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11 Reasons Why the Add1Challenge is Explosively Powerful for Language Learners


Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

Note: The Add1Challenge is now called the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge.

You can have a 15-minute conversation in a new language after just 90 days.

Does that sound too good to be true?

It’s the promise of the Add1Challenge, and after 30+ challenges we’ve seen hundreds of language learners hit that 15-minute conversation!

In fact, we’re so confident in the power of the Add1Challenge that we provide a 100% money back guarantee. Anyone who joins the Add1Challenge and does the work will have that 15-minute conversation, or they get their money back.

This is me eating breakfast in Budapest while I was learning Hungarian with the Add1Challenge.

So what makes the Add1Challenge so effective?

I’m the Head Language Coach for the Add1Challenge, so I’m involved in every challenge.

I’ve completed three challenges myself, and have had 15 minute conversations in Croatian, Japanese and Korean. It has certainly been effective for me! So I decided to take a deeper look at what makes the Add1Challenge such a powerful language learning tool.

I’ll start with the basics: explaining what’s inside the Add1Challenge — and the reasons it’s so effective as a language program.

What is the Add1Challenge?

The Add1Challenge is a community of language learners who aim to hold a 15-minute conversation in their target language at the end of 90 days.

Here's what you'll find inside:

  • Confidence to start speaking a new language in real conversations
  • Passion and motivation to learn something new every day
  • 90 Days of access to a 1-1 language coach (you’ll be assigned to the Head Coach, that’s me, Shannon Kennedy) via chat messaging
  • NEW! A guided Add1Boost 90-day program to show you exactly what to learn, and when
  • Step-by-step minichallenges — so you’ll be ready for that 15 minute conversation after 90 days
  • A private, secure and friendly place to share video updates. We ask Add1Challengers to step out of their comfort zone. During the challenge, participants share Day 0, 30, 60 and 90 videos to record their progress and motivate their fellow challengers. This is hard evidence of just how much the challengers achieve. If you’d like to see some of these videos for yourself, just search “Add1Challenge” on YouTube. Note that these are videos that challengers have opted to share publicly. You don’t have to make your videos public if you don’t want to.
  • New friends from around the world in a private community of inspired language learners who love languages as much as you do
  • Access to our unique Add1 Daily Check-in system to keep you accountable and on track
  • Add1Resources — if you need help deciding what resources to focus your learning on, we’ll show you what you need
  • Prizes! — We give away hundreds of $$$ of prizes in every Add1Challenge to the top performing challengers.

As you can see, there’s a ton going on in each challenge. And each part of the challenge is there for a reason — to keep you coming back to your language learning, day after day.

Why the Add1Challenge is So Powerful

Here are the 11 reasons that Add1 is such a powerful language learning tool:

Reason 1: You’ll Find What Works for You as a Language Learner

Most language courses tell you what to learn and how to learn it. They take a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s little wonder that many people leave school feeling “languages aren’t for me!” If you feel like that, it simply means the method of language teaching used at your school didn’t fit your learning style.

The truth is, we all learn differently. Depending on your learning style, different tools will work for you.

The Add1Challenge is an incredibly flexible system. It offers you the opportunity to try out different methods, tools, and techniques to see what works for you. And because it’s a community, you’ll get to see how others learn, try out what they’re doing, and ask for suggestions that fit in with your lifestyle.

You can be as unconventional as you like. Our philosophy is that if it works for you, then do it!

Reason 2: You Only Have 90 Days

The Add1Challenge always lasts just 90 days — and you’ll be aiming for a 15-minute conversation in your new language at the end of 90 days.

That’s a pretty tight deadline, so it will keep you focused on learning.

At the same time, you only have to keep up your learning for 90 days. So when the going gets tough, you’ll know that it won’t always be that way. After day 90, you can slack off as much as you want!

Reason 3: “Optimal Arousal”: You’ll Take Gradual Steps Outside Your Comfort Zone

Want to speak a new language? Then at times you’ll feel uncomfortable or anxious. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way when you’re meeting new people to chat with in a language you’re still learning.

So, as you speak your new language, you’ll be stepping outside your comfort zone.

Stepping outside your comfort zone — and feeling a little anxious — is good for learning. A small amount of anxiety helps you feel more focused, and perform better as you learn.

