1) Make a list of all the things you want to be able to say and do.
Figuring out where to start can seem daunting for most people. Some folks like to dive head first into a language and feel frustrated that they can’t have the complex emotional and philosophical discussions they’ve always dreamed of having after just a few weeks (or months of study). This is where a list of specific goals can come in handy. For beginners, this list should look pretty much the same: self-introductions, directions, buying stuff, ordering food at a restaurant, etc.
2) Create a language learning schedule.
Successfully learning a language is more a math and numbers game more so than anything else. The more time you spend learning it, the faster you will develop fluency. While there is no magic number that works for everyone, you can use estimates to help guide your language learning schedule.
3) Find language practice partners.
Language is interactive. It can’t be something that is done solo, and the only real test to whether or not you can survive in it, is by communicating.
There are several decent websites online for finding language exchanges. My favorite is italki.com. There, you will find language tutors, language exchange partners, and a really easy user-interface to do it all.
Original photo by Nick Youngson at: http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/wooden-tile/s/strategy.html