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How to Build an Italian Learning Habit 

 October 2, 2020

By  Jessica Maggi

How to Build an Italian Learning Habit

One of the best investments you can make for yourself, learning a foreign language should be a regular exercise routine you happily do on your time schedule. 

In this post, we will give you a few useful tips to create a learning habit and maintain a fixed routine for learning Italian, so that learning becomes something you enjoy doing, rather than a tedious chore to do. With the right mindset, proper motivation and appropriate planning, practicing Italian can be easily ingrained into your system.

Here you go!

How to build a powerful language-learning habit into your daily life 

Learning a language involves much more than just memorization. Forming a learning habit is a key part of getting fluent in Italian and achieving your learning goals. Here is our six-step guide on how to create a healthy language-learning habit and stick to it. 

1. Set realistic goals with reasonable deadlines

American author, coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”. Ask yourself what it is that you want to achieve, and establish a series of clear, achievable goals with reasonable deadlines that will constantly push you towards a deeper knowledge of Italian and get you going in the right direction. 

It could be to:

  • be able to talk about yourself and your work experience in a job interview within two months;
  • be able to comfortably have casual conversations in Italian within three months;
  • learn to read, speak and write basic Italian in six months;
  • feel confident reading, writing, listening and speaking in Italian in four months;
  • improve your speaking, writing and reading skills in preparation for your upcoming trip to Italy;
  • sharpen your language skills in one month;
  • gain conversational fluency in Italian in three months. 

Setting clear, realistic language-learning goals and making progress on them will maximize your motivation. Enthusiasm, focus and motivation are essential to keep going.

Conversely, setting unrealistic goals with very tight deadlines puts you at risk of getting frustrated, feeling discouraged, disheartened and demotivated, and giving up when you experience difficulty in getting the results you expected.

2. Divide up your goals into smaller, approachable milestones 

Cut down your main goal into a series of very little steps to do every day. For example, start with just one short topic per day. Don’t take on too much at once. Setting mini goals helps you stay focused and motivated, and reduces the propensity to procrastinate.

3. Put learning Italian into your schedule

It’s important to have some structured studying time to focus on grammar, orthography and new vocabulary. Train yourself to make learning Italian part of your daily routine, and make an effort to carve out some time every single day for it. This time block doesn’t need to be enormous: plan for just 15-20 minutes of study at a time, then gradually add more. 

Decide when and where you are going to practice Italian, and pick a time of day that works for you, whether that’s on the bus during your morning commute, at your desk over lunch or in bed at the end of the day. Keep doing it until it becomes a habitual, integrated part of your daily schedule.

If you take long breaks between Italian study sessions, it will be hard to make information stick. Practice the language and review concepts every single day or at least at regular intervals.

4. Reward yourself and stay motivated

To stay on track, break your main goals into little doable steps, and then reward yourself for each little step completed. Celebrating your achievements and small triumphs along the way is EXTREMELY motivating. 

When you make progress on your goals, your subjective wellbeing increases and you feel good. That overall increased happiness motivates you to keep practicing and continue working toward your goals. As you can see, by investing just a few minutes each day into your language-learning practice, you will not only improve your skills but also enjoy pleasant science-backed side effects. 

So, it’s important to consciously recognize the progress you have made, and not only focus on your mistakes.

5. Overcome procrastination

Don’t let the Ogre of Procrastination rear its ugly head. Don’t assume that you need to be in the right frame of mind and wait for the right moment to start practicing your new language. Waiting for the perfect time is a way of procrastinating, wasting time and putting things off. Now is the perfect time to start. 

As mentioned previously, carve out some dedicated time for learning and practicing Italian every day. Put that period on your calendar, stick to it and treat it as you would an appointment with your best friend. If you fail to do so, your daily tasks will overshadow your learning agenda.

6. Have fun with it

Add Italian movies, sitcoms, TV shows, multiplayer games, comics, graphic novels, music and YouTube videos to your language-learning regimen. It can definitely complement your formal learning of Italian. 

As already mentioned, learning a foreign language is so much more than just memorizing a list of words. Contextualizing the vocab you are learning is crucial, and the best way to do that is by cozying up with Italian culture. Watch target language TV and films, check out Italian vlogs on YouTube and make friends with native Italian speakers to start discovering some, not just specifically while thinking about improving your language skills, but for fun. 

Examples of Italian learning habits

Here are some learning habits you could get into:

  • Scan the headlines on an Italian newspaper over breakfast in the morning; 
  • Practice verb conjugation under the shower;
  • Put your headphones on and press play on an Italian podcast on your way to work; 
  • Go over a new lesson over lunch;
  • Watch an Italian vlog on YouTube instead of taking a smoke break during your work day;
  • Go through some grammar exercises on your way home from work;
  • Listen to Italian music while you workout at home or at the gym;
  • Chat with your Italian pen pal on HelloTalk while waiting in line at the ATM;
  • Listen to an audio book in Italian while cooking dinner;
  • Review concepts while doing the dishes;
  • Watch an Italian movie after dinner; 
  • Put your pajamas on and read a few pages of an Italian book in bed.

You don’t need to do everything at once. Choose just three or four in the beginning and focus on repeating them until they begin to come naturally, then add more. 

Which Italian learning habits are you going to start doing? Let us know in the comments below.

Jessica Maggi


Jessica is a native Italian speaker, a passionate linguist and a proud Grammar nerd. She has a lifelong passion for English and studied Linguistic and Cultural Mediation at the University of Milan. She currently works as a freelance translator and copywriter.

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