Bring It Back to the Basics

Learning English can be likened to running a marathon – there’s a tremendous amount of training, hard work, and endurance that is needed. However, the end result is totally worth it.

A lot of runners will tell you when they’re training for a marathon or a big run they “hit a wall”. This is a physical and mental hurdle they must overcome in order to keep going. But when they hit that figurative wall, they feel that it is impossible to keep going. They feel that they will never cross the finish line.

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Perhaps you feel the same way with your English studies. Do you feel like you’ve hit the peak of your knowledge and you can’t keep going? Or that you will never reach English fluency?

Be assured that your feelings are completely normal and it happens to nearly everyone. But today we’re going to look at what runners do when they’ve hit a wall, and apply it to your English learning.

1. They Put Things In Perspective

As with running, it can be really disappointing to make so much progress only to take a step back. But this doesn’t mean you’ve failed. As you have trained, you’ve gotten stronger. You’ve reached many of your goals, and you have polished your abilities. So when you feel like you’ve hit your peak, take a moment to focus on the progress you’ve personally made. Have faith that the foundation you’ve spent time building will carry you through to the finish line.

2. Identify Stresses

Sometimes when we’re not progressing, it isn’t because of our own personal faults but because of our environment. Extra stress can cause our bodies to physically, emotionally, or mentally shut down. Believe it or not, stress can really affect our learning abilities. When we experience heightened stress, we have trouble reasoning and using our memory – skills essential to learning. So try to eliminate stresses within our control, or find ways to deal with stress better. Have you ever tried running?


3. Reduce Intensity of Training

Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself too hard and your brain needs to be put into recovery. There’s nothing wrong with lightening your load if you feel overwhelmed, and then slowly work yourself back into your routine. Our bodies aren’t machines, so don’t expect more than you can realistically do. Although reducing your study time may feel like you’re taking a few steps back, don’t worry. Slowly work yourself back into your routine when you feel like your brain can handle it.

4. Monitor Your Studies

Ideally, after you study you should feel better or at the very least, okay. If you struggle to finish your studies or feel discouraged after them, it’s a sign that you need to change. You either need to work on easier material, or liven things up. So if you notice that you feel discouraged whenever you try to learn vocabulary by watching a movie, you know something needs to change. Try watching a TV show, or try watching one scene at a time. Be observant of your studies, and how you feel after them. It can make all the difference!


You probably want to reach the finish line as soon as possible, but it’s okay to pause for a minute, re-evaluate your studies and collect yourself. You will reach the finish line with a renewed energy and a sense of accomplishment.


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