Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. – Tony Robbins
After a four-year on again, off again, but mostly off again, attempt at learning Japanese, I decided that in order to make any real progress, I’d need to have a goal, you know, one of them “SMART” goals. That is, it had to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
A few nights later I was having “a” beer with a good friend. We started to discuss the challenges related to learning Japanese, and somehow mutually agreed that should set a goal related to passing a specific JLPT level.
Perhaps it was the liquid courage, or perhaps it was just the clarity of focus that comes with setting a goal, but afterwards, I was somehow much more confident that my Japanese would soon improve.
There’s safety in numbers! – Unknown sage
On a roll from our goal setting, we also decided that should create a study group of like minded individuals. That is, people who have have had studied in fits and bursts but have not yet made it to the hallowed N1 Level of the JLPT.
After a single post on Facebook and LinkedIn, our group had grown to ten people. Awesome!
Why a group?
Well, personally, I find it keeps on me on track, keeps me honest, or whatever, if I share my goals with others. I also kind of like the team mentality where we help motivate each other, applaud our achievements, and, yes, threaten “the stick” when we slouch off.
A group also provides a collaborative context where we can share best practices, learn from, and even, challenge other.
What gets measured gets improved! – Peter Drucker
In our group we are going to track our study time and other activities such as practice exam scores.
Well, to paraphrase the esteemed Mr. Drucker, if you want to get better at something, you’d best start measuring it.
Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing with you lessons learned, best practices, study tips, our successes or near misses.
Until then, please wish us luck, success, and a collective GANBATTE!