How can I set goals for my English learning?


| - Tim Lake |

setting goals for learning English

To keep you motivated when learning English it can be helpful to set goals. This gives you something to focus on and aim for, but how can you set goals? It’s not always easy so we thought it would be helpful to give you a system for setting goals. You can use it with anything, not just learning English.



The most common problem people have with setting goals is not being specific enough. We all have goals or aims, but they are usually a bit vague and too general, things like:


1. I want to lose weight. 体重を減らしたい。
2. I want to improve my English. 英語を上達させたい。
3. I want to learn the piano. ピアノを習いたい。
4. I want to go travelling. 旅行に行きたい。


These are good goals to have, but can be hard to act on, and that means they are often left not done.



In order to be more effective at setting goals, they need to be made specific and clear.



A popular way to do that is called SMART. This is an acronym that stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound”. It was originally developed as a management tool for businesses, but it is easily applied to almost any kind of goal.

SMARTと呼ばれる有名な方法があります。“SMART”とは、「Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound」の頭文字で、「具体的、計測可能な、達成可能な、関連性のある、期限が明確」ということを意味しています。元々はビジネス用の管理ツールとして開発されましたが、ほとんどの目標に対して適用できます。


To help you when setting your goals, it can be helpful to think of these as questions to ask yourself:



S = Specific. S =具体的

The “What”- What are you going to do? This is the goal you want to achieve.

「何を」- 何をしようとしていますか?これがあなたの達成したい目標です


M = Measurable. M =計測可能

The “How much or How many” - How do you know when you’ve achieved it? This helps to make the goal more specific. If you say "I want to get 800 on TOEIC" - that is measurable, whereas just improve my English is not.

「どの位またはいくつ」- 目標を達成したかどうかはどうやったら分かりますか?この質問により、より具体的な目標を立てることができます。英語を上達させる、だと計測不可能な目標であるのに対し、「TOEICで800点を取る」は、計測可能です。


A = Achievable. A =達成可能な

The “How”, the method - How are you going to achieve the goal? This is where you think about the actions you need to take and can be quite detailed. For learning English this is about, when, where and how you will study.

「どのように」、方法 です - その目標をどうやって達成しますか。この部分は、あなたが取るべき行動について考え、かなり詳細に書くことができます。英語を学ぶために、何について、いつ、どこで、どのように勉強するのか。


R = Relevant. R =関連性

The “Why”, the reason. - Why is this goal important to you? This is important because it defines your motivation. We are more likely to act when we have a clear reason to do so.

「なぜ」、その理由です - なぜこの目標があなたにとって重要なのか? あなたのモチベーションを定義することになるので重要なところです。明確な理由がある場合、行動する可能性が高くなります。


T = Time bound. T = 期限

The “When” - When are you going to finish the goal? What’s the deadline? This helps to avoid putting things off. Once you create a deadline try to stick to it. This is why language exams for learning English can be useful because the date is set for you, you just have to book it.

「いつ」- いつあなたは目標達成するつもりですか?締め切りは? これは先送りを防止するのに役立ちます。期限を設定したら、それに固執するようにしてください。英語学習において語学試験が役立つのは、日付が設定されるからです。予約をするだけで良いのです。


To give you a bit more of an ideas of how this works, here is an example based on one of Tim’s goals for 2019:



Specific: Get a basic understanding of Japanese language.
Measurable:Take the Japanese Language exam and pass it!
Achievable: Study grammar, vocabulary and kanji with a book three times a week for 30 minutes.
Relevant: Lives and works in Japan, and understanding Japanese is necessary for life.
Time-bound: By the end of 2019. The exam happens twice a year.



You may find that a goal creates a number of sub-tasks or actions required to complete the goal. In the case of Tim’s Japanese study they might include:



1.) Booking and paying for the exam.
2.) Getting study and exam practice materials.
3.) Finding a teacher.



With bigger goals, it will be necessary to think about what the sub-goals are, and create a SMART list for each sub-goal and work at them one by one. Even with the sub-tasks above, which are quite specific, it would be easy to set deadlines.



So, have a go and see if you can create some SMART goals for your English learning, as well as for other things in your life. Once you achieve one goal it gets easier to go on to the next one because you build self-belief.



Let us know what goals you set and we look forward to helping you achieve them.