The power of habit – or how to ditch a bad habit and consume less coffee

I’ve finished reading “The power of habit-Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” ( by Charles Duhig) a few weeks ago. In addition to being an exceptional read it provides many tools to comprehend how habits are formed and how they can be established. But it also got me thinking- what if we could reverse these rule to undo bad habits? So I’ve created a little experiment on someone very dear to my heart- myself.

Why don't you have another cup?
Why don't you have another cup?

I’ve noticed how lately I’ve been drinking more core and more coffee during the week. How much? Let’s say 6 cups and up. I use to drink one double espresso in the morning, just to wake up, have another when I get to work (9 am), another at 11, another during noon when I was feeling drowsy… another at 4 PM to get going and another, sometime iced, later in the evening. Luckily it did not affect my sleep patterns yet (one of the only benefits of being sleep deprived for several years is the fact that I can pretty much fall asleep anytime, day or night, unaffected by even severe Jetlag). But I was feeling that this is not a good habit in the long run. So I’ve started to log when I was having my coffee. I’ve actually drafted a coffee “table” where I wrote a big “x” every time I’ve drank a cup. And you know what? This simple activity reduces my consumption immediately. I than tried to limit myself to 3 cups a day. Having the dreadful table it was easy to see I needed to pace myself- If I’d have one cup at home and one arriving at work – that was already 2:3. So I’m now skipping the “home” cup and having one once I get to work. I then realized that if I eat lunch around noon, I don’t really need another cup in between, so I dropped, the 11 am one and going straight to 2 PM, which leaves me with the option of having another at 4PM at the office, or drink it later that evening at home with the missus. Of course I sometime drink more (going for a business meeting at a café it would be rude not to) but in general I pretty much adhere to the guidelines I’ve set for myself. And it feels good- to know you can undo a bad habit. Because if “The power of habit” has taught me anything, it was that habit tend to control us and not the other way around – so to have the power to change your behavior for the better is a real testimony of character and willpower.

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