I used to hate _____ing, then I found Y
November 25, 2018 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Here are three recent examples of how I've successfully adopted a new habit after failing at it for years, by discovering the existence of a slightly different thing that eliminates/reduces my avoidance. I'd like to extend the pattern!

Hate the feeling of lotion - haaaaaaaate it, have gone for years with chapped/cracked hands and itchy winter skin to avoid it. But I saw in-shower lotion in a friend's tub, which is specifically made to be applied/rinsed in the shower and leave you lotioned. Now I'll do a hand salve right after, since Ive already committed to lotion!

Journalling is good for my brain, but I used to always get frustrated/guilty/intimidated about all the blank pages. Tried 'cahier' style 30-page notebooks- fewer blank pages, less time living with a mistake or 'system' if I hate it. It helps that they are just stapled/sewn up the middle, its not even a 'real' book! And now I use a travellers notebook, which lets me stack up a couple of those.

Yoga is too slippery, I spend all my energy worrying about my hands sliding around the mat. I bought a dang hot yoga towel like half the class, now I go to yoga more.

What else has been like this for you? It doesn't need to involve purchasing anything, so long as it involved identifying *why* a habit is being resisted and then learning there's an object/app/trick for that!
posted by heyforfour to Shopping (32 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
I absolutely hated knitting. It was so repetitive and slow, and I always figured I could sew a scarf/hat/whatever way faster than I could knit one. I still loved going to yarn shops and squishing the beautiful yarn, but I never bought anything because I felt like it was just a waste because I hated knitting. Then someone told me that some knitters just knit to enjoy the yarn...and that shift from concentrating on the finished product (which was still REALLY slow in coming) to concentrating on enjoying working with the yarn changed everything. Now I knit AND spin my own yarn.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:04 AM on November 25, 2018 [16 favorites]

My kindle helps me read more because I can adjust it to see fewer words per page. I’m not sure if this is helpful because it makes me feel like I’m making more progress (turning pages faster) or just because it’s easier on my eyes. The page being absolutely flat (vs the way paper books curve where they’re stitched into the spine) also feels easier on my eyes.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:09 AM on November 25, 2018 [8 favorites]

I hated exercising. Tried running, stationary bike, elliptical, yoga, weights, aikido, dancing, and more. Never got the endorphin rush, only got the hot, sweaty, out of breath, rather be dead feeling. Then I realized that no matter how hard or long I swim, I never feel hot and sweaty in the water. Life changed. I’ve been swimming over a year now, the longest I’ve done any exercise. I try to swim 5 times a week and am very sad when my schedule doesn’t allow that.
posted by greermahoney at 8:21 AM on November 25, 2018 [17 favorites]

I’ve always been bad at eating fruit and vegetables during the work day. I used to just bring unprepared produce and never eat it because it took too much time to wash and cut or microwave. Or I’d have a bag of baby carrots in the office fridge I’d never eat because I’d forget it was there when I was hungry. Then I started washing produce at home, and cut it up before adding it to my lunch container with cute little sections. Knowing it’s less work to eat it plus it will go bad if I don’t meant I went from maybe eating a few mandarins to 4-5 servings of carrots, tomatoes, steamed broccoli, cucumbers, apples, bell peppers....
posted by lepus at 8:28 AM on November 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

Water. I was never gung ho about just drinking water. With that said a filter pitcher stored in the fridge changed that for me. It turns out that very cold filtered water tastes good. That coupled with the idea that I save $1-2 when eating out means I drink a lot more water now.
posted by mmascolino at 8:32 AM on November 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Running. Hated everything about it. What I started doing was dedicating the materials to it (rather than, say, trying to use my phone as a running music tool) and kept the dedicated tools by the door. So my running shoes are in the shoe cabinet by the door; so is the ipod shuffle charger into which the shuffle is plugged, and a pair of dedicated earbuds. (Even my running socks, those are fine for several of my little jogs, I just stick them in the shoes.) The sunglasses I only wear for running are there too. My running clothes are hung up on a single hanger at the front of my closet; I stopped being stingy and bought enough running bras and pants that if I skip a load of laundry here and there I still have enough to use. Removing all those little potential logistical obstacles to getting out the door was the tipping point.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:44 AM on November 25, 2018 [14 favorites]

