I'm just seeing this thread for the 1st time, and well I haven't trained long enough to have any definite knowledge about learning this art.
One thing I have learnt about learning though, is that to continue improving quickly and effectively you must continue to go into every class as if though you are seeing it for the first time, with the same enthusiasm. Keep your mind open, and be wary of all habits, as they can narrow your view.
But like I said, I haven't been aikidoka for even a single year yet. Although, this thread reminded me of a story I read somewhere on the web awhile back...
(it may not apply entirely, but you may like it)...
A young boy traveled across Japan to the school of a famous martial artist. When he arrived at the dojo he was given an audience by the sensei.
"What do you wish of me?" the master asked.
"I wish to be your student and become the finest hareteka in the land," the boy replied. "How long must I study?"
"Ten years at least," the master answered.
"Ten years in a long time," said the boy. "What if I study twice as hard as all your other students?"
"Twenty years," replied the master.
"Twenty years! What if I practice day and night with all my effort?"
"Thirty years," was the master's reply.
"How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?" the boy asked.
"The answer is clear. When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way."