Changing Habits – Day 1

Spurred on by a comment from Tim Brownson on his blog topic When is a habit not a habit, I decided to document & share my thoughts on reprogramming my brain through the focused, deliberate changing of some of my everyday ‘habits’. Notably, my efforts will initially be to use my left hand more than my right (yes, I am right-handed).

There are some things which cannot be changed due to the nature of some of our technology/society (by way of example, the throttle on a motorcycle is controlled by the right hand; for efficiency, it’s easier to use my right hand to open the car door (for those that drive on the left-hand side of the road).

I initially started a few weeks back sporadically brushing my teeth using my left hand, as awkward as it was. Then I started to think about other areas of my daily life where I could do the same task, only in a different way. Here are my findings so far:

  • Teeth Brushing – with my left hand, it seems far more awkward to go side-to-side than up & down. I can brush my teeth to my satisfaction. I am more engaged with the task and often have to consciously think which way to brush next. Everything seems automatic when I use my right hand
  • Computer Mouse usage – I had toyed with using my left hand for the mouse a month or so ago but gave up after a few mins as it was just way too awkward, and I wasn’t getting much work done – my fine motor skills had deserted my left hand and taken a holiday to the Bahamas. Today, I stuck it out and began to work more efficiently than before. For those who are interested, I have only moved my mouse to the left and kept the button assignments as-is for a normal right-hand-side mouse.
  • Getting dressed – You may not realise it but most people get dressed in the same order ever day. I now consciously stop myself and ‘switch’ around the order, most easily seen when getting into/out of a pair of pants/shorts, as well as putting on socks & shoes (sub your clothing items where appropriate). (I caught myself in a habit that I had picked up more than 15 years ago – when I had a foot injury, it was easier to get my foot into/out of pants by supporting my left leg with my right hand).
  • General observations – My right hand feels like a hanger-on. It’s awkward, not really knowing what to do. Some other things I have on my list: Any kitchen-related task (pouring milk, stirring tea, chopping, etc), Opening doors (using keys). I’m also vowing to be more positive/less negative and letting little things slide, but this is a whole other topic in itself! πŸ™‚

I’ll be trying everything in a different way for the next few days. What other things do you think I can try doing differently over the next few days?

8 thoughts on “Changing Habits – Day 1”

  1. Reading this post was almost eerie… because you remind me of myself. A LOT. I’ve tried almost all of the things you listed, and more.

    I think it’s a lot of fun to try the same routine tasks in unusual ways πŸ™‚

    When you have an extra half-hour to spare on a lazy morning, try brushing your teeth with your feet instead of your hands πŸ˜€ (When I tried, it took me about 5 minutes just to get the toothpaste on the toothbrush)

    Anyway, have a great day!

  2. I’m not ambidextrous, and I’m not going to do that old joke either. But I have found I’m not overly fussed with which hand I use for most things. What I do notice I do strange or awkwardly are:
    I eat left handed, eating right handed feels weird.
    I write and draw right handed, but paint left handed.
    I use tools either handed, depending on which side is easier to work on. I find I oxy more left handed, but arc weld more right handed.
    I shoot pool left handed most of the time, but have no issue shooting right handed if needed, but I can’t do the behind the back thing.
    For outdoor cricket I bat right handed, but usually bat left handed at indoor.
    I play golf right handed most of the time, but can not putt right handed to save my life, so I have a left handed putter.
    I have no issue driving from either side of the car, nor get confused driving on the right hand side of the road instead of the left.

    I think that is enough confusion for one night.

  3. I have no shame whatsoever and I will say I’d give my right hand to be ambidextrous.

    I tried the tooth brushing thing last night and found it really easy. Then again I was using an electric toothbrush.

    Thanks for the link!

  4. Lol I’m just about to sign up for a welding course πŸ™‚

    Andrew when I was younger I did this, and also learned how to write with my feet. Your handwriting is the same funnily enough, just much messier. I’ll often go to catch a ball with my left hand and when pushed from behind will step out and recover with my left foot first. Apparently this means I was probably supposed to be naturally left handed and was made right handed by schooling. Wonder if I can blame my sociopathic impulses on repressed goofy hands?

    Sounds like you’re impatient with self imposed limitations and this is a novel way to approach breaking them down πŸ™‚

  5. Vlad – I may give that a try one day, but for now I’ll stick with my hands to brush my teeth πŸ™‚

    Rebecca – What a gift to be able to use either hand for many things, but interesting about things like drawing vs. painting, indoor vs. outdoor cricket!

    Tim – Electric toothbrush…what a luxury! πŸ˜‰

    Tads – You could be onto something – I know some left-handed people who say they were forced to use their left hand for things during school…yet I wonder why? I wonder if a left handed kid was in school today, would they be forced to use their right hand?

    This morning I ate breakfast with my left hand, and found I ate at a more comfortable pace (not just ‘wolfing’ it down!

  6. i found this more applicable last year when i wanted to loose weight. I found myself thinking that i was klinging on to bad eating habits even though i didn’t like them. When i ditched the bad habits, i didn’t miss them. In fact, when i ate some of the foods that i hadn’t eaten for a few months (bagels, fast food), i found i hated them…

  7. @Tads:

    Okay, I thought I was awesome, but you just blew me out of the water.

    Now that you got the idea in my head, I’ll have to learn to write with my feet. I guess that’s one way to fill time when I switch to polyphasic sleep this September πŸ™‚

    @Andrew:

    I’ll try eating breakfast with my left hand as well. I definitely need some slowing down there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *