Your thoughts on short-term goals and strategy

My first two attempts of learning Japanese have failed miserably. Now I am back, trying to avoid the mistakes of the past. I figured what I need the most is a long-term strategy as well as achievable short-term goals. Since I work fulltime and are in a relationship, time is finite resource. Nevertheless i am serious about learning Japanese and i’d love to have your feedback.

Regarding WaniKani: I try not to have more than 150 Apprentice items in the rotation to keep the workload manageable. If I come across a Kanji i’m writing it down once (i don’t do this for radicals and vocab).

My goals till the end of December:

  • Reach WK Level 13
  • Refresh Katakana
  • Finish the Genki 1 Vocab Course on Memerise
  • Reach Chapter 20 on Human Japanese
  • Do little daily reading on NHK New easy

In January/February 2019 I’d like to:

  • Continue WK
  • Work my way through Genki 1
  • Complete Human Japanese 1
  • Add listening to my study schedule
  • Practices writing/grammar with a blog in Japanese (one entire per Week about 15-20 sentences, puppy picture optional).

March 2019

  • Finding a language buddy to actually speak Japanese.

What do think? Is this a viable strategy?

PS: Apologies for any mistakes i’ve overlooked the ol’ english is not my first language.


I dunno, I’m the kind of guy that gets really motivated when a plan is in place… for one or two days. Then I unavoidably start doing my own thing.

Nevertheless, after a while, I create yet another plan, for peace of mind more than anything else. So I’d say unless you have a deadline, just do your own thing, as long as you keep studying for at least an hour a day.

Of course, if you’re the kind of person that can stick to a plan, by all means do so. I no longer create goals such as milestones (level 10, level 15, chapter 10, chapter 20, etc.). My plans look more like:

Monday: 7AM to 8AM - WaniKani, 8PM to 10PM Genki.
Tuesday: 7AM to 8AM - Wanikani.
and so on…


Why wait until March? You can always grab something like HelloTalk and try posting anything at your ability level. Pretty great to get instant feedback from native speakers if there are obvious errors.


I’m in a similar position. Life is going to be really busy for the next 30 days.

My long-term goal is simple: Do not quit; do not stop. What this means is that I’ll match my workload with the time I have and will immediately cut back if I feel overwhelmed. In practice, it may mean only doing WK reviews and a bit of listening/reading daily or just WK reviews some days, but it never means doing nothing. Starting after stopping is the worst. It’s better to just keep going at a slower pace.

Short-term while I’m busy, I’m only focusing on 3 things: WK reviews (with 0-20 lessons daily), grammar review, and reading. I don’t really think about completing things just doing something as consistently as possible (e.g. do reviews, read for X minutes or X chapters).

I would warn against trying to add too many things at once. I’ve laid the best of plans only for them to go astray after a couple days to a week mostly because I planned too many things at once. However, you know yourself best so do what you know will work. I now add only one new activity every two weeks so I can get acclimated to it in my schedule which is what works for me.

As for my goals, they are usually broken down in a very detailed way. I also like using long term goals, too. Here’s a simplified version what I did for wanikani:

  • Finish Wanikani in a year and a half

    • Finish 10 levels every 3 months

      • Try to Level up once every 7-9 days

There were a ton of small little details I didn’t include but that’s the basic gist of it.

Edit: As clarification, I’m not saying just do one thing at a time. Studying grammar is important too. Just add it gradually rather than all at once. :slight_smile:


you know what they say, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. i’m with @cgsmith2 here: keep it simple. do wk and treat everything else as a bonus (this way you won’t lose morale when you can’t quite keep up with your curriculum).
it’s how i learned japanese, one thing after the other.


