How do I get started?

Now that we have covered the basic elements of your learning system, it's time to put them into practice. If you want to be one of those who actually succeed in acquiring English as your second language, you need to do things differently than most learners, who are frustrated with their results.

Once again, the only way to learn English successfully is through constant and consistent natural language input. You will learn English if you live in an English language environment. Most students think that this means moving to an English-speaking country, so they give up if they can't relocate.

But there is nothing preventing you from creating your own English language environment. Winners listen to English audio resources for several hours every day because that's one key to learning English. Don't fall prey to the illusion that you can learn English without being exposed to authentic spoken English for several hours every single day. English language schools try to tell you they can teach you English in their classroom, but the truth is, they can't, because in the classroom you are rarely exposed to authentic spoken English.

At this point, you are probably asking yourself "With my busy schedule, how can I listen to English for several hours every day? I simply don't have the time!" Well, the average learner usually finds the time and energy to spend 2 to 3 hours in English classes each week. However, how long does an English course last? Four weeks, six months, a year? Some people do attend private classes for years; for these folks, English is just a casual hobby.

But in most cases, students quit commercial classes after a few weeks because they see no results or they can no longer afford the expense. The logical conclusion is that there must be a better way of learning English.

As a winner, you should be able to integrate English into your daily routines, not just go off to a class once a week. The good news is that once you clear the initial hurdle, the entire process is easier than you may think. As a matter of fact, if you can muster enough self-discipline to take the first step, you will be on the right road to success. Here is what you need to do:

1 Analyze your daily activities to discover which of them you can do while listening to English.

2 Choose appropriate resources for each activity from your media library.

3 Create a listening plan.

4 Follow your listening plan and use your blog and glossary.

5 Share your learning experiences with other winners via the Internet.

Now, let's take a look at how much time you might have for your listening activities every day. The times allotted to the activities listed below are just examples and may vary with your own situation. Generally, however, it will probably turn out that you have about the same amount of time available as anyone else who wants to be a winner. Does the following schedule resemble your daily routine?

Breakfast: 15 minutes
Commute to work or school: 30 minutes
Lunch: 30 minutes
Commute home from work or school: 30 minutes
Dinner: 30 minutes
TV, video game or Internet surfing time: 45 minutes

So if your daily schedule looks something like that, you have about 3 hours every day to listen to English! Let's say you don't eat breakfast (which is very unhealthy, by the way) – then you probably spend at least 15 minutes in the bathroom every morning. Use that time to listen to English. That's what winners do, because they are also good at time management.

Maybe you don't have a 30-minute journey to work or school every day. Good for you! Then what do you do during that time? How much time do you spend on buses, trains, planes, or in your car? How much time do you spend walking from one place to another – to the station, to work, to the park, to the convenience store? Regardless of your current private or professional situation, every week you spend at least 15 hours on activities that are suitable for listening to English at the same time. As a winner, you need to surround yourself with authentic spoken English for at least 45 hours every month, and with 3 hours a day available to you, that's easy to do.

To start your learning process, just go to your English media library and select a resource that you think is suitable for your initial experience. For example, you can begin your input training with something as simple as a cartoon, a children's movie, or an audio book or TV show for kids. It doesn't matter what resource you start with, just as long as it's in English. On the other hand, don't be afraid of selecting materials that you think might be 'above your level'. And get rid of the idea that you need to stick to ESL materials because you are a learner. Remember that you need to start listening to authentic English as soon as possible.