Last year I started working freelance full-time and planned to acquire N2 JLPT certificate in one year. That was quite an “impossible goal” because the effort needed was immense. If I want to reach my goal, I have to carefully break it down into small chunks of tasks to fulfill daily.
I did. And I ended up having 10 versions of my plan to achieve that goal (not included the last one which worked). Those were also 10 times my plan didn’t work out.
At first, like any other “planner”, I listed out my daily schedule for working and learning.
Then I listed out all the books and amount of knowledge I need to finish in order to take N2 exam. (My freelance job is my secondary priority so I intended to work on it with just a fair enough amount of time each day. After working hours, I will move on to learning Japanese no matter what, so I will not talk much about my freelancing plan here). I estimated that I had around 9 months to learn from N4 to N2. So I divided learning tasks according to the time left.
After one month, I screw up my plan and couldn’t meet the goals I set. I forced myself to learn 50 kanji per days in 3 hours. Turned out it took the whole damn morning and lunchtime, which is 5-6 hours. I planned to learn 2 units per day but in reality, I always had to stay up late to finish that quota. It made me exhausted to continue the next day.
So I had to change.
I’m glad that I didn’t think I was not capable to learn Japanese fast or my goal was unreal. I’m glad that I still strongly believed I could make it.
That’s why I picked myself up to work on the next plan. Failed. Then edited the plan again. Then still failed. Then stood up. Failed. Continued. That circle repeated in exactly one year.
I did not meet my own expectation in doing all the trial tests before attending the real exam – which might take at least 2 weeks. I could only finish 2 books of trial test (expected number was 6). But I still managed to learn all the knowledge I was supposed to know.
And I passed N2 JLPT. In one year. Like I wanted.
I might fail to keep my plan consistent for 10 times. But the important key that worked for me here is that I DIDN’T GIVE UP. I updated and continued working til the end.
It turns out that it’s okay to have an imperfect plan. Or imperfect plans.