When one has a goal it is often the first step towards that goal which is the hardest. Science has proven that people can adopt new habits if they repeat the action for 21 days. Twenty-one days, 3 weeks, less than a month. That doesn’t sound so bad when you think of it that way, does it?
Learning to adopt the American accent can be a 21 day goal too! Practicing a new sound is using the tongue and vocal chords differently for a new accent. Working a new approach per new sound every day for 21 days will help achieve this. The concept of muscle memory applies in this case much like it would in fitness. The tongue is a very strong muscle. Working that muscle over and over causes the body and brain to accept the action as the norm.
In body work, muscle memory can be a deterrent to getting the physique you desire. Your body figures out what you are doing each day (i.e. only using a treadmill) and stops burning calories the same way because it sees it as a normal activity. But when applying this same principle to learning an accent, muscle memory is a huge plus! The beauty of your body and brain learning the behavior is that through practice and commitment, using your new American accent can come to you as naturally as breathing.
Practice new sounds every day. Add on new sounds as you go along, and before too long you will be able to see how you have gradually adapted to your newly “toned” way of speaking. In a way, you are tricking your brain through repetition.
Do you remember learning how to type? At first it probably seemed complicated when you looked down at the keyboard and the strange, seemingly random placement of the letters. After time and again of practicing sentences or phrases on that same keyboard you can now do it easily without even thinking about where the letters are. An accent, seemingly complicated from the outside can become as easy to you as the act of typing.
21 days is the key to a new habit. Disclaimer: the confidence and marketability of speaking clearly with your new American accent may be habit forming! Start today and realize you can accomplish muscle memory in this new and exciting venture.