The conscious choice to like or dislike something(Read article summary)
If liking and disliking things is a conscious choice, learning to like things that save you money can make finance management enjoyable, Trent Hamm explains.
When I first tried it, I didÂ notÂ like kale. Now, our garden is full of the green leaves and we put it in practically everything.
At first, I wasÂ veryÂ unhappy with giving up on my bookstore visits. I felt like I was losing something that was part of who I was and I missed itÂ terriblyÂ at first. Now, I look at bookstore visits as a special treat.
In each case, a big part of my success in finding a better path was simplyÂ telling myselfÂ over and over again that I liked the new thing.
Whenever Iâ€™d eat kale, Iâ€™d consciously think to myself that I liked this stuff. Iâ€™d pair it with other foods that I liked at first so that it would have a leg up, and then Iâ€™d make an effort to reflect positively on the food after eating it.
Over time, I moved from hating kale to disliking it to being indifferent toward it to, now, liking it in most things.Â
For the bookstore visits, I started going to the library a lot. At first, I didnâ€™t like going to the library, at least in comparison to the bookstore. Over time, though, I started reflecting on all of the things IÂ likedÂ about it. I could always pick up any book I found and walk out with it for free. I could reserve basically any book I could imagine.
Over time, I moved from disliking the library to quite liking it (though, I admit, Iâ€™m not a fan of the ongoing construction project).
I simply wouldnâ€™t have believed that this could work a few years ago, but it does.Â If you repeatedly tell yourself that you like something and you focus intensely on the positive attributes of that thing, youâ€™ll grow to like it more and more.
Here are a few tips Iâ€™ve noticed along the way.
Itâ€™s much harder â€“ at least for me â€“ to startÂ dislikingÂ something I like.Â I can go from disliking something to liking it, but I find it harder to go from liking something to disliking it. I tend to be swayed much more by positive attributes than by negative ones.
Replacing something I like works much better if I focus on the positives of the replacement.Â This is basically a logical follow-up to the previous idea. Rather than making myself dislike something I love (like bookstores), I work on making my appreciation of a replacement grow (like libraries).
Pairing the new thing with something I know I like tends to work really well.Â Iâ€™ll put a food I donâ€™t like in a dish with lots of things that I do like, which makes it easier to appreciate the new food. When I started going to the library instead of the bookstore, I made sure to start with books that Iâ€™d been eager to read but hadnâ€™t quite talked myself into buying so I could get that â€śpleasure rushâ€ť of a good new book. Associating other positive feelings with the thing youâ€™re trying to like makes the whole process easier.
This tactic has varying degrees of success, but when it works, itâ€™s tremendously helpful.Â I find it works best when itâ€™s addressing something that I have limited contact with â€“ like a specific food â€“ or when I can find lots of positives with the replacement â€“ like the library. When Iâ€™m trying to tackle a change that requires a lot of effort â€“ like exercise â€“ or when Iâ€™m looking at a replacement where I canâ€™t find positive attributes, I struggle.
For the most part, liking and disliking things is a conscious choice, one we can control if we put our minds to it. If we work towards liking things that save us money, then weâ€™ve improved our finances without taking away lifeâ€™s enjoyment.