Learning a new language doesn’t need to be a slow or tedious process. Although nothing can replace the hard work and effort it requires, you can absolutely learn a new foreign language fast if you follow the right strategy and dedicate yourself to the process.

Follow these three tips, and you’ll be on your way to mastering that new language faster than you ever imagined!

1. Set language-learning goals

Having goals for what you want to accomplish is the first step to learning a new language quickly. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. You can’t assess whether you’ve achieved your goals if you don’t set them.

Most people feel overwhelmed by the prospect of learning a new language. There are so many words to learn and so many ways to study the language. Setting goals narrows your focus so you don’t have to worry about the details and can focus on getting things done.

The research shows that people who set the right kind of goals are more likely to succeed.

Use these guidelines to get the most from your goals:

Concentrate on achieving specific, measurable results. Rather than focusing on how much time you plan to spend studying, set detailed goals. For example, you may want to set a goal of “This week I will learn 30 Spanish vocabulary words related to shopping.”

Establish short-term goals. It is good to have an ultimate goal, the thing you hope to accomplish in the future. Nevertheless, long-term goals are too overwhelming to motivate you every day. Set smaller goals for each week or month based on your ultimate goal.

2. Use the language all day, every day

Beginners may find it intimidating to use a foreign language all day, but it isn’t as difficult as it seems. Making the language a regular part of your life can be easy and even fun.

First of all, take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn new words. While you’re commuting or waiting to meet a friend, study your flashcards.

You should switch from active learning to passive learning when you start feeling tired by doing what you would normally do in your native language. You can also stream radio broadcasts in your target language by watching a video or TV show.

3. Seek out real-life practice

A lot of the best learning occurs in real-life situations, especially when you have no choice but to use a foreign language.

You can gain real-life experience by studying or traveling abroad. By studying abroad, you can be around native speakers of the language you want to learn while being surrounded by people who don’t speak your native tongue.

People with little or no language skills are regularly placed into full immersion situations by organizations such as the Peace Corps. Despite their discomfort, these situations motivate learners to learn more quickly.

However, you can still gain language proficiency by immersing yourself in real-life situations:

  • Join a conversation club. Many cities and schools have conversation clubs where language students meet regularly to practice having informal discussions in their target language.
  • Use an online tutoring or language partner site. Sites such as Coeffee.com or My Language Exchange can introduce you to people who speak the language you want to practice. Even if you don’t see them in person, you can gain real-life language practice by chatting online.