April Experiment: Water

water-90781_1280Not “mind like water“; this month I’m re-discovering how good plain old water can be.

First, though, a quick rundown of the March anti-experiment since I didn’t actually write about it at all yet… which was caused by:

The February That Kicked my Ass

Between the broken hand, Maddie’s issues, and a couple of other problems I coasted into March without much energy to try something new. I ended up basically saying: let’s take a month off. Totally. No experiment, no working on myself, and while we’re at it let’s kind of slack off on my other recent experiments.

An anti-experiment month, in a way: let’s see what happens if I don’t even try to care.

It sucked.

Poor diet, no exercise, and most importantly the lack of a positive focus made it a very low month: low productivity, low energy, low emotions.

Result of March anti-experiment: Let’s never do that again! Having a particular goal to work towards — and see progress towards — yields a domino-effect of positive action touching all aspects of life. Makes it easier to carry through with preexisting commitments, makes it easier to find the good in every day. I have re-started my recent mindfulness, diet, and writing habits and feel better already.

April Experiment: Water Only* (to drink)

I’ve been doing this since April 1st, actually. Occasionally I have started an experiment on the first Monday instead of the first of the month; but I’m realizing that it works much better for me to prepare ahead of time and actually start on the first. Do what works best for you.

Quick back-story:

I had fallen into a daily pattern of TeaTeaTeaTeaWaterWaterWaterRum/Beer/Wine… Copious amounts of unsweet tea or Diet Dew to power through the morning, switch to water after lunch to hopefully not screw up my sleep that night (I’m sensitive to caffeine), and then switching over to tasty adult beverages when I got to the point in the evening where I didn’t feel the need to be productive anymore. Not every night, but frankly most nights.

But why experiment with changing this?

Because this was not a pattern I decided to adopt. It just sort of snuck up on me over a few years… kind of like the time my left pinkie went totally numb for a few weeks.

The Pinky that Wasn’t There

My work and some of my play has always involved many hours at the keyboard. A few years ago I became aware that my left pinky (and part of my left ring finger) were moderately numb and tingly pretty much all the time. Huh.

Had that come one suddenly, it would have grabbed my full and undivided attention — what the hell happened to my finger??!?!?!!!? But just like the apocryphal frog in boiling water this one came on slowly enough that I mostly ignored it… until I happened to look closely and realized how absurd it was to walk around with a fully numb pinky. Finally it grabbed my attention and I easily fixed it. (Switched to a split keyboard. Much better.)

Just like the pinky, this caffeine/alcohol habit crept into my life without any real conscious thought. So is it really the best pattern for me? Unlikely.

Sometimes You Have to Hit Reset

I could certainly have just decided to scale back one or the other of these minor drugs, but sometimes it’s better to start with a clean slate and then introduce things thoughtfully and see what really works for me. Kind of like what Apple did with iOS7. So since 4/1 I’ve been drinking water only, 24/7. I’ll certainly add things back in later, but on my terms, and consciously.

Besides the clean slate, I want to find out:

  • Is it hard to give these up for a month? If so that’s worth some serious thought.
  • How does it affect my energy levels — morning, afternoon, evenings?
  • Am I more productive? Less? Both, at times?
  • Any effect on my waistline?

So far, it hasn’t been very hard at all, which is reassuring. Too soon to tell on the rest.

* Exceptions…

This isn’t a do-or-die thing. If I’m at a social event with beer/wine, I will have just one. That happened once already. If I decide I absolutely need something fizzy, I will fire up the soda stream. That hasn’t happened yet. It’s important to decide your dos and don’t in advance though, or there is a slippery slope just a’waiting.

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