How to learn a language effectively

Learning languages

Have you been trying to learn a language for years but still can’t use it effortlessly? Are you putting a lot of energy into it but still aren’t seeing real results? Do you feel like everyone else speaks a second language but you?

You’re not alone! There are thousands of people around the world who struggle with languages and they’re convinced they simply don’t have the talent or the right genes… 

I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you! Whether you can learn a language has nothing to do with talent. But it has everything to do with the way you’re learning. 

I would love to show you a whole different approach to learning than the one you’re used to from school. It’s a far more effective and fun system which has helped me learn 9 languages on my own. And you can do it too! 

There are 6 ways to learn a language but only 1 of them is truly effective.

Maybe you already speak a foreign language or you know someone who does. How did they learn it? Here are 6 different ways but only 1 of them actually works.

1. Being born into the “right family”

There are people who learned a language as kids thanks to their multicultural parents. Or maybe their parents encouraged them to learn a foreign language from a very young age and created an environment that would support learning. Kids pick up languages naturally and learn faster than adults. Lucky them!

2. School

Most of us learn languages in school. And we might start as early as 6 years old. You would think that all of us would be fluent as adults but in reality we can see that it doesn’t really work that way. After all those years of learning we still can’t use the language confidently let alone be fluent. And so as adults we continue to struggle whilst not making any real progress.

A woman biting into a pencil. She's frustrated because she is not successful lin learning a language.

3. Language courses

Probably the most popular way of learning languages. However, the problem is that during language courses we tend to spend minimum time actually using the language. The main focus is on grammar and vocabulary. But practical skills like comprehension and speaking are often put on the back burner. 

Think about it for a moment. Let’s say you attend a course with 6 people in your group and you have two lessons a week. On average you spend about 8 minutes during the week actively speaking in your target language! 

Now imagine that you want to build your muscles in the gym or learn how to play piano, would you spend about 8 minutes working out or practicing playing a week? Of course not! And the same goes for languages.

4. Individual lessons

A great way to improve your language skills as you get all the benefits of 1:1 attention and lessons tailored to your needs. But in order to truly see results, 1 or 2 lessons a week just won’t cut it. Ideally, you should spend some time with the language every day. And having several private lessons a week can become quite costly really fast.

5. Language programs abroad

You might feel like traveling abroad and attending one of the international programs might be the solution to your language problems. Away from home, surrounded by native speakers… it’s easy to think that the language will magically stick. And even though this type of a program might help, you can’t expect to be fluent after 2 or 3 months. And let’s be honest, it’s a big time and financial commitment that most of us can’t afford. 

6. Self-learning

In the past few years self-learning has gained its popularity thanks to the internet and the limitless resources it offers. You no longer have to travel abroad to immerse yourself in the language you want to learn. 

You can improve your Spanish, French, Italian or any other language by yourself, from the comfort of your home. Keep on reading to see why self-learning is the best way to take your language to the next level.

A man learning German on his laptop.

How does self-learning work? Way more effectively! 

One of the best things about learning a language on your own? You decide what it’s going to look like: you create a study plan tailored to your schedule and needs.

As a self-learner, you use methods and resources that you find interesting and fun. You can listen to podcasts or watch TV shows in French to boost your listening skills. You can read books or online articles to improve your vocabulary. Or you can choose to talk to friends in English to work on your speaking skills. There are tons of methods like this, everyone can choose what works for them.

What does a day in a self-learner life look like? Every minute counts.

A self-learner effectively tailors the learning to their busy schedule. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom taking care of kids, entrepreneur or a CEO, you can make the language a part of your everyday life by learning in small batches. What does that look like in practice?

In the morning, while you make breakfast and your kids are still asleep, you put on a podcast for 15 minutes. On your way to work, you finish the rest of that episode. During your lunch break, you spend 10 minutes revising your vocabulary using an app on your phone. In the evening, instead of scrolling on Instagram, you watch an episode of your fav TV show. And before you go to sleep, you read a couple of pages from the book in Spanish. 

