Tips for recovering from a reset?

Hey all! I apologize if this exact thread has been posted a thousand times, but I couldn’t find any threads that were exactly what I was looking for when I did a search.

I’ll spare you all the painful details, but long story short, I was level 25 and had great habits, did my reviews every day without fail and was averaging around 9-12 days per level. Then, about a year ago, I got a new soul-sucking job followed shortly by me and my long-term girlfriend breaking up, and every good habit I had ever built up pretty much crumbled away. I went from doing Wanikani for 1-2 hours a day to 1-2 hours a month.

Eventually, I decided that the 1700+ item review pile was causing me more anxiety than it was worth, and reset down to level 15. That was about 3 months ago. Since then, I have gained a whopping 2 levels and have really not reformed any of my previous habits at all. I’ve found that gaining these habits has been significantly more difficult than it was the first time around, despite the fact that I think I have a better mindset surrounding learning (and life in general) now than I did on my initial run. I think the reasoning behind this is two-fold: Firstly, since most of what I am getting lessons on is “review” for me, it makes it easier for me to mentally minimize its importance, or makes me skim the lesson rather than fully studying it. This leads to issue two, which is that I am getting a lot of things wrong that I feel like I “should” be getting right, since I’m getting reviews for things I burned over a year ago. This then makes me feel disheartened, which makes me avoid doing WK. It’s kind of a vicious cycle in that respect.

So my question: Are there any tips for regaining habits that you all have, specifically aimed at those who are coming back after resetting a significant amount of levels? I know that at the end of the day, nobody but me can put the work in and succeed. I’m not expecting to get a secret cheatcode that does all my reviews for me and makes me fluent (although that WOULD totally kick ass). Instead, I’m wondering what techniques you may have employed that helped you through difficult times like this. Does it help to have a specific time of the day dedicated to WK? Does setting a limit of how many lessons/reviews you do a day keep it feeling a bit less daunting? Do you set reward mechanisms for yourself when you complete your daily WK goal? These are all things I’ve tried with variable success, but I’m curious to see what insight you may have. Or maybe there’s something I haven’t thought of entirely! I’d really appreciate any input you can give me.

Oh, and thanks for reading. <3

Edit: I don’t use forums much so I’m not sure if it’s bad form to respond to every individual reply, but I’ve read every response thus far and I am very appreciative of them all. Thank you!


My rule for this sort of task is that you can do anything for ten minutes. So set a timer for ten minutes and go. (Still can’t do it? Try five.) When the timer pops, quit. Give yourself a break of at least an hour, no matter how motivated you are.

Don’t do ANY lessons until you’re completely caught up on reviews. And don’t do ANY lessons outside of one of your ten minute blocks.


I have trouble doing reviews during most of the day. What I’ve tried to alleviate this is to do just a few more then what is coming in the next hour. Say I have 9 reviews showing up at 4:00 PM, then I’ll make it a goal to do at least 10, but I usually do more than just 1 more. Anyway that helps whittle it down during the day because I can’t really focus on reviews till night time. Put on my music or whatever and just grind it out. I’ve also found that I can watch something on my main monitor and do my reviews on the other monitor. Usually turns out to be 1 review a minute at that pace, but it’s better than not doing it at all.

But yes, ultimately, I feel this will come down to you just paying attention to your lessons, read the mnemonics and when you get it wrong on reviews, you got to ignore it, because it will come back soon enough and you can learn it through the SRS. You may also be doing reviews at a bad time, say you learn something, and when it comes back 4 hours later, you don’t do the review. It’s natural you’ll forget it if you aren’t doing it around the time it comes back. To work with this, you should set a time when you do your lessons that works with you, so catching the review for it isn’t going stress you out.


I haven’t reset, but I can definitely speak to losing motivation. My tips are to break reviews into certain “blocks” each day for a specific time period. For example, you could do a set of reviews in the morning and a set at night. If you are caught up with your reviews (ie getting your reviews to 0 after each block of reviews), find a good number of lessons to do each day so you aren’t overwhelmed and you feel like you are moving forward in your studies. Basically, consistency is key, especially when you are feeling at your worst.

In addition, find something to do alongside reviews. For me, that’s been playing classical or soundtrack music. I know others have watched TV shows or movies. This way your brain is making a positive connection with your studies.

