How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Japanese, general discussion on the language
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How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by Dannathrik » Sat 08.09.2008 7:59 pm

I'm having some motivational issues in learning Japanese. I keep thinking to myself "I really want to just get onto that PC and continue learning Hiragana!", but I don't have that inner spark which makes me want to physically do it.

I've had a bit of insomnia trouble and I've been tired recently. I know that's the largest contributing factor, and I've also had a bit of stress at home, so, I was wondering if there was something that I can use to motivate myself just that little bit more :)

P.S. Yes...Sleep is on the list :P

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by gfunk » Sat 08.09.2008 8:08 pm

Take advantage of the insomnia. That's what I do. It's my most productive moment of the day.

But in reality if you don't have that inner-motivation at a beginning stage... you've got a hard path in front of you. Think about WHY you wanna learn Japanese, and what's pushing you. You're always gonna have outside interruptions in anything you do, so you gotta focus on your inner self.

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by clay » Sun 08.10.2008 12:25 am

One thing that helps is to create a structured learning environment with daily and long-term goals.

For example, your daily goal may be to force yourself to read through one chapter a day from your textbook (of course repeating the chapter until you understand 80% or so), read a page of hiragana out loud to work on sight reading and pronunciation, or write out all the hiragana every day... The daily goal shouldn't take more than 5-10 minutes.

If it becomes a part of your day as integral as brushing your teeth, exercising, reading the newspaper, etc, I think you will be motivated to complete your set goals. For me, if I don't accomplish one of my daily goals, I feel like my day was incomplete--thus encouraging me to do it the next day. Japanese language learning materials
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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by Harisenbon » Mon 08.11.2008 12:36 am

I find that the computer offers so many distractions that it's almost impossible to really get down and study while in front of the computer.

I would say, take your books and study materials somewhere where you are less prone to distractions and just sit down and start. Even if you don't feel like studying, once you get into the swing of it (with no distractions) you'll be more inclided to keep going.

I carry around a tiny flashcard pack (75 words) with me wherever I go. Whenever I have a free moment I just start flipping through them. At the bank, grocery store, train, anywhere.
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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by Dustin » Mon 08.11.2008 1:56 am

The computer is a HUGE distraction for me as well. There are some great resources of course, like some kanji flashcard programs, online dictionaries, forum information, but once I sit down with a text book, flashcards, etc. I know that I won't have msn flashing up, or seeing bits of news, viral videos emails...

If I have any resources on the computer I try to print them off rather than read them off of the computer, or write it out myself to help avoid this. Of course I don't do this much as I have invested quite a bit into my resources that I have pretty well all I need in hard copy already.

As Clay mentioned, goals is the biggest issue I faced. You will ALWAYS keep getting more and more behind, procrastinating, until you set definite, measurable goals. A chapter a day, X number of kanji, whatever it is, it must be definite and at the end you have to be able to say I met or exceeded the particular goal set out.

As a beginner the number one thing is to get those kana under control, make flashcards, whatever you need, so that you can go away from the computer, start memorizing, and come away knowing more. This is also much easier if you find someone at a similar level to yourself with similar goals and then you can hold each other accountable, and further your education as language partners. Quiz each other, basic speaking practice, it's a fun and dynamic way to help keep yourself going.

Anyways that's my opinion, hope it helps.

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by ss » Mon 08.11.2008 7:00 am

Reading forum posts from TJP and the other site has become part of my routine, each day. I’ll make sure I have a notebook with me when I’m online, whenever a good reply appears, I’ll jot it down at once.

Or if there is similar question asked, I’ll flip through my textbooks or journal to revise what I had learned previously, if possible, I’ll take the chance to answer, just to make sure I have fully grasped the concept.

I bring some textbooks and story books to read in the office, sometimes. Being a full time worker, I tend to fall behind, so I’ll squeeze out some time during lunch or tea break to do some revision. I keep telling myself “hey, these books are so heavy, to carry here and there, don’t waste the resources right in front of you..”

Nothing fascinating or magical, simply plain way, yet I’m not lacking in motivation so far.

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by Pork Chop » Mon 08.11.2008 4:28 pm

For me, having "events" really keeps me on task.
Goals & timelines can really help you stay motivated.

I started back up again at the end of 2006 after a long lay off.
I joined a monthly dinner party that was a meet up group for Japanese people and people studying the language. That gave me one night a month to make sure I was ready for; which really helped at the beginning when I was just trying to get my interest back into studying again.

A few months after that, I stumbled across an Okinawan drumming group & started taking more formal Japanese classes again.
Wednesday was Japanese class - there was always homework (whether or not I actually completed it :lol: ) and on the weekend was Okinawan drumming practice, with a lot of older Okinawan ladies and my buddy Yuji. I was studying practically full time. Luckily, I had a really boring job back then that let me surf mixi, this site, Jpod101, World Friends, and Tae Kim's all day - reading online study resources, writing penpals, and translating mixi sites.

