They say persistence is the most important part of learning a new skill. They also say it's a lot easier to be persistent if you have an interest.
I've always wanted to be able to speak Spanish. It would be the most useful language for me to know, by far. It would help in my current career. Many of the countries I'd like to visit, and can visit cheaply and conveniently, speak Spanish. And it would be the simplest language to learn for me by far, being familiar with their alphabet, and having so much exposure. The language just doesn't interest me.
Japanese, on the other hand, has always interested me. I like the symbols it uses. I like the media coming out of Japan. I just like the way it sounds. But speaking it wouldn't help with my job. It's only spoken in one country, and that county is far from me, and expensive to get to. And I have no familiarity with the language, or even it's alphabet. Learning it would be like pulling teeth. But I've been pulling them.
It all started with my cousin. When I met him in Vegas he introduced me to his new girlfriend. They weren't dating when we started planning the trip. Their relationship actually came on strong and fast. But I can see why. She's great. They told me their planning to visit her family back in Japan at the end of this year. I sort of invited myself.
My first day back in Minnesota I started studying with Duolingo. I expected my interest to wane after a few days, but it didn't. So I purchased a book, and found an interesting Youtube channel. It's been more than two weeks now. I've spent at least 20 minutes a day; sometimes a full hour. I have very little to show for my effort, but I'm still here. Still pulling teeth.