next level, you can use an accountability coach.
No matter what your target language is, there are tons of coaches out there to help you meet your goals. And most of them check in with you daily. Plus, using a coach is known to significantly increase your chances of success.
I recommend using Coach.me to find an expert and personal mentor in said area of habit formation—in this case, language learning. This may not gel with people who are “rebels” and like to do things their own way, but the coaches are professionally trained and the platform generally sparks a high adherence rate.
Beeminder is a unique habit tracking app which helps you “put your money where your mouth is” by charging YOU money when you fail.
The app creates a customized commitment plan for you based on your goal and timeframe, and sends you reminders along the way. Then, if you ever miss a day or target, your contract commits you to pay.
Beeminder is also very data-rich, integrating with lots of apps like Fitbit, Rescuetime, Duolingo & Gmail to name a few. This allows for valuable data tracking with your language-learning habit.
Stickk is a really effective accountability tool that forces you to donate to an anti–charity whenever you fall short of your goals. An anti-charity can be defined as any cause that you are vehemently against.
This leverages the psychological theory that when it comes to goals, we are more loss-averse than we are reward-oriented. A.K.A. we’re more motivated to not lose something than we are to gain something.
Imagine putting $500 on the line to a group like the KKK and see if that doesn’t keep you accountable.
This approach is extreme, but great when you really need to really jump into the deep end on a habit without any time for adjustment.
Chains.cc is a free online motivational tool based on Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” method.
Each day that you successfully fulfill your commitment, a visual streak grows. But if you miss a day, the chain breaks and you start over.
Knowing that the whole chain can be broken by just one lazy day really keeps you motivated to keep going.
You can also join groups to find motivation from other users.