The 1 thing I learned by “quitting” caffeine


 

I quit caffeine for two weeks.  Here’s what I learned. 

I quit caffeine not as a New Year’s resolution or any specific goal I had.  I had no intention of completely removing it from my diet.  But I needed a challenge.  I recognized that I hadn’t challenged myself for awhile. Sure, I was pushing myself in my workouts and was working through some challenging projects at work.  But, I’ve realized something about myself over the years is that I need a challenge that I create.  Something that I determine I can do.  Otherwise, I feel stagnant and bored with routine.  So I needed to switch it up.  

You see, I was bored of my routine.  I woke up, had two cups of coffee and then left for work.  Then, around 12-1pm I had some sort of caffeine again.  And that was my routine.  I didn’t feel like I was over consuming caffeine, but I needed a challenge to test myself.   

So I stopped drinking coffee in the morning.  That was the hardest.  I have a regimented morning, and getting my mind going with caffeine is part of that ritual.  So, when I got to work the first few days I definitely could tell that I wasn’t as chipper as usual.  But I got through it.  And fortunately I never got the withdrawal headaches people talk about.  The afternoons were easier.  Actually, I started drinking hot tea again, which was nice.  Now, I know black tea and green tea both have some caffeine, so those days I technically had some caffeine.  It’s still a far cry from my normal amount of caffeine, so it’s still a win in my book.  And that routine went on for two weeks.  Not very special, until I looked back and reflected on it.  

My main takeaway from this challenge:  the power of saying “no.”  The mental shift that happens when you deny yourself something that you want.  Most of us say “yes” to so many things its hard to even recognize when we say no.  I’m talking about saying “no” to the donut in the office – even when we “deserve” it.  I’m talking about saying “no” to watching (or binge watching) a tv show.  I’m talking about saying “no” to the second glass of wine or the piece of cake that is free with your meal.  I’m talking about saying “no” to our ever-distracting cell phone.  

Telling myself “no” in those times when I wanted something forced me to make a uncomfortable decision and to choose a different course of action.  I had to get creative.  I had to say “yes” to something better. 

This challenge was about 5 weeks ago, and since then, I have higher natural energy.  I still have coffee in the morning, but about half as much.  I researched and have been practicing breathing exercises that naturally energize the body (my new challenge).  I stopped drinking alcohol during the week.  And I’ve been drinking more hot tea.  So, looking back on my little challenge to say “no” to caffeine for a couple weeks has started to produce some really cool results in my life.  Results I never expected.  So, what can you challenge yourself to say “no” to?

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