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Goals and Reflections

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About this blog

I'll be writing down goals here, with a timeframe, and then reflecting on them when that time has passed - noting down progress made, what I've learned, etc.


I plan to use this as a platform to track my progress and place to discuss studying strategies with other learners, but any comments are welcome!

Entries in this blog


9-12/2021 Chinese Learning and App Project Goals


I set myself some goals at the beginning of this summer, and they served as a good motivating factor over the course of my vacation. I'm now replicating this pattern with the fall season and some of the winter one - setting myself goals I hope to have completed by the end of 2021. There are a total of 122 days in this block.


The goals are somewhat more relaxed as I'm entering the IB, which is supposed to be quite time-consuming. They mostly revolve around Chinese learning, though the last one (which I'd be happy to hear any feedback on!) is about building a language-learning related web app.



  • Read 300k characters of webnovel content. This summer, I read about 75% of that, so this is an achievable goal. I have no specific books to read in mind apart from the highly recommended 《许三观卖血记》and 《活着》.
  • Finish the HSK 5 course - I'm already 2/3 of the way through it thanks to progress in the summer.
  • 70 LangCorrect entries. I've been in discussion with a member of the LangCorrect team, and they'll likely either implement a calendar feature or create an API endpoint that I can use to programmatically access my journals to check whether this goal has been accomplished.
  • Shadow the entire Mandarin Bean HSK 5 library. The HSK 4 "episodes" - though really more like short articles with audio - are about 120 in number, so at my current rate of 3 a day (just finished the HSK 4 library today), this shouldn't be a problem.
  • This one's harder to keep track of: at least 3 hours of audiovisual immersion a week (including XYY). This means Mandarin Corner, Douyin, and dramas in Chinese. This goal is only for after I finish HSK 5.


  • (Coding Project) - release at least a beta version of the website I've been working on to help language learners. In a nutshell, it's Goodreads for language learners - a place where learners can track, rate, and get recommendations for books - but taking into account book difficulty (crowdsourced by users) and language, not just genre. Apart from this, I'm planning on implementing book charts, reading stats, book clubs, etc.
  • (cont.) Really excited about this, since I think it will solve a problem that I've personally been encountering - finding both comprehensible and interesting books - as well as motivating users to read with goals, articles, and a social aspect, among other things. If this is something that you'd like to hear more about, please let me know and I'll message you when it's done; equally, I'd love to hear ideas for how it could be made to be the most useful tool possible for fellow learners.

2021 Summer Holiday - Progress Reflection


At the beginning of my summer holiday, two and a half months ago, I set myself some goals. Let's take a look at what I've accomplished since then.


- Learn between 1/2 and all of the HSK 5 vocab through flashcards and going through the textbook + workbook.

- Completed. Did 1/3 of HSK textbook + workbook chapters, but reckon I know ~80% of the vocabulary.

- Daily LangCorrect journalling.

- Failed, I didn't have access to a computer for nearly a month due to circumstances out of my control. In total, perhaps half the summer days had journals.

- Watch one season of XYY (sixty episodes).

- Completed. This cartoon series is fun and comprehensible, this wasn't much work at all.

- Read 3-4 novels.

- Far and away completed! I probably read more like eight or nine novels this summer holiday - 6 of which were from the excellent Xiao Mao Riji Series.

- Add 300+ words to my flashcards outside of the HSK.

- Yes, probably like half a thousand added from reading. A hundred or so new words learned through Anki too.


Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with my progress. Although I didn't study for nearly as many hours a day (usually 1-3) as I'd hoped, I still accomplished most of my objectives and felt a real increase in my Chinese level. My pronunciation has also improved dramatically, since I've been practicing shadowing and relearning the tones for words I didn't know them for.


2021 Week 25 - Goals

  • daily LangCorrect (journaling platform where you also get corrections) to reach a hundred days!
  • 3 HSK 5 textbook + workbook chapters (but surprised by my comprehension! Thanks to the pause I took after HSK 4 and steady consumption of novels, I counted and knew 60% of the words in a "new" chapter!)
  • try to read the first book from the 笑猫日记 series. If it's manageable, move on to the second if I have time - if not, find another book to read
  • Readibu-fy 笑猫日记 so I don't spend 5 minutes just waiting for it to open each time I want to read the book (readibu is a wonderful app for reading Chinese novels and webnovels on your phone, but I need to clean up and parse the raw HTML files I have for xiao mao)
  • 3x daily MandarinBean shadowing articles
  • daily 喜羊羊  episode
  • listen to at least 4 podcasts in Chinese - and find new podcast! Suggestions needed

2021 Week 24 - Reflections


A bit behind on reflections, I'll just make sure to post them sometime on the weekend.

