My life is in a steady place and during these periods I try to develop good habits. Working on your daily routine is important, after all how you spend your days is how you spend your life. Last week I focused on dropping a bad habit instead of forming a new one. Most of us have convenient habitual shortcuts that we know aren’t good for us. Unfortunately, reflecting in the moment is not as conducive to long term change as introspection done ahead of time.
I drink too much caffeinated soda. This bad habit started in 7th grade when my computer lab began selling soda out of mini fridge. I quickly progressed from Mountain Dew to Monster Energy; my drink of choice for 14 years. I drink about 3 Monsters (or 16oz energy drink equivalents) a day, and if I go out to eat I’ll have additional soda with my meal. After starting my first RealJob™I started to drink Coke Zeros during the day. This added up to a Monster in the morning, 3-4 Coke Zero’s during the day, and have another 1-2 energy drinks in the evening.
I’m aware that drinking so much dissolved sugar is not healthy (I switched to diet a long time ago). I’m aware the acidity dissolves my teeth. I’m increasingly aware that the caffeine antagonizes my general anxiety and I go on a “Monster run” to avoid what I should actually be doing. So why do I still drink so much soda?
So a week ago I asked myself if I would be willing to drop this habit. This sounds kind of stupid, who wants to do self-harmful things? Nevertheless I find it easier to ask myself if doing something is worthwhile than telling myself. I’m a bad manager (don’t tell my boss) and a worse employee. In addition, bad habits are not without their utility, and if you don’t have a plan to replace this utility it makes dropping them more difficult.
Upon asking, I found that I was willing to give up part of my caffeine intake to test the effect upon my general anxiety. I hoped that by reducing my caffeine intake, I could start feeling less high strung, and become more productive. Asking myself what I’d be willing to do, my mind quickly concluded that we could cut out caffeine at work.
Having set myself in alignment before starting out made it easy to switch from Coke Zero to seltzer water. This reduced my soda intake to a Monster before work and sometimes a Monster afterwork. It also had a moderate effect on my anxiety although that could be confounded by the increased exercise I’ve been doing lately.
Now comes the harder part; cutting out energy drinks from my life. This is harder because they touch other parts of my life besides sustenance. They’re a social ritual with my friends, “Hey let’s walk to Target and pick up some drinks.” They’re an avoidance ritual to work, “Hey let’s walk to the gas station before starting…” They’re a facet of my life in a way that Coke Zero never had the time to become. It’s less clear what the benefits are.
That said, I asked myself if I’d limit myself to a single Monster per day; I was pleasantly surprised to hear the answer be “yes.” Reducing my caffeine intake may have helped my anxiety and I think it would be worth experimenting further.
I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes =^__^;;=