How do you stay consistent to reach your goals?

I’ve been learning Japanese for my new years resolution this year. It’s taken me this long to get a study plan that works for me. Now I know what I’m doing, I can’t help but wonder how much of a commitment it will is. I study for several hours everyday. I have an Italki teacher, flashcards, homework and immersion to do. I don’t actually use wanikani anymore. Kanshudo was more of a fit for me.

So I’m going to be paying my italki teachers for at least the next 3 years and studying hours everyday. It’s like a university sized commitment. I’m sure there are way more people that quit wanikani than those that reach lvl 60. So what is it that makes someone more likely to get the job done over a long period of time?


Discipline, and not trying to do more than you realistically can without burning out.

Managing your speed properly, and finding things you can do to experience Japanese at your level so it’s not just studying but also enjoyable and maybe helps you with motivation.


Flexibility and open to change in plans. Sticking to the same routine for years leads to quitting IMO. “oh I’m tired today but I know I’ll do this routine tomorrow and a little extra to make up for it” turns into “I missed so many days I need to do one big cram session” to “I haven’t touched japanese in a long time!”

The perfect study plan that works for everyone doesn’t exist so you should just do it in a way that gets you excited and makes it enjoyable.


I’d like to think I’m a pretty consistent person when it comes to japanese and want to offer my perspective, but I guess theres really two different ways to interpret your message and im not sure which one you mean.

In my eyes, theres really two types of consistency when it comes to studying japanese that are important.

  1. Consistently showing up every day
  2. Consistently putting in the same amount of work.

Number 1 is incredibly important. If you fall off the wagon, its hard to get back on and that might be the end of your studies, period. To make sure you show up every day, a certain level of discipline is just a necessity. Other things help too though, and I’ll go into that next.

Number 2 is a tougher one to pin down. Why? Because not everyone actually puts in the same amount of work, and for different people different amounts of work have different amounts of difficulty. Some people putting in 30 minutes a day might be in more agony than people putting in 3 hours a day.

I also studied for several hours a day for the past 5 years, so I will write specifically about that since that is the pace you seem to want to progress at:

To consistently put in several hours a day for several years straight is, first and foremost, not something that you come equipped ready to do in my experience. It takes a lot more than any beginner could have at the start. This means you need to acquire and build the necessary tools along the way. People’s experiences will vary so these may not be as important for other individuals, but in my opinion the important “tools” were primarily as follows. Some of these I had before starting japanese, but all of these have massively contributed to my consistency and success in japanese studying (in no particular order).

  1. A routine. Pick what you’re going to do, decide when you’re going to do it (by), and set aside time every day to do it.
  2. Discipline. Don’t want to do it today? Well too bad. Your past self decided this is what you want and your future self will regret it if you don’t, so just do it.
  3. Loving some japanese content. Even if you suck ass, it can be fun trying to understand content you really like and want to understand.
  4. Tolerate (and even love) failure. In my pursuit of high level japanese, I have probably made more mistakes than 99%+ of learners. I have probably failed more reviews, had to look up more words, and misunderstood more grammar than most people ever will. But those things were very important to my success and valuable teaching moments, so being able to learn from them and not get all sad is valuable. Be prepared to struggle and stay humble towards the language. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your learning and never feel like you “should” know something. You’re never too advanced to look up fundamental grammar or simple words, either.
  5. Passion for learning (japanese). You’re not going to be able to notice your progress really past a certain point day to day or even week to week. But you can look back and see what words you learned that day, or what sentences you managed to “solve”. Appreciating and enjoying the act of solving those little japanese puzzles is valuable.
  6. Want it. You have to truly want it. And I don’t mean that “I want to want to learn” like some learners seem to fall into. You can’t be one of those people that just likes the idea of learning japanese more than they actually like learning japanese. You have to actually want to dedicate hours a day to it every day. You can’t rely on discipline every day.
  7. Forget about the end. Tying into the last point, if you have your eyes fixed on some goal on the horizon the whole time, it will just be more painful. Like staring at a clock, or when the kids ask “are we there yet” every 2 seconds in the car. Your end goal on the horizon is best as nothing more than a way to determine the direction you start walking in. Find it in you to enjoy the stroll and only lift your head periodically to be surprised by how much closer you are. Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say. Besides, when you get there, chances are you’ll realize you’re not satisfied anyways and want to keep walking.

