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How you Handle Plateaus is how You’ll Handle Fluency — 6 Comments

  1. 15 months in. I can’t say I’ve hit a clear plateau yet. I have had days where I feel like I have leaps forward and I’ve had short periods of questioning my progress but nothing long or serious yet. Part of it may be luck. Part of it may be my methods. I am doing a lot of immersion and I spent a month in January focusing just on listening to vary things up. I’m half way through jalup expert.

    If/when I got a big plateau in not sure what my strategy will be. I guess I’ll just have to see when I get there.

    • I actually hope you prove this post wrong :)

      And if you do, you need to write a post here on Jalup with your methods that helped you avoid any plateaus!

  2. Related to plateaus, I find it helpful to accept “Sisyphus” setbacks — that there will be times when life interferes (health, family emergencies, conflicting priorities, et al) and the boulder of language-learning progress may roll backwards a bit (from your ideal pace/timing/intention). Ideally, it’d be great if you’re able to at least hold onto the ball, maintaining your progress. But maybe out of (emotional/physical) exhaustion, you drop the boulder and it rolls downhill to table-flipping frustration or even self-doubt valley.

    At that point, it’s tempting to curse at and maybe even kick the boulder further and further away or entirely… but if you can think back / reconnect with / draw upon that spark of joy that you feel for Japanese (language, culture, media, hobbies, friends, etc), the sooner you can jog down to catch the ball, and the sooner you can continue the climb, one baby step at a time. Bonus points if you’re swift enough to still see the trail of footprints that worked for you before, or maybe you learned something (to adjust) from the “Sisyphus” setback and can instead divert to a path better suited.

    Above all, “Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.” Don’t push your car / boulder (efforts) off a cliff or Yabba-Dabba-Doo brute force exhaust yourself with a clanky prehistoric lemon. As soon as you’re able, fix the flat / repack your hiking pack (method / pace / source materials / motivation) and hop back on the (language-learning) road / mountain.

    P.S. If you feel like you’re at rock bottom or are struggling to get started or continue, remember: you’re not alone. You don’t have to push/pull alone or invent the trail. Seek out mentors / ask for help!

    • Thanks for sharing your positive thoughts on this :) I think it will help people who are currently at a low.

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