163 - Finding Motivation - Part I

I have been thinking a lot about motivation lately. I think the main reason why it took me so long to progress in Japanese is because of lack of motivation. I am sure many of you will agree.

In a huge endeavor such as learning a language, the little things can be hard, but the main hurdle is the grind, and being able to find some kind of motivation every day to keep studying.

In learning a language, you also inevitably learn about its culture, and if the Japanese have one thing down, it's work ethic. So to kill two birds with one stone, I wanted to find motivational tips in Japanese. I found a great website with plenty of tips and advice. Because the article is massive, I will only be going over the main headings for two sections of it.

Let’s see if we can learn some tips to keep motivated while studying Japanese. If you are feeling confident, take a look at the page and see how much you can read and understand!

The main heading I am starting with is:

やるき を だす ほうほう
Methods for motivation
Literally: “motivation + を + come out + method”

It is separated into two distinct parts. The first is:

ひび の せいかつ へん
Daily life compilation
Literally: “daily + の + life + compilation”

So the first part of this article goes over things to do in your daily life to gain motivation. In this lesson we will go over 14 of their tips for gaining motivation in your daily life. In the next lesson we will go over the second part, which is the mental side to motivation.

1.) ストレッチをして起床して一日をスタートする
すとれっち を して きしょう して いちにち を すたーと する
Start each day with stretches when you get up
Literally: “stretch + を + do + get out of bed + do + one day + を + start + do”

Seems like a good idea for your general health, but the article goes on to say that stretching triggers some part of the forebrain to activate it, leading to better motivation throughout the day.

2.) 疲れ目に注意!目を休めよう
つかれめ に ちゅうい! め を やすめよう
Beware of eye strain! Rest your eyes
Literally: “eye strain + に + beware! + eyes + を + let’s rest”

This step goes over how eye strain can affect the body and mind. The article cautions you to take frequent breaks from your work, whether you are looking at a screen or a book. It recommends looking at nature or some kind of wide scenery to rest your eyes, as well as hot compresses and massages. I can get on board with this advice; I just wish I could see the mountains from my tiny office!

3.) 睡眠時間をしっかり確保する
すいみん じかん を しっかり かくほ する
Maintain steady sleeping hours
Literally: “sleeping + hours + を + steadily + maintain + do”

Of course, we all know the benefits of 8 hours of sleep a night. So get off the computer and go to bed! (After this lesson, of course.)

4.) 運動をする
うんどう を する
Literally: “exercise + do”

This is good advice that I should take. I ride my bike every day, so that should be enough right?

5.) 一人でやらず、チームで取り組む
ひとり で やらず、ちーむ で とりくむ
Rather than doing it alone, tackle it with a team
Literally: “alone + で + don’t do + team + で + tackle/deal with”

Note: ず at the end of a verb is the same as ないで or the negative form of the verb acting as a conjunction. It is frequently used in headlines and article titles to shorten the amount of characters used. So やらず is the same as やらないで, meaning “don’t do (and...).”

The article goes on to say that working in a team has a lot of merits. For example, they stop you from slacking off, or you can consult with them when issues arise. This would work for me if my friends weren’t such slackers; our idea of "studying" consists of an hour’s worth of gossiping like old ladies for every 10 minutes of work.

6.) 一度に1つのことだけしかしない
いちど に ひとつ の こと だけ しか しない
Only do one thing at a time
Literally: “one time + に + one + の + thing + only + only + しない”

Note: Using だけ meaning “only” and しか~ない also meaning “only” in a row just emphasizes its usage.

I just read something recently that said music doesn’t count for doing two things at the same time, because it uses a different part of your brain. Thank god, I don’t think I could work without jamming to some sweet tunes.

7.) 朝ごはんをしっかり食べる
あさごはん を しっかり たべる
Eat a good breakfast.
Literally: “breakfast + を + firmly + eat”

This isn’t news to any of you; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Which doesn’t explain why we load up on sugary cereal, pancakes with loads of syrup, or just a pound of bacon. (Wait, you guys don’t just eat a pound of bacon for breakfast sometimes?)

8.) 家事をする
かじ を する
Do housework
Literally: “house work + を + do”

OK, the rest of these I can get behind, eating right, exercising, that is fine. But I think I need to use all the tips and tricks in the entire article to just get me to do the dishes. Why are they telling me to do this?!

9.) 一日一度は好きなことをする
いちにち いちど は すきな こと を する
Do something you like each day
Literally: “one day + one time + は + like + な + thing + を + do”

They don’t have to tell me to do this, if it's Game of Thrones day, I will not be working until I have seen it.

10.) お気に入りの音楽を聴く
おきにいり の おんがく を きく
Listen to your favorite music
Literally: “favorite + の + music + を + listen”

Note: 気に入る is a verb that is often used for “to like something” or “favorite.”

It doesn’t matter if you like Motorhead or the newest song by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu; listen to something that gets you motivated!

11.) 目標を細分化して書き出す
もくひょう を さいぶんか して かきだす
Write out specific goals
Literally: “goals + を + subdivision + do + write out”

The article elaborates on this by saying that breaking down your big goal into smaller ones will not only give you greater motivation because it is easier to tackle smaller jobs, but completing smaller tasks will also give you motivation because you will have a sense of accomplishment more often.

12.) 集中力を一定に保つ
しゅうちゅう りょく を いってい に たもつ
Protect your ability to concentrate.
Literally: “concentration + ability + を + fixedly + protect”

The article gives this advice: If you start to lose your ability to concentrate after doing a certain task for a long time, change it up to refresh your concentration.

13.) 仕事以外の友人に会ってみる
しごと いがい の ゆうじん に あって みる
Try to meet friends outside of work
Literally: “work + outside of + の + friends + に + meet + try to”

I don’t know anyone who has a problem with this, but I guess some Japanese must if it is included. If going out with friends outside of work gives you more motivation, I really should have an endless supply!

14.) やる気を損なう人とは付き合わない
やるき を そこなう ひと とは つきあわない
Don’t associate with people who harm your motivation
Literally: “motivation + を + harm + people + とは + don’t associate”

It goes on to say that you need to be firm in refusing people who ask you to go out and have fun if you have work to do. For me, I think this is the best advice in the whole article.

Most of these everyday things to help you gain motivation are pretty obvious, but I was still surprised by some of the advice. In part 2 we will go over the mental side of gaining motivation, which will have a bit more concrete advice for those of you who struggle like I do. Stay tuned!

This lesson was written by Cassy L., a guest contributor:

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