One review at a time club

I’ve seen a number of goal setting threads that are long term to reach 60 by a certain date. Or, alternatively, focus on clearing out all lessons and all reviews. But neither are really in line with what motivates me. (If I don’t give myself credit for little victories I burn out.) So… I’m starting a thread for myself and anyone else who wants a little accountability (and credit! :partying_face: ) for showing up everyday and doing our best. (Even if our best is just one review a day.)

Who’s with me?

(And if this type of thing already exists… please point me in the correct direction.)


Today I did all of my scheduled reviews.


If you want to know how many consecutive days you have done your reviews, install the Heatmap script


I’m here! I do quite a few reviews every day when I can. I go over my problem vocabulary and kanji prior to each review. I practically sing my mnemonics out loud and it has helped me. I don’t do new lessons until I have 5 100% reviews in a row. Having a strict regiment seems to have helped me stay motivated. I look forward to keeping ourselves accountable!

I’m also ready for some grammar too! I’m really ready to start using what I have learned for more than just understanding a few select words from my favorite anime songs.


That’s awesome. Thank you. I hope this thread helps other people find it. For me though, it’s less about how many days in a row and more about finding the motivation (or willpower when I flat out don’t have any motivation at all) to keep tackling Kanji one day at a time.


Glad to have you! And I’m impressed by your regimen. I write down the new lesson material when I study them, then scrawl them across my whiteboard at work when I get in, but after that I leave things up to the SRS. It seems to keep my accuracy in the 90-100% range. But… we’ll see how that goes as I level.

How did yesterday go? Did you get any 100% review sessions knocked out?

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But that’s exactly what the script shows you, if you actually do reviews one day at a time. I’m not saying you have to use it, but to say that it’s not compatible with what you wrote is weird.

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Heh, I’m in a couple of those "level 60 by ____’ clubs but lately my head just hasn’t been in the game and I haven’t been able to focus on studying at all. Literally nothing has been sticking and I’ve just been super demotivated. Though I’ve made it a priority to at least clear all of my daily reviews on here and other SRS systems, even if I can’t do new lessons or crack open good ole Genki.

I can slowly feel myself getting the studying gears turning again though! Like you said, one step at a time!


Ah, guess I didn’t explain particularly well. I can’t look backwards like that, because seeing that I missed a day, even if I was consistent for a long time before that, crushes me. And then I end up in a loop of “Well I didn’t do it yesterday, so I’ve already failed. Why bother today?” So I look at it literally one day at a time. Yesterday doesn’t matter. I need to do the best I can for myself today. Long term goals help to direct my efforts, but the short term goals are what keep propelling me forward.


If pushing for 60 is your goal, those are awesome, and if you get back in the swing of things I hope you reach whichever deadline you set for yourself. But I’m super happy to have you here in the meantime. We can do this!

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Ten lessons and two review sessions today. Culminating in my first “master” level vocabulary items!


Zeroed out my reviews and leveled up. But level 3 vocab before new level 4 radicals. Gotta reinforce those kanji readings with practical application after all.

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Cleared out all my reviews until tomorrow morning! And now to pass out.

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( joins the club )

It’s taken a bit over 1 month of slowly digging through that pile and relearning things but I finally hit zero reviews tonight! :tada:

Just gotta do it one day at a time (and install that helpful reorder script).


Sometimes you just need to feel like you made it out of the bog. That feeling of, “oh… I just made it out of the no-motivation hole”. That’s a big stroke of motivation unto itself.

