The moment you learn about some new thing and you want to learn how to do that new thing, you are excited and ready to hit the ground running. That’s called motivation and that’s very healthy, but if you don’t use that motivation to create viable and consistent habits, you will run out of steam. That’s called burnout and that’s not at all healthy.
The good news is, there are ways to avoid that burnout and improve motivation.
Step one: Create one micro-goal
Step two: Do that single micro-goal every day for one month and you will have created a new, positive habit.
Step three: After a month, re-evaluate and expand your goal
Resolution: I will exercise an hour a day.
You start off January 2nd fine. You exercised for sixty minutes and you are happy. The next day, the phone rang and you only did forty minutes. No problem–you’ll make it up the next day. Except the next day you had to take the dog to the vet and your sister needed help moving. The following day you feel a burden–the deficit weighs on you and you are about to give up. Pretty soon, you do.
Why? Exercising for an hour is not an easy habit to form from scratch.
However, building up to that point from a reasonable–no, stupidly simple goal is very possible.
- one minute abs
- one minute push ups
- one minute jogging in place
- one minute dumbbell lifting
- and one minute stretching
- I stick with it long enough to create the habit (because it is stupidly easy to do)
- I almost always do more than the micro-goal (because I was sincere when I made the goal)
- If I am busy one day and don’t do a lot more–I can at least do the micro-goal and still feel like I accomplished my goal (because I really did)
Here is my suggestion. Try this five-minute micro-goal strategy for learning Japanese:
- Spend 1 minute writing a new kanji over and over again while saying the reading and meaning aloud
- Spend 1 minute with your flashcards
- Spend 1 minute reviewing your past work in your textbook
- Spend 2 minutes going through new material in your textbook.