That, at least, was pretty easy to fix. I was able to quickly swap in some other words that didn't sound awkward at all. Other times, I don't get so lucky. When writing The Edge of the Sphere, one of my problems was coming up with different ways to talk about water. "Water" itself doesn't have a whole lot of synonyms. Sometimes I was able to describe the form of the water, like "pond", "waves", etc., but other times, water just had to be plain old water.
The two other troublesome words that immediately spring to mind are "smile" and "eyes". Granted, maybe it should be a hint to me that my characters spend too much time grinning like idiots, but sometimes "grin" and "smirk" and the like have connotations that I just don't want. While I'll admit to occasionally using them, the frequently-used metaphors for "eyes", such as "orbs", usually make me roll my...sightballs. Eyes it is, then.
I've seen similar discussions come up with regard to using characters' names and how much repetition is acceptable. While I'm confessing things, I'll also admit to swapping in descriptors like "the blonde seductress" and "the rugged commander" when I'm getting tired of names and pronouns in the past. A lot of writers seem to feel that repetition of characters' names is just fine. After giving it some thought, I'm inclined to agree. Especially when there are a lot of people of the same gender in a scene. Oof, those pronouns can get crazy in there.
Lastly, I'll throw in a callback to my post about adverbs. Sometimes I'll take the time to go back and look over some of my older writings and see what worked well and where I really need to improve. This exercise has made me cringe at times, because not only was I abusing the adverbs, I was using a lot of the same ones over and over and over again. Ouch. Those have been eliminated