hi, late level 20 here. Full disclosure for this post, I have bipolar disorder, and my mood swings like a pendulum to varying degrees of intensity. The reason I’m bringing this up is because, due to the nature of this, my motivation swings in and out (currently I’m up, on top of my reviews and lessons, and this is probably the only reason I feel like responding to your query, not one week ago I was down as hell and I had my reviews backed up the wazoo). I know for people without BPD, motivation works largely the same but to a lesser degree generally, so my tips might end up helping you even if we don’t go through the same thing. Now, despite my personal road blocks, for the past 14 levels, I have kept myself to a schedule wherein I will complete a whole level in exactly 7 days (I’m not saying try to shoot for this number, because it requires waking up early as hell for two days out of the week, but I am using this fact as an advertisement for my methods).
When I’m up, everything goes swimmingly (unless I just brain fart which is inevitable no matter what your level of motivation) I’m sure you can relate. I gassed my self up a bunch but it’s actually pretty underwhelming. You know that script that allows for shuffling reviews around? I base my reviews around that (if you cant get it or dont want to go through the hassle, thats fine too, there are other ways to do this but this one works best for me). Even when I’m so down I cant get out of bed, I just bring my laptop into the covers with me, shuffle the 300 or so review mountain so that the current level is the first thing I work on, and save my review pile for a weekend when I’m relaxed and dont have to go to work or school (btw I tackle giant reveiw piles slowly over the course of one day, like 20 articles at a time). If I cant even finish the whole level, I just focus on the kanji and/or radicals, because those are what allow for progression in the srs. Having a prestructured srs is nice, but if you’re down bad, you need to prioritize your health and what is most important for you, for me, its a rigid schedule (and the dopamine rush of seeing a level completed every Tuesday is nice too). make sure you do everything you can so that when you’re down, you can take it as easy as possible, don’t feel guilty about it, you’re learning a really hard language here. What i find that helps focusing strongly on shifting around my mindset. I learned this from jiu jitsu. When I was playing chess or lacrosse, I would always get pissed when I failed, but when I lost in jiu jitsu it was fun (same goes for dark souls, losing in dark souls is fun as hell). I meditate on the fact that when I fail an article in the srs, it cements it in my brain better than if i just go through a level without failing anything. I remember 予定 better than other words because I fucked it up in both wanikani and bunpro multiple times (idk why its a pretty simple word). when i get down, its usually because I get frustrated with a level that is markedly hard to understand (this happens like every five full levels) and I forget that failure is an ally. What is causing you to get down? Is it failure? Maybe you’re just burnt out. Sometimes its best to just flick on vacation mode and give yourself a couple weeks off, no shame in that at all. sometimes its necessary. try doing things that illustrate your progress in Japanese best. watch an anime with the subs off, I promise you will be better at it than you think you will be (but still bad lol shits hard). maybe read nhk news easy, that article on the elderly esports team was cute. Hell, if your schedule can afford it, getting a tutor who can speak in japanese reguarly with you will make you feel so much better, because even if it doesn’t feel like it, we’re at the point where we can have simple conversations. Honestly this is the biggest point. Do something that reminds you how far you’ve come, because it is REALLY far. WAY farther than most people will ever go. anyways sorry for the wall of text, but I felt uniquely qualified for this because I lose my motivation hard like every other week. you’re doing great, I’m jealous and proud of how far you’ve come. If even one thing I said here helped, than typing all this while my paper is due will have been worth it lol.