  • On track with summer study plan HSK 5-wise, three chapters down. Surprised by how much of it I already know!
  • Making my way through high-frequency novel flashcards
  • LangCorrect streak still unbroken... coming up to 100 straight days between LC and Journaly this week!
  • an XYY episode a day to keep Chinese amnesia at bay
  • finished 《小布头奇遇记》! longest single book I've ever read at 60k characters! It was really rewarding, and so easy towards the end - noticed I was reading extensively at above 98% comprehension!
  • Read aloud 3 or so chapters of the above to myself
  • [F] Only half the dog walk days were podcast days. Running out of episodes for the podcast I'm listening to now (Maomi Chinese), and it's getting pretty easy now that I'm going through HSK 5 and high-frequency novel words. Any suggestions for other free podcasts in Chinese at the Intermediate level? Preferably mostly in Chinese about various topics, not discussing Chinese or breaking down a quick dialogue in English.

2021 Week 24 - Goals


This week's goals:

  • go through 3 HSK 5 chapters
  • keep up learning with novels by adding ~5 cards a day
  • keep up LangCorrect streak
  • 5+ XYY episodes
  • finish 《小布头奇遇记》
  • read aloud at least three chapters of the above on a Discord server I'm in
  • podcast episodes in Chinese daily on dog walks

2021 Week 23 - Reflections



  • finished 《宝葫芦的秘密》
  • got 35% of the way through 《小布头奇遇记》 and read 3 chapters of the above aloud
  • started summer study plan seeing as school has ended
  • listen to exactly 5 xiyangyang episodes
  • 3x/day shadowing HSK reading or Mandarin Bean stories

2021 Week 23 - Goals


These are my goals for this week:

  • finish 《宝葫芦的秘密》, continue listening w/ audio - such a fun way to learn
  • get 1/3 of the way through 《小布头奇遇记》 - read at least a couple chapters of the above aloud
  • start summer study plan on Friday when school lets out
  • listen to 5+ xiyangyang episodes
  • 3x/day shadowing HSK reading or Mandarin Bean stories

2021 Week 22 - Reflections


Let's take a look at my goals and how I spent my time.



Made my summer study plan, detailing how I'd break up my time. Goal is all HSK 5 vocab and then leaving HSK to continue learning with webnovels

✓ Finished 《直到花豆煮熟》

✓ 70% through with the longest-yet 《宝葫芦的秘密 》

✓ Read another one of SinoLingua's graded readers

✓ Kept up daily LangCorrect

✓ 4 xiyangyang episodes


Rough Time Breakdown

  • 15 - 20 minutes daily spent on Anki (SpoonfedChinese deck)
  • ~15 mins/day spent writing my daily LangCorrect entries
  • Roughly an hour a day spent reading easy children's novels with Readibu
  • Roughly 45 mins/day spent on Pleco - tones + handwriting + novels flashcards
  • 10 mins daily - miscellaneous reading sites, shadowing practice, etc.
  • ---
  • An hour this week speaking and listening on WeChat; language exchange
  • Two hours this week of Chinese lessons
  • An hour and a half or so this week spent reading graded readers
  • A couple hours spent building my summer study plan, looking into more advanced graded readers, and researching Chinese grammar points, etc.
  • About an hour spent watchings simple children's cartoons

Summer 2021 Study Goals & Plan


I have an extended summer holiday this year and plan to make the most of it in regards to Chinese learning. First off, I'll set some goals, for what I hope to have accomplished by the end of summer (the start of September). Then, I'll outline some more granular details, such as what I plan to do each day and how I intend to achieve my goals. This post will help me stay accountable and serve as a space to go back and compare my progress to (throughout and at the end of the summer).


Summer Statistics

Time: June 11, 2021 - September 1, 2021

Length: 82 days

Notes: Roughly half (5.5 weeks) will be spent on holiday going back to the US, and another week in a forest cabin with friends - though I still hope to use this time to learn. The rest of the time is so far without major plans, making it ideal for Chinese study.



