More About Motivation, Motivation, Motivation, Motivation

Motivation again – my most consistent topic, because motivation is what keeps you moving forward.

Just a quick refresher: I am learning Japanese following the Hacking Japanese Supercourse.  I talk about it a lot because that’s what I’m using and I’m very pleased with it so far.

Phase 1 is assemble your tools, which takes anywhere from a day to a week depending on you. (Check out the course for yourself to find out what all the tools are.)

Phase 2 is learn the 2200 daily use Kanji. (Again, check out the course for details.) This is projected to take “three months” but, at 22 Kanji per day, which is the general suggestion, it obviously really takes 100 days. Because I am just that way, I wanted to do it in “3 months” which I called 90 days.

I haven’t done it.

But I am on track to do it because, on days when I feel like it, I add in a few extra Kanji above my required 22. Today is day 69, and “unseen” now makes up 21% of my deck. At 22 cards a day (1% of 2200) that is 21 more days, which sets me to finish on day 90. Woohoo!

I always include the snapshot from Anki, so here it is.  As always, click on the image to make it larger.


Now, here’s the hard part. I want to think, “Hey, after that, I’m on to Phase 3!” but I can’t let myself think that way. Here’s why:

  1. I won’t actually be done with the Kanji on Day 90 because plenty of cards will still be in the “young + learn” category, so I will still have to review every day, and I will keep reviewing even after they are all in the “mature” category just to keep them fresh. My target is not “to absolutely know them all” by day 90, but to have “unseen” be 0 (until, of course, I come across some new Kanji that I need to learn).
  2. Phase three is still a very long 3 weeks away. 3 weeks is a lot less time than the 100 days I started with, but thinking of it as a short time will actually demotivate me. I would be looking ahead and get disheartened because I wasn’t at Phase 3 yet, so forget about Phase 3 for now. I am still in Phase 2 and will still be in a Phase 2 for 3 more weeks.
  3. In fact, I don’t even want to think about “3 weeks”. I mostly just think about learning the kanji tomorrow and don’t worry about anything after that. My goal, since I have studied the kanji for today is to make sure that I study the kanji tomorrow. That’s an easy goal. I figure I can probably do that.

Yeah, there is a sense of accomplishment in getting to this point, but that sense of accomplishment can be dangerous. I’m not done, and I still have a long way to go. Enjoy the accomplishment very briefly and then set your sights on the next goal.

So, what are my next goals?

They come from looking at the anki snapshot above and a love of round numbers.

–Get “unseen” below 400

–Get “mature” up to 1100 (50% of the total)

–Get “unseen” to 20%

If you look at my short term goals, they are very short term.  I should reach the first one in 2-3 days.  I’m not sure how long the second one will take, but I would guess less than a week.  I should reach the third goal tomorrow.

Again, enjoy a little sense of accomplishment and then move on to the next set of short term goals.  That keeps me motivated.



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