Why Don't We Use Language Courses Once We Buy Them?

by Diana Tower

It is FRIDAY! Yay! Happy Friday. It is almost 6pm and I've been working on the website -- updating and improving my articles-- and I realized something that I want to share with you.

Click here to listen to this article via Audioboo.

Have you ever wanted to do something --like learn English-- so you try to start a new habit or a new course? Maybe you bought a course to help you learn English. In my case I bought a course to learn Spanish.

In the moment of buying that course, how did you feel?

You probably felt: proud, happy, excited, motivated, energized...or all of the the above. Just from clicking BUY!

Now, once you bought it, you probably downloaded your course, flipped through the pages (or scrolled through your ebook), listened to a couple of the audio clips or videos and then put the course on your shelf (or in a folder on your computer) ready to be used.

Now...I have a question for you.

Have you started using your course?
Is it on the shelf?
Is it hidden in your computer?

Now, you might be wondering, where is my Spanish course? Well, it's hidden in my computer. It is an amazing course and I KNOW it will help me improve my Spanish but I've never used it. Not once! Now, WHY NOT!

Why don't we use courses or books that we buy?

Am I alone in doing this, or have you done this too?

I have a theory. When we buy a course we subconsciously feel like we are doing something to improve our _________ (for you English)...so we can relax a bit and not worry about it as much. But in reality all we have done is spent money. We shouldn't feel like we have accomplished something...yet.

We should feel proud of ourselves once we have started the course...used it regularly for a week...a month...or even finished a course.

THAT is when we should feel proud.

So, what do you think?

Do you do this too? Do you buy courses and never use them? And why do you think you do it?

Thanks so much for listening and I'll see you again next month.

This is Diana, from helping-you-learn-english.com

Tell me why you use or don't use a course by leaving a comment below.

Comments for Why Don't We Use Language Courses Once We Buy Them?

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 02, 2013
by: Mehdi

Hi Dear Diana. If you want the truth I have a great interest for learning English language, but unfortunately I don't have enough time for it.

In my idea, you teach English very well. In my country 'Iran' we don't have good teachers unluckily. Hope I can study English more, after this.

If only we had a good and kind teacher like you in Iran.

Have a nice time.goodbye.
Your Iranian student 'Mehdi'.

Hi Mehdi,

Thank you for your honest reply. Many people "do not have time" for many things. I like to think of it this way though. "I have other things that are more important to me right now".

For example, working, eating, sleeping, taking care of children, exercising, hobbies, parties, travelling, shopping and many other activities can be more important than learning English.

I don't mean more important in terms of how it will influence you life (as knowing English can be quite influential) but in our day to day life going out for a walk may feel more important than studying grammar.

It can be very difficult to make time for something (especially learning English).

That being said I am sorry to hear that there are not many "good" teachers in Iran. I am sure there are good teachers there, but maybe there are not many of them.

That being said I can teach anywhere in the world. I will soon be launching more online classes via EduFire or another platform. I hope to provide group sessions, one-to-one coaching and even conversation classes via Skype.

I will keep everyone posted on this via my newsletter so make sure that you are all signed-up.

Sign-up for my free monthly newsletter here.

All the best,

Jan 31, 2013
Falling Victim to this Norm
by: Pere

Firstly I want to say that it has been wonderful for me, because your learning English newsletter had helped me a lot and so I wish to express my sincere gratitude. Thank you Diana.

Now coming to what you said "finish what you start" I think this is a general norm that we have fallen victim to.

Most times we buy a course and would not even attempt to study it. For me I have changed myself so I do not continue like this again.

I really appreciate what you are doing.


Hi Pere,

Thank you for your kind comments. I am very glad to hear that my newsletter is helping you.

The newest idea that I had for the newsletter was to create a horoscope in each newsletter. They are a great way to practice your English and have a bit of fun too. I don't really believe horoscopes are true but they are fun to read from time to time. :)

Again...thank you for taking the time to tell me what you think. It is feedback like yours that motivates me to keep working on my website to improve it even more.

All the best,

Jan 27, 2013
by: virginia

I'm guity, too.
I want to learn but I can't because im always busy...

Jan 27, 2013
New routine
by: Anonymous

Hi Diana and Friends
In my case, I have little time to study English... But this year, as a New Year Resolution, I would like being constant in my Englsh studies. This 2013 I am going to be disciplined!

Diana Thanks so much for your advice!!

Jan 25, 2013
Why did I buy books?
by: Francine

Hi, Diana!
Well, I always buy books and I am not able to read all of them. I really would like to have more time to read. I hope one day be able to do this, then I continue to buy books.

Jan 25, 2013
Admission of guilt
by: Jerry from IJT

I have to admit, I buy things and then I don't use them. It doesn't happen too often, but there are a stack of books somewhere I haven't looked at, despite the best intentions, plus a range of other items, including sports equipment -- I have a punching bag somewhere...and various electrical kitchen devices -- like an electric can opener -- that have never worked their way into my life.

I can also blushingly admit that it's usually the cauliflower and other veggies that go bad in the fridge, while box after box of cookies get emptied out and replaced.

I suspect that you buy things with the best intentions. Things that are good for you sometimes just get taken for granted and then get ignored, although there are some terrible mechanical devices out there too!

Jan 25, 2013
by: Anonymous

Well, what you wrote is totally applicable to me because I've had many courses or English books in my hands to improve my skills and unnaturally, I didn't finish anyone of them.

Personally I think it´s because simply we don't have it as a priority in our lives or we start the course without a concrete goal or aim.

Only a low percent of the people who start a course in a different language, finish them and just whether they need it for a concrete reason or because they have a very strong will and discipline.

Jan 25, 2013
Been there done that...
by: Anonymous

I am ashamed to admit that I have many English courses on the shelf.

I am like you. I buy a course and feel excited. This course will make my English good. This course will be different.

The problem is this. If you don't USE the course it can not help. You waste your money on a shelf decoration or a folder in computer. So frustrating.

The problem is not the course, but your habits. A new course means new habits and habits are hard to make.

It is easy to buy a course with the intention of using it but you can't "intend" your way to better English...or anything.

Is this very common? Do many people do the same?

Thank you for this wonderful site Diana!


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