New lesson anxiety?

Don’t get me wrong, I love learning new kanji! But whener I get new lessons I find myself holding back to start them. I know I could do better in my reviews, and the thought of adding to them with new vocab/kanji/radicals makes me anxious! I have to push myself to start them.

Anyone else?

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My advice is just pick a good steady amount of lessons to learn once a day. Once you’ve been doing WanKani for long enough every day you should get about 7 batches of reviews daily.

Enlighten Reviews
Master Reviews
Guru 2 Reviews
Guru 1 Reviews
Apprentice 4 Reviews
Apprentice 3 Reviews
And Apprentice 2 Reviews.

That is if you do kanji in the Morning, Lunchtime and at night. For me I do 15 a day in the morning, review then at lunch and then do all the rest of the reviews and about 8-10. So I get around 105 reviews to do daily. This let’s me feel in-control and not get overwhelmed, while making steady progress daily. I do about 5 kanji and 10 vocab every day.

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Seconding the advice to pick a consistent amount of lessons to learn each day, and establishing a schedule where you’re doing WK three times a day. It truly gets a lot easier to do WK every single day once you’ve established a solid habit, and doing a consistent amount of work at a consistent time of day really helps with that. You’ll eventually get to a point where you feel weird not doing your lessons each day, haha!

The other thing is what type of lessons you’re doing. Most people really like the radical lessons because they’re easier, haha. But opinions are more divided on the other types. I’ve met some folks who really hate doing kanji lessons, and other folks really hate doing vocab lessons, especially if they have a large backlog from the previous level.

If one type of lesson is really hard or unpleasant to you, I would recommend potentially trying out the lesson filter script and choosing a set number of kanji and vocab lessons to do every day (you’ll want to aim for roughly 1 kanji for every 3 vocab if you don’t want the numbers to get out of whack). If you don’t want to mess with reordering, I’ve heard that you can get a similar effect by changing the settings of WK so that it gives you lessons sorted by ascending level, then shuffled (I think this is the setting?).

The lesson filter script really helped me, and I’ve talked to loads of other people that have also enjoyed their lessons a lot more when they started doing a mix of kanji and vocab lessons instead of just doing WK’s vanilla order. So it’s something to try out if you find that you’re still having trouble motivating yourself.

Basically, my biggest tip is to aim for maximum consistency. That will make it much easier to do your reviews in the long run when you’re juggling a bunch of items at the different SRS stages, and it will make it easier to plan the rest of your life around WK since you’ll know exactly how much time WK will take you each day. If you have a consistent schedule that fits into your regular day-to-day life, you won’t have to worry about adding to your review numbers, because you’ll know that you can handle it.

If you’re worried about your workload increasing too much, you could try doing just 10 lessons each day and see how that goes (or 12 if you want to try out the lesson filter: 3 kanji and 9 vocab is a good balance). That should put you on pace to finish WK in less than three years.

If your reluctance is a matter of mindset, then maybe it would help to reframe your thinking about lessons a little? The lessons are the reason you’re here! When I do my daily batch of lessons, it feels exciting to me because I really enjoy learning new things, and I find it so satisfying to finally learn a kanji that’s in a wrestler’s name or that I’ve seen on twitter a lot. I also love learning new vocabulary that combines the kanji in really satisfying or entertaining ways. There are some words and kanji that I’m eagerly waiting to unlock, haha, even though I don’t technically need those lessons since I’m already familiar with them.

I think it’s just really helpful to learn to think about WK on a more micro scale. Instead of thinking in terms of leveling up, or eventually reaching level 60, or whatever your broader goal is beyond this program, think just in terms of what you need to accomplish each day. Instead of thinking: “well, as of this lesson, I’m one tenth of the way to being able to read 2000 kanji,” think: “wow, I can’t believe the kanji for [something] looks like this. It makes perfect sense!” The small victories are what will sustain you and keep you going, and they are what will make your lessons a joy instead of something to dread.

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I think this should have been posted under Wanikani or Campfire but not Japanese…

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The advice you’ve already gotten is quite useful for managing consistent workloads, and probably the best thing you can do is push it to become a habit. By now I’m so used to doing my lessons that it would make me anxious to not do them!

That said, there is another option to shift your mindset a little. Obviously pretty much everything has reasonable limits, moderation helps with everything. There’s no magic number of what level retention is “enough,” but if you think you need to slow down and one way or another increase retention, by all means, make sure you are actually learning.

That said, the flipside to thinking about doing new lessons is the power of pure quantity. Let’s just assume for a moment that taking on more lessons really will decrease your accuracy, with totally made up numbers. You could learn, I dunno, 100 things, and learn them so well that you get 95% of them right. Nice, you now know 95 kanji/words/etc! But if you power through more, learning 200 of them, say your accuracy drops a whole 10 points to 85%. The ones you get wrong are probably going to feel bad because our brains love to focus on “failures.” But… now you know 170 kanji/words/etc.

Of course, as I started with, there are loads of caveats. You have to find the level of incorrects that you can subjectively tolerate, you have to know that getting more wrong leads to quite a lot more total reviews in your time on WK, don’t take this as an excuse to go wild and hope something sticks when nothing is, yadda yadda. But knowing that some forgetting is going to happen no matter what, and that we’re all trying to start actually reading Japanese after (and preferably during!) WK so there’s not a single kanji we’re “finished” learning no matter how much we review it here… this as an overall mindset helps me approach piling on new lessons with nothing but excitement. That’s saying nothing of the possibility that it, in fact, doesn’t substantially lower your accuracy, heh. May or may not work for you, but it’s something that I find nice to keep in mind.

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Sorry for the delayed reply - I got ill after my post and couldn’t even do my lessons! Then things piled up. Just managed to get through the 350 reviews!

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement!

This is at the core of it! I’m kicking myself for getting something wrong, but I was not really looking at the overall picture. I just need to change my mindset a little; learn from the failures and don’t be too self critical. I need to be a little more shouganai, and not take every little mistake as a hugee “HA-HA” from Nelson.

I used to be so good at doing this when I was younger, but it’s been kicked out of me a bit I guess.

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Happy to help, and good luck! I think being able to wade through an early setback and pileup like 350 reviews is a good sign you’ll be able to do this as long as you stick with it. Hope you’re feeling better now!

If you’re struggling with motivation, I think it may be related to the anxieties you face. Spend a good little while thinking about why you’re learning this language in the first place. What do you want to do?

Will you go to Japan?
Will you make friends?
What will you do with your friends?
What kind of conversations do you want to have with them?
Will you read manga? (raw)
Watch anime? (raw)

Try imagining what you want at the end, and remember that all of these failures are a process toward that ultimate goal. Failure → experience → proficiency.
Dornyei’s second language self-motivation system is a good read if you can stand academic papers and want to apply it to yourself.

(edit) ah I just saw on your profile you’re already in Japan, that’s great, you have an even better more tangible reason to keep learning!

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