language tips

Goal Setting

Goal Setting is something I started to write about on my Instagram earlier this week. I started learning Norwegian with the incredibly vague goal of “I want to be able to speak Norwegian”. But what does that really mean? We’ve all seen the SMART targets model where a goal should always be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time limited but I realised that there is so much more to it than that.

As a teacher I was used to planning for my classes. We produced long term, medium term and short term plans to ensure that the children would be making progression towards the overall curriculum goals by the end of the school year. The long term goals were set out in the curriculum by the government and so my job was to break those down in to more manageable pieces for the children to attain. Medium term plans laid out a term’s worth of learning whereas short term planning were weekly plans with specific daily provision put in for key children.

I have started to think about my language goals in the way I would if I were to be teaching it to a class.


Step one: What is your long term goal?

No one can tell you what your ultimate goal for learning a language should be, and you need to really think about what you want to achieve. This will really help you chose the right aspects of study that will support your aims. For example, if your ultimate goal is to travel and have basic conversations then you probably do not need to spend time on extensive readings.

I am marrying my partner who is Norwegian this year and so I want to be able to speak with his family fluently without having to have them switch to English for me. However, I also would love to live and work in Scandinavia one day and so I want to be able to have a working proficiency of spoken and written Norwegian which will also help me transition to other Scandinavian languages. Therefore I should pass a C1 language exam. This process may take several years and so breaking it down will help pave the way to achieving this.

Step Two: Medium Term Goals

This next step is to decide what you want to achieve in the next 3-6 months. This is long enough that you will be able to see and measure your progress and it will also be some pretty big steps towards your overall goal. After 3-6 months your medium term goals will change and grow to get you closer to your overall aim. Reviewing and evaluating your progress with this every few months is essential to make sure a plan is working for you.

With my overall goals in mind, my medium term goals for the next 3-6months are therefore:

  • To pass the A1-A2 Norwegian exam
  • To read and understand children’s short story unassisted
  • To use only Norwegian when I next go to a café/restaurant/bar in Norway

Step Three: Mini Goals

I love using mini goals because they are daily/weekly and they are the ‘quick wins’ which can really boost your confidence and make you see the progress you are making.

Just as the medium term goals feed into the long term goals, so to should the mini goals work towards your medium term goals.

My mini goals for this week are:

  • To get to level 16 in Duolingo (which will build my conversational vocabulary)
  • To be able to listen to and transcribe a short dialogue
  • To recall and use my newest 10 flashcards in speaking practise.

I would love to find out more about your goal setting both big and small and how you keep track of your progress with these. I have been developing some printables for this exact kind of goal setting and I hope to have them perfected soon so that I can upload them to my blog for others to download as I would love some feedback on their effectiveness.

Have a great week


10 thoughts on “Goal Setting”

  1. Wow this is such good advice. I always think of the end goal and it can seem totally unattainable. I’m defintely setting up a “quick wins” mini goals log like the one you put on your Instagram. I’m hoping it will make me more motivated because I can lose so much motivation with my Korean at times.


  2. Hi Kathryn, I’m so glad to see you started a blog to expand on these topics. I’m sure that with your experience as an educator you have a lot of valuable advice to share and I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m also definitely going to download your printables once they’re ready!

    My long-term goal for Swedish is similar to yours for Norwegian: I want to be able to speak with my boyfriend’s family in Swedish, but also to reach working proficiency, as I’ll be living in Sweden.
    My medium-term goal for the next 3 months is to be able to do everyday activities in Swedish: shopping, ordering at a restaurant, small talk about daily stuff.
    The mini-goals for the week are finishing the chapter I’m working on in my textbook and writing one sentence or two on Instagram every day.


    1. Hi Elena! Thanks for checking out my blog. I am so jealous of your exciting Swedish move! My brother lives in Stockholm and it is such a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing your goals too. I find the medium ones the hardest to set because it’s that kind of in between time period that’s hard to know what you will be ready for. But I guess after a few months of doing it I will know my abilities better.


  3. Really nice post. I love the idea of long, mid and short term goals. I have actually been doing that recently to try and work towards my goal this year of passing the C1 exam in Italian. It’s going to be tough but if I can be a bit more structured and planned then I think I can do it. Best of luck with your Norwegian studies 😀

    I look forward to reading more about it and seeing more awesome bullet journals on Instagram 👍🏻


  4. I’m just starting out with my Portuguese learning and I’m struggling with how to get to where I want to be. But I am going to start breaking it down.


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