And just like that, you spent 45 minutes learning a language… without actually dedicating any extra time to learning or attending a course. All you had to do was use your time effectively. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there and even during your busiest day you can manage to work on your language. And have fun with it too!

A woman cutting vegetables with her headphones on, listening to an audiobook.

How do I make it work? Stick to 4 main rules!

1. Fun: because boring resources won’t cut it.

First and foremost, you have to enjoy learning. If a particular method, podcast, or book makes you cringe, forget it and find a new one. The options are endless. It’s important that you approach learning with joy and enthusiasm – your brain will remember what you’ve learned way easier. You’ll also associate learning with positive feelings and you’ll find every opportunity to work on your language, instead of dreading it.

2. Contact: two weekly lessons in a language course simply aren’t enough.

You need to have a lot of contact with the language, ideally about an hour a day, to see real results. Are you saying that there is no way you can find an hour every day in your crazy busy schedule? Think about it for a moment. I’m sure there are tasks in your day such as washing dishes or commuting that you can easily pair with listening to a podcast or practicing self-talk.

Time can even be found in the most packed calendar. And often it’s just a matter of making something a priority. If you decide that learning a language is important to you, I guarantee that you will find the time to make learning a part of your busy day.

Making a study plan to learn a language effectively when you're busy.

3. Effective methods: English in your sleep in 2 weeks? Not really…

The key to successfully learning a language is using effective methods. Which methods are effective? You don’t need to be an expert on languages to know that ads claiming “Learn English in 2 weeks, in your sleep without any effort”, are nonsense. 

Effective methods are ones that will make your learning easier, will save your energy and time, and help you achieve fluency faster. For example, methods that support the way your brain and memory work such as the Goldlist method for learning vocabulary. Also, keep in mind that you need to choose methods that are fun and interesting to YOU. Only then will learning become an enjoyable activity that you will effortlessly build into your daily routine.

4. System: the difference between failure and fluency.

Learn systematically and prepare your study plan, materials, and resources ahead of time. Once you’ve decided that you’re going to listen to a podcast in the morning, review vocabulary during lunch break, and watch a TV show in the evening, you won’t waste time thinking about it every day.

Start by setting up priorities you want to focus on. Are you going to improve your speaking or listening skills? Does your vocabulary need more attention? Then decide which methods you’re going to use and find materials to work with. Think about your daily schedule and see where you can fit in your learning. Make a study plan for the entire week and put it somewhere visible.

Sound a little too simple? This effective system of learning languages has already helped over 11 thousand self-learners to achieve their desired results. Once you know how to learn and fully immerse yourself in learning, you can truly make amazing progress in a short amount of time.

You also have to open yourself to the idea that you too can learn a language even though years of struggle in school or language courses convinced you of the opposite. Let me assure you that languages have nothing to do with talent. The only reason you haven’t succeeded yet is that you were doing it the wrong way. And now it’s time to change that!


If you’ve spent a lot of years/energy/money to learn a language and still can’t use it with confidence and ease in real life… you’re probably thinking that you simply don’t have “talent for languages''. There’s no other explanation, right?!

Well, there actually is a reason why you haven’t seen the desired results. Do you want to know what it is? Register for my FREE WEBINAR and find out:

  • How to go from hating the process of learning to absolutely loving it!
  • How ANYONE can successfully learn a language at home.
  • Why “talent for languages” is NOT necessary to succeed.
  • What the biggest mistakes are that people make when trying to learn a language.

Lýdia Hric Machová

Language mentor
I have learned 9 languages by myself, without living abroad. As a language mentor I've helped thousands of people to learn languages by themselves, in ways different from traditional classroom methods, and with much better and faster results. I'm a TED and TEDx speaker and a former organizer of the Polyglot Gathering, one of the biggest world events for polyglots.