My goal this month is to actually get around to turning off vacation mode, considering I’ve been back from my holiday since October 21st…


Why not shoot for the N5? According to, you know 95% of N5’s kanji at level 10, so you’ve already taken care of the kanji for this section. There are 93 grammar points in the N5 section at At a slow pace, you could complete it in 2 months. Then you could read practice texts until you feel comfortable enough to move on to N4. The JLPT is a be a great guide to approaching the language, it gives you a list of exactly what words, grammar points, and kanji to aim for (I know there is no official list but shut up)

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So in your plan you’re considering reading little by little in december… a month or two later you’ll start listening… and then a month later you’ll be speaking (which if you intend to make it into a conversation will have a lot of listening too :sweat_smile: )…

Ok, now let’s be real:

Don’t rush it, if you manage to have a constant routine and make it part of your everyday, then it’s a huge improvement over your previous attempts. The rest will come up. Maybe try getting basic grammar and vocab while doing WK at a sustainable pace… if all works ok… some months later pick up a graded reader series… and see how it goes :slightly_smiling_face:


I think any plan that gives you both:

  1. An attainable long-term goal (i.e., pass X level of the JLPT)

and 2) a daily set of tasks that you don’t have to think too much about makes for a great study plan.

Personally, since I restarted serious self-study after moving to Japan last year, I used the JLPT N3 as my goal for year one, and developed a daily routine of clearing out Wanikani, iKnow, and whatever two test-prep books I was learning from (and I used Sou-Matome, which has clear daily sections). For the last six months I’ve been in N2 prep, and my daily tasks have been clearing out the two apps, doing two book sections (now mock quizzes instead, since they’re finished), watching something in Japanese, reading a bit of a book, and sometimes journaling.

I also habitually add new vocab I encounter in the wild or review to either a Word doc I used for grammar/vocab notes while learning, or more recently to a set of physical flashcards to review pre-test. Again, this is a set routine. I encounter a word or phrase I want to remember, it goes into one of those two spots.

Which is quite a bit each day, but it’s a set list of tasks I don’t have to think about (and, should I really be too busy one day, that have clear continuity and allow me to continue from wherever I left off without re-planning), and clear long-term goals that aren’t up to me–those tests have set dates, so you better be ready. They’re good motivators/structure-providers.

I think you’ll figure out what’s a good daily task list for yourself as you go–you might cut or add things as you try them, or as you gain confidence in the language. But as long as you’re doing something each day, and working toward a clear goal, I think you’re all good. For more specific advice, I’d make clearing out apps and doing a section of your textbook the first-priority “absolutely must do” items, and keep the reading as an “if I have time/sometimes” thing, especially since it’ll be slow-going at first. I might also shift your January/February goals a little further out. Finish Genki I first, and think about signing up for the next available JLPT (N5? N4?) wherever you are.


Hello! I also quit twice (pre level 17) before coming back, finishing wk, and going on to read the book I set out to read 3 years ago when I started learning. Well, currently reading at least.

I think you have a wonderful idea of what you want to do overall for these upcoming months, so good job putting that together.

Unfortunately, you are missing the most important part (imo) and what personally saved me from quitting a 3rd time. Ive mentioned it before, but im a huge advocate for a daily routine. Sure you wanna get to level 13 by the end of december, but how are you going to do it? How many lessons are you going to do per day? Do you have the time to keep up on reviews?

While it may not seem like it, a month is a very long time. Its very easy to lose your way and let yourself slack off if you lose sight of the goals you set at the end of the month. By setting a per-day goal, you will hold yourself accountable much easier and build good habits.

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You were right. This is exactly what has happened. I had no daily incentive and when my motivation faltered i started to slack off. A few weeks ago i switched my focus to daily goals and it really works for me. I am starting to build up some momentum again. However this time i’ll try to keep my eyes on the road and not get lost in two many lofty goals.
Here is what my current Strategie looks like:
Daily Routine:

  • Clear WK and Bunpro
  • 15 Min Grammar
  • 15 Min reading (if there is time)

Other Goal for 2019

  • Work through Genki 1
  • Do the N5 in December

Besides listen to the news in Japanese while doing chores around the house i won’t add anything to my daily workload for now.


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