consistent (kun-SIS-tunt) adjective 1. always acting or behaving in the same way 2. of the same quality; especially: good each time; Your grades have shown consistent improvement this school year.

Learning a language, I think, is like learning a sport or a musical instrument. To be better at playing a sport or instrument requires consistent practice. An athelete or artist cannot get better with just one hour of practice a week. Practice has to be regular and it cannot be mindless.

    mindless (MAYND-lis) adjective 1. showing no use of intelligence or thought : having no purpose 2. requiring very little attention or thought

Mindless practice is repeating something without much thought. It’s doing the same tennis serve over and over, playing the same passage on the piano every single time, and saying the same sentence for 30 minutes until it gets stuck in your head. Although this helps to a certain extent, it cannot lead to much improvement. Practice should be mindful and deliberate.

    deliberate (dih-LIB-er-it) adjective 1. showing careful thought 2. done or said on purpose 3. slow in action : not hurried

Practicing deliberately is like doing an experiment. First you should have a clear goal. Next, try things out until you find something that works: test ideas and methods and materials. When you do, make small and specific repetitions and monitor your performance. Understand what works, what mistakes you make, and how you can correct them. If you truly want to improve, you have to practice deliberately consistently.