A few months into that routine, I scheduled a trip to Japan (my first in 10 years) last year at the end of April to the beginning of May.
Having that big event coming up really helped me set some goals for my studies.
It made me work a lot harder.

I moved last November and no longer have Japanese meetups, language classes, or drumming practice to keep me on task, but at the end of September I'm traveling back to Japan again, so I've been working hard to crack the books with whatever spare time I've got for the past 2~3 months.

I'm probably not learning on the pace that I was last year; but I do think I'm making progress.

In December I may take JLPT 3 as a warm up for 2 next year.
Now that they've opened up the Arkansas testing site, it's actually feasible for me.

Set manageable goals and timelines to keep yourself on track.

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by maruichan » Mon 08.11.2008 11:52 pm

It's really about learning what works best for you. I motivated myself to start learning when I was like 14-15. I'm 23 now. I'm more motivated to stick to other things now that I've got the "rebel" out of me. But with Japanese, I found a way to use it. And because I was so young I felt it was easier to learn then than later, so maybe that was part of the push. I met a long time Japanese friend then, but from him I learned Hiragana/Katakana by using it. Of course I had to study, because he didn't teach me the language, I had to build my grammar, but looking back I wish I really worked on my vocabulary which I learned all primarily through conversations. I figured I would learn with time, I'm a little behind now.

These are small things that maybe nobody else mentioned or just to think of, but how is your diet? If you're taking in a lot of caffeine or sugar, and you're not eating well, then your concentration isn't going to be the best. It's no coincidence that people in the older generations can seem to handle so much more ... possible because one reason is that their diets were a lot better than ours. I learned it the hard way because I was forced to change diet due to chronic health issues, and it made a huge difference in my quality of life. Compared to before, I feel like I did when I was younger. I'm also a lot healthier for it, and it's nice to have some control over how I am feeling throughout the day.

I struggle with insomnia some portions of the year, and I would say take advantage of the time difference. Maybe you could find a pen pal and talk to them through e-mail or IM? It will help tremendously. Especially if their English isn't too good, because then would have to rely more on your Japanese. You might need to get a little further in your studies though (of the basic grammar, so forth).

I've been in your shoes regarding home issues and time management in the past. I don't know what you do in your spare time, but if you can find time alone to just zone out and focus primarily on regenerating, it might help to balance out. I'm a budding artist, so for me this is critical. In order to do anything 'special', I have to find that motivation and spark. I purposely set time aside to listen to music and focus on letting this be a time for either inspiration or fuel for future inspiration... I train this to be my "trigger", and it takes a while but it really works. After a while, I'm trained that certain places and certain activities mean something to me and will cause me to focus better. Or at the least it will help me spot really poor habits and I see myself in a less frustrated light, more able to adapt and deal with those traits. If you're used to waking up and immediately being in a stressful situation and that you sleep only when you have to/or can, then it's no wonder that your concentration is a bit troubling. In the back of your mind, Japanese and "feeling centered" is probably the least of your worries. Because at that rate, you're only running at your minimal just to deal with everyday things.

I wish you the best of luck

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by LoudAssNinja » Mon 08.18.2008 2:20 pm

I don't even really know how I keep my self Focused on learning languages. I guess once I got over the obscurity of other languages like Latin, (I'm currently in high school.) and most of the Computer Programming languages, I've just developed a love for them. If your having trouble now I don't really know too much what to tell you other than your gonna be in for a rough ride. (maybe). But, something that does help, is think about how little kids learn languages. Very Few words a day, and very simple words. Usually the first things small children learn are family titles: (Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, etc. Now Oka-san, Oto-san, Ni-chan, and ne-chan. I think at anyrate, don't take my word absolute I make mistakes after all). Next would be simple nouns like Hand, Ear, Mouth. Followed by numbers and such. You get the idea.

At anyrate, It might help if you label everthing in your room in Japanese. I hope this helped some. :D

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by nukemarine » Wed 08.20.2008 1:34 pm

Trick yourself into thinking you'll do just 1 or 2 minutes of studying. Once you get started, tell yourself a little more can't hurt. Soon, you'll find an hour or more has passed.

Failing that, karaoke. Well, I chalk it up as studying for me (it's fun, helps my kanji reading, social skills with Japanese that buy me drinks, it's fun). For you, it may be anime (without english subtitles) or j-drama. Basicly, add in fun studying.

Oh yeah set goals for yourself. Either short term "Today, I'm gonna learn 50 kanji and review my due stack", "Today, I'm gonna add 30 sentences", or "Today, I'm finishing all my reviews"; or long term "This month, I'm gonna learn 1000 kanji", or "This month, I will have half the book's sentences entered".

Turn off the English distractions. Stop coming to forums like this. Ok, easier said than done. I stopped watching Engilsh movies and shows, but I still spend too much time on english websites. Damn internet and its subtle traps.

Good luck.

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Re: How do you keep yourself motivated to learn?

Post by ryuubu » Thu 08.21.2008 12:45 am

I second the Karaoke idea.

It's very educational, and you'll be left with a hell of a lot of romantic sounding words :lol:

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