I’ll be honest here: I suck at getting myself to drink more water throughout the day, despite knowing I should, and despite even constantly feeling dehydrated.
When I was regularly doing Judo and lifting weights four days a week, since I’d get home late at night (9 pm), and usually worked 12 hour days, I was too focused working that I forgot to just drink as I worked.
Every meal it’d be the same thing – massive dehydration, but once I ate I didn’t want to drink because I’d be too full.
Some days I was even so dehydrated that I couldn’t sleep and would have to wake up and chug two large glasses of water before collapsing in my bed.
It wasn’t until I figured out a simple tiny habit routine that I finally became a consistent water drinker.
Tiny Habit Friday: The Ridiculously Simple & Sexy Guide to The Water Habit
All The Cool Kids Are Doing It: Why Kids Aren’t Drinking Water Anymore
I thought this was kind of interesting: kids are drinking less water too and are getting more and more of their calories from sodas, fruit juices, and other calorie containing liquids.
For example, check this out – one study in the U.K. on preschool and infant schoolchildren found that after 48 hours of the parents taking time to monitor what they consumed, they found something interesting:
72.5% of the preschool group and 50% of the infant group never drank plain water, and what’s more, a popular fizzy drink called Squash was by far the most commonly consumed drink.
And a small percentage of the group, 15%, got 50% of their daily calories from drinks.
Uhhh… that’s a bit of a problem!
Not only are they not drinking water, they’re getting a good percentage of their calories from a liquid sugar source essentially.
And a small percentage DRANK half of their daily intake from these liquids.
Maybe you’ve been having a hard time drinking more water, or getting out of the habit of drinking soda, and maybe you like water but are just having a hard time getting in the routine of drinking it.
Well here’s how to create the tiny habit of drinking more water.
So Here’s How to Anchor In the Habit of Drinking More Water
Here’s a quick 30 second primer on how habits work.
Each habit we engage in has three main parts:
Cue ==> Routine ==> Reward
Here’s a really basic habit cycle.
The cue is whatever triggers the habit. In this case, that’s being unhappy.
The routine is whatever the habit actually is (in this case, it’s eating a pizza emotionally).
The reward is whatever feeling of relief you get for doing the habit – in this case, it’s feeling happy.
So let’s take a look at how to create a new habit of regularly drinking water at work.
The “Drink More Water” Cue
For this example, the cue is going to be linking drinking water to taking a break.
So the first thing we need to do here is make sure there’s always a jug of water on your desk.
That’s the first part.
From there, any time you feel bored, stressed, or anxious, or just don’t want to do work, here’s what you do: Drink half a glass of water, and then get up and take your break (2, 3, 5 min).
That’s it for the cue.
When you feel one of those “ugh I need a break” moments, take the time to get up, drink that half glass of water, and then take your break.
The “Drink More Water” Routine
The routine here is very simple: Drink a half glass of water and go for a five minute walk, or take a stretch break, or chat with a coworker.
The “Drink More Water” Reward
One of the big things with habits is that you need to get some kind of reward – just like how a smoker gets relief or how candy tastes good – and with water there really isn’t much of a reward unless you’re dying in a desert.
So what I did was link the walk (stress relief, a break) with the water.
Over time, your brain is going to associate the drinking of water with the relief you get from taking a quick work break.
And eventually, it’s going to feel weird taking a break without having that half a glass of water.
So I’d drink my water, have my work break, and then I would want to keep doing it. It now became a ritual – when I got stressed, I’d got to take my regular break but it would trigger the habit of drinking half a glass of water first.
After a while it became tough to separate the two.
Your Tiny Habit For Today
So try this out:
Want to drink more water? Follow these three easy steps…
1. Leave a jug on your desk
2. Whenever you want a work break, drink half a glass, then go for your break for a few minutes.
3. Keep doing it
Eventually, you’ll get to the point where every time you want to take a break, you’ll chug that half a glass, then you’ll come back refreshed and relaxed – and the habit will be linked to taking a work break.
And like any habit, you’ll get to the point where it becomes automatic, or pretty much automatic, and you don’t have to think about it much.
Want More Tiny Habits For The Health & Body You Want? Check Out Previous #TinyHabitFriday Sessions
- Addicted to Soda? Use This One Simple Habit to Quit (For Life)
- How to Psychologically Trick Yourself Into Meditating by Using the “Linking” Method
Study mentioned on water drinking in school kids in the UK: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1511032/