How do you pick yourself up when you don't want to do lessons/reviews?

Lately I’ve been having a tough time finding the motivation to keep going at a good pace.
What do you guys do when you feel like this?


If I don’t feel like doing lessons, I don’t. I know I won’t remember them at all, so they will stay longer on apprentice level and it’s more frustrating. I’m not in a rush leveling up, so I’m satisfied with 10-12 days per level.
I’m more strict with reviews, though. Letting them accumulate makes it even more demotivating for me (same problem over and over again with Kaniwani, ugh), so I try to find a few minutes regularly over the day. 30-40 reviews is done so quickly, I usually don’t have motivation problems. The hardest about 80+ is starting for me, I always want to finish them when there’s enough time once I began. That worked well so far. When I notice my overall reviews per day decrease I always find myself more motivated to learn a batch of new stuff too.


Lessons I do whenever I feel like it/have the time for it (which is pretty much only at weekends since I’m quite busy during the week since I got my job). Reviews on the other hand, even if I really don’t feel like it, I just do them. Because I know if I slack one time, I will slack another time and before I know it, I’ll stop doing reviews all together. And I really want to learn japanese, so I can’t let that happen.


For chipping away at a pile of reviews: fire 'em up and immediately hit the Wrap-Up button so that your review session will end after the next 10 items. 10 items doesn’t sound so bad, right? You can chew through 10 reviews in a couple of minutes or less, probably. And then because that’s so bite-sized, you see the score screen before you know it, and you can probably go for more than that meagre morsel, right? Fire it up again, and hit the Wrap-Up button. Rinse and repeat.

Sometimes if I don’t feel like immediately jumping back in after the first 10, I’ll make myself do 10 at a time whenever I do a particular thing, like whenever I teleport to a different zone in FFXIV, or whenever I tab back into my browser window. It’s such a small number that the grind doesn’t set in, and 10 at a time melts the mountain before you know it.

Lessons, though… I’m still working up to getting back on that particular horse.


Congratulations, you’ve found the most tangible brick wall that you can overcome to get stronger. It’s called “I don’t feel like doing these reviews. But they’re sitting here and I could do them.” If you have the opportunity, do the reviews. If you do the reviews, you’ll be better for it.

If you want to learn Japanese, keep using Wanikani. You’ll be shocked at how helpful it is.
Don’t be a quitter. Be strong in this short life.


That’s good advice. I’ll try to use that function next time reviews pile up on me.

As for lessons… Well, not advice but know that a stranger on the other side of the world has the same struggle as you, so… Let’s do our best!

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high five

You know what, since I just keep putting it off “until I don’t have so many reviews every day,” I’m going to do 5 of these lessons now. Maybe 10. Baby steps. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll make myself do 10 at a time whenever I do a particular thing, like whenever teleport to a different zone in FFXIV

This is me currently with Mario Odyssey. 10 reviews between every moon/death/segment. It definitely helps when you’re not feeling like hitting a whole batch in one go.

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Honestly, the best thing in my opinion is to ask yourself WHY you don’t feel like doing them?

I don’t do lessons when I don’t feel like it. Never. Because there’s normally a very good reason for that feeling. If I’m home tired from work my brain is telling me that it can’t process any new learning at that time and then I should accept that. So then I take a warm bath, get a snack, and then I ask myself if I’m ready to do those lessons. 90% of the time when I don’t feel like doing them it’s my brain telling me I need a break, and pushing then is just not helpful. The other 10% of the time is just me being lazy, and then I can use my rational thinking and tell myself to suck it up. Either way, I never do more than 10 lessons in one go. And I never do them if I feel too overwhelmed.

Reviews though - I always do them. Because I’m doing one level per seven days so I kinda need too. Maybe it would be helpful for you to do like 10 reviews, then break with an irl chore, then 10 reviews more (like idk, when you’re cleaning or doing laundry or something).

Anyway, my point is, it’s important to think about the signals you get from your body and your brain. If you have to force yourself to do something to the point where it’s a big burden for you, then you should probably evaluate why you feel like that.


