I am using a program I have described earlier. It’s a daily habit and discipline forming routine. The routine is everyday wake up at 8am. First day of program is 8am 5min of work, 10am 5 min of work, 12pm 5 min of work, 2pm 5 min of work, and 4pm 5 min of work. Every day after that you add an extra minute to each work session up to 60min of work per session. This is effective because of the slow build up of duration that you can get use to.
There are requirements for the success of this program though:
It has to be the most important leisure goal in your life. You can have other things more important to you like kids or a job but as far as goals you do for the thrill, the interest, this needs to be the only one or at least by far the most interesting. Otherwise once another goal takes priority, doing this program will start to feel like a burden and that is where burnout will set in.
Also you should maintain good health in all areas including sleep and positive social interaction. Also try not to be hungry or thirsty uncomfortable while doing the worksessions.
Also have a few minor things to keep yourself occupied while in a rest period. I chose video games(ff10) and online streamed tv shows because they can be paused and they are the kinda thing that I find not to hard to pause for a work session. Just something entertaining, like a reward almost and then the routine becomes an excuse to indulge in marathon tv shows or video games. For video games it is important still that it not be something that could be a major goal. If you could play Halo Reach or Call of duty, don’t because it would usually count as a goal because they are very motivating. the video game should be a non-addictive game. I play Final Fantasy 10 cause its solo and there are periods of boring shit but the storyline is awesome and philosophical and relevant and I want to do a post on it sometime. Final Fantasy 10 bottom line is not addictive so I use it.
My observation at six days in is that if I start to think about how many Hanzi I have left to do it is extremely draining. If I even think about this program as a program for learning the Hanzi I feel like shit, I guess because the goal is so big. However If I think of this program as a program for learning persistence and discipline it’s fine. See that difference. And so while I do my reps if I try to get as many reps done in the time I am working I get this very negative feeling. However if I look at it as simply time. Just work for the set amount of time and that is the goal, then It’s fine.
That I would say is the difference between rewarding effort or rewarding results. At least for short term goals within a very large one. So if your goal is to do a certain amount of time, it even if you get less Hanzi learned as long as you still put in the right amount of effort your goal will be reached. It’s like a more visible, more measurable goal. More measurable than a goal of learning say 20 Hanzi where one day that could take 20 minutes and another day it could take 40. Also it makes more sense because the program is one where daily persistence is the ability being improved. I chose to improve daily persistence because it’s more efficient and therefore more motivating than simply working at hanzi for only 10min a day for a year or two. If it is my focus I should put as much time as possible into it and therefore that ability should be trained. If I don’t make it my focus and try to do 10min a day I notice a quickly lose interest and become distracted and then it becomes a burned and I burnout.
Also, the goal is huge, at least compared to my level of sustainable motivation to achieve it and so thinking about the whole goal of 3000 Hanzi is extremely discouraging. So discouraging in fact that I need to have other goals within that one. So increasing persistence is a great one because not only does it shrink the difficulty of the goal as I improve but the ability is transferable to any other field that requires that type of persistence. Therefore when I do the Hanzi I’m not even doing the Hanzi, I’m having fun for one cause I talk to myself while I do them and maybe play music, and I am focused on the mini goals of increased persistence which are goals I achieve daily.