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What you describe are rather typical syndromes of burnout, which is a mechanism, if you will, that our brains have developed to protect themselves. It’s quite common and definitely more common than we think.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of “Do thing X by date Y” because this kind of thinking can quickly undermine the power of daily routine and habit. If you have this vague goal or thing in the future, the satisfaction of being rewarded only comes at that point in time when the goal is reached. This, by itself, is not only an exercise in frustration, it is also extremely demotivating because our brains are really excellent at handling daily affairs, but they suck when it comes to reserving a spot for “that thing in the future.” Even if the ambition for the task is there, it’s useless if you don’t train your gray matter to tap into this resource.
That is not to say that you should not reach for the stars and set goals for yourself–quite on the contrary. However, if you do, you should first empty your mind of all the “ifs” and “buts” and then concentrate on the steps that are required to reach your goals–better still if you write them down.
To illustrate this point, let’s say your goal is to learn the 2000 or so kanji required for reading fluency in a year. There are only so many days in a year, and there will be days when life gets in the way. So, if, let’s say, you get 300 days for proper studying, you would have to learn 6 and 2/3 kanji to reach your target. If you don’t feel like rushing, you could lower this number to 5; if your retention is really good, to 10. For each new symbol, you’d have to study a) the most common kunyomi and onyomi readings, b) stroke order, and c) two to five common word combinations. Depending on your efficiency that’s probably a minimum of 5 minutes per kanji plus 30 minutes for review. At 5 kanji per day, we can round the time required up to 1 hour each day. That’s fine, we now have our requirements.
Next step is to ask yourself if you can set time aside every day for this task. We’re all on a schedule, and time is usually a hard-earned commodity because we also want to do our favorite things. However, that point is also most easily assaulted if we ponder hard enough: “Well, if I don’t watch this, play that, or do whatever, I can easily set the time aside for studying.” Even if you can’t study an hour at a time, everyone is able to do it in 15-minute brackets.
With the plan of action complete, it is of pivotal importance to put some sort of reward system in place. This can be as simple as checking an item on a list that you review daily. There are also a lot of habit apps available that work like RPGs. Or you say to yourself “Okay, I finished my studies today. Well done, me!” The reward does not have to be tangible, and whatever works best for you, works best for you. You could also buy your leisure time with studying as in: “I studied for an hour, now I can watch my favorite anime for an hour.” If you have cash to spend, you could acquire two large glass jars or similar container and 300 marbles. Put all the marbles in one jar. Write “target” or 献身 or whatever you like on the other. Each time, you finish your daily allotment of study time, put one marble in the target jar. This way, you can visualize your progress, which helps with long-term motivation.
The point is, there are myriad ways to motivate yourself daily.
But what about the days where I simply cannot or don’t feel up to it, I hear you asking. This, frankly, is where a lot of people fail simply because they fall into a nasty positive-feedback-loop trap that goes something like this: The first time you fail doing something, your brain remembers the negative impact–if you don’t actively go against the feedback loop, that is. The next time, you fail to do your studies, your brain recalls the first time, next the first and second and on and on. Every time you fail at something, you feed the loop. Best case scenario, you end up working alltogether. Worst case scenario, this “autoreinforced negativity” can have a malignant impact on your life and health.
In order to combat the feedback loop, you could acknowledge the “failure” in a positive manner: “Yes, I missed studying today, but it’s not the end of the world, and I don’t need to feel bad about it.” Or, turn it into a positive opportunity rather than a missed one: “I will make up for it tomorrow by studying two hours!” or “I can’t concentrate on this particular thing today; instead, I’ll do something different that’s in the same vein.” This way, it is much harder to become demotivated because you did not really fail.

I know you didn’t come here to read a novel, but I feel that such motivation tactics can be applied to virtually all aspects of life. And, again, most people only reward themselves once they reach the end goal without acknowledging the many tiny, but equally, if not more so, important steps in-between.


Thank you for your suggestions. I especially like the idea of using jars and marbles.:grin:

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That’s a really good point! People get really focused on success tips but knowing how to handle failure is just as important.

A brain-trick that works for me (in addition to the ones you mentioned) is to “save up” a little bit of extra progress over time that you can “spend” to cover a bad day.

Let’s take your kanji learning example - your must-do goal is 5 per day, but you aim for 7 whenever you can. Then if you have a bad day you can tell yourself “oh it’s okay I did extras yesterday and the day before so I only have to do 1 today and I’ll still be on track.”

Or if you’re doing something that can’t be saved up (like exercise) include skip-days into your goal progress. For example “I really want to exercise every day, but my must-do goal will be 5 days per week.”


Exactly! How does the old saying go? “To hit the target, you aim above it.”

The “overshooting” method also works in reverse and is a helpful trick if you’re ever in a slump. If you have one of those days when you just don’t feel like doing anything, you can slowly work towards the task going tiny baby steps. So, to continue the example, if you go “I really don’t feel up to learning 7 kanji, it’s just too much today.” the first reaction should be to wedge in a “Well…” or “But…” such as “I don’t feel like it, but I can pick up my pen.” “Well, I can open my workbook, that’s not hard.” and so on, and so forth.
It’s remarkably easy to get into a task once you begin doing anything that’s related to it. You’re basically tricking your brain into thinking that you’re already fully involved with the task.
Once, the habit is firmly built, your brain will associate even tasks that you did not like at first with the satisfaction of accomplishment that you derive from it and will actually push you to it.
To give another example, some of the most successful authors never think about the finished product; instead, their mindset revolves around the idea that they can easily write, say, 100 or 200 words every day. 100 words quickly turn into a paragraph and a paragraph into a page.


This is such great advice! Thank you so much for sharing!