How to Change: Love What You Hate

cover-image-change-anything-by-kerry-patterson-and-team-04-19-111I’ve been reading this great book lately, Change Anything: the New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson & co. Thus far, I have to say I’m impressed—both because of the scientific research they reference (yeah, I’m a science geek) and because the tenets they propose feel true.

Love what you hate.

That’s one of the paths to change they describe. Sounds counterintuitive, right? Until I start thinking about my life and the places where I have successfully created a change. Never once did I succeed because I browbeat, shamed, badgered, or guilted myself into it.* Nope, change occurred when I started to focus on the positive.

For ex., I was never a big exerciser. I was the geeky kid reading books on the playground and daydreaming in the outfield (if you were unlucky enough to have her on your team.) By the time I finished elementary school, I’d firmly identified myself as a non-athletic exercise-hater, and cold hours on the hockey field in high school (in shorts—gotta love PE uniforms!) did nothing to change my mind.

I *know* some of you know what I’m talking about!

Sure, I knew exercise was good for me. In theory, I wanted the benefits exercise had to offer—strength, more energy, better sleep, improved health. I’d tell myself I “had to exercise” and vow to walk/run/do yoga/jump rope every day or else…and it would never last.

Turkey TrotNow I’m running ~10 miles a week. Not a lot, maybe, but I’m loving it. Me, the geeky kid who hid at the back of the crowd for dodgeball!

How did this happen?

I’m convinced that the #1 reason I stuck with it was that I started focusing on the difference running was making in my life. I loved that I’d have more energy afterward. I loved that it sparked long plot discussions with my sweetheart (who was game enough to run with me, even though running is *not* his thing). I loved that it took less time than a trip to the gym and I loved the multitasking aspect—I could walk the dogs at the same time.

After a while, I started to love that I could run a little longer and a little farther. I started to notice that I was fitter and that my legs had clearly defined muscles (yeah, a little vanity going there…)

Little by little, love edged out my hatred of exercise, until running—which I hated—became the thing that I loved.

What does this have to do with writing?

I think change is on my mind right now because I’ve been struggling with that writing/other work/life/laundry balance. Struggling more than usual, I mean <grin>. I want to make some changes—you know, like make forward progress on a stalled project while maintaining momentum on my novel WIP.

As writers, we’re going to hit those moments in life when we need to change in order to move forward more successfully. Maybe you need to get up an hour earlier to gain some uninterrupted writing time; or maybe you need to set limits on your social media, or give up that sitcom, or learn to say “no” to people who think work-at-home means not-really-working.

Change is hard. But when you’re moving toward something better, you can make change easier by focusing on what you love—until maybe, someday, love overcomes all barriers and what you used to hate, you love.

What about you? What change are you trying to make right now—and what is there to love in it? Please share in the comments!

* Hence the bag of chocolates in my fridge…oh wait, I wasn’t trying to change that.

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know -

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]


  1. Julie Musil says

    *bag of chocolates* LOL! Now THAT I can relate to. I'm totally impressed that you run 10 miles a week. That's amazing.

    I'm learning to look for the positives in the situations that bother me. It's taken me a long time to get here, but I sure do notice how much more peaceful my life is when I think this way.

  2. Abby says

    Very good point! This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I think I need to check it out. So glad you shared this. You're totally right!

  3. Cheryl Reif says

    Julie, glad I'm not the only one hoarding those chocolates. They're inspirational, I swear!

    Abby, I haven't finished it yet, but I'm enjoying it thus far!

  4. Julie Farrar says

    I might have to read that book, too. You hit on my two biggest challenges now — getting healthier and being more diligent about my writing. Who was it that said (and I paraphrase), "I hate writing but love to have written"? The process is always what we hate the most.

  5. Charissa Weaks says

    Wow. Phenomenal post. And 10 miles? I envy you. I am not a runner but always wanted to be :) And I totally agree with Miss Julie. I've learned to always try to look at the up side of anything. Granted…it isn't easy. But as far as writing goes, I think if you already love something, the tough parts are easier to get through. For example, since line edits are a part of writing, I don't really hate them even though they sort of suck. I find myself motivated and feeling lucky that I'm even doing it in the first place. Like you said, it's harder to persevere through something you hate in order to see how good it can be in the end. Like dieting 😉

  6. Jill Kemerer says

    Wonderful post, Cheryl! We must be on the same track because I'm on an exercising kick and a self-help-ish one too. Just finished reading "Write it Down, Make it Happen." Fab book!

    Yeah, my worst grades in high school were P.E. Yet, I'm very active. Weird…

    Huge congrats on your running accomplishment, and good luck making those big decisions. And thanks for the book recommendation!

  7. Kenda Turner says

    I tried running for awhile, but found I couldn't stick with it–so I admire your perseverance and accomplishments! But I DO like walking–and find it's also good for my writing, since I often work through story problems as I go. I only wish I would go out more often–I'm only managing about twice a week right now (3 miles each time)…

  8. Cheryl Reif says

    Hi Julie F, yep, those are definitely my two big struggles–and they seem to compete with each other. I find more time to write, it seems to come at the expense of exercise time or cooking time, and vice versa.

    Thanks, Charissa. I think the tough part for me is getting started when a project seems overwhelming. That's a skill I need to enhance!

    Jill, I like that book just from its title! Definitely going to look it up.

    Kenda, I love to walk–and hike–too. It's always about time for me. Congrats on getting into the twice a week habit, and good luck finding more time for it :-)

  9. Emma says

    I just wanted to share that i found this so inspirational that is brought me to tears. Thank you for writing such an amazing piece.


  1. […] Exercise: a long walk or run is a terrific way to let your subconscious chew on a problem. Be sure to 1) have a specific question or idea in mind when you begin, and 2) bring along a recording device (pen and notebook, index cards a la Anne Lamott, or voice recorder.) (Example: How To Change: Love What You Hate) […]