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Jul 27, 2011

Set a Start Date

This article is in response to Ojousama's comment on the Do Not Wait for Japanese post.

In trying to begin learning Japanese you may find that you simply have too much on your plate to get started. As I said in the article about waiting, if you sit back and only hope for more time to appear, then you're doomed to never get started. Starting immediately and cutting small blocks of time from other tasks to begin your learning journey is the best way to go. However, if you're in a position like Ojousama and have a major project on your hands that you can't cut time out of immediately, then this next strategy for getting started might just be what you need.

Instead of starting immediately into learning Japanese, you set a start date. Unlike the goals that most people set - where they say that something will be completed by a certain date - this goal is establishing the start line for your project. Set the closest date that you can manage and then commit to it. Write it down on sheets of paper and stick them to your door, bathroom mirror, refrigerator, anywhere and everywhere that you'll find yourself looking at them. Allow yourself to get excited about the big day. When it finally rolls around, just start doing.

If you haven't already planned out what you'll do, try finding some basic learning methods for getting started. If you've already decided what you're going to do, then take those first steps and start learning. Even now you don't have to do anything grand, just putting any effort put into learning is progress. Starting is the hardest part, but once you've taken the first step you just need to keep walking.

As Ojousama said, learning new things can be difficult and disruptive to other things you have going on, so you may find yourself putting off learning new material. If you have to, that's fine. But remember that no matter what happens you do not stop reviewing.

Finally, you can set a start date for more than just initially learning Japanese. It can be scary to do things immediately, and it's also easier to procrastinate if you haven't prepared, so setting a firm start date can help you to get things done. Set a start date to begin kanji, to read your first manga, watch your first drama. Whatever your next step is, set a start date if you can't handle it immediately.

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