Learning on and off now left unmotivated and stuck

I’m now level 12 and I’ve been learning on and off for a few months but for the past month I’ve only been doing about 10 to 20 reviews a day and I’ve currently got 470 lessons and 539 reviews pending and I just can’t tackle them.

I’m considering resetting my whole progress but I’m also worried that I may have forgotten some of my burned items? I’m just feeling lost and don’t know how to move forward.

I would appreciate any advice for how to tackle this and if I should start again or not.

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I was in a similar situation last month though I was around level 8. I hadn’t been on WaniKani for nearly a year and the reviews had piled up. I think I had around 450 waiting for me. That number really kills a lot of motivation. I ended up resetting back to level 5 just to cut some of the reviews. I figured that I probably wouldn’t remember the most recent levels anyway. I wouldn’t reset all the way to level 1 but going back a few levels probably wouldn’t hurt.

What I ended up doing is downloading the app and then whenever I got a bit bored and started scrolling social media I would stop and do 10 reviews. This quickly added up and I ended up doing over 50 reviews a day that way. My accuracy was pretty bad at the beginning but if I got the answer wrong I needed to review it anyway so I ignored it. Once I got closer to 0 reviews the more motivation I had to keep doing them. I ended up ignoring my lesson pile until I got all my reviews done and my apprentice deck at a reasonable level. Then I started doing maybe 5 new lessons each day until I felt I could handle more and ended up increasing that number to 15.

For burned items, I am pretty sure the extra study section of WaniKani lets you review your burned items. If you get them wrong then you can manually resurrect them. This isn’t a perfect solution and someone else might know a better way but it could help.

Anyway, I hope you can get something useful out of my experience.

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I’ve reset a couple of times because I kept falling off the wagon too, dabbling off and on and then just not keeping up. I regret none of those resets, esp at lower levels, because I prefer to go over material I already know a few extra times than struggle with doing anything at all. If you’re worried about forgetting things and the stack of lessons and reviews is just too frictional, redoing the same material may be your best bet.

That being said, if you’re having trouble keeping up the habit you’ll need to figure out why that is or else resetting won’t do much when you inevitably fall off again. (Speaking from experience.)

For me it turned out the problem was that I hadn’t lined up what I’d be using my learning for – not in terms of ‘I want to go to Japan’ or ‘I want to read manga’ or ‘what are my favourite fanartists saying in their art notes’. Those are goals, not systems. Do you have your system lined up for how you’re going to progress your learning once you have a certain amount of vocab under your belt?

Speaking for myself, I knew grammar was the next step but I had a lot of trouble finding means of learning grammar that really suited me. I tried most of the resources suggested on this forum and none of them stuck. Recently I found something that scratched that itch at last (MaruMori, done by the same team who made Kitsune; it is in beta, fair warning). After that my motivation to do my WK lessons and reviews came back, because it felt like I was learning for a purpose and with direction as to the next step. Hilariously, I’ve actually set down MM for a little bit because there’s some crossover between vocab and I want WK’s vocab lists to lead since I prefer their mnemonics; but now I’m eager to get to at least level 10 on WK so I can pick MM up again. Now that’s motivation.

Figure out why your motivation is lacking. If it’s because of a lack of information or direction as to how you’ll keep learning, those are problems you’ll have to fix to find a sustainable momentum.


I just got back on it after a partial 6 (total 4) months stop from studying, when I got back I didn’t remember anything, both kanji, vocabs and grammar even worse, since I went through a period seriously thinking to stop studying it forever. I went thru my pile of 600 elements, one by one, reading the meaning and reading mnemonics, and if I had even the slightest doubt on some, I’d fail it on purpose so to get some extra repetition on that element. After a week I made it out of the reviews pile. Then I made it out of the 100 lessons of the level 7 that was awaiting l, and then started proceeding at a 9days x level pace. My suggestions are to not restart the stats, but be harsh on yourself if you don’t remember something, and especially try to find again joy in what you’re doing, because if you can’t make this, you’ll eventually drop it again and forever.

Highly recommended article, seriously read it especially if you have motivation problems, it’s a gem

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