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Is it Better to Set your Language Goals Low or High? — 7 Comments

  1. One of our VP’s at work is NOTORIOUS for high goal setting. We get (near) impossible goals given to us quite frequently. However, he’s doing this because of what you’ve said here – he’s trying to challenge us and push us as far as we can. And likely, we probably got farther towards where we needed to go than if he had set a reasonable goal.

    However, I find in Japanese I have to use both high and low goals. High goals for things I already like to do – watching TV episodes, reading manga, playing games. Low goals for things I don’t have fun doing or get frustrated with from time to time – RTK, vocab card creation.

    High goals on things like new cards in Anki or RTK studies have burned me a couple of times, to the point of just quitting my decks. I’ve found the lower goals to be really useful here… they’re a good minimum that’s easily doable, and if I’m in the mood or I have time I do more.

    High goals on things I like, however, are just super easy and I don’t feel burned out or bummed when I don’t reach them, as usually the reason I don’t reach them is because I started to find the material boring, or I just didn’t have as much free time as anticipated.

    • That’s a great perspective to choose high or low goals based on your experience with the material and whether it is easy/fun or hard/frustrating. It gives you the best of both worlds.

  2. I go back and forth about how I set my goals. I tend to look at the psychological toll my high goals are taking on me and then lower it once I reach a threshold. I have just set myself up to start another high goal which is to complete Kanji Kingdom before I leave for Japan in a month and then power level while I am in Japan. My new strategy for KK is to not produce the Kanji, but as soon as I say the english for the Kanji I press “space” and associate the English with the kanji in an instant. I hope that works. I think the less time I spend learning the Kanji, the easier it is going to be for me to get through it. 23 days is my current goal. 100 a day. I just started this morning. I’ll report back in 23 days to report my progress.

      • Thanks. I previously got to ~1850 Kanji before I stopped. Most of them will feel like review, so I think that will make it easier.

    • I think one potential issue with waiting until your psychological toll threshold is reached (in anki world), is that it may be too late, as the subsequent pile of reviews can linger on for some time after you reduce the new card amount.

      • Yeah. That’s totally a thing I have had to deal with when I meet that threshold. It usually results in me dropping the deck, restarting the deck, or somehow making the reviews easier than they were before. Like, I add some audio to the front of the card so that I don’t fail a card for the purpose of misreading the keyword. This way I can press good if I know what the word means. Or I might still pass a card if I can recite the reading of the keyword, but not the reading of some other word in the sentence. I anticipate not reaching this threshold over the summer break as usually this threshold has something to do with not having enough time to finish my reviews before the next day begins.

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