How do you stay consistent to reach your goals?

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.