Those 7 things served me well. There are other things I didn’t include that are probably more personal to me and not really acquirable mindsets, and some stuff I did include might not end up being as important to you. But, regardless, I think someone with those 7 things has a pretty good chance of maintaining several hours a day for years.


Allways doing some.e reviews. Even if i cant do them all. Even if i have a broken srm just a couple. Because i want to enjoy native content. And it becomes a habit, like logging into fgo everry day.


One of the things that work well for me is, morning priorities of 1 hour everyday. (And yet myself can break / move the action as seen fit.) For others, it might be evening after work, or after dinner before bed.

I care very much about the target, so I don’t exactly enjoy things, unless I feel like I do learn. But the target isn’t the true end, but evolving targets.

The truth is, even if you aim high for the language learning, it is hard to see a truly walkable path very clearly. So, either your sensei may help, or adapt your goals occasionally accordingly.

Another thing I could emphasize, is about dedication, otherwise said, obsession. But then, controlling them and preventing them from dying out or burning out, is equally important.

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Consistency, good one :’D
Just a couple weeks ago I had a 800+ review pile. Someone I know is currently dealing with a 1500+ one. Being consistent is important, but most of us can’t expect to be consistent for years. Learning Japanese takes a long time, life is going to throw you off the wagon eventually. For me, creating the circumstances so I would jump back on was more important. What keeps us engaged even when things are rough is different for all of us, but for me it’s mostly been setting the right kind of goals and having friends to enjoy the journey with.


Not treating it like a ‘job’ that needs to ‘get done’, but rather treating it like the personal interest and motivated goal that it is. [I mean, assuming it’s not actually for a job for you.]

In terms of financial commitment, I went with a lifetime subscription to WaniKani and also to BunPro (for grammar). Very good cost-benefit ratio. One time payment, so I won’t have to keep paying for years. There are more than enough free online resources to supplement these SRS tools, at least for my needs.

In terms of time commitment, learning Japanese has always been something I wanted to do so I could actually understand Japanese directly, rather than through translations and subtitles/dubs. I genuinely think the culture is really cool and I love a lot of the stuff that comes out of it. It’s surprising and weird and charming and fun and all that. So that’s my motivated goal.

From there, I found that SRS can be a fun tool to aid me in learning, particularly the Kanji, vocab, and basic grammar points. I’ve also read a textbook or two and did some of the the exercises, but I really like SRS because it gives me daily structure to keep me at it day by day. Bit by bit.

When SRS becomes too much and overwhelming, I slow it down until it becomes manageable and fun again. It has to remain fun, because that’s the whole reason I want to learn Japanese in the first place: because it’s fun!

If it becomes a chore or a duty, I can’t manage that. I lose motivation; I lose momentum. Not fun. Has to be fun!

I’m just at the point where I’m starting to feel much more confident to start branching out from SRS and into full-on reading. Didn’t have enough vocab or grammar before, but now I feel that I have enough.

So, I’m going to read something fun! Has to be fun! :sweat_smile:


Knowing from the get go what you are getting yourself into. Most people don’t, get overwhelmed and quit, or they found out that it wasn’t all that important to begin with. Are you willing to do an hour of SRS on christmas? If yes, you’ll be fine. If no, it’s doubtful.

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I enjoy the process so much I don’t really have to think about motivation. I click on my lessons with the same genuine interest that I have when I click on an interesting looking Youtube video or something. I am interested in both language/ linguistics in general and Japanese/ Japan specifically. I suppose that’s the ideal scenario, but I can’t imagine committing myself to something as elaborate as learning a language if I wasn’t fully passionate about it.


Showing up is important, but one other significant thing is to not punish yourself if you don’t manage to reach the goals you wanted to meet. Didn’t manage to review as much as you wanted today? That’s fine, sometimes there are off days. What’s crucial in these cases is to find out why it happened.

Did you not eat enough/get not enough sleep/got distracted? These are easy to take care off.
Did you dread doing the thing/stopped feeling motivated/other factor? That’s a sign that something isn’t fitting right or the workload isn’t well balanced.

Powering through something you don’t enjoy or that is not making you happy takes much more discipline than doing something you enjoy. Don’t punish yourself for failing, take care of yourself, and keep in mind the reasons for doing it.


I’m mostly with you on this one, but this feels like a character that already lost it, browsing through options. :sweat_smile:

“Not fun. Not fun. Not fun. HAS TO BE FUN. Not fun. Not fun. Not fun. Not fun.” Etc.


