When I was in my early 20s, I moved to the UK for a 2-year work project. I could drive on my US license for a year, but getting a UK license was required thereafter. I quickly learned that the road test was a lot harder than the one I took at 16, partly because the pass range was rather narrow. Making one mistake – like they didn’t see you check your mirrors — could be a fail. I know someone who took like 17 tries to pass this thing. It’s not a gimme.
AND: It’s on the opposite side of the road.
–With the driver in the right-hand seat, which means the gear shift is on the left rather than my right – yep, all manual transmission at the time.
–With different rules about feeding the wheel rather than “hand over hand” and signaling on roundabouts – and ROUNDABOUTS.
–Even the signal/turn indicator and the windshield wiper thingy were different. I was forever going around a roundabout with my wipers going rather than the turn signal.
Thank Heaven the foot pedals were in the same order.
Frank, my instructor, was very patient, and even though I had been driving for years, it was very much like a new experience. The rules were different. What they were looking for was very different. And did I mention it was on the wrong side of the road?
I knew I would never pass this test if I didn’t focus, skip my automatic response to do the opposite of what I’d done for a decade, and practice. A LOT. I prepared for this test for like two months. It didn’t come naturally nor easily. Motivation was huge: I had to pass the test to continue working, and the stone-cold test examiner required near perfection without giving any indication of progress and certainly not encouragement.
Making Significant Changes to Auto-Response
The experience taught me something about making a change to what had been so automatic.
Overcoming emotional eating is skipping that auto-response and replacing it with one that works for you. It’s not a skill we can learn in a week. It takes practice. I didn’t do that “feed the wheel” thing very well for the first month either, but I learned to stop the impulse of the hand-over-hand method. I didn’t discover what else soothed me in the first month, but with some experimenting and practice, I found what works for me.
Our emotions don’t go away, but we can practice and try different things to learn how to make our responses fit our lives and goals. Sometimes, we need a little help to keep us focused, on track, and practicing.