There are many habits I’d like to build into my life, and I’m always working on improving my habits. But there’s one simple little habit that makes everything else easier. It makes me feel more energised, it leads to me making much healthier food choices, I feel happier, I move my body more, and I get so much more done.
When I tell you what this one little habit is, you might be inclined to roll your eyes and close this article. Maybe you think you’ve heard it all before, or maybe you don’t think it’s for you. But please read on anyway. I have tips for how to build it into your life, even if you’ve tried a hundred times before.
This habit has been a tricky one for me. It comes and goes. When I’m good at it, I’m really good, and everything in life is much better. But when I’m bad at it, like I have been lately, I’m really, really bad. I suffer in Struggle Town for way too long before realising that I’ve let this habit slip. So I’m about to work on building it back into my life, and thought I’d see if anyone wants to join me in the challenge.
We’ve all heard over and over again how we should drink 2 litres of water a day. Ugh. You may as well ask me to drink an entire swimming pool! If you’re not already a big water drinker, 2 litres can feel like a huge amount. But I promise that once you have built this habit into your day, you’ll get through 2 litres of water without even thinking about it.
How the drought began
Before I fell pregnant I used to easily drink 2-3 litres of water a day. But then I was Little Miss Chucky all through my pregnancy and I couldn’t keep much down at all. My water-drinking habit died off, along with my good humour and my will to live. And then I had the baby and was breastfeeding so there wasn’t enough water in the world to keep me hydrated. I was SO thirsty! But the water I drank through this period was more out of necessity than good habits. As soon as I finished breastfeeding I rediscovered two great loves of my life: coffee and wine. I needed ALL OF THE COFFEE to get me through the days. And then I needed a little wine to give me something to look forward to in the evenings. With a demanding little dictator now running my life, there’s not always time to pee when I want to, so I didn’t want to waste any bladder space with anything that wasn’t caffeinated or wine.
But now I find myself tired, grumpy, sluggish, looking a bit (okay, maybe a lot) haggard, and making poor choices. Like, eating milo balls for breakfast, skipping breakfast entirely, cheese & wine for dinner, KFC for lunch… you know, not great energy-boosting choices!
I’ve been in this place before and managed to make water drinking a habit, so I’m going to do it again. And I’ll tell you some ways that I’ve made it work for me in the past.
How to increase your water intake
Set a target
2 litres is sort of the standard recommended amount for adults to drink. But maybe 2 litres seems far too much to start with for you. Or maybe you’re really quite active or sweat a lot and you think maybe you should be drinking more. I’m sure there’s a formula out there that calculates how much you should drink for your body weight etc, but I’m not getting too scientific here.
Use easy measurements
If my target is 2 litres, then 750ml drink bottles make me crazy. I need a 500ml drink bottle or a 1 litre bottle and a glass. This way I can easily track how much I’ve had and how much more I have to go. Maybe you’re not as neurotic as me, but I like to have accurate figures to track. The best method that works for me is a 1 litre cordial bottle filled with water and chilled. I then sit that and a glass beside me and drink away. As soon as the glass is empty, refill it. The glass I use is quite big, so it only takes about 3 refills to have one litre finished. Then refill the bottle straight away and swap it for a chilled one. This works if I’m sitting in one place like my desk. If I’m on the go, a 500ml bottle works better.
Set some rules and/or incentives
When I was a kid we had a rule that we had to eat all our dinner before being allowed dessert. I’m glad my parents taught me this, because now I have a rule that I have to drink ALL my water before being allowed any wine. Or anything else for that matter! I allow myself one cup of coffee when I first wake up, but after that I can’t have anything else to drink until I’ve finished my 2 litres of water. Every time I’m tempted to have another coffee or a cup of tea, it reminds me to drink water first. Rules work pretty well for me, but you might like to think of it more as an incentive.
Track your progress
Whether you use an app or a handwritten log, keeping track of your intake can motivate you to keep going. It will also help you realise how much your intake affects things like your mood, your productivity, and your health.
Add a little flavour
Personally I don’t do this, because it’s an extra step and it doesn’t work for me. But I know a lot of people are more likely to drink their water if it has some flavour added. Infuse your water with some cut up citrus fruit, cucumber, melon, or mint.
Change your vessel
Have you ever noticed how a glass of wine is just so nice to hold and to bring to your lips? Suddenly the wine is gone and you’re ready for a refill! You might feel silly doing it, but drinking your water from a wine glass or a schooner glass can make it feel like more of a treat. You might raise some eyebrows if you try this at work, but in the privacy of your own home or even if you’re out for dinner, I don’t think there’s a problem with this. It doesn’t have to be a wine glass – just any cup or glass that you enjoy drinking from.
We all know the benefits of drinking water, right? So why don’t you join me in trying to increase your intake. Who couldn’t do with a bit more energy, a clearer mind, and clearer skin? Let me know in the comments if you think you might try any of these tips, or if you have other suggestions for increasing water intake.