Somewhere along the line–after I began personal training, but before I started taking the profession seriously–I noticed that if I drank more water, I felt better. My skin felt better, my trips to the bathroom were more, um, comfortable, and I had more energy in the gym.
Rewind to about ten years or so ago, when I bought a souvenir “BPA free” water bottle at MIT during a quick trip through Boston. I didn’t think much about that bottle until I realized how much better I felt when I was hydrated, so I dusted it off and it never left my side for years.
I consumed plenty of water and always had my bottle at the gym, at work, and in the car during road trips. When we moved back to Dayton last year, however, I broke the bottle. No big deal, right? I had been drinking enough water for years now, and the habit was deeply engrained. Not only that, but I’m, like, a fitness guy. I KNOW the value of staying hydrated.
But my water consumption plummeted. In recent months I’ve knowingly watched as my digestion suffered, skin suffered, and overall wellness suffered. And this wasn’t some deep mystery: I knew exactly what was going on.
“I drank a lot more water when I had my green MIT bottle,” I’d say to myself. And yet the days would march on. I was smart enough to try different solutions, like other water bottles or even big glasses to sit on my desk while working from home. Nothing seemed to work.
Then it finally dawned on me. Why don’t I just order another wide-mouthed BPA-free bottle? I jumped on Amazon, placed the order, and received my bottle just a few days later. It’s the same water bottle I had been using for years, only without the logos or branding.
And guess what’s been happening the last the several days?
Yep, I’ve been drinking more water.
Let’s take a moment to deconstruct this. I know I need to drink water and I’ve experienced how good it makes me feel. I know that I drank more water when I had that particular bottle, and I was conscious of the fact that my hydration plummeted when I lost my MIT security blanket.
Yet I took no action, despite the fact that I placed probably a couple dozen Amazon orders between the time that I broke my bottle and when I finally ordered another one. The solution was right in front of my face, I was aware of it, and I refused to act.
I’m not sure, exactly. All I know is this is something that we all do. We KNOW we need to work out. We KNOW we need to eat better. We KNOW we need to get more sleep. Often the solutions are right in front of us, but we refuse to act. My theory is that in my case I was selling myself the fiction that my water intake couldn’t have been regulated solely by my water bottle. Certainly I could replace what worked with something else and get the same results. Right?
I was wrong. I delayed solving the problem for months because I felt quiet shame about the silliness of a thing, an object, being so closely linked to a healthy habit like water consumption. Had I ordered a replacement bottle right away, I could have saved myself a lot of discomfort.
You might have something in your life like my MIT water bottle. Maybe it’s your favorite workout pants that you’ve stained and no longer feel comfortable wearing, so you’re actually working out less. Maybe it’s a kitchen knife that you somehow lost along the way and now you just don’t feel like cooking as much. Whatever it is, if there’s something in your life preventing you from doing what you know you need to do, but it’s something that you’ve labeled “silly,” I have some pretty simple advice.
Get over it.
Yeah, just get over it. Maybe there is something silly about the fact that I don’t seem capable of drinking enough water unless I have a very particular container. But it doesn’t really matter, does it?
Find what works, and do it–no matter how silly you think it is.