If you’re too relaxed, you’ll struggle to learn because you won’t have enough focus. The same is true if you’re too anxious. You’re aiming for what’s called “optimal arousal”.

In other words, it’s a good thing to take small steps outside your comfort zone. When you push yourself to feel a little anxious, you move up the arousal curve, and your performance improves.

In the Add1Challenge, we guide you through this process of taking small steps beyond what feels comfortable — from creating your very first video of yourself, all the way to having real conversations with native speakers.

Reason 4: You Have a Specific, BIG but Achievable “Destination Postcard”

Run with me here. We’ll talk postcards in a minute You’ve probably heard of SMART method for reaching goals — and the Add1Challenge goal of a 15-minute conversation in your target language is certainly SMART:

  • Specific — It focuses on your conversation skills.
  • Measurable — You can easily measure whether you reach a 15-minute conversation or not.
  • Achievable — We’ve seen hundreds of language learners complete the Add1Challenge, so we know it’s an achievable goal.
  • Relevant — The goal is relevant to you because you want to speak a new language.
  • Time-bound — You’ve got 90 days to achieve your goal.

But SMART isn’t everything. It’s a bit dry and boring, right? And goals work better when you have an emotional connection to them.

So, create a Destination Postcard in your mind of you having that 15-minute conversation in your target language. Then pull out that postcard and take a mental look at it every time you need a motivation boost.

Reason 5: Mini-Missions (Daily Goals)

At the beginning of the Add1Challenge, you’ll set yourself a daily study goal. For example:

  • 30 minutes a day, 7x per week
  • 45 minutes a day, 6x per week
  • 60 minutes a day, 5x per week

Then you’ll use our daily check-in system to let us know whether you completed the goal (yay!), missed the goal (nay), or took a break day.

Alongside this daily goal, you’ll have other mini-challenges to take part in, and your Day 0, Day 30, Day 60 and Day 90 videos to create.

Why is this significant?

Research from MIT shows that you work smarter and harder (and get better results) if you have deadlines — especially if you have lots of small deadlines that build up to a bigger deadline.

No wonder Add1 is so effective at keeping language learners motivated?

Reason 6: Hundreds of Others Have Done it Before You

Confession time. In one of my recent challengers, I felt certain I wasn’t going to hit a 15-minute conversation in my Day 90 video.

This is kind of awkward, but I want to show you this so you have a full idea of what’s possible with the Add1Challenge.

In my Day 0 video for Japanese, all I could do was introduce myself, count to six, and recite a few phrases I had learned as a part of an audio podcast I was using:

I really worried about how I’d get to a 15-minute conversation from that starting point. I’d seen dozens of other challengers do it, but for myself? Could I really do it?

I honestly wasn’t sure.

So I did the only thing I could do. I trusted the Add1 process. I read the daily email updates to keep me pumped (yes, the updates that I’d written!). And I hit my daily “yays”.

Each day I completed my goal — 60 mins per day, 7 days per week. I met with a tutor at least once a week for a one hour lesson, and I took part in all the mini challenges. I decided not to worry about the end goal of a 15 minute conversation. Instead, I kept my head down and went at it. One day at a time.

The thing about the Add1Challenge is – you have 90 days. You don’t get to change your deadline because you’re worried that you’re not ready or because you’ve changed your mind and feel like you need more time prepare. Day 90 is Day 90.

It’s good pressure, but it’s pressure!

And… I hit a snag. On Day 30, I was able to speak on my own for about four minutes. I thought that it was good progress. But on Day 60, I was only able to talk for about two minutes.

I was moving backwards… I wondered if I should just cut my losses and quit.

At the same time… my “yays” were adding up on the daily check-in sheet. I felt like I’d been improving, even if the evidence seemed to be saying otherwise. So, I decided to keep going.

“Trust the process,” I told myself, though in my gut I just felt screams of doubt.

When Day 90 came around, I didn’t feel ready. Not. At. All. I felt sure that I’d fail.

I thought I’d have to try more than once to squeak past the 15-minute mark.

But I promised myself that I was going to try, so I tried.