Seconding water but different “Y”, a dispenser in my fridge door made it very difficult to justify not refilling my glass.
posted by OrangeVelour at 8:50 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hated flossing but feel much less resistance to using a WaterPik.
posted by peacheater at 8:54 AM on November 25, 2018 [8 favorites]

Another flossing hater here but ardent fan of Waterpik! It's so much less brain work for me (because personally I hated the feeling of the floss string getting stuck between my teeth) even if there's a touch of a learning curve on using it and not getting water all over the bathroom.
posted by sperose at 8:58 AM on November 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

I used to hate pickles, until I started making my own and now I love trying new recipes and seeing how they age.
posted by johnxlibris at 9:10 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I always hated running, until I tried barefoot running. Completely changed the experience and felt like an utterly different activity. Also no pressure to run as fast as everyone else because hey -- you're doing it barefoot!
posted by egeanin at 9:25 AM on November 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

I've been a runner on and off since I was a teenager. As I've gotten older I found it harder to get out there and run long enough to really benefit me. Less free time and just getting bored with it. Last spring I decided to do intervals instead. I run sprints and fast walk in between. I also seek out hills to really challenge myself. Over the year I didn't increase my distance but only the intensity and length of the sprints. I always get a hard workout but it only takes 20 minutes. Also get major endorphin rush and sweat. I rarely have an excuse to not take a half hour, which includes getting dressed, to run 3 or 4 days a week. I lost 20 pounds over a few months, which never happened when I jogged longer distances at a slower pace. I think the high intensity increased my metabolism.
posted by waving at 9:35 AM on November 25, 2018 [12 favorites]

re-balancing my stock portfolio. Then I discovered ETFs and index investing. Now all I have to do is see which category (equities or bonds? North American or Global?) is lower than my target and buy that. So much easier.
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 9:37 AM on November 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Couldn't fit in running before or after work. Joined a gym across the street from my office and now run 30 minutes on my lunch hour.
posted by Miko at 9:39 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

A different flossing improvement: I never meaningfully flossed until I discovered the floss harp. I have large hands, comparatively crowded teeth and a small & narrow jaw, and I found it basically impossible to get the regular kind of floss in between my back teeth with my big clumsy hands. With a floss harp, I can get in the back without issue and it's more comfortable to floss with in the front as well. I do it much more often now that it feels significantly less laborious to do.
posted by terretu at 10:02 AM on November 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

I hated exercise until I started with a trainer. Having someone tell me what to do pushed me over the edge to get exercise as a habit that I now enjoy without a trainer.
posted by latkes at 10:18 AM on November 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I never really enjoyed sewing as it was taught to me at age 14. It seemed like I would spent half my time ripping out my badly sewn seams. And I also didn't like following directions for how to make clothes from a pattern. Then decades later, three things happened. I got my sewing machine serviced, which cut down on the bad stitches. And I stopped sewing with new fabric. I got all my fabric from thrift stores in clothing form for just a few dollars. I could see how the clothing was constructed as I deconstructed it gleefully with my rotary cutter to make use of the fabric. I let myself screw up with cheap fabric with my own construction methods, and got that phase over with! In summary, I hacked the learning process to be lower pressure, to increase useful hours, which made me more skilled and confident, to the point where I started to enjoy it more.
posted by oxisos at 10:23 AM on November 25, 2018 [16 favorites]

I didn't like flossing because when I wound the floss around my fingers it cut off the blood flow to my fingertips and hurt. So I started tying my floss into a circle using the twistydore knot.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 10:29 AM on November 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

I hated competing in anything, especially athletic events. Then I discovered barebow archery. There are low expectations (except at the elite level) and I can do it just for fun, as the challenge is more about improving my own score and less about comparing myself to others. I love it, and it's motivating me to make other healthy changes to support my archery ability.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I hated eating leafy greens because oh my god all the chewing, who has the time for that? Then I started sauteeing them and now I can eat vast amounts.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:40 AM on November 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I hated knitting, because it was slow and I found it far too easy to drop stitches and I never had the attention span for things like sweaters. But I loved yarn! Then I discovered crochet—it goes quickly, you only have maybe 4 stitches on the needle max, and crochet projects tend to be small (though you can certainly crochet full garments!). Now I get to enjoy my yarn and also finish projects, which makes me happy.
posted by Illuminated Clocks at 10:45 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Uh...I can't remember what they are called, but those little sticks that you can use to floss your teeth really worked. I hate the Water Pik (sorry, I never ever ever ever remembered to fill the thing and charge the thing and bring it into the shower and I can't set that up in my shower rental space really), and I hate sticking string into my mouth, but those sticks work.

