New Year's Resolution: Learn Japanese

Hello, I’m Yen!

This year I am definitely sticking to my goal of finally learning Japanese (at least to a speakable level).



You’re like, two weeks late. Most people have given up by now.

Just kidding. Hello and welcome. Guide and faq.


Noble ambition, but it doesn’t actually sound like a very good goal. Many people don’t keep their resolutions because they are too vague. Have you heard of SMART goals? The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. A better goal, for example, would be “To find a speaking partner (on iTalki maybe?) and speak to them once a month”, or “Finish Genki 2 by the end of the year”.

Hope this helps, and ganbatte, ne!


I wish you luck! Don’t let anybody discourage you! I hope that you see it through. It is easy to get unmotivated sometimes, but you should keep your ultimate goal in mind. Perhaps you plan on being able to consume Japanese media, or want to be able to visit Japan and use Japanese while you are there. Those are goals that are typically more pleasant to think about than “I need to learn this language” when motivating yourself.

Welcome to the community! I’m addicted to it. I have reviews to do right now but then the community forums also exists…


I think it’s never too late to set goals and while we should not bind ourselves to “this year” or any time limitation with long term goals like learning a language, it can definitely help to boost one’s motivation when setting it as a “new year goal”. So good luck and don’t give up!

For me, learning Japanese is an on-off situation since years, depending on how much time I can spend on it and also how much motivation I can get. I want to take it serious now though because I do have another goal in mind (besides wanting to be able to watch Japanese tv shows and reading Japanese books and stuff) - I finally want to travel to Japan for the first time in my life, this year in October, and of course I want to be able to speak with people there, to read signs and stuff like that. This really gives me motivation, that’s why I started WaniKani to work on my kanji.


I completely agree (though I think I’d say “you’ll struggle to meet this goal unless you make it more specific” rather than “that’s not a very good goal” :stuck_out_tongue: ), but I’m pretty sure the ‘A’ stands for ‘accountable’?

Otherwise attainable and realistic both mean the same thing in this context. You’re supposed to find some way of holding yourself accountable (or someone else who will hold you accountable).

But I think a good overall summary is to think “how will I know I have been successful?” If you can answer that question, then you’re probably set.

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Thank you for the kind comments! I definitely do want to travel to Japan sometime in the near future, which motivates my goal to learn Japanese. I also do watch anime and read manga, so it’d be really cool to be able to read it in the original language.

Though my goal isn’t very clear, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of studying Japanese consistently so far. Hopefully it continues this well :slight_smile:

Good luck to everyone with their own goals as well!


From Wikipedia: The letters S and M usually mean specific and measurable. Possibly the most common version has the remaining letters referring to attainable, relevant and time-bound. However, the term’s inventor had a slightly different version and the letters have meant different things to different authors…

Ooh, I’d never heard ‘relevant’. Still, I think having both ‘attainable’ and ‘realistic’ in one is a bit redundant.

Anyway, I think the main point is that good goals shouldn’t be vague :slight_smile:


I always thought SMART goals were so stupid when they made us use them in school, but now that I’m trying to do stuff on my own I realize that it’s actually an incredibly useful acronym.


This is my goal too. We must struggle onward, brothers

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Same ^^

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This has been my goal since the new year too! I work 45 hour weeks so I’m only nearly level three but my hours reduce soon and hopefully I can pick up some pace then! I tend to go all into something and then get really warn out so if anything this has been good for me, its kept me interested but not demotivated. On days I feel like I’ve learnt nothing I’ll watch some anime or re-watch old learning materials on YouTube (of hiragana/ katakana e.c.t) and pick myself up with how much I’ve learnt in what is a really, quite a short time. It’s frustrating to think about the progress I could be making in another language without the need to learn new alphabets sometimes, but you start Japanese for a reason so those moments are short lived!


With time you’ll realize how much faster you can learn words in Japanese, compared to another language. Knowing the Kanji beforehand (WK style) really helps with reinforcing the readings.


I must admit learning vocab with kanji makes the meaning very intuitive to learn and with the most common kanji readings and knowing general rules there have been times when looking at new vocab you can just guess meaning/ readings and getting it right is so cool!

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On the one hand, I 100% agree (vocab is so much easier now that I’m doing kanji).

On the other hand… I can guess what many French words mean based on English. And German just sounds like silly English (I would love to know if the reverse is true, or whether there’s another language Germans find amusing).


Hey, no need to bring to light the weak point of my argument, okay? :crying_cat_face:

Yeah, it’s true. I think I could become almost fluent in Spanish if I studied it for 1 year, 1 year and half. Heck, I’d probably be able to speak a lot more to Spanish natives than with Japanese natives right now. Why? Because Portuguese is very similar to Spanish and Spain is literally 3h by car from where I am right now.

The key is understanding that kanji is actually a blessing for learning Japanese. Imagine just how much easier we have it compared to Japanese people learning English. It’s insane.


Haha, sorry!

I totally agree though - they’re a fantastic aid to learning the language/vocab. I don’t understand supporters of the ‘just learn to speak’ approach, because there about one billion words read ‘kou’ and I sure as hell find it easier to remember them if I have an associated kanji.

(Also I heard that Portugese sounds very similar to Russian - is this true?!)

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Not at all :roll_eyes: Well, can’t say anything about the grammar, but in terms of listening I understand literally 0 of Russian.

EDIT: Okay, I know spaciba. You don’t write it like that though… right? :thinking:

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Oh, I don’t think it’s understandable. I literally mean it sounds similar. So like, if you overheard some people talking Russian on a bus it might take you a moment to realize they’re not speaking Portugese. That’s why I’m so intrigued by it!