I hated crossword puzzles. The hints made no sense to me. I went through all the across and the down clues and could only fill in a few answers. With lots of spaces and no hope of completing the puzzle, I gave up. Without planning to, I recently learned how to overcome my hatred of crosswords. I have managed for the first time in my life to complete one. Here are lessons I learned that can help you if you’re going to try something you hate.
1. Find the motivation.
This summer a close family member had major surgery. We spent six to eight hours a day, day after day, sitting in a waiting room or at the bedside. I could have worked on my computer or read a book, but that felt selfish and unsocial. I was desperately bored. I completed all the other word games in the paper. So I decided to attempt the dreaded crossword puzzle.
2. Ask for help when you get stuck.
I told myself this would be different. If I just kept at it, I would get it. My hope sank as I skipped from one clue to the next with my pencil motionless in my hand. My niece heard me grumbling and started to help me. After that, every time I picked up a crossword, if I needed help, I asked for it or found answers in a dictionary, thesaurus or internet resource like “crossword heaven“.
3. Keep an open mind.
My niece taught me that crossword clues can be misleading. What we thought was a verb turned out to be a noun. Some words we thought referred to one thing actually meant something else. I would be sure an answer was right, but when I could not make it work with the other answers, I was forced to reconsider. Over and over again, I found out what I originally was so sure of turned out to be wrong.
4. Make it fun to stick with it.
Before I was ready to give up soon after I started. As my niece and I sifted through the clues, we each came up with some funny answers. The rest of the family got involved. Soon we were all throwing out possible solutions and laughing at the most ridiculous ones.
Attempting to do something you hate is difficult. You may decide never to do this. (I certainly won’t when it comes to cottage cheese. Who invented that tasteless, rubbery stuff, anyway?) If there is something you hate, but you would like to do, you now have some strategies to do it.