Seeking help with self discipline

My first 5 WK levels I got into a habit of doing daily reviews, but I mostly did them at work whenever I got a gap.

Now I’m overloaded with work and I don’t have time during the day anymore, but sadly at nights I find myself rather doing other things than WK.

I’ll take any advice that I can get on building up some self discipline.


Hopefully your work will let up soon, but in the meantime you could set yourself a low bar. Instead of hitting 0 every day, do at least 40 or some other number that seems manageble. Then on the weekends you can go for 0 again. Also try to find some time before work in your mornig routine.

Use a reminder to do some reviews during lunch (or restroom breaks :innocent:). Try to do lessons early on the weekend so the items can move up the apprentice ladder on time and be ready to guru during the week.


Well, I always think of WK as a responsibility that ought to be met. I am having my father pay for it, after all. And as the dollar is a currency that really screws me over, I do not have any leeway to skimp. That alone pretty much does it for me.
But I do want to learn. I want to know Japanese as fast as I can before I am off to uni. Besides, I love the media and all that. That is also a good point in my case.
Perhaps you should focus on why you are learning Japanese and hold onto that.


Self-discipline Routine! It’s all about routine. It needs to become something that you do (almost) no matter what, because sometime you just aren’t going to feel like it so you can’t rely on that. Regular times, preferably following the SRS timings but as best permitted by your schedule.

I do best on regular small daily doses, but other’s do prefer to do as Saida wrote, just keeping things ticking along during the workweek and doing more on their days off.

To make my must-do-WK time more pleasant, I always make myself a nice cup of tea to sit down in front of the computer with - again, find something that works for you.


Need to remember your motivations!: TextFugu | 2: Questions Before You Start

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disciplines is for losers… make it a habit instead! (yeah, i know, easier said than done :stuck_out_tongue: )

i recommend if you are having trouble even starting wanikani reviews, make your focus on starting them. it doesn’t matter how much you complete or how long you spend on it, just make sure you load it up and start. do like 1 review. build up the habit of using it at your chosen time (since night seems good, make it your goal when you get to home to use it or something like that).

key point: consistently doing small things every day is better than doing a lot every now and again

from there, once that’s become easy for you, ramp it up and start making goals for finishing reviews. as long as you’re not constantly being distracted or running out of time, the gamifiication the application provides should make this relatively easier than the previous step – all you need to do is read and write what it tells you to!

there are also a few different techniques and scripts you can use to actually review items at a faster speed (taking less time out of your day). im currently trying a method where i only allow myself about 3 seconds to guess an item (if I go past that, i sabotage it myself!). this gives me greater speed – and so far, less stress – but do take this with a grain of salt and only try this if you think breaking your established reviewing habits is a good risk to take.

it sounds like you’ve already done this, but really consider the times of the day that can consistently use wanikani. on your commute (i often do wanikani on the bus using my phone, not the best setup but it works)? just before bed? when you get home? etc. etc.

anyway, good luck :crabigator::slight_smile::crabigator:


Hi! I limit myself to 5 lessons a day. Keeps the overall review load to between 50 and 60 per 24 hour period. I do small batches several times a day, so I’m never reviewing more than 20, and it takes only a few minutes. Like, do them on the bus, while waiting for the kettle to boil, or on the can for example.

If I’m distracted (like periods of intense work) and start making lots of mistakes, the “next 24 hours” number goes up and I may skip a day of lessons to bring it back down.

Wait, where’d you get the crabigator emoji???

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There is an AP you can use to do your reviews. That way like it has been said you can do it on the bus, the can or while waiting in line etc. There is no need to rush yourself. Go as slow as you need to and still make it fun.

I believe the key is having a goal. I’ve been trying to study Japanese on and off since 2 years. When the job was too intensive I was slipping away from the orbit, sometimes too far from it. But once I decided to go to Japanese course in Japan nothing can keep me away from studying. Because I have a deadline and I want to reach at N4 level till then. Even if I’m busy I’m doing my reviews on the bus, during lunch break, even in toilet (oops!).

My advice would be setting a goal first. Think of why do you want to learn Japanese. Do you want to go to university; think of all the time you’ll save while learning Japanese once you’re there. Do you want to visit Japan; think of losing chances of talking to all those wonderful, interesting people there.
And secondly set a time limit. It gets easier to keep on track when you know your limits. Even if you don’t plan to go to Japan make an imaginary one. JLPT exams could be another way. They make it twice a year. Next one is in December. You may aim to reach N5 level till then for example. Also I would highly suggest to take the exam at some point as a proof of level since Japanese system do care about these kind of formalities.


