I was coaching someone from Italy who had been speaking English for over 20 years but was tired of being asked 'where are you from?' and 'could you repeat that please?'.
We were at the end of only our third session and he said, 'so when am I going to start sounding like a native speaker?' Of course, it's a question that I'm asked a lot and the story really differs from person to person, so I asked him 'what would make you feel more like a native' to which he replied, 'well, just to have people stop asking me those sort of frustrating questions!'. I said, 'when would you like that to start happening?’ to which he replied, immediately in a determined tone, 'NOW, of course'.
But then he said, 'but, I suppose I wouldn't dream of taking my driving test after only one driving lesson'. His face softened, his voice relaxed and he went on to have a great session and made loads of discoveries and two months later, in another session, he turned to me at the start and said excitedly, 'no-one asked me where I was from this week!'.
I've come across some amazing people, and interestingly many of them are real 'go-getters' and have very expectations of themselves. In this case, it was this perspective or mindset that was stoping him from actually making the progress he was so desperate to make, because you can't force a habit to change. All you can do is suggest another habit to replace it, and then practice it and use it until it becomes second nature. And just like driving, it just takes the time it takes for all of the bits of the jig-saw to fit in to place.
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