The key to creating a plan is “SMART”. The word “SMART” comes from coaching and is a combination of the following five acronyms

(1) S: Specific
The more specific and clear your goals are, the more vividly you can imagine the process of achieving them.

(2) M: Measurable
When you set a numerical goal, you will know whether the goal has been achieved or not. On the other hand, if you set a goal that you cannot determine whether it has been achieved or not, you will not be able to use the PDCA cycle when thinking about the next goal.

(3) A: Achievable
Do not create a plan that is too difficult. Consider the difference between your current level and your target level, and make your plan realistic.

(4) R: Relevant
Create long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals respectively, and link the three together.

(5) T: Time-bound
Stop being vague and say, “Someday”, “sometime soon” and set a clear deadline. By setting a deadline, your plan will become more concrete and realistic.

Based on these five points, set long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals that suit you.

Please refer to the following examples.

Example 1
Long-term goal: Pass JLPT N1 in December 20XX.
Mid-term goal: Pass JLPT N2 one year before that, and N3 two years before that.
Short term goal: Memorize 500 Kanji characters by~, 1000 by~ and 1500 by~. Memorize 500 vocabs by~, 1000 by~ and 1,500 by~.
Study for one hour every day.

Example 2
Long-term goal: To be able to give a 5-minute speech in Japanese by the conference in XX/XX/XXXX.
Mid-term goal: To be able to hold a simple conversation by XX, 20XX, and to be able to hold a daily conversation by XX, 20XX.
Short term goal: To finish the ~ textbook by~ and the next textbook by~.
Take two lessons and do four hours of self-study every week.

As for (3) A: Achievable, it is recommended that you have your Japanese teacher or someone with experience in learning Japanese check it out if possible.

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