How I Drank Only Water For 2 Years

It wasn’t because I was a water fanatic, but rather because I knew this was a mental challenge not a physical one.

A few years back I decided to do one of the toughest challenges ever.

Me and my friends decided to do a water challenge.

The challenge was to only drink water when consuming a liquid.

It didn’t matter who, what, where, or when the situation…the only drink we could consume was plain old drinking water.

And we were going to see who could last the longest on this restriction. (Spoiler alert…I won.)

Here’s exactly how I drank only water for 2 years…and how you can do the same.

When the challenge first started I was confident I would outlast my friends.

It wasn’t because I was a water fanatic, but rather because I knew this was a mental challenge not a physical one.

So I slurped up my last can of soda at the Thanksgiving table, shook their hands and immediately visualized myself dying if I drank anything other than plain water.

The first few weeks were the toughest.

I had to remove all sights of soda and juice.

And I had to spend lots of money buying expensive bottles of water that I actually enjoyed drinking.

By the time I got to a month, there was only one friend still battling it out with me.

That’s when I learned the first key to drinking only water for such a long period.

Start with a reasonable challenge.

Our reasonable challenge was drinking only water as our drink for a month.

I knew in a month’s time everyone else would have quit or made mistake.

So all I focused on was the month mark.

If I knew I would be drinking water for 2 whole years, chances are I wouldn’t have agreed to embark on such a big journey.

When you want to do big things, start with small reasonable goals your mind can actually get behind.

After month one, it started getting intense because both me and my friend were missing prime fun experiences for this stupid water challenge.

We started on Thanksgiving and after month one, we were in prime Christmas and New Years time.

My friend was dying on the inside not being able to drink hot cocoa with the family or have a toast of champagne while the ball dropped.

So he quit.

And I won the challenge.

That’s where lesson two comes in.

If it’s hard to start, make it harder to quit.

My self-diagnosed OCD wouldn’t allow me stop on a random day so I waited until the end of the second month.

Once the end of the second month came, two things happened.

I started to really like drinking water.

The taste, how refreshing it was, and the proud to be healthy feeling after made water a truly enjoyable experience.

But the real reason that kept me going was how hard it seemed to stop.

There was water all around me and unhealthy drinks were always out of reach.

My life was set up for drinking water and lots of it, so that’s what I kept doing.

When you commit to tough challenges make it really frustrating and inconvenient to quit.

The more friction it takes to stop, the higher chance you’ll stay on track.

After month four and five, the proud, happy feeling was all tapped out.

I could only brag to friends and family for so long until they got sick of hearing about how amazing my water only challenge was going.

So I started feeling the urge to let it go.

I beat my friends and I even passed a hundred days.

There was nothing else for me to prove.

But that’s where I learned the most powerful lesson of accomplishing big things.

True discipline is negotiable.

I decided that in order to keep going I needed a reason to do so.

So rather than go back and rechallenge my friends, I decided to talk with someone who would be even more invested…myself.

I negotiated with myself as to why I should keep going on this tough and seemingly pointless journey.

We brainstormed many options and even potentially just calling it quits.

But what I decided was that if I could keep this going until the summer of July, I would reward myself on a trip to Jamaica.

That sounds way cooler than it was.

The trip was already happening, I just decided I would reward myself ON that trip.

And the reward would be nothing better than a cold DG cream soda, virgin pina colada, and any other drink I wanted on the trip.

So I continued drinking just water and reached the proposed negotiated reward.

When you feel weak in your journey, remember you are human and discipline is negotiable.

We’re all motivated in different ways and because I negotiated my discipline, I found the incentives that worked for me.

And I ended up finishing the whole 2 years strong after receiving what I knew was a well needed reward.

Discipline is about results, not about being strict.

Always negotiate with yourself, your trainer, or whoever about what tradeoffs will get you the results you’re looking for.

It was on my reward trip drinking lots of sugary soda, where I decided I wanted to make only water my new normal.

Water became my go to drink and nothing was ever as good.

The rest of my two year journey was smooth sailing and didn’t even feel like a challenge.

And now today I’m back to drinking whatever I want… but a one month water challenge is around the corner.

Except with sparkling water.

There’s a reason all successful people are drinking sparkling water after all 😉 .

But that is how I drank only water for 2 years…no sparkles includ…

In progress,

Tim Lightwork

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