One of my latest endeavors has been a challenge to build a habit (see: 21 days) that will benefit my life:  drinking more water.  Additionally, I am seeking out connections to minimalism through my experiment.

After realizing how much coffee I drink throughout the day – do I dare say how much?! – I decided that I was probably doing my body more harm than good in the long run.  So as I was beginning my minimalism quest, I decided to train myself to build a healthy habit and dispose of my old routine of guzzling at least 4 cups of coffee a day.  In creating this challenge, I would commit myself to doing the following:

  1. Work up to drinking at least 2 full Nalgenes of water every day.  *I use two Nalgene water bottles (approximately 1000ml or 32oz) as my standard to fill  the requirement.  My Nalgenes bottles are easy to tote around, easy to spot, and nearly indestructible – really!  I have dropped them down rocky trails, poured boiling water in them, and stored them in sub-zero temperatures overnight on winter camping trips in Canada.
  2. Carry my bottles everywhere I go to quench my thirst instead of reaching for the coffee pot.
  3. Limit my coffee intake to just 2 cups (if that) in the mornings before work.  (Maybe a third on the weekends if I stayed faithful to my Nalgenes during the week.)

Now I have been consistent for approximately 10 weeks.  There are a few lessons I learned so far:

  1.  Pace yourself.  Drinking one Nalgene everyday to begin was the best I could do the first week I started.  Now I am at 2 Nalgenes, or 2000ml, a day and often more as the spring grows warmer and when I workout.
  2. Do not give up if you fail.  There was one day during my third week that I ended up drinking a few more cups of coffee than I wanted to- a massive fail in my book.  But by persevering, I got over it and moved on to see how I could do better the rest of the week.
  3. Find different ways to motivate yourself.  Usually, my motivation rests simply on the fact that I am challenging myself.  However, there does come times that knowing I created a challenge is not enough.  So I have looked for various ways to motivate the challenge of drinking my Nalgenes everyday.  One never-failing “go-to” is getting a new book.  I love reading, so a new book earned through water bottles is my top motivation if I find myself slowing down.  A close second is trying a new tea in the afternoons if I complete my water bottle challenge by then.

This water bottle challenge has served as an experiment that would not only help me to hydrate more often, but also as an exercise in discipline.  Drinking water is not the only way to build discipline but it was one that I tailored to my specific needs.  I have been able to see how building any habit takes time and effort.  I have also learned to roll with the ups and downs of success and failure.  I learned that with enough motivation, I am capable of achieving my goals.  The same goes for minimalism: I pace myself by limiting how much I start out with – whether that is cleaning out or changing the way I do things.  I will not give up if I run out of ideas; I resort to brainstorming and positive thinking.  I find fun ways to be a minimalist and make the adventure fun.  Pass it on!



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