In about 15 minutes, I will be celebrating 30 days coffee free. I have been keeping track of the days on my little white board everyday, religiously.
I remember when I started this journey a month ago, I couldn’t wait to be able to say, “I haven’t had a cup of coffee in 30 days!”
I had this idea that my life would be so different and that it would feel like this amazing accomplishment to me. Quite honestly, it’s really no big deal. I don’t feel any better, or different, or “cleansed,” or anything. I feel no different than I did 30 days ago.
Once I saw that tomorrow would mark 30 days coffee free, I stopped and thought to myself, “30 days. What is so important about that number, that amount of time? What’s in a number?”
Why did I care so much about that number? As I have coached people with weight loss and and encouraged them to not be so connected and focused on the number on the scale, throughout this past month I was identifying with that same behavior/thought process. Who cares if you lost two pounds or 20 pounds? The point is that you are doing things that make you feel good, that you are changing your lifestyle for the better, and that hopefully, you are proud of the life you’ve created for yourself.
A number means nothing without it being attached to something else such as an experience, a thought, a feeling, an emotion or an accomplishment. It doesn’t matter that I have gone 30 days without coffee.
What matters is what I have learned and gained from this experience:
1) I don’t need coffee in order to wake up, work out, stay up late, teach my spin classes, do everything at work that I need to get done or to have energy that lasts throughout the day. I don’t need it! This experience made me realize how much I leaned on coffee to solve my lack of sleep problems, to make my workouts better or to just give myself something to drink instead of water. I freed myself from that limiting thought that “without coffee, I am lacking something.”
2) Changing a behavior is actually easy when it is something you really want to do. It’s actually been painless and super easy not drinking coffee because I truly just didn’t want to! No one told me to, I didn’t force myself to and I didn’t psych myself up for the first day. I simply just stopped one day. This goes for anything in life you want to change.
3) Behavior change is not a game. I’m going to out myself with this one. Counting the amount of days made it a game for me. How long was I going to count the days for? I can just see myself now, “Hey guys, I’m on day 395 coffee free” (Facebook Status with zero “likes,” probably people clicking “don’t show in newsfeed” and a bunch of people who are sick of me talking about my lack of coffee).
I told myself in the beginning of this journey that I would allow myself to have coffee when it would serve me. When I want it for the right reasons (for example: I just simply feel like having a cup) and not just because “I have a cup everyday just because that’s what I do” or “I need a cup or I won’t be able to stay up or get through this day.” The day I decide to have coffee, it won’t be me giving up or failing or losing this game. It’ll be me accepting the fact that there are times when it will serve me, and I’m absolutely okay with that.
4) I can do anything I put my mind to. If I really want to do something, I can absolutely do it. This experience gave me confidence in my ability to make my life better in whatever way I see fit. It also gave me the confidence to do whatever it is that makes me feel good regardless if it going against the grain.
So tomorrow, regardless if I have coffee or not, I will be celebrating this experience. Celebrating an increase in confidence, a perception change and my continuation of doing things that make me feel good.
Author: Caitlin Croteau
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Andrew Seaman/Flickr