Hello, lovelies! 

So far, I've been sticking true to my resolutions and have been studying- even if I don't feel like doing it. 

Yesterday, I was so tired all day, but I completed all of the studying I had to do. It's funny, really, how I'm suddenly back to being a student after a few years of not. In fact, June of this year will mark me being out of formal education (aka high school) for four years! I was in community college for one year, but I just wasn't doing well with that structure. Had I been in a four year program, I think it would've been different, but alas, I did not have the funds nor the will to do that.

However, I am now in a position where I have to study a ton to pass the exam to get a license for my new career. Aside from the initial education that goes into this career, there are always career advancements, other licenses, and other higher qualifications that I can study for, which would give me a leg up in the industry I'm going into. Therefore, I really need to buckle down and study hard!

So I've compiled 5 simple tips to help you study that I used throughout my formal education, self-study, as well as when I find myself just needing to learn something new. 

1. Set a small goal and stick to it

If you say "I want to learn Japanese", that's a huge goal. It will take months or years for you to learn Japanese! I know this, because I'm still learning. It gets a bit discouraging, afters months (or, years in my case) to see you've done all this studying- and yet you aren't speaking like a local yet! The trick to keep up your motivation and to keep at your overall big goal is to set smaller, more easily achievable goals, and then follow through! 

For example, there are few systems of characters you need to know in Japanese. If you are just beginning with the writing system, instead of saying "I want to write Japanese", you could say "I want to learn hiragana", which is one of the basic writing systems used. Instead of subjecting yourself to tortorous hours of trying to learn everything all at once, you are prioritizing a smaller goal, which, in addition to other small goals, will eventually lead up to you reaching your overall large goal much faster.

2. Use the Pomodoro Technique

I've used a variation of this technique throughout the years. Technically, the method is a system of 25 minute cycles, followed by short breaks, checking off the amount of times you've repeated the cycles, and using simple technology like a timer to help you prioritize. I tend to do either 20 minute cycles with five minute breaks, or longer ones like 30 minutes with eight minute breaks. This is just what works for me, but when you start your task and realize how short 20 or 30 minutes actually is, and how much you managed to get accomplished, it will motivate you, and encourage you to keep working!

3. Plan, plan, and then plan again

My readers know I already use a weekly planner, but I haven't gone over my entire planning technique (which will be coming in a post very soon!). I will plan out my week, and then, each morning, I typically write a to-do list. After I look over the list, I will take about three to five items from it, and write a separate to-do list for those things specifically. I am prioritizing, and reducing the stress I feel regarding my lists. If, for some reason, I don't finish everything on my bigger to-do list, at least I did finish the top major ones I pulled out to put on my smaller to-do list. The idea here is that if you don't plan, you plan to fail. Some people work off of running lists, some only need one sticky note, and some people have much more extensive planning techniques than I do. The big point is that you should find a planning style that works for you so you are prepared.

4. Know it's okay to not get it the first try- or even on the fifth

Failure does not mean you are finished for good. If anything, failure is an indication of, "okay, I didn't get it this time, but the next time round, I definitely will". If you are on your eighth or tenth try, that is especially the most vital time that you keep on going! Maybe it's time to ask for a different perspective, or a new approach. Perhaps you go to the tutoring center, or hang back to ask your teacher for some advice on how to help you master what you're just not getting. What many people don't understand is that, sometimes, it is perfectly okay to fail. I'm sure everyone has heard some modified version of the old adage, if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.

5. Diversify your studies

The biggest roadblocks we face with studying are a) not understanding certain parts of the material and thus getting frustrated or b) getting so bored we could fall asleep! I tend to try and learn about several things at once within one subject to try and help my brain stay active. Let's say I'm studying Japanese (my main example, since it is so relevant) and for some reason, a grammar structure I've been trying to learn just isn't sticking- I could just give up, or what I could do is move onto let's say, kanji. There is a good chance that in the workbook I'm using, I could see that exact same grammar structure I've been struggling with, used in context with the kanji I've just learned. There is also a good chance that by combining what I've learned, I could suddenly get what I couldn't before! 

I hope these tips help you in your endeavor to better yourself in 2018! 

Do you have any tips that you use when you study that you can share?