  • (Optimistic) learn all HSK 5 vocab | (Pessimistic) learn half of the HSK 5 vocab
    • Chosen as this would be a great achievement that is possible according to other learners, and I plan on learning HSK 5 regardless because of the structure and ease in finding audio/visual resources. This post on the forum has helped me in solidifying how I'm going to approach learning the vocab.
    • Currently, I know all HSK vocab and then a few hundred more words from novels, graded readers, DuChinese, Anki and so on.
    • If I achieve the optimistic goal, a secondary goal would be to pass an HSK 5 mock test in early September.
    • After HSK 5, I plan on leaving HSK altogether. To celebrate, I'll also be taking a look at some highly recommended novels that I'd like to enjoy more extensively, namely 《活着》and 《 许三观卖血记》.
  • Keep up daily LangCorrect journaling - this is a small thing that only takes 10-15 minutes a day, but requires dedicated focus that makes it a good goal to have.
  • Watch the equivalent of one season of the children's cartoon 喜洋洋 (halfway through one now, so finish this and half of another).
  • Read 《小布头奇遇记》- would be my 8th novel, and the 2nd hardest to date. Quite long. Likewise, read two-three other novels around the same difficulty - from my Dushu369 novels list (which it would be nice to update if I have time over the summer as well). If I can get my hands on SinoLingua's 1.5k unique word graded readers, then read those as well.
  • Add and learn at least 300 new words from novels, webnovels, TV, etc. - basically immersion.


Study Plan

While I have (for at least half the summer) the full day available to me for study, I know there's an upper limit to the time I can spend on Chinese - especially on more active learning activities. However, from my past experiences, I estimate that I can put in 4-5 hours a day normally and perhaps 2 hours daily whilst in the US. This is around the 275h mark for the entire timeframe. At a little over four new HSK words an hour, this'll be a challenge (especially as it won't be pure learning the HSK, or even mostly) - but I'm confident I should be able to at least get halfway through HSK 5 with this plan:

  • Daily LangCorrect journal entry - using new vocabs and a textbook or workbook-provided topic (~15 mins/day)
  • Daily Anki (Spoonfed sentences for speaking + listening practice), Pleco (HSK, tone catchup, handwriting and novel flashcards) (~45 mins/day). I'm planning on looking up new vocab in context (sentences that have the word or textbook dialogues), so this number may grow larger (June 2021, still not implemented, not sure how to approach doing this)
  • an XYY cartoon episode daily (~15 mins/day)
  • Speaking practice, language exchange - an hour or so a week
  • Self-study through 1-2 HSK 5 textbook chapters a week, including doing workbook exercises. Listen along with the free MP3s and do the activities. Add new words as HSK words to flashcard deck. Learn pronunciation of new words, and go back every once in a while to ensure it is learnt.
  • Try to spend at least an hour a day, though more if I have time, reading: aforementioned novels, advanced graded readers, newsletter messages. Listen along with audio if possible. I reckon this is where I'll spend most of my time. Will continue to use the excellent Readibu app for reading novels.
  • Listen to Chinese podcasts (aimed at learners) while walking the dog etc. - turn dead time into Chinese time - (30 mins/day)
  • Shadow 3 level-appropriate articles a day (~15 mins/day)



The things mentioned as daily I'll try to do each day. Generally, I'll be reading in the evening to decompress or on public transportation, with a chunk of free time, and so on. I'm aiming to do the meat of the studying - namely the HSK textbook + workbook and flashcards - in the morning, with some time between the two to take a break. Afternoon - if not otherwise occupied - will be more leisurely with podcasts, cartoons, speaking and writing; this is the timeframe where I'll most likely be doing something not Chinese related for my own pleasure in order not to burn out and have a more relaxing few hours to my summer.


This adds up to around 3h45m a day of active exercises (i.e. not passive podcast listening, audiobook listening, random speaking and so on).


If I come up with any new goals, or the situation changes, I'll update the post to reflect that. Equally, I'll be looking back on these goals and my routine after the summer holiday ends.


Wish me luck! If you have any comments or suggestions to add to the goals, improve the plan, etc. please let me know!



2021 Week 22 - Goals


Let's get started! This is my first goals blog entry - what I hope to accomplish this week. On Sunday, I'll take a look back to see how I've done, and also detail how I spent my time learning this week.


This week's goals:

  • Solidify summer Mandarin study plan - I have an extended summer holiday coming up in just under two weeks, and would like to dedicate it to Chinese. I'll create a special post just for this on the blog as well
  • Finish reading 《直到花豆煮熟 》- currently about halfway through
  • Get 3/4 of the way through 《宝葫芦的秘密》

  • Read another Sinolingua 1k unique words graded reader, while listening to the audio. Try to shadow a few of the chapters

  • Keep up daily LangCorrect journal entries, Anki sentence flashcards, Pleco novel + HSK flashcards, and handwriting flashcards

  • Watch at least 4 xiyangyang episodes

  • Create New...