This is a personal post, and while I don’t expect anyone to have much interest in it, I will post it here for everyone to see on the off chance that it might inspire someone who is in the same position as I was.
It finally happened.
In 2013, i started using Wanikani, back when it was still a closed beta. I made quick progress - from knowing nothing at all about Japanese to reading several hundred kanji in a few months, I was instantly hooked. However, around the early 20s levels, I stagnated for some reason, and as doubts about the feasibility of getting my Japanese to a useful level appeared, I suddenly lost my motivation.
It took years before I decided to reset and give Wanikani a new shot. However, I underestimated the burden of starting again, and the dedication which is needed to maintain a habit every day. Again, my progress slowed and ground to a halt at level 7.
Then, my friend landed a job in Japan and asked me about advice for learning Japanese. Of course, I recommended Wanikani, and as he begun to churn through the levels, quickly surpassing me, my competitive instinct kicked in. And that is what saved me. Working my way through a pile of hundreds of reviews, this time I had made up my mind to put this Wanikani project to rest. Although my friend easily finished in little over a year, completely outclassing me in that regard, the motivation of catching up with him, together with the knowledge that I will return to Japan (hopefully) this year allowed me to build a strong habit and go from level 7 to 60 in around a year and a half.
Although I can’t help but feel resentment about the fact that I didn’t pull myself together and finish Wanikani much earlier - where would my Japanese abilities be now, if I had done that? - I am very pleased that I finally pulled through with it.
To anyone who has fallen out of the Wanikani habit or recently had to reset: don’t be paralyzed by the daunting prospect of finishing - just simply do your reviews from day to day and know that there is no better time to do what you’re doing than right now.
To sum up my Wanikani experience:
“The best time to finish Wanikani was 9 years ago, the next best time is now.”