Stay motivated: Define your goalS

Let your big goal make babies

“When I am able to read literature in Japanese, I will start by Nobel Prizes”. Thinking that I will read Kawabata and Oe in Japanese helps me stay motivated BUT if this were my only goal, I would feel discouraged and would eventually give up. Because it will be a long, long, very long time before I am able to read such great authors in Japanese (not only read, but being sufficiently at ease to really appreciate).

Having a big goal is great but it is important to feel rewards all the way along. That’s why it’s important to have more modest and quicker to achieve little goals. Those little goals are like shelters on a long trail. Even if the goal of the journey is to reach the peak, the goal of the day is usually to reach the next shelter before night.

Set your intermediate goals

One of my goals was to read my first novel in Japanese. I achieved it some months ago and I will never forget the very first novel I read from the first to the last page in Japanese. It was the first novel of the Kaga series, Graduation, by Higashino Keigo. There were difficult parts and even very challenging ones, but I was able to follow the story and I was very proud of myself when I closed the book.

I have set another goal: read all the books of the Kaga series.

étagèeOf course, if I continue reading Higashino Keigo, I will eventually read the whole Kaga series. But setting it as a goal helps me stay motivated. Today, I already have three completed books of the series on my bookshelf and I am reading the fourth of the series of ten. It isn’t just read another book, it is progressing toward my goal.

Starting this blog has allowed me to set new goals, too. For example, I am looking forward to complete the reading notes for one book (it will probably be Suchan, by Miri Masuda). I have started reading notes for several books but my goal now is to finish one of these books to feel that my blog really has content.

By the way, as I started this blog not long ago, I still remember that WordPress rewards you when you write your first, fifth, tenth and so on post. I have decided to do the same for my “inside that song” category.

First, I thought I would only post on books. But then I realized that studying lyrics was also a pleasant way to learn Japanese and I wrote my first “song” post. The problem is that I don’t usually listen to Japanese music so I will have to first find songs I like and then study the lyrics. It is some kind of challenge but a very entertaining one. I have defined a new goal: write 5 post about Japanese songs.

Those are only personal examples of intermediate goals.

Write your goals somewhere

I am not the to-do list type of person but I really think that goals should be written somewhere. Not as a list of goals which you will cross out once achieve. I propose to use a goals’ notebooks and to give each goal a page. Write your goal at the end of the page and use the page to note everything you do that brings you closer to it. Your notebook should be full of goals, because it doesn’t matter when they are reached. In fact, it does not really matter if some goals stay unachieved. Especially if you have defined a lot of goals. For example, I could change my mind about posting about songs, it wouldn’t be such a big deal because I have so many other goals to achieve.

I will myself share reflexions about my goals on this blog, hoping it may inspire others…