Also yeah, crochet is easier than knitting if you hate it. There is also an easy trick to fix dropped stitches and there are other options besides the long-tail cast on to start your knitting.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Another former exercise-hater here - for me it was that being out of breath made me feel anxious and panicky (and occasionally rolled into an actual panic attack).

Then I found high weight, low rep weight lifting. Pick up something heavy and put it back down 3-5 times, then take a break. It's literally the only exercise routine I've ever stuck with for more than a week.
posted by Basil Stag Hare at 12:11 PM on November 25, 2018 [11 favorites]

Flossing, but for me it was floss picks. Because you can use them with one hand, and still read or use the internet. My big resistance was to using both hands and thus spending a couple of minutes being bored.
posted by Daily Alice at 12:23 PM on November 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I hated working with flour (which was sad, because I love baked goods) until I got a bench scraper. Cleanup is SO much easier now!
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:02 PM on November 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Seconding Basil Stag Hare - exercise doesn't have to take a whole lot of time. High Intensity Interval Training is a thing. I got a speedbar and some plates. Do 2 or 3 sets of whatever up to 20 reps. Increase weight when I manage to hit 20 reps/ set. 5 minutes a day?

Which led to getting a hang-on-doorframe pull up bar. Doubles as a raised pushup platform.


Flossing led to brushing my tongue led to electric toothbrushes led to expensive electric toothbrushes.

Incredibly happy with my Philips 9300. It's stupid expensive but no regrets.
posted by porpoise at 3:28 PM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I hated going to the gym, as I never really saw much in the way of results.

The trick was to eat more food, especially more protein, be willing to put on a bit of fat, and lose the fat later after gaining more muscle.

Seconding high weight, low reps. My joints don't hurt anymore, and it's not mind-numbingly boring for me. The folks in the barbell section of the gym turn out to not be assholes to the really thin guy, and I'm no longer quite as thin.
posted by talldean at 7:41 PM on November 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a bunch of staple foods which i eat pretty repetitively but none of them are fruits or vegetables. Even though I like those things, when I am eating my "same old thing" I am usually not eating them. Would just shove baby carrots in my mouth to make sure I was getting enough fiber and HATED it. Started making my own applesauce

1. bag of apples from store
2. apple corer tool
3. lemon juice, dash of sugar/syrup, salt
4. cook forver

Presto! Approximately 16 servings of really good and good for you fruits that goes with all my "peanut butter and X" or "String cheese and X" meals. Yay!
posted by jessamyn at 8:11 PM on November 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Floss picks and swimming for the exact reasons mentioned here.
posted by bendy at 12:28 AM on November 26, 2018

I have an annoyingly large key chain. I need a lot of keys in my job and some of them are bulky. When I'm just going about my working day, purse in hand, this is not a huge issue, but I found it really irritating when I just wanted to shove my house key into my pocket when walking the dog or going for a run. I was either wrangling a huge spiky bunch of keys or wrestling a single key off and back on the chain several times a day.

Then I got a copy of my house key cut and put it on its own, separate little key ring. Now it hangs by the back door where I can grab it on my way out and it lies flat in the teeny pocket of my running leggings. Bliss! Ease of movement! A spare key for house guests!
posted by DSime at 8:07 AM on November 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm another person that hated flossing. While I never tried Waterpiks, I did find a Reach (now Listerine-branded) flosser that works great and is much easier for me to deal with than sticking fingers in my mouth.
posted by Aleyn at 12:49 PM on November 27, 2018

I used to hate earbuds (they were either uncomfortable or would fall out) until I found UrbanEars Reimers.
posted by radioamy at 11:27 AM on November 28, 2018

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