Preamble: rdearman just mentioned the Achieving without Goals post that iguanamon has referred to from time to time, and every time it gets mentioned/linked on the forum, I always hop over for a refresher. Some of my favourite quotes:
Goals are completely made up, with not a lot of information about what will happen in the future as we work on them. We invent them, out of some fantasy of how we want the future to go, but in truth they’re not realistic. And we can’t predict or control how the future will go, so setting goals is a useless activity.
When we fail to reach this fantasy outcome (which is often), we feel bad. But if we let go of the fantasy, we can just enjoy the work.
When we have a future-oriented mindset, it doesn’t end if/when we achieve the goal. We achieve the goal, then immediately look to the next goal.
It always gets me thinking about how much my practices align with my ideals. Life isn't perfect, I can't get everything to line up, but there's generally always room for improvement. I'm grateful every time someone links this article!!So how do you work without goals? Do you just do nothing? No, of course not … people who love what they do will wake up wanting to do something fun, something that benefits the world.
Each moment, don’t ask “am I doing something to move me to my goal?” but instead ask, “Am I doing something right now that’s based on one of my values or principles?”
One other thing: I'm listing CEFR levels in my profile when I've done tests on Dialang. I am also including a link in my signature to the post(s) where these results are posted, as corroboration. I know Dialang isn't official and I know it isn't perfect, but it's still some kind of measure that translates generally, and likely the only one I'll ever have because I have no intention of ever taking any official tests.
I am only learning for the "passive" skills, so any reference to my level applies only to reading and listening.
Swedish: Without any structure, and given that I achieved a B1 result on the Dialang listening test a few months ago, I am going to put B2 on reading and listening over at Dialang as something I'd be happy with by the end of next December. I'm reading YA novels with a dictionary, and watching tv series sometimes with and sometimes without L2 subtitles. I'll continue with reading and watching/listening, and work on Rivstart B1+B2 here and there as well. I do have the "goal" of reading 10,000 pages eventually. I'm not sure how much that qualifies as a goal, given that if I continue to read in Swedish (I certainly plan to), I'll eventually read 10,000 pages. But anyway, it's a number to work toward with no set date to achieve it by.
Icelandic: Gosh A2 reading would be nice by the end of next year I laugh because I've already been at this language for nine months. I've dropped any kind of expectations on listening here, mostly because there's a lack of compelling stuff for me to accumulate hundreds of hours with, especially over a short-ish (1-2 years) period. Going ahead next year, I'll continue plugging along until I complete Colloquial Icelandic, and at any point I'll start integrating reading authentic native materials and do some work on VLÍ.
Russian: I'm not even setting an "it'd be nice..." outcome for this language. I have no idea how long it'll take me to get anywhere, and since it's also not a focus, I'm not committing to any kind of path of study, or even to Russian itself. For now I plan to use the RT Learn Russian course, with references to some online grammars linked in the r/russian wiki. I may change that plan to paying for a course if I find the online+free route too lacking in <something I want from it>. For beyond the course stage, I am aware of Red Kalinka for graded material. I have no idea where to get legit ebooks/audiobooks.
I guess everything above can be summed up with: keep/start doing stuff in the language, try to do it somewhat regularly but no big deal if I am a bit inconsistent, and at the end of the year take online tests for the "passive" skills to see where I'm at, with some hope for where I'd like to be, but not really worrying about if I'm not there yet.
Non-language-specific (and even non-language) goals: Be okay with inconsistency and slow progress. Be braver. Change things up when I get bored. Don't be afraid to set things aside when they feel overwhelming. Explore non-language hobbies. Move a little more, eat a little better. Drink more tea and eat less chocolate. Remember to appreciate where I am.
I think that's everything.