How do I keep myself motivated?

It’s been like, I dunno, 2 months since my last review? I came back to 238 review items, including apprentice and master stuff, and I just WAS NOT DOING IT. Because I wasn’t motivated. How do I fix this? I really want to be able to read kanji, but sometimes it’s a tedious process that seems like it has no end…

Thank you for all your help!


Think of it as a daily exercise. If you only do 5 lessons a day, surely it doesn’t seem like that big of a hurdle? Think of the small effort culminating to something big, rather than the mountain overall. It’s easier to motivate yourself to spend 20 minutes on WK every day and make it a habit than it is to think of learning 2136 kanji.

Why do you want to read kanji? Ultimately, my only motivation for learning Japanese comes from the purpose I had for learning it in the first place: being able to speak with the locals when I visit, and in the interim enjoying understanding more when I listen to anime subs, and read manga/light novels. I can’t give you that, I’m afraid xD.

Perhaps looking at what demotivates you would be a good way to overcome your hurdles? Also, depending on your grammar and JP ability in general, you may find using what you’ve learned is a major motivator (e.g. playing games, reading children’s books in JP, etc.)

Regarding that review pile, set yourself a goal of doing, say, 20 per day until it’s all gone, and then start lessons again. If you’ve forgotten a lot of it you could also reset to level 1, since you’re level 3 it wouldn’t take you long to get back on track.


I’ve already finished the queue, thank god I remembered most of it. Some of the stuff I didn’t remember got put back to apprentice, but that’s ok! Thank you for the advice!


I started in mid July, about a month ago, I’m level 5 now.

I just take it as a “must be done” activity in my life. Like, say, brushing your teeth after meals.

Early before work each day, and late before going to bed at least. Every singe day.

Motivation? Returning to japan and being able to read-talk in the native language. Also to be able to understand anime and games without subtitles. I think I also see it as a video game, at least on the WaniKani side, the interface and SRS its already kinda like a game.

238 items can be done in one day, half on the morning, half at night. I recommend you to not let it reach more than 100 otherwise it CAN be a bit stressing just seeing that high number.


I don’t think it’s something most people want to heard but really there isn’t a special secret people learn to motivated themselves.
I find motivation isn’t something you gain that makes you start to do x or y (be it your Wanikani reviews, going to the gym or whatever) it’s gained in the process of completing these things. Noticing your feeling healthy, recognising those kanji you’ve learnt or picking out the vocab in the anime your watching are the rewards and what spurs you on to learning more.
The aging Shia LaBeouf Meme “Just do it!” really does say it best.


I encountered the same issue as you as I came back from Holidays and had 438 reviews… it took me a week and some motivation but I can assure you I’m back on track now and bursting with enthousiasm
So don’t sweat it, it gets back to you


To kind of tack on to what everyone else has said, keep your motivation for the big stuff. The reason you’re learning Japanese at all (otherwise what’s the point).

For WK (or just learning in general), don’t get motivation. Get disciplined. Do it no matter what until it’s habit. You don’t have to do a lot every day, especially if you’re consistent, but you do have to do it every day.


I agree with all. Consistency and discipline is the most important. It helps me to go even I feel unmotivated like big pile of rock.

Addition to WK, I am watching at least one video of Misa Sensei. She has long videos and short videos. When I feel unmotivated, I choose short one. So, I don’t break the rule one video per day. I also love her videos because she has high energy, so I feel motivated again and get moving.

Discipline is the key. I hope I can take this till end.


Make a game of it, a game where winning gives you bragging rights.

“Ok, time to get these reviews done. I’m ready to kick butt!”
“Psh, easy. Got it. Yep, next. Yep, next. Cmon really? EASY, next!”
(a few minutes later)
“Daaang, this one is tricky… ok… the mnemonic for this was this and that happened, so the reading should be X… NICE, wooo I rock! Eat that!”
(then eventually…)
“Yep, this is that, next… wait what? Aw c’mon! Ten days is to-o-ka and not to-u-ka, ugh… fine! I’ll play your silly game there Kanji, next time around Ill remember just how dumb that reading is. NEXT!”

