English mastery: how to set goals you can actually achieve

Welcome, learners!

So, you’ve decided to conquer the English language?


Just like prepping for an epic road trip, setting out without a map might lead to charming detours, but it might also make you circle the same spot… endlessly.

And while there’s joy in the unexpected, there’s also magic in plotting a course that’s realistic and right for you.

Ready to chalk out those English learning goals that are achievable, tailored, and dare I say, thrilling? Let’s plot that course and set you on your way!

1. Self-assessment

Before you dive into the vast ocean of English learning, it’s always a good idea to first dip your toes and test the waters. 

Ask yourself, where do you comfortably fit in? Beginner, intermediate, or maybe advanced? And here’s a twist: you might be great in one area and need a little boost in another. Maybe you can read English news articles with ease, but when it comes to speaking on the phone? That’s a whole different story!
Understanding your unique strengths and areas for growth isn’t just helpful – it’s essential. It’s all about setting the right expectations for yourself. So, grab a notepad or just mentally note down: Where do you shine, and where could you use a little polish?

2. Define your purpose

Let’s be real for a moment. Learning anything new, especially a language, isn’t always a breezy walk in the park. There will be days when your motivation wanes, when you’re tempted to skip a lesson, or when that tricky grammar concept just seems impossible to grasp. We’ve all been there. But here’s a little secret: Having a crystal-clear ‘why’ can be the lifeline you need in those moments.

Ask yourself, “Why am I really learning English?” Are you aiming to impress during an overseas work presentation, dreaming of chatting confidently with locals on your next trip, diving deep into academic materials, or looking to get that sweet promotion?

Your ‘why’ is your anchor. It’s the reason you’ll pull out your notes and press on, even on days when the couch looks way too inviting. So, spend some time pondering on it. It’s the shield against discouragement and the compass that points you back to your path when you feel lost!

3. Set SMART goal

Let’s get strategic, shall we? Simply saying “I want to be better at English” is like telling your GPS, “Take me somewhere fun.” Cool in theory, but without specificity, how’s it going to get you there? That’s where SMART goals come into play:

  • Specific: Instead of saying, “I want to get better at reading in English,” zoom in on your target: “I will enhance my ability to understand English novels.”
  • Measurable: Don’t just say, “I’ll read more.” Be precise: “I will read one chapter each day and summarize it.” This way, you’re holding yourself accountable every day.
  • Achievable: Don’t dive straight into Shakespeare or Dickens. Keep it realistic: “I will start with young adult novels before progressing to more complex literature.”
  • Relevant: Align it with your broader learning journey. Instead of a broad “I want to read to improve,” refine it to: “This will not only improve my reading skills but also expose me to cultural nuances.”
  • Time-bound: Set that finish line! Instead of the open-ended “I’ll read some novels,” push yourself with: “I aim to finish two novels in the next two months.”

4. Choose the right resources

Pop quiz! What do an artist, a chef, and an English learner have in common? Yep, you got it. They all need the right tools to get the job done. Let’s dive into curating your ultimate English-learning toolkit based on your unique goals:

  • General English proficiency 

Books: Grammar and vocabulary books such as “English Grammar in Use” by Raymond Murphy or “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis.

Apps: Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone – These platforms offer comprehensive courses covering vocabulary, grammar, speaking, and listening.

  • Conversational English 

Language exchange platforms: Tandem, HelloTalk, or Speaky. These platforms connect learners with native speakers for mutual language practice.

Podcasts: “ESL Pod,” “Better at English,” and “Culips” provide real-life conversations ideal for learners looking to improve conversational English.

  • Business English 

Books: “Business English Handbook” by Paul Emmerson or “Market Leader” series.

Websites: Breaking News English, Business English Resouces.

  • English for Academic Purposes

Books: “Academic Vocabulary in Use” by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell.

  • Listening & Pronunciation

Apps: ELSA learn and speak English 

Podcast: VOA Learning English, BBC Learning English 

Of course, you can always join a course for a smoother learning experience! And we can help! Contact us to get your free consultation now! 

5. Stay accountable 

Sometimes, the journey to mastering English is smoother when you’re not walking it alone!

Sharing your goals can be the first step towards solidifying your commitment. Let a friend or family member know about your English learning aspirations. When you have someone cheering you on, it becomes harder to give up!

Moreover, the beauty of learning is often in shared experiences. Consider joining a study group or a language club. Being in an environment with fellow learners not only sparks motivation but also adds an element of camaraderie and fun to the process.

For those who are genuinely committed to fast-tracking their English proficiency, seeking expert guidance can be invaluable. Think about enrolling in an English course. They can offer personalized insights, direction, and provide feedback tailored to your strengths and areas for improvement!

6. Track your progress

Starting a journal is a practical step. At the end of each study session, jot down what you’ve covered that day. It could be a new set of vocabulary, an interesting idiom, or some grammar rules. As days turn into weeks, you’ll have a tangible record of your learning journey. Revisiting these notes not only serves as a quick revision but also offers a boost of encouragement!

If pen and paper aren’t your style, there are myriad apps tailored for English learners. These digital platforms not only provide structured lessons but also feature built-in tools to gauge your advancements. The beauty of this? Instant feedback! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a pat on the back every now and then?

7. Stay flexible

Learning a language is a dynamic journey, so it’s natural for your focus to shift as you progress. Say, you started with an aim to master business English for that international job role. But as you engage more, you might realize the importance of understanding cultural nuances or idiomatic expressions to relate better with colleagues or clients from English-speaking countries.

Or perhaps, as you’ve been refining your English writing for work, you’ve noticed areas of grammar that need a bit more attention than you initially thought. It’s all a part of the process! What’s essential is recognizing these evolving needs.

That’s why it’s a good idea to pause occasionally, reflect on your progress, and recalibrate if needed. Staying flexible ensures that you’re not just sticking to a plan for the sake of it, but you’re genuinely maximizing your learning to suit your real-world needs!

8. Stay consistent 

Consistency is key when it comes to mastering a new language. 

So, even if it’s just a few minutes each day, set aside some dedicated time to immerse yourself in English!

Whether it’s through reading an article, jotting down thoughts, or practicing pronunciation, these consistent efforts compound over time. And before you know it, those short sessions will have added up to significant progress. 

So, pull out that calendar, set those reminders, and remember: every bit counts in the language learning journey!


Learning English, just like any other skill, really depends on having clear goals and putting in consistent effort. 

We’ve discussed several strategies to help set these goals, but the most vital part now is to put them into action. As you move forward, remember that steady progress often trumps rapid bursts of short-lived enthusiasm. Adjust when needed, seek out feedback, and don’t shy away from the challenges. Each step you take is one closer to fluency!

Best of luck and happy learning!

At IELC, we teach English the right way 

Our goal is to get you speaking in English with fluency and confidence as fast as possible. We want to give you the skills you need to fulfil your potential!

Our experienced teachers will guide you along every step of the learning process to ensure that you are not wasting your time, money, and energy on useless language exercises & wrong methods.

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No matter what your goals are, our team will help you achieve these goals by providing you with Indonesia’s best English courses!

Talk to our team today to get your FREE consultation and take your first step towards success.


IELC Academic Director