Maybe a la 「死にたくない。死にたくない。死にたくない…」


In my experience it is important to establish a baseline level of work that you can do every single day (and make this a habit). For me this has “always” (my journey to 60 was rocky) been my kanji/vocab reviews on WK and later Anki as well. These activities are “grindy” so it’s best done little by little over a long period of time to avoid burnout. I’ve always been more flexible with reading/watching (consuming media in general) based on what I feel like on any given day. For media consumption you should be seeking out resources on topics you are interested in so you’re reading for the sake of the content, not just because you need to practice reading. Having small goals along the way that help you gauge your progress is also very helpful to maintain motivation.


I burn out and stayed out of touch with japanese for over 10 years, only after I found WK I got the will again to learn kanji/vocab.

But now since I learned the word ‘immersion’, it became like a goal to me, for now it is to watch anime with japanese subtitles, which I am doing for the last 6 months (as soon as I completed 1 year into wk studying everyday), so for me it is good progress for my goal.

I dont try do things I am not into, like reading books, that’s not for me, even my own native language I dont do it :laughing:, so why to do in a different language and get more frustrated?

Also I dont compare myself to some here who study 10-12h a day or speedrun the SRS system. I dedicate 1h a day for Japanese and I still see progress in myself.

This December I complete 2 years in WK. Looking back when I was learning English, even after 2 years I didnt consider myself confident to start watching movies/tv shows with Engish subttles that time, It took me more like 3,5 years.

So I can say I am really reaching my goal.


I try my hardest to stick to a routine. When I first started using wanikani a year ago my study routine was almost nonexistent, but slowly but surely, I made it! Summer was difficult though, as my day-to-day life was all over the place and I know I did fall behind. But this means I can now try my best to get back on track, right?
I think what gives me motivation is the frustration feeling when I listen do someone speaking Japanese or watch some YouTube video and I don’t understand certain sentences/words. It’s like “uh :rage: I wanna understand this so badly it’s frustrating!” kind of feeling~


Forget about the end. Tying into the last point, if you have your eyes fixed on some goal on the horizon the whole time, it will just be more painful. Like staring at a clock, or when the kids ask “are we there yet” every 2 seconds in the car. Your end goal on the horizon is best as nothing more than a way to determine the direction you start walking in. Find it in you to enjoy the stroll and only lift your head periodically to be surprised by how much closer you are. Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say. Besides, when you get there, chances are you’ll realize you’re not satisfied anyways and want to keep walking.

This is the key for me. My goal is to get a little bit better everyday :slight_smile:

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Discipline and holding yourself accountable, and then seeing how your discipline pays off when you realize your hard work has paid off.

Being receptible to self criticism and realizing that it is through mistakes that one learns.

On top of that, passion for what you’re doing.

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I have no idea how I’d confront an 800+ review pile let alone 1500+. Well, I do. I’d go on vacation mode whenever I need a break, and slowly whittle it down, maybe 150 reviews at a time. After that my mind is fried.

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I’m a slow learner compared to many others on WK which competes with my desire to progress to higher and higher levels. Lots of internal stress when I find myself buried in repetitive reviews.

I have a couple of tips that I’d like to share:

  1. Do not study new lessons if your apprentice total is above about 90. Just keep slogging along with the items that are already in your queue. This has been so helpful to me. When I’m in this (say, apprentice >100) I don’t need the stress of missing more reviews. Just keep plugging away until the apprentice is about 90, and then, do some more lessons. I open up 10 at a time.

  2. Use BishBashBosh to repetitively work on new lessons, things you’ve missed, etc. I’ve found it so helpful in addition to the WK study guides that are also so helpful.

  3. Let go of the goals. Trust me, I’d love to see myself at Level 60 within a year and can’t wait. But I’ve also read about people who somehow rushed through, and now, even at level 60, they feel like they haven’t accomplished as much as they wanted. Slow and steady wins the race, and it’s not a race. My overriding goal is to learn Japanese, first being able to read it at some level, and then speaking it, also at a junior level. And then with more experience and practice I’d love to be able to speak it more fluently.

  4. As I wrote earlier when I have more than 100 reviews in my queue, well, it’s hard for me to plow through them all. So, go ahead and activate Vacation Mode when I see that my review forecast is above about 100 by the time I anticipate getting back to them.

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