New Year’s Resolution to Learn Japanese? Why January Isn’t Always the Best Time

Are you thinking about learning Japanese this year? Studying the language and culture is an enriching experience which will absolutely open your mind and heart to different ways of thinking, speaking, and doing things.

However, January isn’t always the right time to start. Even though you might be feeling pressure to act on your shiny 2024 New Year’s resolutions, make sure that your goals are crystal clear before you start to avoid getting discouraged.

Take the time to get very specific before jumping in to your Japanese study – especially if this a long-cherished aspiration.

This will make sure you don’t get frustrated with yourself or give up too soon. Learning Japanese will remain a cloudy notion until you set some SMART goals. That is, goals which are Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. If you can’t define your SMART goals, we recommend that you don’t attempt to start private Japanese lessons yet. Wait until the right time for you.

Specific – What is your motivation for learning Japanese? If you have a holiday, or short business trip planned, we highly recommend you learn some Japanese phrases (even just 10 phrases, correctly used, will make a big difference to your enjoyment of the trip). If your studies are more advanced, are you aiming to take the JLPT exam? Or, is functional, conversational fluency the priority? Be sure to define the level you are aiming at, in terms of the two passive language skills (reading and listening) and the two active skills (writing and speaking).

Measured – How much time do you have to devote to your studies? What could you put aside to focus on your Japanese study? We recommend a minimum of a 90 minute, 1-to-1 lesson with your tutor, once a week. And at least 90 minutes devoted to homework will accelerate your progress. Try scheduling even more time to work independently on homework (especially memorising kanji and practising writing). Your tutor can check your progress when you meet, advise you on the tricky bits, and keep you on track.

Achievable – It’s important to link your Japanese study to your interests, so that learning fits naturally into your lifestyle. For example, if you love Japanese food, why not learn about your favourite dishes? Learn about the ingredients, how to order in a restaurant, etc.

Realistic – Learning Japanese can be daunting. It’s often said to be one of the hardest languages in the world to master. But, remember, you don’t need to master it! There is no need to learn the writing script if this doesn’t fit your ultimate goals. You need to know 2000 kanji (the Chinese-originated characters) just to read the newspaper. But why would you set yourself the goal of reading the newspaper if you are just taking a holiday?

Timed – Do you have a trip, test or interview coming up? Look at your schedule and check exactly how many lessons you can fit in beforehand, allowing for holidays and other commitments. However, Japanese study is so rewarding, that many of our students keep going with their tutor on a long-term basis, block- booking lessons in advance to make it even more affordable.

Is it the right time for you?

YES, I want to schedule my private Japanese lessons now! Contact us here.

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