My New Years Spanish Resolution

Rob Ashby

Rob Ashby

The Spanish Obsessive

We’ve reached 2019, so I want to make and share my Spanish New Years Resolution with you! Read on to find out what I’ll be doing, as well as how and why I’ll be doing it.

Failed Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are famous for failure. It’s a cliche, but everyone who has ever made a resolution knows the slow slide from enthusiasm and discipline to apathy and neglect, usually over around 4-6 weeks.

I’m as guilty as anyone. Over the years, I’ve taken up and given up guitar, yoga, computer programming, gardening, and many more.

Somehow, I’ve managed to attain a decent level of Spanish despite my general laziness and incompetence.

This year, though, things really are going to be different!

This one’s different (really)

My big mistake with my previous resolutions was due to a lack of accountability. I might have mentioned my resolutions to friends and family, but no one really cared if I completed them or not, and I didn’t really have any skin in the game. Whether I was successful or not didn’t really matter.

To get this resolution to stick, I’m making myself accountable. I’ve actually booked in the start and end point, and I’ll be sharing every step of my journey with you.

Another reason I failed previously was due to a lack of a specific time-frame. Just saying that I would continuously, or permanently do something, without a specific goal, or time in mind, meant that I petered out after a few weeks.

This time, though, I’ve set dates in the diary, and I’m pretty specific about what I’m going to do.

My Spanish (New Year’s) Resolution

My goal is to reach C2 level on the Common European Framework of Languages (CEFR), within the year.

That’s the highest level, and it’s tough. Here’s a description from Exam English, about reaching C2 in English (my bold text):

The capacity to deal with material which is academic or cognitively demanding, and to use language to good effect at a level of performance which may in certain respects be more advanced than that of an average native speaker.

That last part scares me. Is this even possible?

As an English teacher, I had one class of students who were preparing for their C2 exams. They were all Swedish (who are famously good at English, along with most Scandinavian countries), and I honestly felt that they could have taught the classes themselves.

Can I really reach that level in Spanish? And, how will I know if I have?

Testing, testing

In English, we have the IELTs (International English Language Testing Scheme), which provides a general score for someone’s English competence – it’s the bane of every foreign student’s life.

Spanish uses the SIELE – the Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española. It provides a score between 1 – 1,000, divided into 4 parts: Reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It’s a five hour exam, which sounds fun.

I’ll be taking that. Twice. Once in January, and again towards the end of the year.

This way, we’ll be able to see what level I am at the start, and then how much I improve (or not).

I’m a little nervous…

Clearly, I’m not starting from zero. I’ve got a decent level of Spanish (ahem), and am lucky to be surrounded by Spanish despite living in London. I feel conversationally fluent, and don’t have any problems being able to express what I want. I also understand everything I hear.

However, I feel I haven’t made so much progress recently. I’ve been comfortable for a long time now (nothing wrong with that, of course), and haven’t really made much effort with my own Spanish. I definitely haven’t been practising what we preach on Spanish Obsessed.

I’m quite proud of my level of Spanish, and am a little nervous that the exam will show me up! What if I’m nothing like as good as I think I am? What if I make little to no progress?

This is no small undertaking, and at this point I’m not sure if it’s even possible.  I’m putting it all on the line…


How am I going to do this?

I’ll be committing to Spanish, every day. I’ll be taking advice from other teachers and successful language learners, and will build out a study plan based on what I need to improve (the first exam results should help with this).

I’m fortunate to be able to practise Spanish every day with Lis, but that alone isn’t enough. I’ll need to read, watch, listen to, and consume high level Spanish, and optimise my study patterns for the best results.

I’ll update you on my progress every step of the way. I’ll share what I’m doing, what I’ve learned, what does and doesn’t work, as well as actual Spanish tips (really!) that I pick up on the way.

An invitation: Join me, and make 2019 your year of Spanish.

I’d like to invite you to join me in my journey, and make 2019 the year that you really conquer Spanish.

You don’t need to take an exam, and you certainly don’t need to aim for a C2 level.

You just need to pick a goal that’s right for you, commit to it, and share it. Share it with me, share it with everyone at Spanish Obsessed, share it with everyone you know, and we’ll help you stay on track.

Here’s how:

  1. Take a look at Planning Your Language Learning (8 minutes read)
  2. Think about what you want to achieve with your Spanish in 2019, and how you’ll get there
  3. Hit “comment” and let us know what you plan to achieve in 2019

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