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How to set the right size goal with native Spanish speakers


Every week I speak with students who have a Spanish-speaking significant other/coworker/friend, and yet they do not practice their Spanish with them.  There are a myriad of reasons for this, but I feel that the most common mistake is setting too big a goal.


Many students will say that every night at dinner they will speak Spanish the entire time, or for an hour after dinner, or all of Sunday for example. The reality is that most of us want to connect with our partners, friends, and coworkers. If we are learning a language we are not able to communicate as well as we would in our native language, which makes us not want to practice, but rather speak in a language that is easy, familiar, and that allows us to connect on deeper level with our loved ones.


So what am I suggesting? If you have a Spanish speaker in your life, I suggest that you set a very small goal. Here are a few examples:

  • Speak Spanish together on a daily basis, but only for five minutes at a time
  • Speak about three specific things that happened that day
  • Repeat something that you just spoke about in English, but this time in Spanish

The goal is to take advantage of the fact that you have a Spanish speaker in your life, but to keep the conversations short and consistent.


Do you know someone that you could practice with for five minutes a day?