the above advice is good.
also this: i love the countdown timer for reviews. it’s one of the userscripts. i’ll see if i can find it again and add a link to the post or something. when you think about it… if you really KNOW something, you shouldn’t have to spend more than 10 seconds trying to retrieve it. every now and then i have a typing panic, where i worry that i won’t be able to get the answer typed in time, like if there was a typo i didn’t notice at first or something like that… but, when you think about it… even if it gets bumped down a couple of levels and resurfaces a bit… you’ll still only ever have to spend a max of 10 seconds’ review on that item (unless you miss it and look at the information… which i recommend, if you miss an item). when i first started using it, it was because i was coming back from a long hiatus, and i would sit there and really dig around in my head struggling to remember things, and pretending like i knew them if i magically was able to pull it out of the ether after staring at my screen for up to 2 minutes. and by doing that, i was tricking myself into believing i remembered things i didn’t. so, i started using the countdown timer. and my review percentage got really bad, lol.) but, things did get better. at the beginning of the year, i did actually end up resetting all the way back to zero to start fresh. somehow Koichi’s beginning of the year email of encouragement convinced me that i would be back up to where i was in almost no time. and… actually… i AM making much quicker progress than i made the first time around, tbh. i’m trying hard to stick to that crazy email of encouragement. i’m pacing my learning by it… so hopefully by the end of the year i will be able to carry on small convos in Japanese at the Christmas party (and maybe pass jlpt 3!!). but anyway. my POINT is, that when i took a moderate break, got discouraged, then took a long break and completely restarted… what i noticed was, the stuff i remembered, i REMEMBERED. and the stuff i didn’t remember… well… i’d like to say it was HAZY… but… really, I just DIDN’T remember it. I didn’t want to admit that. so i would really struggle and my reviews would take AGES. but what good was that doing me? i NEEDED to review those items more, not think about them for 5 minutes and pretend i knew them after. Let the SRS system work its magic to help you relearn what you forgot. and keep the amount of time you spend trying to “remember” stuff to a minimum. admit you have to “relearn.” the countdown review timer thing forces you to do that. i used to stay away from the userscripts 'cause there are some that can be pretty dangerous. but there are some really fun ones out there, too. and i think this one is really useful for getting back into the swing of things. your reviews will go faster, and you won’t cheat yourself out of repetition and relearning that you actually need. good luck and don’t give up!
something else i tell myself lately when i’m feeling discouraged about my progress (or lack thereof) is this: if you’re serious about learning japanese (or any foreign language for that matter, if you really want to be FLUENT) you’re really going to be learning it for the rest of your life pretty much anyway. so, if i’m going to spend the rest of my life learning japanese… well then… all progress is progress. and if i don’t hit my “milestones” when i want… it’s ok. i WILL hit them eventually… because… i’ve just decided to spend the REST of my LIFE learning japanese. as long as i don’t die first, it’ll be ok.