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Building Positive Study Habits

This week’s post is going to be rather general and not even specific to learning Japanese. It doesn’t mean it won’t be helpful, though! I’m going to examine a few of my favorite tips for building good study habits. If you want to learn Japanese, you really must study and you must do it consistently. That’s the problem many at-home learners, including myself, have: the discipline to study on a consistent basis. Let’s look over a few of the most popular ways of keeping yourself motivated and organized in your studies, shall we?

  1. Set goals – Setting a goal for yourself, such as “I will have __ number of lessons done by the end of the week,” is an excellent way to motivate. It gives you something specific to work towards. If you don’t make your goal, don’t sweat it! Nobody’s going to take away your birthday if you don’t do exactly __ number of lessons. There’s no punishment. Just pick up where you are next week with a new goal.
  2. Schedule your time – Putting aside a particular time during the day or week when you will study is another great way to keep on track. If you physically write it into your daily schedule and make it a habit, you’ll find it’s a tough habit to break once it becomes normal to you.
  3. Reward yourself – Give yourself a treat for completing a certain amount of work. Let’s say you finish ten JapanesePod101 lessons in a month. Great! Maybe go out and buy yourself an ice cream cone, get that new movie you want, or give yourself a little break from studying and spend some time communing with your Nintendo Wii.
  4. Lists – Make lists of reasons why you want to study Japanese, steps you’re going to take to learn it, and mini-goals you want to complete within the next few months. Set them somewhere visible so you won’t forget them and look back on them when you’re feeling discouraged. They can be a great pick-me-up!
  5. Feel proud – Hey, you’ve committed yourself to learning a language many are too intimidated by. Feel proud! Congratulate yourself on a job well done, whether you’re a beginner finishing lesson one or an advanced student.

No matter what happens, don’t get down on yourself. And as always, ganbatte ne!