You need to be your own hype-man (or hype-woman). Nobody else will do it for you. When the grind gets tough, you gotta keep the attitude that you are capable of anything wanikani dishes out.

Outside of attitude, having a schedule is EXTREMELY helpful. I also carry around a spiral notebook (1 Subject, college ruled) that each page represents the new radicals, kanji and vocab of each level. This gives me writing practice, it gives me the “I’m taking notes like in a classroom lecture” feeling, and it creates an offline means of studying. Doing this also makes it easy to be cocky as hell during reviews, because lets face it you wrote an entire page on those new kanji and vocab items so Review time isnt going to catch you by surprise.

Getting back in the rhythm. So do daily reviews. Seeing the pile slink is already a good motivation to keep going.

Others are goals. Like being able to read stuff you enjoy, being able to watch stuff on your own without subs, being able to have a conversation. They can differ and it’s good to have them. Make goals on the short term (these are in hand reach and feasible) and the long term (these are mostly much harder to attain so don’t pick too many).

Rewarding yourself is also important. And taking breaks and rest when you need them.

Visualize what you want to do with your knowledge of kanji. Ask, “Why do I want to learn kanji?” (I think this was addressed in the beginning of TextFugu.)

For some, just doing it as a hobby is not enough motivation to keep going long-term.

In my case, I missed out on a couple of jobs because my reading ability was not strong enough. That was all the motivation I needed.

Find your “why” and that will be all the motivation you need!

I don’t care if i am motivated or disciplined, all of that seems too hard, I am an extremely lazy entity
I just do it because it is fun
The day it stops being fun, it’s goodbye
And yeah, I do the reviews because it is fun
I did stop doing Wanikani for a while, but then I was on Anki where I did about half the kanji, so I guess it is a lot easier doing Wanikani now. I don’t actually like the wrong red notice flashing up at me, that’s why I quit last time. But this time, since I know half of the basic stuff it is just kind of like doing a crossword
I wonder if I will speak Japanese at the end. Well, i can kind of understand some of Naked Director now

(sorry for the caps, it was accidental but then i left it because i think stress-screaming is funny)

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I agree. Every big thing I’ve ever tried to accomplish because I was motivated, I failed because motivation is fickle. If you resign yourself to only being productive when you’re motivated, you’ll spend most of your life not being productive.

Discipline is key, and unfortunately, there’s not really a secret or lifehack to discipline. The best I can offer is to smart very small, and keep building. Open the website every single day. Do some of your reviews every single day. Even if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you have 170 reviews or whatever, do some of them. Do 30. Do 10. Get half of them wrong. Get all of them wrong. But do it anyway.

Eventually, it’ll become such a habit that you’ll do it automatically. In the past, you woke up, you saw the pile of reviews, you said to yourself, “I don’t want to do this.” So you didn’t do it. Once it becomes a strong enough habit, you’ll say, “I don’t want to do this,” and you’ll do it anyway because it would just feel wrong otherwise.

If you’re anything like me (suffering from depression, or sub-par executive functioning, or ADHD, or just generally prone to bouts of procrastination), that’s the level of habit you have to take it to. It has to be like your morning coffee, or brushing your teeth, or getting dressed before work. Build that routine into your bones, and you’ll get there eventually, even through the most intense lulls of motivation.


I find that doing it every day can help, even if it’s just popping on the reviews and immediately hitting the “wrap-up” feature so you only get 10. There’s a lot of times where I just see my reviews and just really don’t wanna. But as long as I go ahead and start it, I can (normally) get into a rhythm to where I’m enjoying myself. If I start to flounder a bit, I just hit the wrap-up button so that I can end my review session on a good note that makes me want to do it more the next time it’s time to review.
Basically, consistency is key. Even if you’re not doing everything at once, as long as your force yourself to get in the kanji mindset for a few minutes every day, it begins to get easier.

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