When I was 13 I got my first pair of glasses. My mother told me to pick out the pair I wanted, so I wisely picked the biggest pair, the one that covered the most of my peripheral vision. Suddenly walls had textures, and the trees became 3 dimensional. It changed the world. Then the other kids saw them, and laughed at how ridiculous they looked. So I promptly took them off, and never wore them again. My mother told me that I was the one who had picked them out, and she could not afford to purchase another pair so soon. My vision journey would not continue until I became an adult.
I was reminded of this the other day when I overheard someone making a comment on the price of an item at Walmart... in Spanish. I hear people speak Spanish several times a week. It's something in the background, like the texture on the walls. It's there, but not for me... until now. The experience was not exactly the same, mind you. Glasses correct my vision immediately to better than 20/20, while it took me 100 hours of study to piece together one comment in Spanish. But it was the first glimpse into a world I have never experienced before. It was a glorious taste of things to come.
When I first started studying I began with a multi prong approach. I stand by that, but I realize now that order does matter. I'm beginning to understand that learning a language is so confusing because it is like a pile of puzzle pieces turned upside down. It just means nothing. But if you could turn those puzzle pieces over, they would start to mean something. "This pile is part of a boat", and "this pile is part of the sky"; for example. Your not done, but you have begun. Knowing what the words mean is like flipping those puzzle pieces over. You still have a puzzle, but it's a puzzle you can understand.
To maximize my effort, I now believe step 1 should be memorizing the most commonly used words in Spanish. I have changed my approach to prioritize Anki. It is easy, low stress, and can be picked up whenever I have a moment. And it is the most useful thing I could be doing now.