Regardless of whether you are just starting or have been studying for quite some time there are always stumbling points. Times when you feel you will not attain the level of fluency you had hoped, that your progress is going to slowly, or that the immediate benefits you are receiving just aren’t worth the amount of time you are spending studying Japanese. I have certainly gone through these times myself. It’s pushing through them that will keep you on the right track to become a great Japanese speaker. So here are some simple motivation tips I have used to keep myself excited about learning Japanese.
Focus on why you started Learning Japanese
With all the studying, the flash cards, the kanji, and the speaking drills it can be easy to lose track of why you started learning Japanese. Since that reason also probably gave you quite a bit of motivation, take some time to think about it. I recommend writing it down so you can look at it again later. If the reason you started studying Japanese doesn’t get you excited, I recommend that you choose better one. You will be putting a lot of time into becoming fluent in Japanese. You will be much more likely to get there if you have a good reason for learning.
Speak Japanese with a native speaker
All that practice is important, but it’s actually speaking in Japanese that’s the fun part. If you are not able to find a native speaker, then at least try to find someone who you can converse with in Japanese. I used to sign up for tutoring when I was a student so I could practice speaking with Japanese exchange students. Even a fellow student studying Japanese is better than nothing. Just be sure to only speak Japanese.
Look at your overall progress
Language progression is accomplished in a lot of small steps. Each new word or grammatical structure you learn helps you understand and communicate just a little bit better. You may have learned 10 new words today, but compared to yesterday you still don’t feel you’ve made much progress. This can be a little bit depressing. Progress can be much easier to spot if you look at it overall. Look at your progress from the time you started until now. An easy way to do this is to go back and look at the material you started with. You will be surprised how easy it seems compared to when you first started learning . It’s much easier to see the distance you covered if you look at all the stairs you have climbed, rather than just the last step.
Break your Japanese study goals into smaller parts
Setting goals is a good thing. But what if you goal is really big? Maybe your goal is to speak business level Japanese so you can eventually work in Japan. If you are just starting out, it may seem if you will never get to that point. In this case, it can be very helpful to set a number of goals in between. Maybe set goals for learning 100 kanji by a certain date, speaking for 10 minutes in Japanese, passing the JLPT 4 this year and 3 next year. With each goal you acheive you give yourself a small reward. This will not only help you stay motivated, but also keep you working towards your goal.