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What motivates me the most is realizing that feeling of “hey! I actually understood that” whenever I chance upon some kanji somewhere. You know, it’s that “holy crap I’m actually learning something that I had never thought I’d be able to” kind of thing; it’s a good feeling, addicting almost. And the more I study with WK and other sources, the more of those kinds of moments I get, and more excited I get about getting back into these studies, despite all the other responsibilities I have.

It is the same as learning other things you find yourself really enjoying, but with WK, its so easy to just do it, you know. Hit that review button, click wrap-up, and just pop-off those 10 reviews.


If you have an android, download flaming durtles, and set it up to only do 5 items per review session(so even if you have like 100 items in the queue, the current session will only be 5 items long, and you can do however many sessions uou want).

That way you can do a review session whenever you’re going to the bathroom, enroute to work, whatever.

Especially useful because it’s got offline support.


personally, I would highly recommend against self-discipline. discipline is the way in which you make a fun, interesting activity into a boring duty that your own brain learns to dread. “discipline” works poorly enough when someone else is doing it to us (who here doesn’t still get nightmares about school?) – it works even worse for self-motivation.

try to find ways to enjoy the process! listen to your favorite chill music ( psychill or lounge is a personal go-to), come up with your own silly mnemonics, make dumb jokes about the kanji to yourself. it doesn’t matter if it’s silly; earnestly attempting to enjoy the process will not only make you like it more, but will make it infinitely more likely that you’ll actually remember things. don’t underestimate the degree to which you can trick your own brain into enjoying a task; mindset means so much. instead of chiding yourself for being off-task, thank yourself when you’re on-task. instead of forcing yourself back on task when you get distracted, be more gentle about it and let yourself finish the distraction first. even if your thoughts wander while studying, be kind to yourself about those thoughts, don’t push them away. trust me, being kind to yourself works way better.

and if you don’t feel up to it at a given time? just do it later, when you’re feeling it more. remember, you’re not studying in order to level up, you’re studying to learn the kanji. if your brain isn’t in a state to enjoy the process and you’re “tuned out”, you aren’t going to learn it as well, so trying to force it is basically lying to yourself.

a last small suggestion: a lot of people have a bit of a lifelong habit of forgetting the word “could” and using the word “should” instead. that is, we say “i should be doing kanji study…” instead of “i could be doing kanji study!”. try using “could” on yourself instead of “should”.


Type :crabigator: :wink:


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Eh, I’m not sure I believe that. Or at least, that’s not how it has to be. That’s the first stage, certainly; we all hated eating vegetables, brushing our teeth, making the bed. It’s important to connect the result to the effort, though. I like getting into a nice, inviting, made-up bed, so the effort of making it seems worth it if I can keep that in mind when I’m doing it. I imagine that feeling instead of focusing on how much I’d rather be doing something else.

Like others have said, you need to get a few “wins” - things you unexpectedly could read that make you feel good. Then you can connect that to the effort and it doesn’t seem like you’re just doing a bunch of things because you have to. But it’s harder to get there without some initial “just do it” habit-building that you’ve just got to push through.



I actually enjoyed school.
I also enjoyed basic training.

Hell, to this day the first thing I do each morning is make my bed, stretch, and fold up my pj.

Discipline STARTS as unfun.
However, that’s because when you start, it helps you climb up the hierarchy of needs(read up on Maslow’s hierarchy).
The higher up the pyramid you climb, the lower your motivation gets.


Once you hit the self actualization stage(The point where the things you do are intellectual pursuits beyond yoyr basic physiological needs), your motivation will INCREASE the more accomplished you become.

The problem is the chasm between the esteem and self actualization stages is actually quite deep, and very hard to cross.
That’s where discipline comes in, because if you mess up the crossing, you are immediately back to the starting line and have to start crossing again.

Most people these days never even bother trying to cross the chasm.


The responses have been overwhelming. Thank you all. I still need to go through them all, but from what I’ve seen the two key things is to build a habit, and to set goals. I’ll read through everything a bit later. Thank you!


Oh I have one more thing to add…
Discipline is remembering what you want.
I find sometimes that helps.