My biggest piece of advice is to commit to coming onto the forums every day, thus encouraging you by virtue of seeing other people study. Join one of the study buddy groups or a reading discussion, if you can. Keep interacting with other people, and keep finding reasons to keep studying Japanese.

You can do this! It’s hard at low points, but keep your eye on your goals and what achieving them will mean! :grin:


I have never made the decisions to reset, but I’ve been in a similar place, staring down the ridiculous 4-digit number review pile, kicking myself for not starting sooner. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and put it off, even quit and come back to an even bigger pile. For what it’s worth, here’s what I do.

Someone said setting a timer for 10 minutes and that’s a good idea, but if you have a ridiculous review pile, sometimes your number won’t go down in that amount of time. That’s why I start off with turning on the 10 review timer at the start.

I’m only obligated to do it until 10 reviews are completed, and it guarantees that my pile will go down by 10 (although may go back up in the next few hours. In this case, I refresh until I find items I know and then start the timer.) Seeing the count go down becomes a motivation, and I keep at it.

Eventually I’ll continue until I clear 100 items. And then the next day I start feeling good about my progr and push through 300 reviews. I’ve cleared 700 reviews in one day thanks to this method and the fortune of having a few hours of free time.

But in order to reach this point, you just have to fail reviews you don’t know. And often multiple times until it finally sticks. It’s frustrating and might feel like a waste of time, but you have to accept that your mind needs a boost. No matter how well you thought you knew your items before, if it’s been a while, you will definitely forget.

Using the new review recent mistakes and new lessons feature might help to make them stick. Of course, never do new lessons until you’ve cleared your reviews either!


What were 2 or three things that worked for you in the past, as you climbed all the way up to 25? That sounds like an incredible accomplishment in itself, and probably had a few bumps along the way?

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I just came back after a long hiatus, so I feel you. I didn’t reset, but I did have a massive backlog to get through. I can give another vote for a timer. I do 15 minutes a day, and when the timer goes off I hit the 10 review timer.

I think what’s more important though is to actually set up a habit of when you do your reviews. One thing that’s helped me is the idea of habit-stacking (I think it’s called?). Where, you start off with one habit that you already do everyday (eg. waking up in the morning, or brushing your teeth), and then you associate the new habit you want to make with that. For example: After I brush my teeth in the morning, I will do my WK reviews.

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First thing I did was just reviews to make sure I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with reviews. Since it wasn’t too bad I just went slow with 5 words a day, then ten, and kind of stayed there for about a month or 2. Eventually I went to 15 but I refuse to do more than that as I can really only have 100% confidence in learning 15 new words a day.


Hello Monomania!

Good for you coming back to the progress and sorry for you to fall off the wagon for a bit, so to say.
I am a third time resetter (Life got in the way, but always got back on track with japanese in one way or another), so maybe I am not the best person to take advice from. But the one thing I learned from falling back from level 23, is that I need to take things even slower. Especially before holidays.
I am now putting myself on hold on level 14, not doing any level 15 stuff, untill after christmas. I have time to learn new words and kanji, just not the time to do all the reviews. Which is the biggest problem! So then they pile up, and I don’t learn the kanji and vocab as good as if I would do the reviews twice a day.
This kept me going after resetting from level 7 (I believe) this time around.

The problem with using only holiday mode, is that you trip yourself up eventually with all the reviews when you get back into WK. So untill I feel I can dream all the Vocab and Kanji I am waiting to progress myself to level 15.

Hope this helps!


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regarding the 10-minute timer thing: I have a specific album/playlist, that I only listen to while doing wanikani. First of all it gets me into the mood, so reviews fly by faster. And 2nd of all I know that when a specific song starts, I have spent enough time studying.

on a side note: I have many different playlists. One for WK, one for work in the office, an other one for homeoffice, another one for when I do cleanup-stuff at home. It works wonders for getting me in the mood of doing stuff I want to do but sometimes don’t feel like doing.


With your Wanikani playlist, what is the vibe? Do the songs have words, or is that too distracting for you? I’m trying to create a formal Wanikani playlist. I’ve just been listening to movie soundtracks, but I really like your idea of listening to the same song list every time!

for wanikani: electronic, lofi, no vocals

to be more specific: most of it is from mitsies, the guy that made the helltaker-soundtrack. here is what it sounds like Mittsies - Vitality - YouTube

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That’s awesome! Thank you so much for the recommendation!

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