When I had the conversation, I ignored the clock. I decided to go as long as I could before my brain said, “okay, Shannon, that’s enough! I’m exhausted!”

And maybe that way I’d hit 15 minutes.

I dialled up my conversation partner on Skype. We chatted. She asked questions. I answered as best I could. I struggled. She was patient with me. I kept going until I couldn’t go anymore and we ended the call.

I took a deep breath and prepared myself to check the time on the recording. I was sure it was only going to be about 12 minutes and that I’d have to try again.

I’m the Community Manager of the Add1Challenge. I couldn’t let myself fail!

That recording I thought was just 12 minutes?

It was 38 minutes long.

It wasn’t perfect. I made mistakes and there were times where I just didn’t understand at all. But we had an amazing conversation. I smiled a ton during it. And I’d had that 15-minute conversation (and then some). I did it!

Time and again in the Add1Challenge we’ve seen language learners who feel certain they’re not going to make that 15-minute conversation. Then they record on Day 90, and shock themselves at what they achieve.

When you take the Add1Challenge, you’re journeying along a well-trodden path, so there are others to guide you, and more importantly, you know it’s possible to reach the finish line.

You can trust the process — keep doing the daily work, and you will reach your goal.

Reason 7: Speaking!

We learn languages to connect with others, right? At least I do.

That’s why at Fluent in 3 Months we say the best way to learn a language is to speak from day one. The sooner you start speaking, the sooner you’ll start connecting with others.

Plus you’ll be practicing the skill you actually want to learn.

The Add1Challenge is all about speaking a language. Sure, you can do listening, reading and writing as part of the challenge. But the goal is speaking. And that’s why we love it so much 🙂

Reason 8: You’re Learning Because You Want To

When you’re learning because you want to learn, you’ll perform better.

The Add1Challenge is a community of motivated, inspired language learners who want to be there and want to support each other. Everyone in the challenge is excited to be learning a language!

I can’t really describe how good it feels when you’re in the middle of that buzz.

“Wanting to be there” is also called intrinsic motivation. And research shows that if you have this, you’re better at learning.

Reason 9: Competition!

We like healthy competition at Add1, and during every Add1Challenge we give away thousands of dollars worth of prizes to our winners.

How do you win? First, you have to complete the challenge and create your Day 90 video. Then other challengers vote to say who they think deserves to win the most. The winner is often someone who has given a lot of help to other challengers.

There’s also friendly competition between groups during the challenge when we run our mini-challenges.

We know competition isn’t for everyone, but it can be a BIG motivator for some people, which is why we include the competitive element. If competition’s not for you, then you can ignore this side of the challenge.

Reason 10: Unslumping

Language learners often get in a slump. It’s easy to get disheartened when you’re learning a language and to feel like you’re not making any progress. You lose the sense of “I love this” and it becomes a slog.

That’s why we’ve made sure there are lots of ways to “unslump” yourself during an Add1Challenge. You can:

  • Watch the videos you’ve made of yourself speaking your target language to see how much progress you’ve made (you’ll be surprised!)
  • Ask me or anyone on the Fluent in 3 Months team for help
  • Let the community know you’re struggling — they’ll cheer you on and give you a boost

I also personally check in with any challengers who seem to be struggling to see what we can do to help them get back on track.

Reason 11: The Power of Community

I like to call the Add1 community the magic that makes the world of Add1 spin. You’ll find the people you meet in Add1 will inspire you, invigorate you and give you the energy you need to keep learning. And you’ll be doing that for others too.

Your new Add1 friends will support you, provide accountability, cheer you on when you succeed, and go shoulder-to-shoulder with you when things get tough.

It’s great to see the special friendships that are forged in every Add1Challenge.

What Are You Hoping For?

Want to join us for the next Add1Challenge? You can sign up here and we'll let you know when enrolment opens.

What are you looking forward to most about the Add1Challenge? Let me know in the comments, or email me at encourager@fluentin3months.com

author headshot

Shannon Kennedy

Language Encourager, Fluent in Months

Shannon is Head Coach for the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge. She is currently based in Southern California where she performs as a professional musician. Her passions are cooking, reading, traveling and sharing her adventures in language learning.

Speaks: English, French, Mandarin, Russian, Croatian, Japanese

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