I keep a list of things near my computer that are motivators and demotivators.
Distraction, for instance, is a demotivator. Overcoming distraction, for me usually involves putting on earphones and some instrumental music while I work.
Goals are motivators. The visual progress bars here are great. Maybe you could download a script for more flashy progress bars and awards. Your big goal of why you want to learn Japanese is a big motivator. Put it on a big sign by your computer.
Believing that you can succeed is a big motivator. Look at all of the people here who are succeeding at this thing called reading and speaking Japanese, and who have succeeded.

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I’m not sure if this will help you but it might help someone here.

During university I had a very serious relationship break down. I was about to get into a busy period but I could not focus myself. Work kept piling up and I kept trying to do it but all that would result in is me staring blankly at a screen for hours and achieving nothing. It was obvious that I wasn’t going to recover in time for me to complete that work load. So I sought out help in the form of a counselor.

I only had a couple of sessions with him but he helped me immensely despite seemingly doing nothing (one of the two sessions we spent talking about anime). The counselor gave me back quite a bit of motivation but he also gave me a technique that helped me temporarily overcome my issues and get the work done.

It’s a simple idea but a little bit hard to explain. Basically on a piece of paper write down “Things I will think about later”, then write down all the distractions you may have (facebook, twitter, phone, relationship issues etc.). After you write everything down, fold the piece of paper up and put it out of the way. This process helps you identify all the issues on your brain and then you make a promise with yourself to deal with them later.

I still use that technique occasionally to this day. My issues are fairly trivial now but if they are distracting me then I might as well get rid of them for a while.


I love wrap up.

I had a whole day of travelling around yesterday and was still able to complete 130 reviews. I would just do 10 or so when I was waiting on buses or if I have to stand around for a little bit.

If you really are feeling demotivated, I feel its ok to take a break from lessons but as others have said, try to do reviews still (no matter how little).

If Im feeling demotivated I just read. Does not take long for me to realize the progress I have made and motivate me to make more. I would recommend just reminding yourself why you are learning japanese in the first place. Remind yourself that youve already put in a lot of work and you are making progress towards your goal. Remind yourself that one day you are going to have to answer to your future self, who is likely going to wish he had kept up with his studies.


Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing my reviews, I convince myself to do them anyway by realizing that if I don’t do them now, they’ll just keep piling up for later. So I end up doing them if for no other reason than to make it easier on myself in the long run.

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I lie to myself. It is that simple. I tell myself, ok well I will just do 5 reviews or 5 lessons. Then, when I sit down in a quiet place, I do 5 of whichever I am hesitant to do. Then when I finish those five, I tell myself, well let’s do at least 5 more, that is not that bad right? And I keep that going for as long as I can. Sometimes I get into a really good rhythm and end up catching up completely. Other times, I do partial catchup and then use the same technique the next day until I am back on track. Good luck.


The way I look at it is that if I don’t practice getting better, then I won’t improve. I really want to improve. Reading is important for me so that is enough of a motivator for me. There’s something a little embarrassing about not being able to read something that also helps as an intrinsic motivator.

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that pep talk got me pumped

I will try and do this if the wall hits me…
it will most likely be over the holidays that i lag behind, as i was using wanikani as a procrastination tool when i should’ve been doing assignments :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a problem where I always scramble to do lessons and reviews. If I have to do something in (x) time, I want to get my lessons done quickly. Evidently, this causes an issue where I don’t remember things, meaning I’m just hurting myself in the long run.

Well, what else do you want to do? Is that just buying time until you have to face it? “If I am going to do anything, I am going to do Japanese.” Follow your schedule. Be patient. Trust me, it builds character. Try to do it six days in a row. Not entitled to time off until that seventh day. Be patient for six days–all of a sudden, you are developing a habit. If the habit is there, you truly begin to feel yourself with momentum, even a little down-grade. Japanese is not an activity that has an end-point. It is a pass-time. Tennis off a backboard can be simple forehands; then add backhands; move in for a volley; volley both sides. Now it is truly getting tough. Take a breather. Back to the forehands. You can always go back to a simple illustrative Japanese sentence. Practice a few characters that show competence. Show to yourself your ability where it is firm. Read a moderate, illustrative sentence until it is completely without hesitation. Recite it to a wall. Realize that a native speaker would easily understand you. He might be startled only briefly, but for that moment he would think–damn, that was a gaijin. Maybe he is fully human after all.

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